The next morning I woke up with Hugh's arms wrapped tightly around me. I didn't find myself questioning or regretting my decision from the night before. Rather I found myself embracing it. As always, though, that didn't last. My heart ripped from my chest as I realized that I had to leave.
I buried my head into the pillow and took a deep stifled breath before turning to look at the specimen in front of me. He felt me looking at him and slowly opened his eyes and caught my gaze. I found myself looking closer than I had before. For the first time in a year, I saw Hugh for the person he was, just as broken as I was. We lay there for what felt like forever searching each other's souls. He raised his eyebrows and looked at me before opening his mouth, preparing to say something. Feeling as though I had already bared enough in our gaze, I rolled over and tucked myself into the all too familiar nook in between his shoulder and body. I thought he was going to wrap his arm around me until I realized that he was pushing me away. I felt an instant rejection but pushed that to the back of my mind and kissed him lightly on his shoulder. I once again felt him pushing away from me and I searched his face for an answer for some kind of clue as to what he was thinking because I couldn't bear him looking into my eyes any longer.
He held me at arm's length and looked straight at me with a look in his eyes that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
"Ava, this back and forth is driving me crazy. I want to get closer to you, but I feel like you push me away every time I try to. If it weren't that my business was based interstate, I would move there in a heartbeat, but I can't. So I want to ask you something," He said with a tender touch to his tone.
I gulped hard. My airways became restricted and I felt like I was suffocating. As much as I had learned to trust him, there was still that feeling of mistrust. It was something that had grown within me. I didn't know what he could expect from me when he was married and I really couldn't see a logical future with him....then I remembered the note I found the night before. We hadn't spoken about it yet and I wasn't in any rush to either. Before I had the time to overthink anything he spoke again.
He sat up on his elbow and looked straight at me.
"Ava, I want to see more of you. I want to try this...I want you to move interstate and into the city. I want to be closer to you, so I can see you whenever I want, whenever we want and so we can give this a real go. It's not like you can't do your work there. I will set you up, I will buy you an apartment and I will make sure that everything you ever need or want will be taken care of. What do you think?"
I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head. I felt the flush upon my skin that told me I was about to have a panic attack. This was going so wrong. My head began screaming...NO NO NOOOOO!
"Ava?" he said again.
I took a deep breath. I had to think quick.
"Hugh, that is a wonderful gesture and If I wasn't the person I am, then I am sure I would have jumped at the idea. I need you to understand that I do not want to be bought and paid for. I am not that kind of woman. I don't need nor do I want your money!"
I was kind of offended, actually. It hurt because he had to throw that in there. My first reaction was to slap him for thinking he could have bought me out. Then I realized what he was saying. I took a deep breath and sat there thinking. I wasn't sure I was ready for what he wanted. I think that my main reason for not being ready was that no matter what was said, at the end of the day, there was a piece of paper in place that stated that he was with someone else.
All of a sudden, I realized that as much as I had wanted more in my heart...I finally had exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to change something that I felt was perfect for me right at that very moment. This is exactly how I felt: ("Be" by Jessica Simpson)
He was completely blown away by my reaction. I couldn't lie to myself anymore than I was capable of lying to him.
"Hugh, this is not a reaction based on anything that you have done and that may have come across VERY wrong. What I was trying to say was that I am not ready. I don't know how to navigate through this like I said last night. I just don't know where to go from here and I just hope that you can understand where I am coming from because I don't know how else to say it."
"I understand Ava, It doesn't mean I have to like it, but I really just can't stand being so far away from you anymore. It is really hard to get closer to you when you are so far away."
I took his words in, and while they resonated within my own soul, I also knew that it would be hard for me to let my guard down that much and accept the fact that he genuinely did want to get closer to me for no other reason.
I leant over and kissed him whilst placing one hand on his cheek.
"All in good time, I promise...I'm just not ready yet and someday I hope to explain."
He looked at me completely confused but didn't push me....just as he had promised he would never push my boundaries.
Once again, we made love slowly and passionately, but nothing like the early hours before. There was something holding me back. I don't know what it was, but I had so much on my mind.
Before I left, he kissed me. As his lips locked with mine, I felt the spark return once more and my already clouded judgment intensified. I found myself breathing in his cologne just to hold on to him even more, to remember what it was that I loved about him the most and it pushed me over the edge. I melded into his embrace and it made me realize that he was the only solace I had in whatever we were doing.
The future was so unclear and I felt as though I wasn't sure where I wanted things to go because the ultimate ending was so out of reach. I didn't understand why he was still married to her, what she had that I didn't have, and why he would want to hold on to something if he wasn't with her anymore....little did I know that in under 2 weeks...I would find out those very reasons.