“I know. I was wrong. I’m sorry, Leo. I just thought you didn’t care about me and that you expected us to go back to being Mila and Leo just like that. I didn’t know how to do that. I couldn’t pretend like you didn’t hurt me. Especially when you’ve never hurt me before. If I could go back, I would have just talked to you about it. We’ve always been able to talk about everything and this shouldn’t have been any different. I got scared. My mind wasn’t thinking clearly. For a moment in time, I overlooked who we were to one another. How we’re best friends first, no matter what.”
“I’m sorry for hurting you, Lala. But I’m finally where I need to be. I’m standing in front of you right now, telling you I love you. That I’m in love with you. I’ve always been in love with you. Come home with me. I need you, more than I’ve ever needed anyone. You’re my girl.”
The serious expression on his face captivated me in the same way it always had. Placing his hands on the sides of my face, he brought me closer to him. “I can’t lose you again. I won’t. Please come home with me.”
My chest rose and fell with each word he said. I felt him everywhere and all at once.
“I don’t know if I can come home with you, Leo. I have a life here. It’s only been four months and…” I shrugged. “I’m so confused. I wasn’t expecting any of this.”
His mouth was so close to mine I could feel his breath on me.
“You’re just being fucking stubborn, Lala.”
I shut my eyes. I had to. “Leo, please…”
“Please what, baby?”
“Please… I just don’t know. I’m sorry. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. I just don’t kno—”
He kissed me.
Making me feel whole.
Softly, he pecked my lips one last time before rasping against my mouth, “You know, Mila. You know just like I do. You’ve always been mine, like I’ve always been yours.”
“I need some time, okay? I need to think. Can you please give me that?”
He reluctantly nodded, backing away. I didn’t stop him when he turned and left.
This time… I was the one who let him leave me instead.
One day later
“I told you.” Ashton lifted his beer. “The Playboy Pact for fucking life.”
“I don’t know about all that.”
“Oh come on, dude, don’t give me that shit. You just got your heart stomped on by your little Lala.”
“Don’t talk about her like that.”
“How can you defend her when she just let you leave like that? That plane ticket cost you fifteen hundred dollars, one way, because it was so last minute, and you didn’t even get to cop a feel. If I were you, I’d send her a bill for wasting your fucking time.”
“Ashton, I’m fine.”
“Bullshit. You’re not fine. You don’t even look fine. You’re miserable. I say, we go see some strippies. Titties in your face, on me, bro. What?” He jerked back. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m trying to help you get over her and the only way to do that is by letting another woman ride you. Okay?” He patted my shoulder. “Let’s go.”
“I’m not going anywhere. Especially to a fucking strip club. If I wanted titties in my face, Ashton, I wouldn’t have to pay for them.”
“Free titties end up being more expensive in the long run. They want dinner and drinks and to go to the movies.”
“Not tonight, man.”
He shook his head, sighing. “Fine. But can you promise me one thing?”
“You’re not going to sit here all night and think about Mila.”
“I can’t promise that.”
“Dude, look at you. She’s got you by the balls and you’re not even getting a blowjob.”
I chuckled, and for the next two hours, we drank, talking about nothing in particular. It was well into midnight by the time I found myself sitting on her swing, in the cold, frigid night air. I sat there, wanting to feel close to her.
Like she’d magically show up. I don’t know how long I sat there feeling her, but not seeing her when my phone rang, and Cain’s name appeared on my screen. We hadn’t spoken since last night.
I answered, “Yeah?”
“We cool yet?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Leo, I swear to you on the Playboy Pact and our friendship that I was never going to have sex with her. I knew she’d stop me, I knew you’d show up and find us together, it was why I was provoking you. I wanted you to show up. It was the only reason I started dating her. I have no interest in Mila other than friendship. I need you to believe me. I can’t lose you as a friend, a brother, I fucking love you, man.”