You remember that first night as if it were yesterday.
The pounding on your front door, wood splintering under the force. The rage in his eyes as he stormed past you; burning and oblivious into your hallway, into your home, into your heart. The words he screamed with venom about her and how could she and how dare she.
You remember saying his name once, and the tirade stopped. Twice, and the fight drained out of him. Three times and he finally looked at you.
You remember feeling the world shift out of focus around him. Him, standing there in your living room, burning too bright, broken and terrifying and still beautiful.
You don't remember what happened next. There's a blank space between one moment and the next, and you think it can't have been worth committing to memory when the next moment is clear and sharp and overwhelming.
It's the taste of his lips on yours, the cold press of his glasses and his soft, woollen jumper beneath your fingers. It's the sudden thud of your back against the wall as he crowds in closer.
You remember burning up from the inside out and wondering if he caused it. Wondering if this was how everyone he'd ever kissed had felt. Wondering if this was how she used to feel once upon a time.
You know that's when reality crept back in. That's when you should have stopped and been the friend he needed, but hindsight is a bitch and you're either naive or just selfish.
You think probably a bit of both, but the ache in your chest had finally eased and you couldn't let go. Every touch, every gasp had set you alight in ways you hadn't felt since you first saw him up on stage (he'd been so eager, so desperate for approval from an unwilling audience that when he took his final bow you gave him a standing ovation. That should've been your first clue; the first sign that you'd give him anything he asked for.)
In a few hours you'll pretend to be asleep when he wakes as you do every time. He'll dress silently and disappear without a trace until you meet at work with a polite nod like every other day.
You'll tell yourself that was the last time. You'll believe your own lies for a while until the next time he knocks on your door, desperate and broken and always beautiful, and you'll be helpless once again.