The restrictions have lifted
The headline seemed to jump out across the screen of Charlotte’s phone, quotes from interviews with ministers and the common folk describing a strong relief for the country and its economy.
But to Charlotte it felt anything but.
It was morning. And Charlotte hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep all night, the couch already making her muscles ache whenever she needed to change positions. How had Merel put up with this for a week?! “ She did it for you” , the voice in Charlotte’s mind reminded her and made the lump in her stomach sink even further. The lump had changed positions so many times during the night, from Charlotte’s heart where it clenched in longing and sadness to her stomach where it painfully reminded her of the nervousness and uncertainty of what was to come.
She had never thought of Merel being in love with her and she had never considered Merel to be a potential girlfriend. They were both out and proud, but the thought of them together had never crossed her mind. Charlotte had replayed instances of when they might have crossed the line between friendship and something more and she had felt so stupid for not picking up on the signs sooner. Even after two months of living together.
And now Merel might leave. Charlotte had heard movements from their room all morning, the blonde probably packing her stuff now that she could go back home to her parents. Charlotte hadn’t checked up on her ever since she had slammed the door closed the night before, opting to give her space. Or rather, Charlotte giving herself space so she could process everything that had happened. She had tried to distract herself from the thought of love by scrolling through the internet and watching various videos, but when the sun broke through the horizon, Charlotte still felt her heart reaching out for the other woman. Such a cliché to fall for your best friend...
The door to the bedroom was suddenly pulled open as stomping feet made their way towards the end of the hallway. Swallowing down the merciless pounding of her heart, Charlotte sat up so she was peeking up from behind the couch.
Whatever amount of tiredness she felt could not compete with the sadness that she saw in Merel’s eyes. It looked like she had been crying all night; eyes red and face puffy with tear tracks still visible on her cheeks. Even from a distance, Charlotte could see how much the other woman’s hands were shaking.
Merel’s voice was hoarse and cracked as she spoke, Charlotte now noticing the bags by Merel’s feet. Not waiting for a reply, the blonde went around the living room to collect her guitars, avoiding Charlotte’s gaze entirely.
It was like something broke inside of Charlotte, a desperation she had never felt before as she stood up on shaking legs and grabbed Merel’s arm before twisting her around. A sound of protest came from the blonde but was soon smothered by Charlotte’s aching lips upon her own. Charlotte kissed Merel hard while she tangled her fingers in long, blonde tresses, letting all that she felt pouring into that one kiss. The small overprotective, dinosaur loving, clumsy idiot wouldn’t go anywhere.
She was home.