Chapter 28: The Distance Between Us


flirt (Photo credit: TottoBG)


So far, I’ve fallen apart
And we lost transmission it was broken from the start
So far, I’ve thrown it away
Can we get second chances if the first one never came?


And I will broadcast to you
Across the length of this room
Because the distance between
Is much too far to travel through





There is nothing for it, no excuses. Elliot Grey is a man whore. Ask any female in Seattle, many of my so-called friends included, and they will tell you the rumors are true. That is part of his attraction for many of them. And a huge element of risk. Am I as bad as they are? Wanting to tame the bad boy? How fucking naive can you be Kate? Of course, people in glass houses and all that…I have my own reputation as a tease and a flirt but the difference is that mine is kind of localized. His is almost global.


Why the hell am I crying? I have known this about him since before our first meeting. I knew damn well what I was getting into. I just couldn’t protect my heart. Every time he touches me, looks at me, whispers my name, I fall for him a little more and I don’t want to.


He sighs and moves my arm to look at me. He looks nervous, worried, ashamed. In an instant he crosses the room to his jeans, pulls out his wallet and removes a piece of paper. Silently he hands it to me. When I unfold it I realize I am looking at his latest medical tests.


“A bill of clean health? Now you choose to show this to me?” I look at him with a sad smile. This just seems like a sick kind of joke. “I kinda figured you were as good as your word on this one, Elliot?”


“Yeah, only you would trust me on this but not on how I feel about you.” I can’t miss the bitterness in that statement. “I just wanted you to know before we even have this conversation.” He looks really sad and I reach up and take his hand pulling him back on to the bed. He sits on the edge but won’t look me in the eye. Shit what is this?


“Elliot, I trust that what you are telling me right now is true. And I don’t really care what you’ve done in the past.” I am trying to put a confidence behind my words that I simply don’t feel. This holiday will end and we will go back to our lives in Seattle. Maybe we will date for a while and then it won’t be long before he takes up with a new Gia or Kate. I am just another notch.


“Kate, you’ve probably heard things about me. About my past. I don’t even know where to start to get ahead of the rumors except to say that a lot of it isn’t true.” His eyes are on mine and I can see that he is willing me to believe him. The message there is to have faith in him but I don’t have enough faith in myself to keep him. “I have been in situations in the past where you would expect that I would have … taken advantage. Most of the women involved probably hoped that I would and were disappointed enough to make up shit that didn’t happen. It never bothered me enough to do anything about it, I figured it was…anyway, I wish to hell that I had said something, done something, so that you wouldn’t be doubting me. I am no saint but I am not as bad as people would have you believe. I just want you to know that.”


What the hell is he talking about? I can’t help but think it must be bad if I am getting this kind of pre-confession bullshit. The justification before he tells me his version of the truth? Do I accept this? Do I really want to have blind faith in this man?


“Elliot, whether I want to believe you or not is irrelevant.” The tears start afresh. “The point is that this is new and intense and we are both playing with fire. Sooner or later it will burn out and I won’t be able to hold you. I know you think this is love but…” His face screws up in pain and he holds his head in his hand.


“Fuck this Kate. I don’t know what I am supposed to do to convince you. This is different. You are different.” He is working up a head of steam and my instincts tell me to withdraw but I don’t. I am angry that he won’t back off.


“What do you want me to say Elliot? That I love you too? And then what? Will you give it a second thought as you stomp my heart into the floor on your way out the door? How long before the next piece of tail takes your fancy? Don’t you get it? I. Can’t. Hold. You. It doesn’t matter that you think this is love. In the end I won’t be enough for you and it damn well hurts already. Can’t we just enjoy this for now? Why do you want to crush me as well?” Sobbing I sink to the floor beside the bed, clutching my stomach.


His body is frozen as he watches me in horror. The disgust at my outburst is written all over his face. Damn him, I have turned into exactly the person I didn’t want to be and as much as I love him I hate Elliot Grey right now.


“I’m sorry.” His voice is no more than a whisper. He hasn’t moved and he won’t look at me. “I can’t change my past and it seems that you won’t let me change my future. I get it. I can’t make you love me. I think I should go.”


His words bring me up short. No, no, baby, don’t do this, don’t go. I don’t want it to be over yet and I am frantically trying to find a way to stop him from walking out the door.


“Elliot, this is not about me not loving you and I don’t want you to go.” I look up at him and he looks so defeated that my heart aches for him and I can’t believe that I am opening myself up to this. “We could still have two weeks of fun in the sun. Enjoy each others company and work this all out when we get back to Seattle. You don’t need to go.”


Weighty silence hangs between us for a while before he stands up and walks out on to the balcony. My eyes follow him, terrified that he is actually going to leave. His body is double over as he leans his elbows on the rail of the balcony. I can’t watch you leave. Wrapping the sheet around me I stand up and walk into the bathroom to shower. I figure my tears cannot be heard from here.


When I emerge from the bathroom I am relieved to find he is still there, looking out into the dark. I don a light nightdress and walk out to join him. For a while we are both perfectly still, taking in the evening air.


“Why don’t you just tell me about this notorious past and then we can start fresh. Clean slate between both of us.”


Now I am dredging my memories to see what I might want to confess to. My life is pretty tame though. There have been a few guys I would class as boyfriends before him. One was the guy I lost my virginity to in high school. That was a disaster but not something I am deeply ashamed of. The other two were guys I befriended at college. In both cases we dated exclusively for about five months before they decided to move on and left me with a broken heart. There was an insignificantly small string of one night stands but most of the time I had Ana or Jose or Levi to rescue me from myself. My problem is that when I party I drink, and when I drink I flirt, and a lot of guys take that as a big flashing ‘green light means go’. I don’t mean to tease but I do, regularly. The only other guy I thought about having a relationship with is a good friend of Ethan’s but Ethan got pissed off and we both agreed it would be too weird.


Elliot is keeps focused out to sea, trying to decide what to say, I guess.


“I wish we could just agree not to talk about our pasts. It would be a lot simpler.” He shrugs. I shake my head and I place an arm around his broad shoulders.


“Baby, whatever it is, you have already admitted that it isn’t as bad as I might have heard.” I smile hopefully, and right now I am wondering how much I really want to know.


“No, I guess not. But not tonight. Tonight, we are both tired and I really just want to sleep with you.”


I smile at him, knowing that this is an avoidance tactic. We will talk Grey, and then this shit won’t hang in the air between us. And when you decide it is time to go I will be brave about it. Because I don’t want to be that girl.


He stands and pulls me into his arms. His hands slowly trace down from my face, down my neck, my shoulders and arms. My skin tingles wherever he touches drawing me into his spell. I expect him to begin his usual seduction but he his kisses feather across my forehead, my eyelids, my cheeks, my jaw. Not taking but giving. Finally his lips very gently touch mine before pulling back. Stepping away he takes my hand and we walk back inside climbing silently into bed. We don’t hold each other probably because it is too hot, maybe not. Instead we silently face each other in the dark holding hands.


Neither one of us is sleeping but we are both feigning it. Once again I can feel him withdrawing emotionally and it saddens me. This is what I want, isn’t it? No more declarations of love? Something about our conversation tugs at the back of my consciousness. When I wake in the morning I realize how high the sun is and that I have slept through the morning and Elliot is nowhere to be seen.


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