Julian watched as she blew out a long stream of smoke. The Toronto winds were entirely against him tonight and as she breathed the chemicals out, they blew towards his face. He crinkled his nose again; he didn’t mind smokers and yes, he’d had his fair share of cigarettes. But the cigarette, in his mind, was just so overdone with Niq. He was tired of watching her light one every time she was feeling vulnerable, every time she wanted to occupy her hands with something. Every time she took a drag, she was one step closer to death. And sitting in a cemetery, each time she took a drag, it just taunted him. It was as if every time the embers burned at the end, they were laughing at him. Another girl he cared for, slipping through his fingers in a different way. He rolled his eyes, moving his gaze away from Niq to stop himself from taking her cigarette and flicking it away. “Maybe that’s something you should focus on then. Because if you think your riddles and mysterious edge complete you, then it must not feel so great when that mystery is solved,” Julian claimed, shrugging a bit. He paused and he let his words fall apprehensively. “You’re not a mystery, Niq. You have a past. Everyone has a past. And you know what your next game can be? Figuring out who you are without letting your past shape it.”
Still, he had an idea of how she felt. Their entire relationship, whatever it was, was based around this idea that they both were too ‘fucked up’ to embrace. Their mysteries had people holding them at arms length all the time. And now, with the knowledge of Niq’s past, it was easier to bring her closer, to understand. The crazy antics, the way she distanced herself all had a reason and therefore, could be reacted to in a way that she would welcome. Julian, on the other hand, still had a metaphorical caution tape wrapped around him. His own past did follow him, and though Niq had heard bits and pieces, she didn’t get it all. She knew Grace’s name, she knew what others did. But she didn’t know a lot at the same time. A lot of people, including his closest friends and family, didn’t know. But he liked it better that way. He didn’t want to share. He didn’t want to be ‘figured out.’ What good what it do him or Niq? Knowing his problems wouldn’t help her get along with him any better. It would merely make him vulnerable to her and that was something he wasn’t looking for. He enjoyed her company. He liked reading quotes to her, he liked stealing kisses when he could, he liked having conversations based entirely off sarcasm with her. And his past didn’t need to come in and ruin any of that. So he kept his mouth shut and hoped that Niq realized that just as she wasn’t her past, he wasn’t his and his ‘mysterious edge’ didn’t matter.
Julian was silently thankful that every cigarette had a short life but chose not to watch as Niq finally put out the nicotine laced stick. Instead, he kept his eyes on up above. If a girl on edge of running away was beside him and her first love was underneath him, Julian just wanted to look up. Anywhere but at the two things keeping him in his spot. It wasn’t until he felt her body lean against his arm, the smell of her shampoo and faint perfume reassuring him that it really was her, that Julian looked her way. Her questions were fair and he knew he should have given her an answer right then, but he struggled. He didn’t know. He was the guy who hadn’t had a relationship in two years, hadn’t had sex in a year and a half up until a few months ago, hadn’t even kissed a girl again up until a few months ago. He had a sentimental heart and he was doing everything in his power to keep it as full and untouched as it could possibly be after what he had endured. He ran his tongue over his bottom lip and lightly commented, “Well, I don’t do casual sex, fortunately for you. Not my thing.” But still, he knew that wasn’t the answer she was looking for. It didn’t clear a thing up.
Julian shifted slightly underneath her and drew his arm back as she sat up. It made him uncomfortable to even be having this conversation with Noah lying beneath them, but he wasn’t just going to stand up and walk away from it. Julian was a dick, he was. But that was superficially. Here, in these moments, he was the good guy who wouldn’t just leave. He’d fight and fight and keep pushing on alongside people he cared for, even if it didn’t benefit him in any way. He only hoped Niq would be able to crawl into bed tonight with a little piece of mind. “I don’t know what you’re asking me for. What is it that you want, Niq? You’re the girl that does go out and has the casual sex and flees from commitment. So what is it that you want from me?” He glanced over at her, pausing for a moment, but his own questions were unfair. He didn’t want to shine a light like that on her. Running a hand through his dark hair, he sighed, “Look, I’m the commitment guy. I either want it all or I’d rather just not have it. But right now, I’m the commitment guy who can’t seem to find the balls to commit to anything. I’m a little lost, to say the least.” He shrugged lightly, his gaze holding hers, “Things are complicated. And I don’t know how to sort through them at this very moment with you.”
Niq’s hands shook on the cigarette. Because of the cold or the situation or just because, she wasn’t sure. “It doesn’t feel so great,” Niq laughed bitterly, her voice dry against the cold air. Niq shrugged her shoulders, looking back at Julian. “I dunno. I just… Dunno,” Niq breathed in, closing her eyes, and could swear she saw colours on the back of her eyelids, taunting her, pulling her away from the dull greys of Toronto, of Noah’s final bed. “I didn’t know before, and I sure as fuck don’t know now. Maybe I do, actually,” Niq corrected herself. She laughed before she continued, and her voice scratched against her throat. “Maybe I do know. Maybe I just don’t want to admit I’m not a good person.” Niq shrugged inwardly, and was quiet.
When Julian was silent along with her, it took Niq awhile to pick up on what he meant by his lack of words. When she finally figured it out, she couldn’t help but think of course. How obvious was it? It was staring her right in the fact, and she’d just ignored it. Julian had his own shit. And up until that night, Niq hadn’t been willing to share any of her past, so why should he be so eager to share any of his? Niq wasn’t sure what was keeping Julian from opening up; whether he didn’t want to, wasn’t ready, didn’t want Niq to hear… But that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that it sort of clicked in Niq’s mind that she was hurting, so maybe Julian still was, too.
Julian was warm, Niq found, though she wasn’t expecting it. She expected him to be cold, but she only felt comfortable for the brief moments she leaned herself awkwardly against him. Niq looked at the backs of her pale hands as they were both silent, and traced the dark veins she could see underneath her skin. Niq was content with tracing and pushing, entertaining herself like she used to, as a child, until Julian spoke up. “That’s cool,” Niq laughed quietly, her voice softer. “Thought you were a total slut. My bad,” Niq’s words were joking, and she wanted to smack herself for it, wanted to shake herself until her head was on straight. Niq just bit down on the inside of her cheek, closing her eyes until she could see white behind her eyelids.
After Niq had sat up, and Julian began describing her, she sat forward, leaning on her knees, and began picking at her nails, her hair, the grass she sat on. It was almost like Niq didn’t want to hear what Julian had to say about her, and she found herself craving running, as she sometimes did. She wanted to run and run and wanted to feel her feet bleed, wanted her calves and thighs to ache, wanted her chest and stomach to burn. Niq wanted the back of her throat to feel dry, she wanted to run until she couldn’t anymore, till she couldn’t walk or talk or think. It was all Niq could think of, but she stayed there, sitting pathetically. “I don’t know what I fucking want,” Niq spat out bitterly, before calming herself down, letting her voice grow softer and quieter. “I don’t know what you want. You know - you know about Noah, now. You don’t have to commit to anything, just tell me what you want.”
// hi so i’m gonna respond to jaime/anne in ze mornin when i have gifs but yeah my dad’s going away for 2 weeks, back for 1 week, then gone for another 2 so i’m upset but i’m sort of just giving up on some SLs on here. i love everyone ooc but i’m just upset and tired and done with putting too much effort in so ~
I don’t like it.
Yeah. We’re all just sort of fading.
I’m not allowed to kiss you. See, I think about kissing you so often that it’s become one of those rules I have set for myself, like not wearing heels after three glasses of dark red wine. I think about kissing you when the sun is just setting over the mountains and I think about kissing you when the snow is falling and your lips are pale pink from the cold. Sometimes I think about kissing you on worn couches with knitted blankets and cups of coffee steaming next to us and sometimes I think your hands would intertwine with mine. Kissing you in fields full of wild flowers on wool blankets beneath our shaking legs and spring stars above our nervous lips has crossed my mind. Linking my hand in yours in crowded hallways and busy streets and pecking your cheek is another thought I’ve had. Except I’m not allowed to kiss you; because your mind is one I can’t figure out and your hands are never close enough for mine to hold and your smile makes me falter and forget where I am and who I am and what I think and that the snow is falling and all I want is to kiss you but I’m not allowed to kiss you (but you’re allowed to kiss me.)
He courted me mutely with these self-portraits of his disembodied head.
-Helena Bonham Carter