Mason looked decidedly better to Lex when he was covered in flour. It was their winter break and with only a week till Christmas they were busy at work making Christmas cookies. Lex had been dating Mason for nearly a month now. The ass from the coffeeshop had transformed into an intellectual literature loving hipster that seamlessly fit into her life.
In a month Mason had taken over her life. Not in an unhealthy or controlling way. Certainly not. Rather Mason had found a place in her heart that wasn’t occupied, set up shop there, and slowly begun to expand his property until there wasn’t much else that would occupy Lex’s thoughts at night. He was older than her, a junior in college on track to graduate a semester early, but his age only made him more perfect. Mason was in the same place in life as Lex was mentally. He was looking for someone to share his life with and he wanted to settle down. Lex did too and she was beginning to think she could live that future with Mason.
“No, you’re rolling the dough out way too thick!” she admonished, shooing Mason away from the counter.
“I told you I was no good at this Lex,” he laughed, amused at her annoyance. Lex was notorious among her group of friends for being a exceptional baker, but one who was difficult to bake with.
“I swear you didn’t pay attention when I showed you how I wanted them,” she said rolling the cookie dough out thin.
“Come on Lex,” Mason said moving to stand behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist, “Don’t be made at me.” Setting her rolling pin, Lex turned around.
“I can’t be mad at you, ever,” she smiled and gave Mason a swift kiss on the lips.
“I know you want to get these cookies done, but isn’t there something else we can do?” Mason smiled wickedly.
Just as she was about to protest, Lex’s phone rang. A month of her phone ringing only during emergencies caused her to pick it up instinctively without even checking who called.
“Hello?” she said into the phone.
“Lex,” the voice on the other end didn’t pose it as a question. It wasn’t a greeting either. The way the voice on the other end said her name it sounded like a plea. Lex pushed herself out of Mason’s arms and sat on the counter, crossing her free arm over herself.
“Alec,” she’d meant for the name to come out with a cold and bitter ring, but as she heard her own voice she knew she only sounded broken. Mason’s eyes shot to her at the mention of the name and he suddenly her perfectly understanding boyfriend looked pissed.
Alec hadn’t spoken to Lex in a month. In fact, the last time they spoke he had wanted nothing to do with her and had blamed something she’d done for the reason he was suicidal. Alec had threatened to kill himself then, but instead opted for blocking Lex’s number. She had fallen apart crying and afraid for the one man she’d loved more than she had the common sense to. Lex had been petrified with fear that Alec would kill himself over her and she’d been hurt. Hurt to think the man she’d fought to keep alive would throw everything away over one mistake. He’d told her she was nothing to him. That had been the end of it. Alec would never forgive her. Or so she thought.
“I know this is a long shot… but is that offer to spend the holidays with you still open?” Alec’s voice was soft. From the hours she’d spent with him she could tell he’d been crying. Lex felt her heart drop for what must have been the hundredth time over Alec and the pain he felt.
“Of course,” she sounded uncertain to her own ears. Just when she thought she was over him, there he was needing her. Lex had cried too much over him, but it didn’t matter. It was Alec and she couldn’t leave him without anyone.
“Lex…” his voice trailed off as he lost his courage, “I… I don’t suppose I could come over now? I don’t have a car…”
“How long can you wait? It’ll take me at least an hour to get there.” Lex felt a surge of the strength she’d once had whenever she was with Alec. There was something about that boy that she’d never get over.
“As soon as you can come would be best. I’ll text you my address,” Alec suddenly sounded completely relieved.
“I’ll see you soon and Alec… call me if you’re not doing okay.”
“I’m fine now. Lex… thank you.” She hung up the phone, went to the sink and washed her hands. Lex didn’t know what was going on with Alec. Only that he needed her and she would always go to him when he needed her.
“You can’t be serious,” Mason finally said, angry.
“Look, I’m leaving in five minutes. Stay or go, it doesn’t matter to me right now.”
“You’re running off to take care of him again? After what he did to you? He’s drug addict, he’s a criminal, he’s a damn monster, and you want to go make him feel all better? Lex, he’s not your problem.”
“Mason I don’t care if he’s my problem or not! You just don’t get it do you? It doesn’t matter how many times he’s hurt me or what he’s said or done. It doesn’t matter if I’m with him or with you, if Alec needs me then I’m going to him,” Lex grabbed her purse and checked for her car keys.
“You’re still in love with him,” Mason said through gritted teeth. It wasn’t an accusation. It was a statement of truth. Lex didn’t bother answering him as she walked out the door. Mason wouldn’t be there when she came back, but it didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered now was Alec.
The drive to Alec’s house was similar to many late night drives Lex had taken alone. Tears streamed down her face as she yet again felt Alec’s pain for him. Any old anger she had held on to when he’d thrown her away a month ago was replaced by concern and compassion. Wiping away her tears she pulled into the driveway of the house Alec had given her the address for. It was a three story building and spoke to the richness of his family. Alec sat on the doorstep with a suitcase. Seeing her car her rose and walked over to her. He was far too familiar with the image of her car and as he opened the passenger door Lex remembered all those times she had driven to his dorm.
The drive to Lex’s house was silent. It was eerily familiar to the drive she’d taken out to a desolate park with him one night months ago. Alec only stared out the passenger window looking out at the passing trees and buildings. When she got back to her house Lex felt momentarily embarrassed by her one story home. One thing that had been a point of contention between her and Alec had been money. She got out of the car and walked into her house.
The cookies were all where she’d left them, but Lex no longer felt the Christmas spirit. She walked straight to her room knowing Alec would follow. Once he’d entered she closed the door and locked it. She sat down on her bed, grabbed a pillow, hugged it to her chest, and stared at the man she was still in love with. Alec sat down next to her on the small twin bed. He looked the same as usual. Tall, lean, green-grey eyes that captivated her, dark hair that had grown long enough to start to curl, full lips, soft features, and typical brooding look. Lex was at least satisfied to see the anguish in his eyes at seeing her look so helpless and knowing he couldn’t touch her. She hoped he’d cleaned himself up, but she wasn’t mature enough to hope he didn’t hurt at seeing her.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” she finally asked looking him in the eyes. Alec shifted uncomfortably.
“A lot of it is home stuff, but there’s more to it than that. Honestly everything has just fallen apart since I lost you,” he looked at her, searching for something in her face. Lex tried to make emotion scarce in her eyes and hoped she succeeded.
“Are you still doing cocaine?”
“No,” Alec sighed, “I stopped. For good this time.”
“You say that as if relapses don’t exist,” Lex scoffed. Alec looked hurt. Lex didn’t care though. She knew about drug addiction and getting clean. It was part of what had convinced her that Alec could come out of it, but she was realistic. No one could just quit hard drugs and not go back a time or two. At one time Lex had been ready to face that struggle with Alec, but now? Now she was happy and didn’t need that complication.
“Can I at least get credit for trying? I know I’ll relapse. I know you won’t be around to help me either. That scares me because I still don’t know I can do this on my own. The day after I lost you-“
“You didn’t lose me Alec. You refused to forgive me and you threw me out like I was nothing.” Lex interrupted letting out some of the anger she’d been holding on to. Alec’s hand twitched like he wanted to touch her and make her feel what he wanted to say. He just balled it into a fist instead and looked down.
“I’m sorry. I… I couldn’t see past my own pain. I didn’t think about how much it hurt you. I just didn’t think Lex. I’m working on it. I’m working on getting clean because I want to say I gave myself the chance to be happy. Not that I really was unhappy as a drug addict, but I lost you. I know it was my fault, but I still lost you. If drugs are going to take what’s most important to me away then I want to be clean of them. I have to admit it, part of why I am stopping is because I had this grand plan to become clean and win you back. I know there’s someone else know. I heard it in the way you answered the phone. I just… I just don’t want to lose you again and if that means just being your friend. I’ll do that. I’ll cross lines I shouldn’t and I’ll make whoever he is hate me because I won’t ever stop loving you, but I’ll be your friend if you’ll let me.”
“You’ve always been my friend,” she sighed finally grabbing hold of his hand. Physical contact had always been easier than words with him. His eyes had always stalled her from saying some of things she wanted to, but his hands had always been willing to receive the message.
“I won’t lie to you. I’m just going to wait until there’s an opening,” he said as his fingers curled around her hand.
“I know,” Lex sighed,”This is going to be more complicated than it ever was. You hurt me. You broke me and someone else came around to help pick up the pieces.”
“Do you love him?” the question was asked so quietly it was hardly audible.
“I don’t know. With you I was sure. I knew so fast into it that I was absolutely and impossibly in love with you. I felt that no one else would ever make me feel the way you did. With him, Mason is his name, it’s different. I know he’s in love with me and I do care about him a great deal, but I can’t tell if I love him. He’s a great guy. He’s never made me cry, he talks to me about literature, and he’ll watch French films with me. I want to love him, but I don’t know I can. Alec, you ruined me for anyone else,” Lex looked at him and tears swam in her eyes. She’d been dreaming of the moment he’d come back to her. She couldn’t stay away from him and she wanted him forever. He was the only man she could visualize a future with no matter how difficult of a future it might me. Alec laid down, pulling her with him. They faced each other and Lex was suddenly afraid that she was going to make her life far too complicated again.
“Once you asked me to let you be there for me without the confusion. That’s all I’m asking now, that you’ll be here for me and for now we’ll wait until later to be confused about what we’ve done. Can you do that for me again?” Alec’s eyes glistened with tears he refused to shed.
“Yes,” she barely choked out as memories of nights spent in his arms flooded her mind and let lose a flood of bittersweet pain and tears.
In the morning Lex woke up to snow outside. Her room was cold, but she was not. Alec had held her tightly against him all night. Guilt hit her first. She’d done nothing other than let him sleep in her bed with her, but nevertheless it was a betrayal to Mason. Bliss hit her next. Absolute and irrevocable bliss at having Alec back. She didn’t know if it would last, but she’d cherish it while she could. One thing that she promised to herself was that she would let him make her his reason. She’d never wanted to do it in the past, but know she knew he needed her to be his reason. Lex wouldn’t force him or give him ultimatums. Rather she would just always be there to catch Alec when he fell and she would remind him why he wanted this.
Lex hadn’t admitted it in awhile, but she was in love. She was in love with a beautiful, brooding, and chaotic boy who would never love himself as much as she loved him. Then again, he would always love her more than she loved herself. It wasn’t going to be easy, but at the end of the day it would be worth it. Alec wasn’t a fan of literature, foreign films, black and white photography, or wearing scarves all year long. Even so, he completed her and she couldn’t imagine spending another day without him.
Also, a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BRO MARCUS! See? I got you a nice Birthday present! ;)