You shiverednot because of the temperature, but because of a feeling you couldn't get rid of that chilled you to your bones and doused your skin in an icy envelopment. Then, a blast of cold air came whooshing inside the house as the door opened. You weren't expecting anyone else, but judging from the familiar clopping sounds of cured leather boots, you knew it was Matthew.
"Hi, Matt," you said to your Canadian boyfriend, his scarlet mountie uniform created a stunning contrast to the otherwise dull atmosphere. He took off his polarized aviators that protecting his eyes from the blinding sunlight that reflected off of the snow and brushed back some loose strands of blonde hair that was hastily done in a ponytail.
Matthew didn't even bother to say anything as he walked inside your house and flopped on your couch without even the slightest consideration to take off his snow-covered boots that were tracking melting slush onto your floor. Then, once he made himself comfortable, he beckoned with one of his black-gloved hands for a cigarette that he had instructed you to buy for him earlier.
After giving him a cigarette and a lighter, you asked him how his day in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He lit up his cigarette, took a few puffs of the pungent stuff, and looked at you with his deep violet eyes before speaking.
"Shit," he said.
Well, that was all he needed to say on the matter, but you didn't want to conversation to end there. You took a seat next to him, being wary of his wet boots that were placed atop your coffee table.
"Did something happen at work?" you asked.
"I don't want to talk about it," Matthew answered shortly. He was giving you the cold shoulder again. The cold air returned into the room, but as before, it wasn't because of the temperature. You wrinkled your nose when your boyfriend exhaled and smoke began to drift out of his lungs to his mouth and nostrils.
Letting out a heavy sigh, you gave up and began to walk away. When you were halfway out of the living room, Matthew called out to you.
"Hey, ___________, make me some coffee," he ordered. His tone wasn't sincere, and he hadn't bothered to say "please." But still
"I'll be a few minutes, Matt," you said and went into the kitchen.
Being Canadian, Matthew liked his coffee black but heavy with maple syrup. It was alright, you decided, but it was one of his many strange preferences that he came with. Another one was his tendency to leave a long curly strand of hair out of his ponytail; it hung out like an anglerfish dangling its glowing light to lure out prey. Well, it could've been a proper analogy; he had lured you in.
You didn't even know why you put up with him. He was cold, he was demanding, and he never expressed feelings of affection. What had happened to the warm, caring man you had found so entrancing? He never acted like this before. The changes were small, but soon, they had crept over you like a cloudy veil or a storm unseen.
When Matthew's coffee was prepared, you cupped your hands over the mug and remained still for a few seconds. It was piping hot underneath the fired and glazed clay, but you were still cold. You sought warmth. It was only natural, instinctive. Your boyfriend wasn't good at that.
Why did you continue to cling onto him? What could he possibly offer you? You had a stable job, a roof over your head, a few, but close, friends. So why...? Why did you remain searching? Why were you so invested into bringing out the best in him?
"______________?! What's taking so long?!"
"It's ready!" you shouted from the kitchen and took the hot mug into the living room.
You didn't bother asking Matthew how it was. If it was bad, he would be certain to tell youactually, make that show you. If not, then he would just remain silent.
Well, the mug was empty, and not a word was spoken. It must've sufficed his expectations. Perhaps it would be a good time to bring something up.
" you began for his attention.
"What?" he said nearly monotonously.
You took a deep breath.
"Do you love me?"
This caught Matthew's attention. He hung his head back so his violet eyes were staring coldly into your quivering (e/c) orbs.
"What do you think?" he asked.
Is that supposed to be a rhetorical question? you wondered.
You bit your lips together.
"I don't know
" you admitted. That much was true. At first, it had been affection; it grew a little bit until you had opened yourself to the RCMP officer. But you, yourself, were unsure if your feelings ever blossomed into love. If you didn't love him, who was to say he loved you?
"There's your answer," Matthew said.
He doesn't know, either? you thought bewildered. Then, that meant he didn't love you, but at the same time, he didn't not love you. You decided to test your luck with another question.
"What will it take for you to love me?" you asked.
Again, Matthew stared straight into your soul with his lifeless eyes. You shuddered. Was he the cause of your eternal internal winter?
"For you to love me first," he answered.
You winced. He knew. How long had he been exploiting you even though he had full knowledge of your lack of feelings for him? Then again, it was also your fault you continued to cling to him.
"I'm sorry," you apologized.
"You should be," Matthew said caustically. "It's your own damn fault."
Those were harsh wordswords you had not expected him to say so openly. Yet, it was the truth. The truth could hurt like a bitch.
"I'm going to get ready for bed," you said wanting a reason to get away from Matthew's omnipotent spell. Matthew continued to smoke.
The water was at its hottest setting. Though the steam could have been seen rising from the crack underneath the bathroom door from the outside like smoke when a fire started, you still shivered.
You stared blankly as the water splashed and ran off the sides of the plastic curtain, the gathering drops sliding down from the pull of gravity. Where you really here? Was this really what you had wanted?
As you pondered aimlessly for answers to your rhetorical questions, the sound of the showerhead spewing out water sounded like the electrical static of the broken television set. Maybe even a gas leak.
At least gas leaks lead to fires that were warm.
Who were you kidding yourself? It was stupid to ponder these things. Suddenly, you hissed when you realized how hot the water actually was and quickly shut off the valve.
_____________ was sleeping. She looked frustrated. Unfulfilled. Matthew couldn't tell her what was really going on in his mind; it was forbidden. He was afraid. He was afraid to fall in love with her. He was afraid of the responsibilities he would have to take if she ever got hurt because of him. He was ashamed. He would probably never live up to her expectations. And still, he continued to believe there was hope. It was a foolish thing to cling to, but it was all he could do in his power to remain true to it.
"I'm sorry, ____________," he whispered with a painful tone.
You could have sworn you heard a voice. Like a whim on a phantom's breath, it left as soon as it came. Was it a dream? Had you imagined it? There was a lingering sensation on your lips. It was warm.