KEEP YOU || WILD BELLE
THE WEEKEND CLUB
this story killed me a little.
it's long but believe me when i says it's important and therefore you should read it.
actually, it’s so long i had to break it into two parts.
TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON:
friday, december twenty eighth;
“It’s going to be weird actually having people here,”
I comment as I climb out on to the front porch.
I sit down next to Ian on the top step
and take a sip from the bottle of water.
It’s still early in the morning,
roughly eight o’clock so it’s weird to find myself awake,
never mind Ian being up.
He nods his head and sighs, “I know what you mean.”
The past couple of days with Ian and Eden had been fun.
I had forgotten how much fun we used to have when it was just us.
It was so easy to fall right back into step with the past.
Everything was so nostalgic but it didn’t hurt, not one bit.
“It feels just like the old days, y’know?” I comment but he doesn’t say anything.
“Well, pre-Stella and Scotty, speaking of which I -.”
“I should probably get my stuff out before Scotty shows up,” Ian interrupts.
“You think he will?” I ask as a cold gust picks up.
It’s not exactly front porch weather but we manage.
“Knowing him? Yeah, he will,” he nods and lights a cigarette.
“I thought you quit,” I comment.
He shrugs and takes a drag.
I watch as he blows a nearly perfect smoke ring into the air.
“Things change, I guess.”
Guess so, I think to myself.
Another gust of wind blows our way,
pushing my hair back off of my face.
“Ruby should be back with Eden in an hour or so,”
I tell him, hoping to get a reaction out of him.
Ruby played bartender some weekends on the island.
A longtime friend of Scotty’s I didn’t have any issues
letting her babysit Eden for the night once she offered.
She was nice enough, harmless
and seeing as how Kat wasn’t around,
Ian and I both agreed to let her watch the kid.
“That’s nice,” he comments,
the words barely holding any weight to them.
I sigh, annoyed by his minimalistic sentences.
Despite my better judgement, they stung.
“Want to go for another sledding adventure?” I ask,
trying to find the Ian I had to come to know this week.
“No, thanks,” he declines and I let out a sigh.
“What? What is it Aimee?”
“What’s the matter with you, Ian?” I snap like a twig.
“One minute we’re completely fine, having so much fun
and then the next you’re this blubbering, little b-tch.”
“Hey!” he exclaims, clearly upset by the fact I called him a b-tch.
I roll my eyes at his little outburst.
“Oh, please, you know for a fact that it’s true.”
He takes another drag from his cigarette after shooting me a look.
It makes me question whether or not he’s doing this to spite me.
“Will you please quit being a p-ssy?” I ask.
“Jesus effin’ Christ...,” I mutter under my breath.
His hand casually drops the cigarette on the snow
and he crushes it with his Converse sneaker.
It’s all in one fluid yet beautiful motion.
“I’m not being a p-ssy,” he growls.
I snort at that. “Oh yeah, could’ve fooled me...”
“I’m not... it’s just... you wouldn’t understand,” he hisses.
“Try me, Ian,” I challenge him.
For a moment, he looks like he’s ready to tell me,
that he’s ready to just spill his guts and clear his conscience.
“I don’t know, Aimee, it’s just...”
But just as quickly as it comes, it leaves just the same.
“Just what?” I poke and prod.
“This feels all too familiar, Aimee,” he moans.
Feels all too familiar?
I raise an eyebrow at him. “What do you mean?”
My skinny arms fold over my body, resting close to my chest.
“Us being together like this feels too familiar,” he tries to explain.
“I mean, for a minute or two I felt like nothing had changed between us.”
I let out a sigh and watch as a tiny cloud of my breath appears.
“I know what you mean, Ian.”
He sticks his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket.
For a moment or two, we just sit there in silence,
taking in what the other only confirmed.
“I mean, for the past couple of nights we’ve /slept/ next to each other,” he exclaims.
“Do you know how many times I’ve woken up with my arm around you, Aimee?”
My jaw slightly drops before I quickly recover and clear my throat.
“Well, it is pretty cold in there, Ian.”
He shakes his head and looks off into the distance.
“I don’t know, Aimee, I just don’t know anymore.”
“What do you mean? You don’t know anymore?” I ask but he’s silent.
“What the hell does that mean, Ian?”
“I don’t know how I feel about you anymore,” he exclaims,
the words echoing around us in the trees.
“Yeah, pretty f-cked up, huh?”
I bite my lower lip until I can taste blood
and it’s only until then that I realize how much pressure I was exerting.
“Maybe you’re just nostalgic.”
“Maybe I’m not,” he muses, the words slipping out.
He casts me a look to see if I’m freaking out just yet.
“I mean... it’s not like I haven’t been thinking about the past,” I offer up,
hoping that somehow he’ll find solace in my own confession.
I nod my head, unsure where exactly this was going to take us.
“I mean, look at Eden, she’s so happy having the two of us together,” I point out.
He rubs his eyes. “I know,” he painfully recalls.
“She told me last night before I gave her to Ruby
that she was happy Mommy and Daddy loved each other again.”
Her words render me silent.
For a moment, they seem to have the same effect on him.
“It isn’t true though.”
“Of course not,” I quickly confirm.
He nods and shifts uncomfortably.
“I mean, you’ve got Scotty, I’ve got Stella.”
I nod my own head and pull my jacket closer to my bed.
“Exactly! We’ve both got other people in our lives.
So what if we’re... if we’re...”
My eyes get momentarily distracted by his lips.
I quickly put my eyes back on his.
“We’re just friends,” I nod,
the words surprisingly painful to say.
“J-just friends,” he nods.
Ian stands up and clears his throat.
“I should, uh, probably get going.”
I clear my own throat, “That’d probably be a good idea.”
He leans down and gently kisses my cheek.
The gesture feels quite platonic,
like there’s no hint of emotion behind it.
“Goodbye Aimee,” he grunts and walks down the front steps.
I watch as he walks down the pathway towards his new cabin,
the one he shared with Stella, not with me.
My eyes follow him walk all the way back until he’s not longer visible.
At that point, I go back to my own bungalow and
nervously search the place for a bottle of booze.
Cabinet upon cabinet are open until I find a solitary
bottle of whiskey in the back right hand corner.
“Got’cha,” I whisper as I unscrew the cap and knock back a shot.
The warm feeling coats the back of my throat
and radiates my body with warmth from the inside out.
I only take roughly one shot more before I pull on my snow boots,
throw on a wool knit hat and a puffy winter jacket.
“Where are you going Aimee?” Ruby asks from her front porch as I walk by her bungalow.
She’s sipping a tea that I can only imagine has been spiked.
“Going on a bit of a walk,” I call back to her.
“I’ll pick Eden up on the way back!”
“Take your time.”
Oh, I will.
It was getting pretty hard to ignore it all,
ignore my feelings towards Aimee.
The more time I spent with the girl,
the more I felt all my emotions running back to me.
I opened up a bottle of lukewarm beer and knocked it back,
taking a much needed long sip.
Somehow I managed to swallow the p.iss poor taste of it,
rather than spit it out like my mind told me.
I wasn’t much for listening to my brain lately, though.
I mean, I missed her --
I missed the way she used to look at me,
like I was somebody who could amount to something.
I missed the way she laughed when nobody said anything funny,
she just laughed to fill in the missing spaces.
I missed the way she puckered up her lips and pushed them to the side
when she was unhappy with how things were going.
Hell, I even missed the way she could walk around in an
old shirt of mine and still look beautiful.
All in all I just missed /her./
“F.uck,” I yell out loud to nobody in particular.
Where was Jesse now when I needed him?
Jesse was someone I could always count on to give me advice.
But now where was he?
I wish I knew...
There was Aimee...
and then there was Stella.
The two were complete opposites.
Aimee worked for everything handed to her
and never took a single day for granted.
Mother of our child
but somehow still a child herself.
One minute she could be drinking you under the table
and the next she could be quoting Sylvia Plath.
She was confusing, difficult, stubborn, protective,
aggravating, short-tempered at times.
But yet she was so lovely, independent,
vulnerable but at the same time strong.
Maybe Aimee was even a little twisted.
You can’t expect a person to be perfectly fine after losing a parent though,
after being brought to hell and back again.
Nope, you can’t expect it at all.
Stella on the other hand was different.
Used to getting almost everything handed to her,
she was still sympathetic and understanding.
She was generous, without a selfish bone in her body.
Stella was just coming to know the world,
ridding herself of any naivety,
something Aimee had long been stripped of.
If anything she was just misunderstood,
the perfect word to describe her in the world of New Temple.
Being with her was easy,
it wasn’t complicated at all.
They were so different, two completely different people.
Ones who, if it weren’t for my connection, probably never would’ve met.
I take another long sip from the bottle and try to sort my thoughts.
Facts were facts and with Aimee,
the odds were pretty stacked against us.
Together we had a history --
one riddled with abandonment, and lies,
and pain, and misconstrued actions.
But we loved each other, didn’t we?
With Stella I could start all over again.
There wasn’t any past action weighing us down.
We were free, free to do whatever we want.
Unlike Aimee, she wasn’t damaged.
She was a fresh face to such a broken place.
We had opportunities we could take,
like running away from New Temple and never looking back.
But was it really what I wanted?
Was it really?
Looking around the bungalow,
there wasn’t much to be found.
My backpack was thrown carelessly on the floor.
A couple of bottles of beer were lined up in rows in one corner.
Some plants Stella had insisted on bringing were lying on the windowsill I had constructed.
A couple of pictures of Eden were nailed to the wall.
There weren’t any memories here,
not like there were at Aimee’s.
Every inch of that place was covered with
happier times, times when I seemed to have less worries.
There were memories as far as the eye could see there.
All this week did was kick up old feelings,
stirred an old beast inside of me,
one which I thought had died years ago.
Did I really have feelings for Aimee
or was it just nostalgia talking?
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts,
I downed the rest of the beer and added it
to the collection of empty bottles.
Whoever was at the door,
nervously knocked again.
“I’m comin’, I’m comin’,” I groaned as I made my way over.
I opened the door, half expecting to see Ruby with Eden in her arms.
But that wasn’t who I came face to face with.
No, she was a completely other kind of beast.
“Mind if I come in?” Aimee asked.
Well, at least, I assumed it was Aimee who asked.
I wasn’t entirely sure if it was her due to
the puffy jacket and hat covering most of her fact.
“Um, sure,” I nod and step back.
She breezes past me and I catch that familiar scent of lavender about her.
My heart unintentionally does a backflip.
“What are you doing here?” I growl.
“To be honest?” She asks as she takes off her jacket.
“I don’t even know, Ian.”
Her cheeks are bright red from being outside so long.
I can only imagine that her hands are as cold as ice.
“I hate you right now,” she says, the words throwing me for a loop.
“I hate you right back,” I say,
unsure if I really meant it.
At least I sound like I do.
She throws her hat on the floor.
Not in a mean or rude way though,
in her own Aimee sort of way.
It’s hard to explain,
/she’s/ hard to explain.
“You don’t just get to stay in /my/ bungalow,
stay in /my/ bed, make me feel like /we’re/ something /we’re/ not,
make me question /my/ own feelings and then get up and leave, okay?”
She begins to pace back and forth.
I just stand back and watch.
“I was fine before you decided we should become friends, y’know?” She spits.
“I know,” I say calmly.
Aimee still nervously paces,
back and forth, back and forth.
“Scotty and I? We were perfectly fine until we became friends.”
“Will you stop saying that?” She snaps.
I can’t help but notice she finally stops pacing.
“Will you stop saying that you know because clearly you don’t.”
I clear my throat and knock an empty bottle over with my shoe.
The sound of it hitting the floor rings through my dead-silent bungalow.
“There you were sitting on my front steps,
telling me how confused and conflicted you were.
That you suddenly were confused by our relationship,
how the lines of friend and lover somehow got blurred.”
She continues to pace and it makes me smirk.
“I mean, you dump this whole confession on me,
make me think of thoughts that hadn’t crossed my mind
and then you go off, leaving me alone with said thoughts?
Who the hell does that Ian? Hm, who does that?”
A laugh accidentally escapes from my lips.
It’s unintentional but she notices it all the same.
“Oh and now you’re laughing.
Well isn’t that nice?”
“Are you done talking, Aimee?” I interrupt,
my voice somehow steady and calm.
That shuts her up instantly and
stops the pacing while we’re at it.
“W-what did you just say?”
“Are you done talking?” I repeat,
this time slowing it down for her.
Her jaw drops a little bit
but she’s smart and quickly shuts it.
“I seem to remember being perfectly /happy/
in a relationship before you too,” I remind her.
“So don’t go around blaming me for all of these
confused and conflicting emotions, Aimee.”
She opens her mouth to argue but I put up a hand.
“You had your chance to talk,
please give me mine. Okay?”
She narrows her eyes at me before grumbling some form of an agreement.
“Aimee, you are stubborn, you’re aggravating,
annoying, temperamental, challenging.”
“Hey!” She exclaims but I continue on despite her protests.
“Being with Stella is easy, okay?
She isn’t quick to judge people,
she’s sympathetic, patient, giving -.”
“I don’t need to stand here and be weighed for pro’s and con’s,” she snaps.
“I’m getting the hell out of here, Ian.”
“But she isn’t you,’ I sigh,
stopping her in her tracks.
“What was that?” She asks.
I let out a sigh and stand there with my arms out.
“Stella isn’t you Aimee, not even close.”
I watch as her shoulders relax.
She turns around to face me,
uncertainty clear as day in her eyes.
This isn’t the reunion I ever expected,
not in a thousand years would I have predicted this.
She stands there in silence for a minute,
allowing the words to slowly absorb and envelop her.
And for those fleeting moments,
I’m scared, anxious at her response to my bones baring confession.
Aimee walks over to me,
snow boot-ed feet dragging across the floor.
I watch and nearly analyze every move
from the way she rolls her lips together ‘til they’re white
all the way to how her eyes nervously glance down at the floor
before they come back to me.
And without saying anything,
without saying a single word
she kisses me.
I know it might be a little hard to believe that
somebody can feel so /much/ from one little kiss but it’s true.
It felt like in that moment we could do anything
or be anyone we wanted to be.
Just one kiss and I felt like things were within my grasp.
We break apart and she looks at me with heavy eyes.
Her heavy eyes match her heavy heart but I don’t care.
My hands cup her face, rooting me to the ground.
It’s hard to believe that this is even happening.
I kiss her back and it’s like a fire has been ignited between us.
Her legs snake around my waist as she practically jumps on me.
Suddenly her hands are in my hair,
my are up and down her back,
our bodies so close it’s hard to tell
where one begins and the other ends.
It feels like I’ve found the missing piece,
the key to what I’d been looking for.
It’s her, it’s her, it’s her.
* * *
A couple of hours later,
I wake up in bed next to Ian.
The sun pours in just right from the cracks in his blinds.
The little stripes of light frame his face perfectly.
He looks so innocent when he sleeps, so...
“You’re staring at me,” he murmurs,
all while keeping his eyes closed.
I let out a giggle and stretch my legs,
hearing nearly every toe crack.
“So maybe I am...”
He sleepily puts an arm around me,
pulling me closer to him.
“By the way, I’m not planning on letting you go.”
“I’m okay with that,” I murmur.
“D’you know what time it is?”
He glances at his watch.
“It’s nearly four, why?”
I sit up in bed.
“Get up, get up, get up.”
Ian lets out a laugh as he rubs his eyes.
“Jesus Christ, Aims, what’s the rush for?”
I stare at him harshly while I wait for the time to sink in.
“It’s nearly four o’clock, Ian... do you know what happens here around four o’clock?”
He sits there for a moment,
mulling the time over and over again in his head.
“Oh sh-t, Scotty and Stella...”
“We cheated on people we’re supposed to care about,” I nod my head, lips pressed together.
“We are completely and utterly screwed. This might be the worst thing I’ve /ever/ done, Ian...”
My ex-fiance/boyfriend looks at me for a second
before he lets out a sigh that just screams,
I don’t know what to tell you.
“Oh my god, I cheated on Scotty.
He is the nicest guy ever and I’m a terrible person.”
I sit up in bed, sheets pulled tight against my body.
My stomach twists and turns into knots.
I feel like throwing up,
in hopes that maybe that’ll get rid of the guilt.
He rubs his eyes and lets out a sigh.
“It’s okay, y’know? We both cheated.
What’s that saying about two wrongs making a right?”
I want to bury my head in a pile of sand like an ostrich.
“You mean, how two wrongs DON’T make a right?”
A look of realization washes his face.
“Oh yeah...,” he sighs and then bolts upright.
“Oh my god, I just cheated on Stella.
How could I do this to her? What are we going to do?”
We both sit there in utter silence,
letting our guilt and shame sit with us.
I pull the sheets a bit tighter and cross my arms over my chest.
“I’ve got to ask Ian but did this... did this mean anything to you?”
He tries to read my face, hoping to find the correct response.
Hell, I don’t even know if I want it to mean something.
“It did mean something,” he cautiously admits.
My face doesn’t move an inch,
it doesn’t twitch or anything.
“I mean, it /didn’t/ mean something,” he switches.
Out of instinct, I smack his arm with the back of my hand.
“How could it not mean anything to you?”
“Okay, fine it did,” he says.
“No, it didn’t,” I argue and he lets out a pained groan.
“I mean, it can’t, it can’t, it absolutely can’t.”
Ian looks at me, hoping for an explanation
and I’m not exactly sure if he wants one /just/ for what I’m about to say next.
I let out a sigh and push my hair back off of my face.
“You’re with Stella, okay? And I’m with Scotty.
Look, I should probably get going anyways...”
“So what do we tell them, Aimee?
What do we say?”
“Nothing,” I hiss at him.
“We’ll say absolutely nothing, as far as we’re concerned nothing ever happened.
There’s no sense in hurting other people nor is there sense in talking about it.”
I climb out of his bed and make a dress out of the sheet.
Quickly I tip toe around his room, it’s like a scavenger hunt
except only having to do with my clothes...
“So you want me to lie to Stella?”
He pauses to weigh the option out.
“Yeah, okay, I think I can do that.”
I glance at my watch and cringe.
“Oh god, they should be here soon.”
Ian clears his throat and sits up straight, improving his posture.
“What if -- and hear me out -- we just find an abandoned bungalow,
stay there all weekend and avoid them like the plague?”
My nose cringes at the thought of it all.
“No, no, no. Ian, I just want today to fade into history,
I want to pretend like this never ever happened.”
He nods his head. “Okay, I think we can do this.”
“Oh god,” I moan. “They’re going to be here any minute now,
I don’t think I can do this, Ian. I’m horrible at keeping secrets.”
“C’mon, Aimee, we can find a boat,
sail back to Dublin, pack up all our stuff,
and we’ll start a new life together in some far off city.”
She looks at me through confused yet narrowed eyes.
“Is that what you want Ian? For us to be together?”
My heart beats like a hammer inside my chest as I listen to her.
Instead of giving a response, I just shrug my shoulders and
walk outside to give her some privacy while she changes.
My mind races a million miles a minute as I try to process everything.
It’s times like these that make me wish I hadn’t quit smoking.
Makes me wish I hadn’t quit on a lot of things...
“Surprise, I’m here early!” Stella whistles and my heart sinks.
She shouldn’t have been here for another hour or two.
“That is a surprise,” I stammer.
My girlfriend runs over to me,
feet clad in boots -- wedges, she called them.
“I caught an early flight back to Dublin because I missed you!”
Of all the awkward moments,
/this/ was the one I had to be blessed with.
“Consider me surprised babe,” I say and she pulls me into a kiss.
Her tiny hands clench into fists, grabbing parts of my t-shirt.
Stella yanks me down to her level and plants a kiss on my lips.
As if the timing couldn’t get better,
Aimee tries to sneak out of the bungalow,
door creaking shut behind her.
“Oh hey, Stella,” she awkwardly waves as she walks past.
“Was just dropping something off for Eden, that’s all.”
Stella nods and bites her lip-stained lips.
“Hope you had a merry Christmas, Aimee.”
“Oh, you two,” she sighs and I shoot her a look that screams
she knows, she knows, oh good lord, she knows.
“I should, uh, get going. Scotty will be here soon.”
I nod my head. “Yeah, you probably should get going.”
In reality, I really meant that I wish she would stay.
But Stella pulls me down to kiss me again,
reminding me /she’s/ the one I’m with.
- aimee & ian.