Chapter 50: Impasse

We ate dinner in front of the television. I insisted that we didn’t need to clean up the kitchen, I would do it later. I wanted to spend as much time with Olivia as I could. I still didn’t quite know where things were going between us, and I knew we had to eventually have a serious conversation about it. About us.
We found a lame movie on television and we agreed to watch it. Olivia and I were sitting about a foot apart on the sofa, and it felt like miles to me.

Olivia shivered suddenly.

I frowned. “Are you cold? Want me to grab a blanket?” I asked.

Olivia nodded. “Do you mind?”

“Not at all.” I answered. I got up and walked into my room. I found the extra blanket in my closet and brought it out to her. I unfolded it and draped it over her, before plopping down next to her.

She maintained her distance hesitantly.

“Liv, I’m not going to bite you or anything.” I told her.

She immediately slid closer to me, wrapping her arms around my body. She curled herself against me. I moved an arm around her. She rested her head on my shoulder and I arranged the blanket over us both.

“See? Not so bad, right?”

She sighed comfortably. “I’m so glad you came back. I wasn’t sure what I would do without you here… just these last two days were terrible…” She murmured.

“Yeah? For me as well.” I answered, lightly kissing her forehead. “I missed you. I thought about you all the way into town yesterday. Every step made me want to turn back and be with you.”

She frowned. “Then why did you go?”

“Because I thought you’d never forgive me. I couldn’t stand knowing that I’d hurt you. I couldn’t look at you every day and know how I feel about you, and how badly I’d upset you. Liv, I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ve never been with a girl that I actually care about, you know? All this is new to me. I mean, for all I knew our first fight could have been out last… you were so mad at me, I thought you’d never talk to me again and… and this place, this whole… turning my life around doesn’t matter without you…”

“Isaac, don’t say that…”

“Liv, face it. The only thing keeping me from drinking my face off and rummaging through the forest for something to smoke and get high off of is you.”

Olivia sighed. “Don’t… don’t say that.” She insisted. “Please don’t.”

I sighed. I needed to change the subject and I said the first thing that came to mind. “You um… want another coke or something?”

She shook her head. “No. I’m okay.” She nestled closer to me.

I moved my arm around her tighter.

“Am I really the only reason you came back?” She asked, turning and looking up at me.

“Well, you and this hick of a truck driver who gave me a lift into town…”

Olivia frowned. “Really? You hitch hiked?”

I chuckled. “Yeah, totally. I’m kind of a rebel.”

Olivia laughed. “You weren’t worried at all that he might be like a serial killer or something?”

“Not at all. I mean, even if the guy wanted to chop me up and feed me to his pigs or something, I’m pretty sure I could outrun the guy…”

Olivia laughed softly.

“He asked about you.”

Olivia frowned. “Me specifically?”

“Well, he asked if I had a ‘woman’.”

“Ahh…” She mused.

“He gave me some advice though…” I picked up her hand and interlaced our fingers. I lightly played with her tiny fingers and perfectly manicured nails.

“What advice was that?” Olivia asked, lifting her head. Her bright green eyes studied mine.

“He said that if I had someone worth keeping, I should hold onto her and never let her go.”

Olivia smiled. “That’s good advice. Very good advice.”

“I actually thought so too. Actually it’s what I was thinking about in the bar…” I paused. “I was sitting there drinking and I was thinking about the way your hair smells and the way you smile and the way you blink a lot when you’re uncomfortable…” I laughed softly. “I guess that makes me lame, doesn’t it?”

“No, not at all.” She laughed. “After our fight the other day… I went home and I put my pajamas on and I just… I cried. Gabby had to leave because she said I was being sad and pathetic. I was so worried I’d never see you again, I thought it was over.”

I rested my forehead against hers. “How about we make a pact right now? We’ll never fight again.”

Olivia giggled. “Deal.”

“And I can do you one better.” I pushed the blanket off myself. I walked into my room. I opened the drawer of my nightstand and gathered up all of the cigarettes I had. Most weren’t even opened. I shoved them all into the plastic bag and brought them out to Olivia. I placed them into her lap.

She frowned, rummaging through the bag. She looked up at me in surprise.

“I mean it. For real this time. Look.” I rolled up the sleeve of my t-shirt. “See? I saw the nurse today, she put me on the patch.”

Olivia stood and lightly ran her fingers over my arm, tracing around the outside of the patch. She shook her head slowly. “Isaac, you didn’t have to do this… not for me anyway…”

“Liv, if this is what it takes to make things work between us, then fine. It’s what I’ll do. And I’ll bust my ass to make you happy, because I’ve seen what even a couple of hours without you can do, and I don’t want to loose you again.” I insisted, my hands dropping onto her sides.

She nodded slowly. “It would mean a lot to me, and it is the healthier option…”

I smiled weakly.

Olivia smiled and stood on her toes, lightly kissing my cheek.

“I want to make things work between us.” I told her. “I’ll do whatever it takes this time.”

Olivia smiled. “Me too.”

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