It was calm, so unusually calm, and Merel loved it.
It was her day off. She hadn’t seen Floor all day. No one had knocked the door to pick up anything. It was just Merel and Vincent, just like it had been all day. And Merel absolutely loved it.
The television showed the menu of the game she’d been playing. It had been fun for a few minutes, but it hadn’t been long before it bored her. She no longer felt the anger and rage she used to play the game with. A few months ago the shooting game had been Merel’s way to get rid of all the negative feelings in her lives, and now there was nothing left of them. Her chest no longer tightened when she thought about Alissa, her heart was filled with nothing but love now.
A new burst of butterflies woke up in Merel’s stomach by the thought of Charlotte. The redhead had claimed such a big part of her heart, and she’d managed to do so in only a few months. Every text message, every kiss, every touch even made her fall in love with Charlotte more. And Merel was sure that tonight would be no different.
Only four more hours until she would see Charlotte again. Or so she thought.
A knock sounded on the door, ending Merel’s calm day for herself. Gently she lifted Vincent from her lap and placed him on the couch. The cat didn’t even seem to care. He just started purring again and opened his eyes just enough to see who dared to disturb his quiet day.
Merel opened the door, a smile growing on her lips when she saw who it was. She couldn’t help it. Seeing Charlotte always made her smile, even if their meeting was unexpected.
‘Hey Charlie!’ Merel smiled before planting a kiss on her girlfriend’s lips. ‘What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting this evening?’
‘We need to talk.’
It was then that Merel noticed Charlotte wasn’t smiling. It was so unlike her. Charlotte always smiled, and her now serious look immediately worried Merel.
‘Eh, okay.’ Merel stepped aside so Charlotte could walk in, but she refused.
The worry grew. What was wrong with talking in the apartment? Merel didn’t even dare to ask. Instead she just grabbed her jacket and joined Charlotte in the hallway. They walked down the stairs in silence and left the building. Merel noticed two police cars parked across the street, some men standing around the cars and eyeing her and Charlotte when they opened the door. Charlotte looked up at the men, then quickly looked down again.
The police didn’t worry Merel, she’d seen them around so often in this area, but Charlotte’s behavior certainly did. The redhead didn’t smile, didn’t look at her, didn’t allow Merel to hold her hand. Merel was desperate to know what was going on, but Charlotte didn’t say a word. They just walked, and Merel internally panicked.
It was only when they were at the park that Charlotte stopped walking. She sat down on one of the benches near the entrance of the park, and carefully Merel sat down next to her. Finally Charlotte reached out to her. She carefully took Merel’s hand and sighed.
‘I haven’t been honest with you.’ Charlotte stated. ‘I have been keeping a lot of secrets.’
‘Like your job?’
‘Yes, like my job.’ Charlotte said, and then finally looked up at Merel. ‘Merel, you’re not going to like what I’m about to tell you. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and I never had any intentions of hurting you. I swear that what we have is real, and that my feelings for you are real, even though nothing else is.’
None of this made sense. What had Charlotte’s job to do with her relationship? Maybe this wasn’t about Charlotte’s job at all. What the hell was going on with Charlotte?
‘What are you talking about?’ Merel asked confused.
‘I’m a police officer. I’ve been chasing a big drug dealer for nearly a year now, and I needed to get closer. That’s why I took lessons from you, you were my cover and that was supposed to be it. But then I learned that you’re interested in women, and I saw it as a chance to get even closer. I wasn’t into woman, or at least I thought, but Merel… Falling in love with you was never part of this plan, but I did. And I let you fall in love with me because it was the only way to get to your roommate. Floor is the head of one of the biggest drug operations we have ever seen. Those people that came over to your apartment all the time were mostly dealers picking up drugs.
‘Merel, I know this sounds scary, but we arrested Floor this morning. My colleagues are at your apartment right now, searching the place for evidence. That’s why I had to take you out of there. And yes, technically you’ve been helping a criminal, but I can protect you. You didn’t know what Floor was up to and what was in those boxes, right? Merel, you have to promise me you had no idea.’
Merel just stared at Charlotte in disbelieve. Slowly the meaning of her words sank in, and she could no longer stand the feeling of Charlotte’s hand holding hers. Charlotte had used her, and broken her trust. Even after she knew what Merel had gone through, the other woman had chosen to keep using her for her own personal goal. She had betrayed her, just like Alissa had done.
Slowly Merel pulled back her hand. The worry in her chest was replaced by pain. The one person she’d trusted to never hurt her, and yet here she was. Charlotte had broken her trust, and apparently also taken her home. And now she was just supposed to trust her? Merel got up from the bench, completely ignoring Charlotte’s begging face.
‘I can’t even look at you anymore.’
With those words Merel broke her own heart and walk away from the woman she loved. Even though she had nowhere to go.
Not once in her life had Charlotte been this nervous.
The glass of water in front of her was slowly warming up. She’d taken one sip, but the nerves seemed to be closing her throat. Her leg was bouncing up and down, the minutes seemed like hours.
Charlotte had lost count of how often she’d unlocked her phone since she sat down. By now she was 100% sure this was the right bar and this was the time they’d agreed upon. And yet she found herself unlocking her phone again.
Trying to distract herself Charlotte opened her facebook app, only to close it again a few seconds later. The news about the trial of the biggest drug cartel in years was everywhere, and Charlotte was more than sick of it. She’d spent so much time into that case, and eventually it had paid off. Sort off.
Floor Jansen would never be a free woman again. She’d spend the rest of her life behind bars, just like several other of the dealers that worked for her. Charlotte was proud of that, but the price for this result had been so high.
She’d lost the one she loved. Not once had she seen Merel again, not even at the trail. Marco had made sure that she wouldn’t be punished as an accomplice, but instead got protected as a witness. She was safe, and that had been the most important thing.
Charlotte looked up when the door of the bar opened again. Her heart immediately started beating faster as she finally saw the person walking through the door, and nearly knocked over her glass when she stood up.
The person noticed her, and joined her at the table just a few seconds later. Charlotte didn’t know where to start.
‘Sit. And listen.’
Charlotte didn’t say anything and just did as she was told. She just sat, and listened.
‘I’ve been thinking, a lot. Mostly about you. You hurt me a lot, but I think you’re aware of that. I opened up to you, and you betrayed my trust just like others had done before you. But, at least you never lied, and you did care about me, and you were sorry.’
‘I still am.’
‘I know. And that’s why I’m here. I can’t stop thinking about you, Charlotte. As much as you’ve hurt me… I can’t get you out of my head. And If what you said was true, that what we had was true, then… I think I want to try it again. But this time with the real Charlotte. I want to know who you really are, no more secrets. I want to start over completely, as if nothing has ever happened between us.’
‘I’d love to.’ Charlotte answered.
This was so much more than Charlotte had even dared to hope for. She could almost cry of relief, wanted to hug the other woman so badly. But instead she watched her get up and walk out of the bar again, only to re-enter 5 seconds later.
She walked towards Charlotte again and smiled when she sat down across the table again.
‘Hi, I’m Merel.’
‘And I’m Charlotte.’
And she was not going to mess up this second chance.