Part 2: Love You Less
Bella looked down at her watched it tick to exactly 8:20. This meant Logan was awfully late. She looked down the narrow street, hoping to see him arrive. She was growing more and more anxious by the minute. Would he even arrive? She tried to calm herself by sipping her white wine and looking at the scenery around her. There were two large apartment buildings lined up next to each other. The middle apartment had a wide staircase leading up to the third floor. Each unit had a spacious balcony with ornate metal railings; not two had exactly the same design, but together formed a beautiful view. One of the tenants had decorated theirs with green plants and red bows made out of silk ribbon. The red ribbon continuously wrapped around the fence of the balcony, and it made the whole scene look like Christmas, even though the holiday was still several months away. Bella examined the cars lined up in front of the beautiful apartments and wondered if any belonged to the holiday fanatic. Maybe the tenant was in the furniture store across the street, picking out a new sofa.
She tried to distract herself by imagining what this person’s taste in interior decor was like. She tried in vain to distract herself, but she couldn’t help thinking about Logan. Does he have good taste? He must, since his entire living is based on making people buy his homes. She started to imagine what a home with him would look like. Honestly, she really didn’t care about the appearances; she just wanted Logan there. The two could sit on the couch, eating popcorn and pretending to be interested in a movie. Then, he would snuggle a little closer and put his arm around her. Maybe the film would be scary, and she could find herself looking to him for comfort. The two would make eye contact, and he would slowly lean in for a kiss…..
All of that would need to take place far into the future. Tonight, Bella would not be giving herself away. It was far too soon. She had learned that good men wait for things like that; they don’t, they probably aren’t good men. For this first date, she didn’t want anything but his time and attention. She wanted to have a delicious meal and, if they decided to continue on with their relationship, maybe she would leave him with a goodnight kiss. Finally, Logan appeared through the busy crowd and walked towards Bella, and to her, he looked apologetic.
“I’m really sorry I’m late. Traffic was terrible on the state route.” Logan said as he greeted her.
“That’s alright,” Bella laughed, “I was worried for a second you wouldn’t show!”
“And miss out on seeing that beautiful smile of yours? I don’t think so! I have reservations for us inside.” Logan’s voice had a way of instantly putting her at ease. All the anxiety from earlier melted away as she followed him into the restaurant. His smile was even more charming than his laugh; it seemed to light up his whole face. It certainly lit up her night. As she got up, she realized how chilly it was for early October. Her leather coat barely kept her warm. Logan seemed to notice this, and he wrapped his arm around her to shield her from the wind. He smelled of cedar and cigars.
The inside of the Villarose was even more exquisite than the outside. There were several tables clad in red and white silk tablecloths. Small fig trees were scattered around, making the inside feel just as open as the outdoors. The vaulted ceilings and many windows only heightened this effect. The host led them to a booth by a window. Directly underneath, little rose bushes gave off the most intoxicating smell. It reminded her of her favorite scent: Leura. There was a reason Bella had always wanted to come here; it’s the perfect place for a first date.
Everyone in the elegant restaurant was dressed to the nines, which made Bella even more attracted to Logan. He had gelled his hair back and wore a grey sweater underneath a black vest. His lapel had a perfectly folded blue hankerchief that made his gorgeous eyes of the same color even more intense. The two decided on the same meal: ribeye steak, baked potato, and a ceaser salad. Once the waitor left with their orders, Logan got right to the point.
“So, tell me more about yourself,” he asked.
“Well, that’s a pretty vague question. What would you like to know?” asked Bella.
“Everything.” smiled Logan.
“Haha, everything would take quite a while.” Bella returned his smile, hoping it was just as captivating as his.
“Good! I’ve got all the time in the world for you.” Bella knew Logan was confident in his response. She had finally found a date who would stay, so long as she didn’t push him away. Bella knew in her heart she would do anything to keep him smiling at her like he was right then
“Ok then! Right now I work as a nurse….” She went on about her work, her friends, and anything else she could think of. Logan never seemed disinterested. When they had finished their salads, Bella figured it was time to get him talking.
“But enough about me,”she said. “What do you like to do for fun?”
“I like a variety of different things, but I mostly like to be outside. There’s nothing like finally getting out of my stuffy office and seeing the world as it was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong: I love my job. I just wish it let me go camping more.”
Bella instantly made future plans for where their next date would be. They could go to the park and run trails. Maybe his dog could come! If that one goes well, their third date could be a camping trip, a Bella could seal the deal. She couldn’t help but smile in hopes that he would accept her offer later on. The couple continued to chat throughout the entire evening. They were so enamoured with each other that they barely finished their meal. The waitor bagged up their food and they walked outside onto the busy sidewalk.
“So, I’ll see you again?” asked Logan.
“It would be my pleasure,” She replied.Bella gave a wink and left down the street without giving Logan a goodnight kiss. She didn’t want to seem too eager and
When Bella got home, she instantly noticed that something felt off, though she couldn’t put her finger on it. Everything was dark in the decaying house except for the living room, so that is where Bella went first. She saw Olivia sitting there by the lamp. She was holding her cell phone and tears were streaming down her cheeks. Startled at Bella’s footsteps, she hurriedly looked up.
“Hi, Bella,” Olivia sniffled. It was clear she had been in this state for awhile.
“Aww, what's wrong? Did something happen?” Bella asked sympathetically.
“I called you like nine times.” She cried. “I thought you were hurt!”.
“I’m so sorry, but my phone was off. I didn’t realize it would be that big of a deal.”
“Where were you?”.
“Somewhere safe.” Bella suddenly snapped. She couldn’t tell Olivia where she was, and she’d like to think that Olivia knew she didn’t have a right to pry. Why did she even care this much?
Bella quickly walked away, leaving Olivia in tears and herself confused. She turned her cell phone on and saw several missed calls and a text from Olivia. The text read: “Where are you? I miss you!” Though a little dramatic, Bella was not surprised. The two would often text each other sweet things like this, but this time it seemed a little more serious. Bella decided to let it go for now; Olivia was upset, and they both needed time to calm down before anything could be discussed. Bella went to her room and began to obsess over Logan. She really liked him. She opened up her laptop and planner and began looking for places and times for their next outdoor activities. The next morning Olivia asked Bella if they could talk.
“I’ve been thinking about last night, and I may have a solution.”
“Thank goodness,” Bella thought to herself. She loved Olivia, but there was no way they would be able to remain friends if she stayed up late crying everytime she went out on a date. Olivia walked into the old kitchen and made some tea for the two of them. They sat down opposite each other at the dining room table.
“Remember what I used to say about myself in college?” Olivia asked.
“Of course! You used to say you would end up an old lady with 10,000 cats.” Bella was confused as to why Olivia was bringing that up. It was years ago.
“Well, you know I’m a homebody. I think it’s hard for me to watch you go live your life because I’m at home with nobody to hang out with.”
“I’ve invited you to so many places…”
“--and I’m not saying it’s your fault. I’m just an introvert.” Olivia cut her off. “What I think I need is a pet. Something I can love and play with when you’re out gallavanting. Besides, I think it would be a great addition to our house.”
“Do you promise to take care of the cat?”.
“Only if you will help me.” smirked Olivia.
“Alright then,” smiled Bella “get in the car.”
Olivia and Bella went to the pet store and set up the upstairs bathroom with food, water, and a litter box. They then went to adopt their cat from the animal shelter. The trip to the animal shelter was an excitable one. Bella assumed that Olivia's excitement came from both getting a new pet and from the fact that they were spending some quality best friend time together. It had been quite a while since they had done something together. At that moment, Bella promised herself she would do things like this more often. She was excited about Logan, but it’s never a good idea to leave your friends behind. She learned that lesson the last time.
They took their time walking through the animal shelter, looking closely, and fawning, over each individual cat. There must have been over 100. They saw everything from kittens to cats easily a decade old, but eventually settled on a 2-year-old grey tom cat. He had vibrant green eyes that contrasted his smoky grey fur. He was playful, friendly, and apparently well housebroken. He was an obvious choice for them, and Olivia fell in love from the moment she picked him up.
They brought him home in a pet carrier Olivia bought years ago. It was like she had been waiting for this moment her whole life. Before they left the shelter, Bella saw some collars for purchase. She bought him a cute green collar to match his eyes and hang his license around. “Smokey” is what the tag read. It also had a little bell that jangled all the way home.
Once they back, they left Smokey alone to get used to the house. It was pretty big, and he seemed nervous at first. Olivia and Bella sat on the couch and waited for Smokey to become comfortable enough that Olivia could pet him. For a few moments, neither said a word. It was like they both had something they wanted to tell the other person. Bella wasn’t sure if the feeling was mutual, but she felt an overwhelming urge to talk about Logan. She didn’t like keeping secrets, and this was a pretty big one. Bella felt like Olivia wanted to say something as well, but she couldn’t imagine what. Maybe she knew Bella had a boyfriend? The two inched closer and closer to each other on the couch. Tensions seemed high. Finally, Bella couldn’t take it anymore; she opened her mouth to tell Olivia all about her new love life. Before she could say a word, Olivia had kissed her. Bella froze.
“I’m not apologizing.”
Bella shook her head. She never realized how deep her feelings for Olivia were until that moment. Something like this seemed so unlikely, especially at a time like this. Bella had found the man of her dreams. But all of that melted away when Olivias lips touched hers. Bella blamed herself for passionately kissing Olivia back, but she wanted Olivia to the same degree. Knowing she had a man who she seemed to like as much as he liked her didn’t stop anything. Olivia reached to put her hand around Bella’s waist, and she let it happen; Olivia took the lead. She began biting Bella's upper lip and running her fingertips underneath Bella’s shirt. As Bella moaned Olivia knew she had her where she wanted her. Olivia worked her way up to Bella’s bra, feeling her erect nipple. Suddenly, Bella snapped back into reality and pulled away.
“I can't,” said Bella.
“But-” Olivia said.
“But nothing, "said Bella, “I have a confession to make. I have a boyfriend.”
Author: Jessica Bensen
Editor: Mark Smith
Editor: Elizabeth Tyler