*Continuation to Empty Words
I’m filled with liquid warmth. Every sip warms me up even more, the feeling settling in the pit of my stomach. The floor vibrates with the boom of the bass, and my body tingles. Whether from the music or the alcohol, I’m not quite sure. The room I’m in is full of people, all in various states of drunkenness, all moving to the music. I swivel my hips to the beat, shake my shoulders and shimmy chest. My eyes are closed, my hands in the air. My drink is sloshing around in its cup and my arm feels wet and sticky but I don’t care. I have no cares tonight. Nothing has mattered but the booze and the beat for some time.
He comes up behind me, body pressed close to mine. His hands grab mine, taking my drink and pulling my arms down to my sides.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” he questions, his lips against my ear to be heard over the noise.
I turn to face him, still moving to the beat. “Not enough,” is my response.
I look him up and down. Marc looked as handsome as ever. Even now he still had the ability to make my tummy flutter. To make my heart beat quicken. Tonight his face has a look of concern. It’s probably for me, but I don’t care. I don’t care about anything. Mostly, I just want my drink back, and I tell him as much.
“Annah.” His voice is disapproving and the hand holding my drink inches away from me.
I grab for it anyways. His other hand comes up to stop me, wrapping around my wrist. It’s an innocent touch but it’s enough to make my skin catch fire. Flashes of another night and another touch – a far less innocent one – cross my mind. Absently he rubs his thumb over the sensitive underside of my wrist, sending tingles up my arm. I know this simple touch is affecting Marc too. He starts to say something but I quickly remove my hand from his grasp and walk away.
I’m either too drunk or not drunk enough to handle whatever it was that going to come out of his mouth. The latter, I decide. In which case, I was going to need to find another drink.
On the table in front of me is a bottle of Malibu. Another night, another drink. It’s how I’m coping with my life. Except this time I’m not out, I’m at home. Though it didn’t feel much like a home anymore. Not with all his things gone.
There’s a sign hanging on apartment door. I’d been staring at it all night. It was one of the first decorations we’d bought for the place. John had seen it in the store and insisted that we needed it for the apartment. His mom had had one just like it in the house when he was a kid. I laughed and said it was perfect.
“Home is where the heart is.”
I didn’t know where my heart was. Did that make me homeless? I tossed back another glassful of rum. The liquor was warm and silky, and slid down my throat easily. Maybe too easily.
I’m pouring myself another glass when there’s a knock on the door. I consider ignoring whoever is out there when there’s a second, more persistent knock causing the offensive sign to clatter against the wood. I sigh and grab the bottle before crossing the room to the door. Somehow I know it’s Marc before I even glance through the peep hole and undo the lock.
He’s standing in the hallway, hands in his pocket. “Can I come in?”
I shrug and take a drink from my bottle.
Marc follows me inside and closes the door behind him. He stands uncomfortably, watching me throw back the drink I’d poured before he knocked, searching for his words. He’s never been to my apartment before. I hadn’t even realized he knew my address.
“How are you?” He asks.
I raise the bottle at him. “Peachy.” I take another swig.
“I – uh – I heard about your breakup,” he says awkwardly.
He knows the answer to his question, there’s no way he couldn’t, but I give it to him anyways. “You.”
“Right.” Marc finches at my tone.
“You already knew that though.”
He shakes his head. “No. Well, I mean – I thought maybe I knew why, but…”
“Well now you know for sure,” I say.
“I’m sorry.” There is no sincerity in his tone. He’s not sorry. Not even a little.
I slam the bottle down on the table. “No, you’re not.”
“No, I’m not.”
I get up to grab a bottle of wine from the kitchen.
“You can’t expect me to be sorry that you’re single now,” he calls to me from the other room. “There’s nothing standing between us anymore.”
“I’m not talking about this.” I pull a wine glass down from the cabinet.
“What, I don’t get a glass?” Marc is leaning against the door frame, watching me. “I’m not sorry you and John broke up,” he says. “But I am sorry you got hurt. I never meant for you to get hurt.”
I turn away and decide I’m going to ignore him.
“Annah.” Suddenly Marc’s not standing in the doorway anymore, but is now right behind me, his breath warm on the back of my neck. His arms snake around my waist and I melt into his embrace. “I just – I want you to know, that night meant something to me,” he says softly.
I will myself to move out of his arms. But I don’t. I can’t. Slowly I turn around to face him. He lifts a hand to my chin and I look up at him. He’s gazing down at me with this, this look in his eyes. “That night was special.”
“You’re special.” His body is close to mine, one hand on my waist, the other on my cheek. He rubs his thumb across my cheek and then leans in closer. I sigh when our lips meet and he pulls me closer. His touch is like fire, our kisses fervent.
Memories of our past kisses are running through my mind. The feel of his body against mine reminds me of another night. And as sudden as the passion came, it was gone.
I push him away. “I can’t. I can’t do this.”
“Annah please.” Marc reaches for me again. “Now that you and John are over, we have a chance! There’s nothing stopping us.”
I shake my head.
“Don’t do that. Don’t say no.” He holds my hands tightly, thumbs brushing against my knuckles. “We have something here. I know you feel it. Please Annah.”
“We don’t have anything.”
“No.” I shake my head. “No. It was one night, Marc.” I pull my hands from his grasp. “It was a mistake.”
Marc is silent.
“I’m sorry. I love John,” I said. “I love him. Maybe that night felt real to you, but not to me.” I walked over to the door. “It didn’t mean anything, Marc.” I held the door open for him. “I’m sorry.”