Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Lift

Fight or flight, fight or flight my mind chanted. Every atom in my body told me to GTFO, but annoyingly, my feet kept walking steadily toward Dylan. 

Soon enough I was just feet in front of him, my shoulders sagging from the weight of my bags. I cocked my head and gave a small smile by way of greeting.

"Hello," I said, trying to portray how totally casual I felt running into my ex unannounced, carrying a massive suitcase and wearing a pit-stained white t-shirt. #glamour

"Hello," he echoed, a suppressed smile threatening the corners of his lips. 

I wanted to ask how he was, what he had been up to, who he was here waiting for, if he was seeing anyonea thousand questions. Instead, I simply said "I assume you're not my chauffeur?"

He chuckled, "Nope, I'm Ryan's today," he said, referring to his ex-roommate who, as far as I knew, was still married. 

"Ah," I said, at a complete loss for words. It felt strange, standing in front of someone who I had once loved so much, and having nothing at all to say. Or maybe I had way too much to say, it just wasn't socially acceptable to let it all spill out. 

"Are you here for Laura's birthday?" he asked. 

"You're quite the detective," I said with a small smile. We locked eyes, and I was reminded all at once how blue they were. My memory had dulled them, but they were undeniably soul-wrenching now. 

He nodded, "I kind of figured you'd be down. In fact, when I parked just now I had a weird feeling I would see you."

"Spooky," I said, trying to lighten his serious tone. Just then, his gaze caught above my shoulder. I turned to see Ryan striding towards us. If he was surprised to see me standing next to Dylan, he didn't reveal it.

"Hey man," Ryan said, clapping Dylan on the back. "Dani, great to see you!" He leaned down and wrapped me in a warm hug. 

"You too, where are you coming back from?" 

"DC," he said, running his hand through his hair. I caught the sparkle of his wedding ring glint off of the massive hanging lights of 30th Street Station. "And Dyl was nice enough to give me a lift out into the 'burbs."

"You don't live in the city anymore?" I asked.

"Nah, the wife was itching to get out of here, so now we're in Media." 

"Oh, my parent's don't live too far from there," I said. "I'm heading out there tonight."

"How are you getting there?" Dylan asked.

I shrugged, "Was just going to catch the R5." 

"Do you want a lift?" Dylan asked. I hesitated. It would look shitty if I said no, and my ravenous eyes weren't ready to let him out of my sight just yet.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Of course," he replied, reaching out for my bag and removing it from my shoulder. It ached, how familiar that gesture was. 

The three of us walked out into the oppressive heat and headed towards Dylan's car. I started to reach for the back seat, but Ryan stopped me. "Ladies up front," he said with a smile. 

As Dylan put my bag in the trunk, I folded myself into the front seat where I had sat so  many times before. Not for the first time, I wished I was wearing something a little bit less like I had fetched it from my dirty laundry. Which was, in fact, exactly where I had fetched it. 

Dylan slid gracefully into the front seat, and for a split second I imagined that it was one year ago and he was about to drive right to his place. If it had been a year ago, I would have rested my hand wordlessly on his upper thigh, squeezing slightly in anticipation of what was to come. That two mile drive used to seem so long when we couldn't stop pawing at each other. 

Instead, my hands now remained firmly placed in my lap, straying no where.

For the first few minutes, Dylan and Ryan chatted lightly and I remained quiet, absorbing the tidbits I could pick up on. 

"Are you going to Laura's thing tomorrow?" Ryan said, directing this question at me. I caught his gaze in the rearview mirror. 

"I am," I said. "You?"

Ryan nodded. "Yep, finally convinced the ball and chain to have a real Philly night again," he grinned. "It'll be like old times, right man?" he said, clasping his hand on Dylan's shoulder. 

I felt a heat creep up into my cheeks. Obviously I had assumed Dylan would be there, but hearing it confirmed had me raking my brain going through the outfits I had brought. 

Dylan laughed, and I bit my lip. The rest of the car ride passed easily, chatting about mutual friends and the boys regaling me with funny stories of moments that had filled up the past year. In between laughter, I wondered how Dylan had filled his months without me. I had stalked his social media, of course, but no one besides the usual suspects had made an appearance. 

After we dropped Ryan off, the silence between us blanketed the car in a thick, tangible awkwardness. I picked at the threads on my ripped boyfriend jeans and resisted the urge to text Ashley.

"So, how have you been?" I asked. "Really?" 

He let out a sigh, "Good, I've been good. Really busy with work and everything."

I nodded, dissatisfied with this generic answer. 

"You?" he asked, not removing his eyes from the road. I didn't even think to offer directions, and I felt a surge of affection that he remembered where my parents lived.

"I've been good too," I replied. "I started a new job a few months ago, and I love it more than I ever thought I could love a job."

"I heard you were at Arabella now," he said, making a left turn. "I'm proud of you, for going after the career that you want."

"Thanks," I said, uncomfortable under his praise. "So... are you seeing anyone?" I asked, adding an eyebrow raise and smile to lighten the question.

"Not seriously," he replied. "Are you..still with Nick?" 

I was glad he asked straight out, instead of pretending he hadn't known we had been dating again. It was all over social media and with so many mutual friends, he would have had to been living under a rock to not know.

"No.. he moved to LA," was all that I offered.

Dylan seemed surprised by this, his eyebrows raising slightly. I thought I detected a faint smile on his lips, but it could have been my imagination. 

"So," he asked, pulling up my parent's driveway. "I'll see you tomorrow then?" 

I lingered, not wanting to leave the car as he came to a halt under the old basketball hoop. "Sure seems that way," I smiled. 

He leaned over and kissed my cheek in his easy, graceful way. "Can't wait," he said. We locked eyes for several beats too long, and I turned away before he could see the heat that was rising up my cheeks. 

10 comments:

  1. Ahh!!!!! I'm so excited about this!!! Can't wait to hear about the party...bonus bonus!!! Hahaha

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  2. What she said! Bonusssss! I can't wait!!

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  3. I agree too! Bonus please!!

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  4. Excellent! Love Dylan!

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  5. I feel like in the hiatuses it got jumbled or maybe left out exactly why her and Dylan broke up...Can anyone refresh me?

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    Replies
    1. Nick came back into her life.

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  6. Love your writing!

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  7. Stopped reading when Dani went back to Nick...just wasn't fond of that story line. Happened to come across your blog again today and was so happy to see this! Can't wait to hear what happens.

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  8. Yes!! So excited to see what happens next! I love Dylan and Dani together -- fingers crossed for them!

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  9. please post today!!!
    i need more dylan and dani in my life!

    im so glad youre back!

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