Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.Paul Boose
Granite Falls Cameron Cabin
After leaving the campground Vivien and Liam were settled in at the cabin, watching the fire they were sitting in front of, Vivien now showered, warm and content again. Liam had showered and gotten comfy as well.
“Can I ask you a difficult question?”
“You can, but the answer is most likely ‘I do not know’.”
“Is it that obvious what I was gonna ask?”
“Vivien, we were a couple for years, secretly and officially, and friends for all our lives. We are both wondering the same thing.”
“Do you even want to try again?”
“Same answer. I do not know.”
“But I have changed, Liam … can’t you see? I understood where I went wrong.”
“I never wanted you to change, Vivien. Change feels like something forced. I wanted you to want the same thing, as I thought all along that you did. But it’s never even been about the baby thing, it’s about the fact you didn’t trust me and the way you threw it all away just like that. And all the running. Always running. Always in the wrong direction. I tried to make you feel that whenever something was wrong, you could run to me, instead, you always ran from me. Combine that with the type of jobs we have, demanding, often taking us away from one another … lack of trust is toxic for us. I couldn’t see a future.”
“Can you see one now?”
“I am going to sound like a broken record … I do not know.”
“If you do decide – at some point – we cannot try again, can we at least stay friends?”
Liam snorted a brief laugh.
“In theory that sounds nice, but in practice I doubt we’d be able to. We’re not the types for something like that. To be frank, we’re too passionate. We’re both A-type personalities. We both are sensual. Ugly truth be told, I have been fighting the urge to just say ‘fuck it’ and throw you on your back, rip every fiber of clothing off you, have my way with you and not stop until you beg me to.”
“I’d be on board with all of that. I wouldn’t fight you, quite the contrary …”
“As flattered as I am to hear you say that, we’re not gonna do any of that, as it would be the most idiotic thing we could do, and really be pouring gasoline into fire. If there was ever a time for restraint, this would be it.”
“Okay. So, let’s revisit where we stand with each other. You still want me, still are attracted to me and you still care about me, and you know it’s mutual.”
“Is that a question?”
“No, more a relieved discovery. And me wondering what that leaves us with.”
“Vivien, none of this is news. I told you before that this has never been about love or attraction. I know you still love and want me, I still love and want you too, VERY much so. My half-assed attempts to get you out of my head and heart were doomed from the start. There isn’t a woman in this world that compares to you in my book. The problem between us was trust. You didn’t trust me, I could not trust you to not abandon me when I need you the most. Simple as that. Sometimes you may want something badly, but it’s not good for you. Like a drug. A terribly addictive drug.”
“I am the drug? You don’t even realized what all I have done for you Liam, so you would be happy with me. I freaking learned to cook and bake. I am out here at the gates of hell, just to be with you. And all because I fucked up and nobody told me how bad I was actually fucking up until it was already too late, and now I cannot figure out how to convince you that I can be the one you want, including staying and not running.”
“Yes, you are my drug, I am terribly addicted and have no idea how to get you out of my system, and by the sounds of it, I am yours. You are also missing something. Past tense. I said I couldn’t trust you, not I can’t. You have impressed me of late, Vivien. When I needed you, when I got so sick back at the cabin, I may not have let on how miserable I really was, but you stayed, no matter how much of a dick I was to you. And that after you caught me with a girl, and at that point you didn’t know nothing had happened between her and I. I also realized that you running that time when you ditched me and took an Uber was on me. I was a douche, I was sick and jealous and it brought out the worst in me, then I got what I deserved.”
“It means that when you actually called me after Dr. Doolittle went off the tracks, I realized there was a lot of hope. I realize after the way we parted at the restaurant, it wasn’t the natural thing for you to dial me. But you did. And I came. And we talked. That night at the penthouse brought a lot of clarity for me, but just as much worry. I knew then I wasn’t ready to give up, I wanted to fight, but I am so afraid to rush in and end up where we were. I can’t do that again, Viv. And neither can you.”
“Okay Liam. I have a suggestion. Something that can help ease your worries and maybe get both of us what we really want.”
“Lay it on me.”
“Let’s date. Start at the beginning. Act like we don’t know all we know, like we haven’t put each other through what we have put each other through …”
“I like the idea, in theory, but you and I can’t pretend we don’t know each other the way we do, not after all those years, watching each other grow up. We already crossed that line into a relationship before, we lived together, nah, we can’t just act we are strangers now. That would be starting over under false pretenses, so let’s just call it starting over, or trying again, slowly. Date. Exclusively date each other, cos man, I learned I am a VERY jealous prick.”
“Makes two of us. Seeing you with that girl here at the cabin … I never thought I had murderous tendencies, but that very moment … I am just not sure. Either way, I do not want you near another woman romantically or I swear we’ll end up on an episode of “Snapped”.”
“All right, agreed. We are exclusive, but tentatively inching towards a relationship, not jumping in with both feet.” Liam placed his hand over Vivien’s and her heart was about to combust in her chest.
“I’ll agree to that even though if today is your current idea of a date, we are already doomed!” Vivien grinned, obviously teasing him, which he picked up on, as he smirked back.
“Whaaaaaat? Today was a date for the picture books! I even cooked for you, delicious grilled fish, so fresh it was still wiggling moments before. You should know, you got the closest look.” Liam laughed.
“You are such an asshole …” she laughed as well.
“Yeah, but I am exclusively your asshole … if you want me to be.”
“Oh, I want that very much. Very VERY much!”
“All right, let’s establish some ground rules or … whatever you want to call it, terms we agree on, if you so want, before we jump into this thing. Just to make sure we both are on the same page with all the stuff important to each of us.”
“Let me just guess your number 1. No more running.”
“That goes without saying. Number 2, where are we on our future? If we do this again, we need to both know what the other is looking for and willing to give. I do not know where you stand these days on all this, but I need to know that eventually somewhere down the line you will bear my last name … yes, I am old fashioned like that … and yes, I am saying what you think I am implying, if you catch my drift. Not rushing, but thinking ahead to avoid the same fiasco from before.”
“Drift caught and vote in favor – IF – it can wait a bit. I do want that too, eventually, but I want to leave some wiggle room as I do not want to slip in an engagement or wedding in between your busy schedule and in case mine picks up again like it does.”
“Well, obviously. We need to work our way reeeally slow back up to anywhere near the level of serious relationship where we are even ready to level up again. I am not wanting us to go on a few dates, then get married by next fall or whatever. Just … eventually. Down the road. Waaaaay down. I am definitely no longer in any kind of rush.”
“Well, since you already brought up that subject … Do you still have my ring?”
“You mean YOUR weapon, and MY ring. You -let’s call it – ‘gave’ it back, remember? Just as you were legally obligated to after ending the engagement.”
“Can lawyer Liam go fuck himself and leave just the Liam I want to work on rebuilding our relationship? I so do not care about legal anything right now. All I care about is you and I … and maybe an us. And yes, of course I remember one of the worst decisions of my life. For the record, I still regret doing that to you.”
“Well, see the lawyer in me and the simple man, they are one and the same. Maybe that should be point number 3. Accept that I am a workaholic, just like I accepted your crazy life as a celebrity musician. And yes, of course I still have the platinum ring with a 2 carat diamond. But if we even faintly think about doing this engagement thing again, it should probably be with a new ring, otherwise it would feel … jinxed.”
“If I get any vote in this matter, I would want the same ring. It’s special to me. My finger has been feeling very naked without it. And I will never forget the romantic way you asked me. I know we are not officially anything right now, but I just have to know … did you ever sleep with another woman since we …. broke up?”
“Nope. Apparently I tried, but it was a good thing you crashed that party, had I gone through with it, I know now I would have regretted it. I just wasn’t fully into it, more an action out of spite. Did you ever sleep with any other dude since?”
“No. Even if I had wanted to, I was on tour or a mental wreck, or both. Had I done anything with any of the guys on the tour, dad would have found out and put them in the meat grinder. My one glorious attempt was Dr. Geruse, but you know how that went. Brings me to point number 4 … we are sleeping in one bed tonight. I don’t care if we have sex or not, but I need to feel you close to me again. Feel you, smell you, touch you. I want to run my fingers all over your chest … hmmm … “
“What is it with you and my chest? Well, if I am honest though, hearing you say that kinda sounds hot in a creepy stalker lady sort of way. But I don’t know, Viv, if I sleep anywhere near you, ESPECIALLY with you touching any part of me, we are gonna have sex, whether we plan to or not. It’s been a while for both of us, we are both ready to explode and you always bring out the primal side in me. There won’t be any stopping me.”
“Is that so? I say, bring it on! I am getting so very tired all of a sudden …”
“You are killing me woman. What happened to taking things slow?”
“Liam, I know that was my idea, but I realize that’s stupid. I don’t want to take things slow and if you are honest, neither do you. I got the message, loud and clear, no more running. I want you back, all of you. And I don’t want to wait.”
Liam smiled, nodded, then sighed.
“You have no idea how tempted I am to just roll with it … and how flattered I am to hear you say what you just did. But I respect you too much to just go against better knowledge. And … to be brutally honest, I didn’t think this weekend would be the kind I need to bring protection for. Last thing we both need is to let down our guard only to be left to deal with unplanned consequences. And yes, I know what you are going to say, you are on birth control, but we have always doubled-up, so, this can’t be the exception.”