I rang the number again and the phone continued to trill until voicemail picked up.
I sighed, at least he hadn’t put me on do not disturb or blocked me. But I didn’t know which was worse.
I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the car door. Stepping outside I took a deep breath and popped open the boot. I picked up the tin covered tray of food and used my leg to close the boot again.
Maybe he would be here tonight. I hope he was.
I walked the few short steps it took to get me from my car to the front door. But it felt like the longest trek ever, a weight of doubt and fear on my shoulders slowing me down.
Delia opened the door with a smile, embracing me in a hug.
“Finally,” she spoke, letting me go. “We thought you’d never make it. I know the LA roads are still a bit confusing for you.”
“No it was fine,” I replied, “Mike’s been teaching me.”
I tried to stop myself from crying, his name on my lips was a form of torture.
As if knowing what was going on in my head, Delia took the food from my hands and started leading me to the kitchen.
“Let me give you the grand tour,” she said, giving me a reassuring smile.
The house truly was amazing, Delia and Tom had done a great job.
I sat down with my drink and tried to make conversation. But the only question on my mind was ‘where was he’? Delia was his sister and it was only expected that he would be at her housewarming.
An unnerving thought popped into my mind. Maybe he wasn’t here because he knew I’d be here. Me and Delia had become such great friends since, Mike and I had started dating; he must have known I’d be here and decided not to come.
I missed him, I wanted nothing more that to throw my arms around him and hold him forever.
I started to feel sick, the house even though it was massive in size started to feel smaller and smaller. I needed air. I got up and went outside.
The cool evening breeze washed over me, and I took some deep breaths to try and calm myself down.
I felt tears begin to drip from my eyes. Why was he doing this to me? Why couldn’t he just talk to me?
I sat down on the brick wall and backed my flute of champagne and placed the glass back on the wall.
“Zee,” my name sounded like a bullet escaping from his lips.
I turned my head.
There he was, dressed from head to toe in his signature black.
I felt my heart crack, my throat tightened.
I wanted to jump up and press him against me. Feel his heartbeat again, the one that I had been missing for the past week; but I was frozen.
He walked up to me and sat down. I couldn’t speak. We sat in silence just staring at each other. I saw pain in his eyes, he saw pain in mine.
Finally I spoke.
“Why,” was all I could muster.
“I,” he paused unable to continue.
“Why,” I repeated again, this time with more urgency. “Why did you leave me? What did I do wrong?”
The tears continued to flow from my eyes.
He reached out his hand, and wiped them away with his thumb.
“I felt trapped,” he finally said. His voice strained.
“What do you mean,” I whispered back.
“I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself. That I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I was all alone, lost.” He clenched and unclenched his fist.
I took his hand into mine, stroking it, trying to soothe his tension away.
“I just needed to get away. I wasn’t being fair to you I know, but it’s hard. Sometimes I wake up and there are so many questions in my head, questions I can’t answer. Like who am I? Where do I belong?”
Tears began to fall from his eyes.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “But I’m working on it. I’m working on myself. Delia found me this therapist and it’s helping.”
“I’m so sorry you’ve felt so alone. That you couldn’t come to me,” I sobbed.
“No, don’t you ever think that this is your fault. This is me, but I’m working on it. I want to be a better man for you. But also for me. I want to be strong again. I want to be the man that you fell in love with.”
“Still love,” I replied.
I moved closer to him, wrapping my arms around his waist. My head resting on his chest.
“I want to be strong too,” I said.
We sat there together for the rest of the night. No one came out to disturb us. They just let us be. Two lost souls clinging on to each other.