Written by andthatlittleblackdress
For That Night - TaylorSquared fic
Making sense of the mess that’s in my head has never been easy. When I put pen to paper, that’s easy. That makes sense. That I can do as easily as breathing, as listening to my own heartbeat. I can arrange things in melodies and harmonies, cross out bridges that confuse the verses, shell out choruses with words that rhyme and roll off my tongue – simple. But I’ve sat tapping my pen against my notebook night after night, trying to find the words to say, trying to come up with a half-way decent hook…and nothing comes. I try to convince myself that I love him, because I should. He’s the first person in my life who’s felt…stable. The first person who I felt like I could really rely on, who would never, ever cause me heartache. He makes me feel safe and comfortable, and that’s what I should want; I mean, isn’t that what love is supposed to be like? Safe and comfortable? I can’t write him a love song. I can’t make anything rhyme and I can’t find the words to describe this feeling. We have the name same, and you’d think that would make him the easy choice. In a way, I guess he is the easy choice – the choice where the road runs smooth and the birds sing and the music swells right before the end credits roll. I guess I just wasn’t meant to have the fairytale ending. Deep down, I know what love is supposed to be like. It’s supposed to be fire and emotions so strong they almost hurt, and fighting – isn’t it weird that we’ve never fought, not even once? He’s so eager to make me happy, to make me smile, to give me what he thinks that I want that the arguments just never come out. I find myself describing my relationship as going well when my friends ask, when my mother asks me from across the table at a restaurant. Oh it’s going…well – and I say it like there’s something I’m leaving off the end. Like there’s a but…that I can’t bring myself to admit. It’s this – it’s going well…but he doesn’t make me feel that much. I need that. I need the fire, and the fighting, and the hurt, because a person like me lives off of the emotions and literally makes a career off of them. He’s not a hit song; and I hate debasing him to such a crude description, like everything I do revolves around the writing; but it does. And the real kicker is that there’s someone else. There’s already someone else, when Taylor has just given me a shimmering necklace that I nervously twist my fingers around whenever I think of that someone else and not him. I can’t help it – I guess I just don’t really want to be happy. Because someone else makes me feel like I could write six albums about him, someone else makes me feel like I could have journals upon journals upon journals filled from corner to corner with songs and poems and novels and it still wouldn’t be enough to describe how I feel about him. Someone else feels dangerous and unpredictable, has already gotten into an argument with me with a tenacity so like mine that I’m sure when we see each other again, we’ll pick right back up where we left off, narrowed eyes and sly, slickly composed rebuttals. He understands what I mean when I say pain is the game in regards to writing; he’s been through more than enough of it himself. An ugly voice in the back of my head reminds me of the long, long list of exes he had to give him inspiration for his next masterpiece, but I shake it off. We all have a past, and that doesn’t always influence our futures. I tell myself that almost every time I think of him, like a mantra. Convincing myself. I strike a line, hard and black through the words I have written and grit my teeth, rolling the smooth chain of the necklace between my fingertips. Glancing at the clock, I notice that there’s only two hours until I’m supposed to see Taylor; he’s promised me a nice night with a nice dinner and nice conversation. I promised myself that if I couldn’t come up with a halfway decent verse about him, without thinking of someone else at all, that I was going to end it tonight. I stare at the page, filled with nothing but cross outs and x out’s and scribbles, doodles in the corner of the pages, and sigh. Maybe it’s wrong to base everything around the writing; but that’s all anyone else ever thinks of me as, so maybe it’s just become who I am. Without it, I am nothing. Without the fire, I am nothing. I repeat these words in my head as I walk through the door of Taylor’s place without knocking or ringing the doorbell, and I repeat them again as I walk up the stairs, following the sounds of music playing softly, and I repeat them again when I round the corner and see what he’s got waiting for me. It looks like something out of a romantic comedy – the ones I’m always renting again and again, memorizing down to the last detail. With candles and rose petals and the lights dimmed down as low as they can go without actually being off. The smell of something homecooked wafts in the air, and it reminds me of home, something that’s nice when you spend so much time on the road. I freeze in the open space, my hands going clammy and my resolve weakening as I take in the entire scene. Frantically I try to come up with something to describe this as, something to rhyme it with or something to set to music…one last attempt at avoiding what is about to be one of the worst nights of my life. Nothing comes. It’s too late, now, anyway – he’s spotted me standing there, like a deer in the headlights, and I think he misreads my expression of panic as an expression of awe and delight. “You’re early,” he says with his trademark sweet smile. I came early because I was hoping to not show up to something like this, something with so much thought and care put into it that only a real monster would dare to rip it all apart. I swallow thickly and try to get the stupefied look off my face, plastering a smile to meet his. “Yeah, I…” I take a cautious step forward, grabbing at the necklace again, my mind going blank. One thing a lot of people might not know about me ; in the moment, I am horrible with words. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone mute silent in times when I really should’ve spoken up, or in moments when someone needed my help, or times when I could’ve stood up for myself, but didn’t. Another thing a lot of people might not know about me…I’ve never done this before. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve broken up with people before. But they all saw it coming, the way that people often do when a relationship is going horribly wrong. Here, though, the relationship wasn’t going wrong. It was going smoothly, well; to the untrained eye, perfect, even. So I take another step forward with that same stupid, fake smile on my face, and think for a second that I can do one more night. I can handle sitting here with him and having an easy conversation that feels more like friends than it does lovers, can handle it when I dangle the bait for an argument but he deflects it. I could do that, right? Just as a courtesy to him… But when I open my mouth to start a normal conversation, again, nothing comes out. Worse than ruining this night would be sitting here pretending; I’ve made it my mission to be honest, haven’t I? I mean…that’s what I write about. Honesty, always. Brutal honesty. “I wasn’t expecting you so soon,” he ignores my half-sentence and starts moving over to the cabinets, “dinner’s not ready yet but I can get some crackers-” “Don’t,” I say, too loudly, too forcefully, and his fingers freeze on the handle of the cabinet door. “Don’t…get the crackers.” I don’t deserve the damn crackers, and I really don’t deserve whatever’s cooking in that oven. “All right,” he says evenly, maybe a little confused, and instead chooses to lean back against the counter top. “So you don’t like crackers.” “I like crackers just fine…” “I feel like I remember you eating crackers.” “It’s not about the crackers,” my voice is quiet, sullen – the ridiculous topic of conversation does nothing to lift the pall I feel descending on the room. “It’s…” “I know,” and he gets that same smile on his face, the one that I thought I really loved, but now see as something so plain and ordinary and boring. “You notice something’s missing.” This throws me off a bit, to the point where I stay quiet and confused in the background, still a good ten feet away from him and the entire scene, while he bends down to pull something out from one of the cubbies hidden from my view. “Did you really think I’d forget the most important part of any romantic evening?” When he straightens up again, I see a bouquet of twelve dozen roses resting in his hands, holding them out to me triumphantly; as if this is really, truly the thing I was so concerned about. Roses. When I make no movements to close the gap between us, he starts to do it himself – and then, panicking, I start to come closer to him as well, trying to move faster than him, trying to get him before he gets to me, so I have some form of control over this situation. We wind up meeting halfway, right in front of the table all done up with candles and nice linens. Before I can even open my mouth, the roses are being shoved into my hands, which I had pushed out in front of me in a gesture of stop, but he doesn’t seem to get it. He doesn’t get it at all. He didn’t see this coming at all, and that’s evident enough. I tighten my fingers around the roses, and then drop my arm down to the side. They smell fresh. If I keep this charade up any longer, it’s just going to keep getting worse, and worse, and worse, so I clear my throat, feeling a thorn from one of the stems of the flowers pricking me in my palm. “This is…so nice,” with my free hand I gesture to the room. He nods, smiling. “Beautiful, and really thoughtful, and…all that. Thank you for taking the time to do this for me…” “It was no problem. I do have a romantic bone in my body, you know-” “Taylor…” “Hey, I thought we agreed. No first names because it’s too Freaky Friday-” “Stop. All right?” This, finally, makes his smile fall. Any person with half a heart would’ve backed down, seeing his kind, honest face drooping like that, waiting for the blow to come… But I think I lost that part of me somewhere in one of my journals, left it behind, smashed and broken, in between the pages on a book I never look at in a dark shelf sitting in the farthest corner of my home. I never should’ve gotten into this with him to begin with. I never should’ve - not with my heart gone like this. “I don’t…” say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, “…think this is going to work out.” Unable to meet his eyes, I stare dejectedly down at the red petals of the roses, my brow furrowed. It’s probably best that I don’t see the look on his face after hearing that. “What do you mean?” His voice is quiet, tentative; and it’s always quiet, but this time is different. “I mean that I don’t think you and I are quite…right. For each other.” Another long silence, during which I finally lift my head to look directly at him. I was expecting a sad look on his face, but he looks…angry. Jaw clenched and arms crossed over his broad chest. “I don’t get it.” Now, I’m angry too. Not the kind of angry that feels good, to me, not the kind of angry I’ve ever written about…but the kind of angry that comes along with being the bad guy, the villain. So, like the villain, I hiss right back at him. “What is there to get? We’re not working out.” He unclenches his jaw and narrows his eyes down into slits. “I guess I just don’t get why, tonight of all nights, you-” “Because it had to be now, all right?” I cut him off, and my voice feels terribly loud, overpowering the soft music in the background. “It had to be tonight, and it had to be now because – because I’ve -” maybe it’s the worst possible thing to say; in fact, it definitely is the worst possible thing to say, but it comes tumbling out all the same. “…I’ve met someone else.” Shock and indignation; stomping around and yelling at me and maybe even picking up one of the wine glasses sitting on the table and throwing it at the wall. That’s what I thought was coming. Instead, he looks almost…smug. He runs a finger across one of his eyebrows and nods, a weird kind of smile coming across his face. “I knew it,” he takes several steps away from me, backwards, nodding the entire time, “it’s him, isn’t it?” The natural response is who? The natural response is how could you have possibly known? But Taylor isn’t stupid. So I just stand there for a few seconds, eyes shifting to look out the window and focusing on the lights of the city outside. A distraction, for just a second. I decide I’d like to bail out of this place before things get blown so massively out of proportion we actually do wind up having our first fight; I don’t want to have to write about this, not this horrible moment, not this horrible night, ever. I remember the roses in my hand, and slowly, mechanically, I raise my arm and drop them onto the table, beside a crisp white plate. Without thinking about it, I also lift my arms, hands searching around the back of my neck for the clasp to the necklace. I click it open, and then drop it in a coiled pile beside the roses. Unsure if I’m to say anything or not, I take two steps away from the table, and I know, even with his back turned, he hears me – but he doesn’t say anything. So I decide to not say anything either. This is one of the moments where I feel I should be saying something, anything; say sorry, for God’s sake! I feel an itch in my throat like I’m about to cry, but I resist against it, even as I make my way down his stairs and out his front door; even when I’m in my car, when I’m back at my place, when I’m in my bedroom. In the days to come I find myself reaching up to my neck, expecting the necklace to be waiting there, but find only my skin.