"Damn it, Maddie!" Jake exclaims as he gets up from the window seat. He starts pacing the room, running a hand through his hair.
I can feel the frustration coming off of him in waves. I know I have upset him. Heck! I'm upset myself. Why do I keep putting myself in these situations?!
Jake stops pacing and turns to look at me. "Is this because of Sam?" he asks.
Is it because of Sam? Yes? I think that is a big part of it.
"Yes and no." I answer.
Jake laughs bitterly and says, "Maddie, it is either yes or no. It's really quite simple."
Feeling a sudden flare of anger myself, I say, "No, Jake. It isn't that simple." I cross my arms and glare at him across the room.
Heaving a big sigh, Jake rakes a hand down his face and says, "Maddie, are you with Sam?"
"Look, senior year of college, I needed a date for homecoming and we went together. We've been together ever since." I answer.
"That's it?" Jake questions.
Throwing my hands up in the air, I say, "What do you mean that's it?!"
Jake says, "Sounds like it's a matter of convenience to me."
Who does he think he is?! "A matter of convenience?!" I say, raising my voice. "What do you know about it?!"
Quick as a cat, Jake stalks towards me, ticking off the reasons on his fingers. "I ask you if you are with Sam. You give me a half-hearted answer. You explain your relationship in two sentences. You keep spending time with me. You keep making out with me. Am I saying anything that isn't true?"
My face flushes and I am angry. Angry at Jake. Angry at myself. What are you doing, Maddie? Not using my head obviously.
Suddenly, I realize I am backed up against the bookcase with Jake in front of me. He's only a few feet in front of me now. Why is is hard to think when he's so close to me?
He says, "Tell me why you are with him."
"What?!" I sputter. "I don't have to explain myself to you!" But as the words leave my mouth, I am wondering the same thing.
Spreading his hands wide, he says, "Help me understand."
"Fine!" I snap. "Sam is a good guy. He follows the rules and he is focused. Sam is dependable, loyal and honest."
Looking me in the eye, Jake says, "You are with him because he's safe."
As I get ready to reply, the words die in my throat and my mouth hangs open. That isn't true. I care about Sam. I enjoy being with him. That's not true. Is it?
Jake continues, "Maddie, I'm not going to hurt you." He reaches for my hand, "I know you enjoy being with me and I enjoy spending time with you. I can see how happy you are when we are together. I like making you happy." He pauses. "I want you and I know you want me to."
"Jake, this is crazy! We knew each other in high school. We run into each other four years later and we are just going to start going at it like rabbits!" I say, gesturing wildly with my other hand.
He drops my hand and takes a step back. "Is that what you think this is?" Jake asks, his voice low. I can see the hurt on his face.
I have hurt him. I feel awful. I feel like I've been punched in the gut. Suddenly, the urge to go to him and put my arms around him is overwhelming. I want to take his pain away. I want to see that lopsided grin again. I wrap my arms around my waist to keep me from going over there.
Shaking his head, he says, "Why would I remember all of those things about you, Maddie? Why would I beat myself up for not kissing you in the library all those years ago? Why would I be the happiest I've ever been in a long time knowing I was going to see you at The Mill? Why does it feel like coming home whenever I'm with you?"
Good night, I am an idiot! I think he cares about me. But is it possible feels the same way? But this is crazy! Isn't it?!
"Jake." I begin, reaching my hand out towards him.
But, he cuts me off. Turning on his heel, he says, "I'm going outside for a walk. I need some air."
Sinking down in one of the arm chairs, I watch him go. I put my head in my hands. What do I do now?
Oh, it's getting good! I'm giddy with excitement to see where Jake and Maddie go from here, not to mention Sam. Let's see...