I just remembered that time at the market
Snuck up behind me and jumped on my shopping cart
And rode down aisle five
You looked behind you and smiled back at me
Crashed into a rack full of magazines
They asked us if we could leave
Can't remember what went wrong last September
Though I'm sure you'd remind me if you had to
Our love was comfortable and so broken in
I sleep with this new girl I'm still getting used to
My friends all approve, say "she's gonna be good for you"
They throw me high-fives
She says the Bible is all that she reads
And prefers that I not use profanity
Your mouth was so dirty
Life of the party and she swears that she's artsy
But you could distinguish Miles from Coltrane
Our love was comfortable and so broken in
She's perfect, so flawless, or so they say
She thinks I can't see the smile that she's faking
And poses for pictures that aren't being taken
I loved you, gray sweatpants, no makeup, so perfect
Our love was comfortable and so broken in
She's perfect, so flawless, I'm not impressed
I want you back.
- "Comfortable" by John Mayer
After seeing you toss yet another bag of gummy bears into the shopping cart when you thought I wasn't looking, I had to put my foot down.
"Duo, please, just go by the list. You can't keep throwing all this unnecessary junk in the cart; we'll go broke just from buying groceries!"
You just rolled your eyes, like you always did when I get "too uptight," as you called it. "Heero, that's ridiculous. Those gummy bears and circus peanuts are two-for-a-dollar. We won't go broke." Then, with a big grin, you dropped a bag of marshmallows on top of the ever-growing pile of candy.
I know a challenge when I see one.
Walking back to the cart, I picked up the latest addition to our grocery bill, turning it over to inspect the ingredients. "Look at all this sugar. And calories!" Then, looking you up and down out of the corner of my eye, I mumbled just loud enough for you to hear, "I guess we know where all that extra weight is coming from..."
As if on cue, your already large eyes widened to the size of saucers and your jaw dropped, a reaction so comical that, had I not been trying to win this little battle, I would have cracked up at the sight.
"Excuse me?" you squeaked, barely maintaining your composure.
Deciding it wouldn't hurt to get one more jab in, I calmly replied, "If you won't put this stuff back for our budget's sake, then please do it for your waistline."
Your eyebrows shot up under your bangs at that remark. "My waistline?!" you gasped, unable to hide the disbelief in your tone.
I nodded, enjoying the banter perhaps too much. "And your ass."
"My ass?!" you cried in mock-horror, obviously catching on to the game. "Well, mister, if you ever want to see this ass again, then..." You paused a moment, probably trying to think up some clever retort or challenge. Suddenly, you grabbed the cart and pushed off, sending yourself, along with our food, gliding down the aisle. "You'll have to catch me!"
For a moment, I just stood there, watching you sail to the end of the row, your braid trailing behind you like a banner. Once you stepped off to turn down the next aisle, however, I decided to forget the list and give chase. I rounded the corner just in time to glimpse you disappearing into the frozen food section. Only by breaking into a run was I able to gain on you. Despite its being such an unwieldy vehicle, you had no trouble maneuvering the heavily laden buggy around the corners and through the aisles; then again, you always were an excellent pilot, so I shouldn't have been surprised at how well you handled a cart of groceries.
I finally caught up with you in aisle five, the canned foods section. Looking behind you, you flashed me a brilliant grin as you flew past the soups. My hands reached out to grab you, but you just shook your head and pushed off again, increasing your speed. Unfortunately, you were going too fast to make the next turn and hurtled into a magazine rack at full speed.
Racing to your side, I found you laying on the tiled floor, covered in tabloids and bags of candy but otherwise unharmed.
"Well," you grinned, "I guess you caught me."
Shaking my head, I sighed resignedly, but I couldn't keep the smile from tugging at my lips. "And you are going to get us kicked out of the grocery store."
Again, you rolled your eyes. "They don't throw people out of grocery stores, Heero. Not for just having a little fun!"
No sooner had that matter-of-fact statement left your lips before a scowling, burly man, the store manager by the information on his nametag, marched over to us, his meaty arms crossed over his chest. Under thick, dark eyebrows, his eyes narrowed menacingly as he glared down at the two of us, still huddled on the floor in a pile of magazines and groceries.
"You two," he growled, "get out."
"GET OUT!! Get out of this house right now!"
"Please, just listen to what--"
"NO! I don't want to hear it, goddamn it! Just leave!"
"Fine. Fuck you. It's over."
"Yeah, well fuck you too, Yuy. Now get out of my house before I call the cops!"
"Heero.? Earth to Heero?"
The tugging on my sleeve brings my attention back to the present, and I look down at her to see what she wants.
She gives me a confused smile. "Are you okay? Where were you just now?"
"I'm fine," I reassure her. "Just thinking."
Her finely shaped eyebrows draw together over pale blue eyes-not indigo, an inner voice supplies--expressing her lingering concern. "Okay," she says slowly; obviously she doesn't believe me. But soon, her face brightens up once again as yet another group of foreign officials come by to praise her works and lend their support to whatever causes she has deemed worthy. When she disengages her hand from my arm in order to properly greet her new visitors, I excuse myself, heading to one of the drink stations for some much needed refreshment. No matter how many of these functions I attend, I can't manage to find them interesting in the least. It's times like these that my mind wanders to the past. To you.
I would like to say that it seems like only yesterday that we parted ways, since I ran to her just as you'd predicted, but that would be a lie. It seems eons longer than the five months it's been, perhaps because I haven't seen you or spoken to you since then. What's funny is that, as hard as I try to remember why our relationship turned sour, I honestly can't. Actually, I don't think I ever knew the reason in the first place. I wonder if you ever knew. If you did, maybe you'll tell me. Maybe, when it's all behind us, whenever that might be, maybe I'll ask you.
This time, it's the bartender that breaks me out of my short reverie. "Sir? Your drink?"
Feeling somewhat foolish for zoning out yet again, I apologize and take the glass from his hand. I search the room for any familiar faces, finally spying a few of my colleagues from work across the room, and I make my way over to say hello.
When they see me coming, they smile and wave, but the mischievous looks on their faces give them away. I can see what's coming.
"Heero!" one of them welcomes me, patting me on the back. "What are you doing over here? Shouldn't you be out there twirling the Vice Foreign Minister around on the dance floor?"
At that, I have to laugh. "I'm afraid that dancing is not my strong suit. Besides, she has people to talk to, deals to make. I don't want to interfere." That's the truth. I'm not a great dancer and she knows that; you knew it too, but we danced anyway.
My coworkers laugh along with me, but continue their goading. One of them asks, "But won't Relena be disappointed? Getting all dressed up and not getting a dance out of Prince Charming?"
Another one answers for me. "Oh, she won't mind, because she knows that he'll be making it up to her when they get home. Isn't that right, Heero?" he questions knowingly, winking at me and nudging me with his elbow.
"I'm sorry," I reply, keeping my tone as neutral as possible, "but I don't think that she would appreciate me divulging information about our private lives. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to get back to the Vice Foreign Minister."
A chorus of disappointed groans sounds behind me as I walk away. They are nice enough guys, but I just can't see myself being part of their group outside of work. Maybe because I don't think you would like them, though I don't see why that matters now. Must be that foolish, idealistic boy inside me that thinks there's still hope where you're concerned.
When I get back to her, I can tell that she's very tired. Her outward appearance doesn't give it away; she looks as radiant as always in her elegant gown and sparkling jewels, but I know by the set of her shoulders, by the way she's standing, by her gestures, that she's about to drop. Leaning down, I whisper into her ear, "Anytime you're ready..."
She nods discretely and quickly makes her apologizes to the pair of diplomats she had been conversing with. Within minutes, we are riding in the back of her limousine, away from the dancing and the networking and the scores of people who all want a piece of her. I know she's relieved to be out of there. So am I.
I look at her now, in the calmness. She's busy taking off her jewelry and taking her hair down from the ornate style that it had been in all night. I would like to be thinking about how pretty she looks, but all that's on my mind is a memory of you, crawling towards me on our bed, your hair loose around your body; the mere thought of it takes my breath away. Closing my eyes to get a clearer mental picture, I can almost feel you, climbing on top of me, touching me, kissing me. However, those phantom touches do not arouse me; instead, a powerful, overwhelming feeling of anguish grips my heart. Something suspiciously like a sob rises in my throat, but I hold it back before I embarrass myself.
Taking a deep breath, I open my eyes again. She's looking at me strangely. Does she know? No, she doesn't. She didn't know about us. She might have had suspicions, just as many others did, but didn't, doesn't know.
"Did you have a good time?" she asks quietly, scooting closer. She genuinely hopes I did, but she must know that I was bored out of my mind.
"It wasn't that bad, but you know those events aren't...me. However, I know how important they are for you, so I don't mind."
She looks disappointed. "I'm sorry. I hate it that you don't enjoy yourself. Perhaps tomorrow we can do something more fun. Whatever you want. Anything, what do you say?"
I shake my head, feeling incredibly guilty for turning her down. "I can't; I have to work."
"After work?" she suggests hopefully.
"You have that conference all day tomorrow. By the time you get back, we'll both be too tired to do anything, just like we are now."
Biting her lip, she looks down. I hope she's not going to cry. I hate to see her cry. I hated to see you cry. But I'm not going to think about that now. I should focus on her, since she's here and you...you're probably never going to be.
I put my arm around her shoulders and she leans into me, resting her head against my chest. "It's okay," I try to reassure her, "don't worry about me. I can take care of myself."
She pulls her feet up onto the seat and lies down, resting her head in my lap. "But I don't want you to have to take care of yourself. I want to take care of you." It sounds like she wants to say more, but a weary yawn cuts her off, and sleep begins to visibly take hold of her. She sighs and the tension melts from her face and shoulders as she finally succumbs.
I spend the rest of the ride trying to keep my thoughts as far from you as possible, but I'm only moderately successful. I guess I can never shut you out completely. When we reach her house, not our house, but her house, I leave her with her servants. I will not be spending this night in her bed. Instead, I'll return to my apartment in town. Tonight has been difficult, and it would be best if I spent some time alone with my thoughts.
Days later, I am once again at her house, this time for a social function. This day is actually our four-month anniversary of when we "officially" became a couple, but this party is for one of her charities, not for us. However, she told me to think of it as such, with a promise that she would stay by my side the entire evening.
Right now, she stands across the room from me, chatting with someone, perhaps the head of the charity organization that she's throwing this party for or perhaps just another socialite. I can't tell them all apart sometimes. She looks very pretty today, but she always looks nice. Her hair is always perfectly styled and sometimes I wonder if she ever wears the same outfit twice. If she has, I haven't seen it. She smiles to whomever it is she is speaking to, showing her pearly white, perfectly aligned teeth; it doesn't look like a fake smile, but it would be difficult to call it genuine since she does smile most of the time, at least when she's around anyone other than just me. Sometimes I wonder if she suspects that cameramen are hiding in the walls and in the bushes, following her everywhere, just waiting for that one moment where she's off her guard or not looking her best.
Needless to say, I'm not considering this an anniversary party. You and I never had one, even though we were together for three and a half years, not just a few months. Neither of us wanted one; as long as we were together, no grand celebration seemed necessary. I think it was better that way, although I wonder if maybe an occasional celebration of our togetherness might have helped.
Looking around the room, I see a few faces I recognize, but none that I wish to talk to. I'm tired of all the chit-chat and everything else about this party, so I decide to retire to the bedroom. However, she spots me going up the stairs and catches up with me at the landing.
"Where are you going?" she asks quietly. I can't tell if she's worried about me or worried that someone might think that our relationship wasn't as stable as everyone imagined. Either way, all I want to do is get away from the party.
"I'm going upstairs, to the bedroom."
She tilts her head towards me. "Is something the matter?" Then, a bit more concerned, "Are you sick?"
I shake my head, growing more restless by the second. "No, Relena, I'm not sick. I just don't feel like being down there, being around all those people who I honestly do not give a damn about."
She recoils, apparently taken aback by my rather blunt statement. Since I try to treat her delicately most of the time, I can almost understand her shock. "Heero, please don't use such offensive language, you know it upsets me."
I search my previous statement for this so-called "offensive language," because I really don't remember saying anything offensive. Oh, yes. "Damn." That's the one that got her so upset. I don't even consider that profanity. You certainly didn't. Your knowledge of curse words could make anyone blush, myself included, but it was certainly entertaining to hear you let them fly. I want to laugh even now just from the thought, but that would only upset her further. Instead, I apologize. "I'm sorry. But please, just let me go upstairs. I'll come back down if you need me." I stand there for a moment, hoping that she won't argue, hoping that she will turn around and go back downstairs and that I can have some peace and quiet.
Fortunately, she doesn't protest, though it's blatantly obvious that I have hurt her feelings. "Well, if that's how you really feel, then go ahead. I'll come get you if I need you." She finally heads back down, but not before giving me a painfully wounded look.
Feeling guilty yet again, I go on to the bedroom and lock the door behind me, leaning back against the wood with a sigh. I can still hear the soft murmur of voices from downstairs, but it's not enough to bother me. Walking over to my "closet"-really just a small portion of her enormous closet that has been made available to me--I strip off my coat and tie, careful to hang them up neatly. I do the same for my pants and put the rest into the laundry chute on my way into the bathroom. A hot shower sounds perfect right now, but as I step into the warm spray, my mind is assaulted by memories of you. I can't stop them. You smiling, you fixing me breakfast, you sitting beside me on the couch, you wrapping your arms around me, you yelling at whatever video game you were playing, you arching into my touch, calling my name, laying beside me, being with me, loving me.
It's too much for me to handle right now. I feel something inside me snap and I scream, slamming my fist into the tile. I can't tell if I'm crying or not; I probably am. If I am, then these are the first tears I've shed for us. Long-overdue tears. Maybe, if these had come to me instead of anger five months ago, maybe I wouldn't be crying them now.
The hot water begins to feel cool and I twist the knob with a jerk, stopping the flow. I step out of the shower and hastily dry myself off, still reeling from the constant thoughts of you. I don't know what to do. I'm lost. I consider briefly going to sleep, but I know that will only result in more dreams of you, and such figments of my imagination will not help me to get over this feeling.
Glancing at the countertop, I notice for the first time all of her makeup and hair products, and I think of her fancy designer clothes and shoes and her stylist and everything else she uses to "fix herself," things she doesn't think she can be beautiful without.
Then it hits me, finally, what I've known but haven't been able to admit to myself, either because of my pride or my stupidity or both. You never needed any of those things. You were, you are still the most beautiful creature I've ever seen. You are absolute perfection. And I know now that I can't settle for anything less than that. You are my ideal.
I cannot live without loving you and you loving me in return. It's not possible.
With renewed purpose, I dash to the closet, pulling out the first pair of jeans I see. I'm barely thinking straight enough to grab a t-shirt to wear, not caring that it's still the middle of winter. Shoes are totally forgotten as I run down the stairs, past Relena, and to the garage, where I can't get to my car fast enough. I'll explain to her later, after I've done what I should've done a long time ago. But I can't stop to do it now.
I peel out of the driveway, racing across town to where you are. You're still in the house we used to share. I'm hoping the fact that you never left our house is a sign that you haven't given up hope on us, at least not yet.
The drive takes forever no matter how fast I go, as though Fate is purposely trying to prevent this reunion. But Fate is no match for me. I don't care if I have to crawl on my hands and knees; there is nothing that can keep me from you at this moment.
When I get to your neighborhood, I slow the car and try to calm myself down. I don't want to scare you away, but I've got to show you just how much I need you with me, how much I am dying without you. How much I love you. Suddenly, your house appears before me, and I pull into the drive. It seems so familiar an act that I almost forget the fact that I haven't been here since September.
With unsteady footsteps, I walk to the door, to your door, and take a deep breath. My finger pauses over the doorbell. Am I sure about this? Do I really want this? Are you really The One?
I want you back.
I hope you'll have me.