The sight of her in someone else’s arms literally made him ill. He could only wrap the blanket tighter around him and take another swig of beer. His friends were laughing and telling stories, but he could only think about the fact that this time last year, Mercedes had been in his bed whining about getting up so early and pulling him back down onto the tousled sheets.
Another long distance situation fucked them up. He remembered her words like she said them yesterday. How she was tired of heartache and they were always far away from each other. How she wanted stability.
Now he was back for good, but she’d found the stability she wanted in someone else. It was the same goddamn situation that it had been in high school. It was like a sick cycle with them and it got old years ago. They never seemed to have it down. The summer before his junior year of high school, he remembered lying in her bed with her when he got off work. Not kissing or making love, but simply laying there after a long day. He remembered watching her sleep and stroking her hair, thinking about how he wanted his future to look like that. Her sleeping next to him, their hands clasped together and legs overlapping each other’s.
Everything looks so damn good when you’re a kid.
Reality had stripped him of seemingly every romantic shred on his body and he couldn’t help but think this was it with Mercedes. He wasn’t dumb enough to try and convince himself he wouldn’t always love her because he would; he was just beginning to think the pain was something he’d have to live with.
He looked up to be met with her russet eyes with the fire’s reflection dancing inside them. One thing he’d picked up over the course of their rocky history was the ability to read her mind. She wasn’t transparent, but knowing her like he did from head to toe, she might as well have been.
He knew what she wanted and he wouldn’t give it to her. He could see the war happening behind her orbs and he knew her conscience would win out. It always did.
She finally tore her gaze from him and looked at the others. Quinn and Artie had gone into a rendition of Tonight You Belong to Me with his ukulele and Sam rolled his eyes. That song was so annoyingly sweet. Hearing the line ‘I know you belong to somebody new…’ sent him over the edge.
He excused himself and walked away from the campsite to smoke a cigarette (a terrible habit he’d picked up after him and Mercedes’s third break up). He leaned against a tree and looked at the moon, glad to be away from the romantic duets of his musical friends.
“Can I bum one?” He turned to see Mercedes walking toward him and couldn’t help but smile a little. She followed him.
“You don’t smoke, Cedes.” She shrugged.
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t,” she replied. He raised an eyebrow. “Alright, I don’t.” He laughed and blew out smoke, pressing the cig against the tree to put it out.
“So…” he began. He was prepared for the talk about her new boyfriend and how she ‘liked him so much’ and how they can’t ‘give each other those looks’. But her next words turned that routine on its head and had his eyes bulging.
“Wanna get out of here?”