Still not into you - Charlotte Byrd


We are still more than an hour and a half away from home. I try to quench the anticipation building in the pit of my stomach with something fun to think about. I ask him about his family. I haven’t heard anything about them for a long time. As we start to talk and laugh, I discover that there’s so much that we hadn’t talked about. It all suddenly floods in.

For instance, Hudson thinks that his little brother, Cayden, is gay. Gay and doesn’t know it.

“How can he not know it?” I ask. “He’s fifteen! Maybe he’s just not gay.”

“Well, in that case, he’s in denial or something. I’m pretty certain that he is.”

“Maybe he’s just afraid to come out?” I ask.

“Why would he be? He knows that my parents won’t care. They’ll probably be happy,” he says.

“It takes a while to be comfortable in your own skin,” I say. “You have to be patient. I mean, I still can’t come out to most people about being a writer.”

We don’t just talk about serious things. We also talk about funny, heartfelt things. Like last Christmas.

“Do you remember when you chased me around the house for my candy cane?” I ask.

“No!” he says imperatively. “It wasn’t yours. You got it as a gift, yes, but you hate candy canes. And by the way, who the hell hates candy canes anyway? They’re peppermint and sugar. I know for a fact that you love peppermint tea.”

“That’s not at all the same thing.” I shake my head, smiling. “What’s important is that that was my candy cane and you just expected me to give it over.”

“Because you weren’t going to eat it.”

“You didn’t know that.”

“Oh, yes, I did.” He nods furiously. “I found that stash of candy canes in your closet from the year before. You didn’t eat one. You just kept them all away from people who actually like them. You greedy, greedy girl!”

We crack up laughing. I laugh so hard, my eyes tear up. When he catches his breath, Hudson turns to me.

“I’ve missed you, Alice,” he says as we pull up to our building. He’s planning on returning the rental car tomorrow. After parking, we head straight up to our dorm.

“I’ve missed you, too,” I say in the elevator.

A flood of emotions starts to sweep through my body the higher we climb. If I don’t do something, tears will flow out of my eyes and I won’t be able to stop them. I lean up to Hudson and kiss him.

In the middle of that passionate and explosive kiss, as he tears at my clothes and messes up my hair, I suddenly realize that I don’t need an apology from him over the breakup. I don’t want to think for a second about what this all means. I don’t even want to know if I want him back. I just want to be with him.

We kiss furiously until the elevator beeps and the doors open. We stumble out, almost forgetting our bags inside. At the last minute, Hudson shoves his hand in between the doors to keep it from leaving. Reluctantly, the elevator opens.

When we get to our dorm, I head straight to the bathroom.

“Okay, I’m going to hop in the shower and I’ll meet you in your room?” I say.

“Unless you want me to join you?” He winks.

I roll my eyes and shake my head.

When I get out of the shower, I reapply my makeup just a bit. I brush my hair, flip it over to give it some life, and leave it damp. I look in the mirror. Is this really happening?

“Just breathe,” I say to myself. Suddenly, I wish that I had one of those tattoos on my wrist that says ‘just breathe.’ I’ve made fun of those on many occasions. I mean, when do you really forget to breathe? At this point, I could use one. A visual reminder to relax. Take a break. Breathe in and out.

My heart beats so hard, it feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest. I knock on his door. No one answers. I knock harder. When he doesn’t answer again, I push it open.

Hudson’s sitting on his bed with his laptop. He barely looks up. He has a despondent look on his face. When he looks up at me, he doesn’t look at me so much as through me. Somewhere far away.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

He shakes his head but just a little bit. It looks so much like a nod,