“Just say it!” Leanna exclaims as she slams the refrigerator door shut.
“Say what!?” Jake yells back as he runs down the stairs, still buttoning his short sleeved black cotton shirt.
He finds her in the kitchen and folds his arms across his chest. He leans against the doorway to the kitchen, watching her hold on tightly to a carton of eggs.
“What are you doing with those?” He asks as he stares more at the eggs than he does at her, which infuriates her even more.
Leanna puts down the carton on the table, opens it and holds one of the eggs in the palm of her hand for only a second before sending it spiraling at his face.
“Bullseye!” She squeals, ecstatic that she hit him square on the forehead.
“Well that’s a perfect waste of a good egg.” Jake states dryly while using his hand to try to wipe it off, but ends up only smearing it even more.
“What about this one?”
Leanna throws another one and it smacks him on the left side of his chest.
Quickly growing tired of this he sighs, “Leanna, will you stop this childi-”
Before he finishes what he’s saying she throws another one right below his waist, hitting him where it really hurts.
“Will you?” She asks with raw hurt emotion crawling into her tone of voice.
He winces when it hits and cups his groin.
Without any fear she walks over to him, stands up on her tippy toes and crushes another egg into the top of his head. The yolk landslides down his back while leaving a trail behind it.
“Yes. I must.” She whispers as the tears she’d been holding back cascade down her cheeks.
They’re both admittedly a mess at this point as they stare back at each other, but he definitely has her beat. His black shirt is now a slimy yellow canvas with bits of eggshell for added embellishment. Meanwhile her hands are covered in eggwhite, with her bathrobe now hanging open to reveal her baggy gothic sleep shirt, and her dark hair is all in disarray.
“Why can’t you say it too?” She cries as he wraps her into his arms.
Jake lets out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in.
“They’re just words. They don’t mean anything if they aren’t backed by action.”
She breaks away from him and wipes the tears away from her eyes,
“So what was last night then? That seemed like action to me and the fact that you didn’t sneak out afterwards to hang out with your bandmates. That means something, doesn’t!?”
Jake rubs his non-sticky hand over his eyes, “I guess? Who knows?”
She slaps him across the cheek.
“That’s it! Get the hell out of my house!”
“Hey, Lee, come on.”
He tries to console her, which only makes her even more angry.
“No. Don’t you touch me! Not now. I can’t stand the sight of you anymore! It’s always poor Jake. Poor Jake doesn’t have a car. Poor Jake has no family. Poor Jake had to run away from home. Poor Jake! And to think that I believed in you and your dream! That one day you’ll be performing in a stadium for thousands of people.”
“I don’t want to leave you.”
Jake whispers, his eyes rebel against him and a single tear slides down his cheek.
Taken aback from this, Leanna is quiet for a moment.
“Then what do you want from me?”
He shakes his head, “I want… I just want… I don’t even know!”
Leanna closes her eyes and the image of the first time she ever saw him appears in her mind.
It was at a bar called Candy’s Heart. He’d been playing with his band at the time.
She’d been dancing with her girls to their music and had looked up and saw him staring right back at her. In that moment he had on black and white striped skinny jeans, a plain black T-shirt, converse, and had his long black hair framing his heart-shaped face.
What she thought would just be a typical one night stand had turned into more than what she had bargained for.
“If you will not or can not say what you mean or how you feel, leave. Just let me go and don’t drag this out any further than what it needs to. It hurts too much... ”
“Lee,” he reaches for her hand, but she slaps him away.
“Don’t touch me. Don’t torture me like this anymore! I can’t do it Jake! I just can’t!”
She turns away from him, grabs her purse and car keys, and marches out the front door leading to her old grey Lincoln that somehow still manages to get her back and forth from her night shifts at the hospital.
He lets her go and watches as she storms off with her robe still hanging open, in her bare feet.
As she closes the door he finds himself putting one foot in front of the other and runs towards it, unable to fully comprehend what it is he is doing.
“Stop!” He calls after her, but she keeps on making her way to her car parked right outside by her house.
“What!?” She exclaims absolutely exasperated at this point.
“What do you want, Jake!?
He can’t say it. He’s too scared to say how he feels. His broken home from his childhood ruined that for him before he even understood what it was like to begin to feel something like this for someone.
“Just, please... please don’t go.”
She hesitates as she stands half way between him and her car.
He is not ready.
She thinks to herself.
The single word slips out from her lips before she fully registers what she just said.
He closes the gap between them, lifts her up into her arms, and kisses her.
When they come up for air, she laughs,
“Sorry about your shirt.”
He chuckles, “I’ll have you know I spent fifty cents on this one.”
“Oh, what a tragedy! What will we do about that?”
She exclaims with sarcasm drenched into her voice.
“I mean we could always start with you taking it off…” He murmurs into her neck as he takes them back into the house, kicking the door behind them.