If Karma finds me, I’m fucked.

If Karma finds me, I’m fucked.

I know this, and still, here I am. After the last time, I promised myself I wouldn’t come back. I promised myself, and I silently promised Thomas as well.

My best friend, my brother. The one person in the entire world that I can count on, the one person who would never hurt me. And yet, I can’t stay away from her.

Elizabeth.

What is it about her? What is it that keeps both me and Thomas and every other man thinking of her, even long after she’s gone? When we’re together, when I’m touching her, when I’m holding her, I try to memorize the way it all looks and feels and smells, just so I can relive it in my mind once I leave her.

Just last night, he said, “I can’t live without her. She’s the love of my life.”

I’m being selfish, I know. After all, she isn’t the love of my life. I have someone who I love, someone who I want to spend forever with. Her name is Anna and she’s smart and funny and wildly beautiful. I like the sound of her laughter and the way she sometimes runs the tips of her fingers from my chin, down past my throat, and up again until I fall asleep. Sometimes I start to miss her as soon as she walks away from me. Sometimes the anticipation of seeing her again is what carries me through a bad day.

But she’s missing something. Something that I can certainly live without, though as of late, I’ve been choosing not to. Elizabeth has that something.

As Anna’s face passes through my thoughts, Elizabeth’s back door opens. A smile unfolds on her lips, and the calm in her voice as she says, “hey,” betrays the spark of excitement in her eyes.

She steps aside and I pass by her, into her dark kitchen. “Be extra quiet,” she says. “My parents just went up to bed a little while ago. They might still be awake.”

My heart starts to beat a little faster. Hiding from her parents, Thomas, from Anna, from the whole entire world. It’s beginning to feel more tiring than exhilarating. Suddenly, I have an idea. “Let’s go out tonight.”

She recoils, perplexed. “Go out? Go out where? What if someone sees us?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. Who cares? We’ll risk it, just one night.”

For a moment, she contemplates. Then, she too, shrugs. “Alright,” she says, as if surprised by her own concession. “Fine. Let’s go out.”

I go back outside and wait in the car for her to join me. When she does, I announce that we’re going out to eat. Like on a real date. Like a real couple would do. I imagine this makes her happy, as she’s often tells me she wishes we could go out like a real couple.

I never bother telling her we aren’t a real couple. We never will be. She’s with Thomas and I’m with Anna. Anna, who— despite my recent indiscretions— is the only person I care to go on dates with.

Still.

It’s just one night. It’s exciting. Terrifying. And I’m sure Elizabeth will thank me thoroughly afterward. Satisfied with this, I decide that maybe this will even be our last hoorah.

I drive forty-five minutes out of town, where I’m pretty sure no one we know will recognize us. The tiny café is tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The only reason I know it exists of because it serves Anna’s favorite cheesecake. More than once, she’s convinced me to drive here just for a slice.

As I escort Elizabeth inside, she immediately heads to the bathroom while I find a booth. But just as I’m about to sit down at one of the lone back tables, a familiar mop of dark hair catches my attention.

For a moment, I simply stare at the girl across the café. She’s sharing a table, and a slice of cheesecake, with a guy I don’t recognize and at first, I’m sure it’s innocent. It has to be.

But then he smiles. And he takes Anna’s hand. And he leans over and kisses her square on the mouth. I can hear her laughter— the laughter that I love— carry across the small restaurant.

It’s Karma, I realize. She’s found me.

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