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it takes everything in me not to call you

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Cordelia opened her eyes to a moonlit room. She glanced at the ceiling, sighing quietly. Yet another night without much rest — it’s been this way for a few months now. She would drift into a restless slumber only to wake up two hours later.

Her eyes drifted to the man beside her, her heart clenched in her chest at the sight, a rare one with the amount of business trips he attended. He slept peacefully, unaware of the things that troubled his fiancées mind.

She slipped out from underneath the covers, wrapped her robe around herself and left their bedroom, quietly shutting the door. Her feet carried her into the kitchen, something that had become a ritual of sorts. She fetched a wine glass, and a bottle to accompany it, from the shelf and poured herself a generous amount.

Cordelia buried her face in her hands, sobbing quietly. She didn’t know for how much longer she could keep living like this, with this hole inside her chest, the grief for what — who she had lost because of her own selfishness. Not for the first time she found herself reaching for her phone, opening the chat on the very bottom.

i don’t want to lose you.

i understand, but don’t let this be the end.

i love you.

Those last words made her cry out, stifling her cries with her hand. She never replied. The texts glaring back at her, feeling like the sharpest daggers in her chest.

Her trembling finger hovered over the small telephone on the screen. The tears blurred her vision. She dropped the phone onto the surface, shoving it out of reach. She took the wine glass and gulped down the remains of the red liquid, leaving the glass behind and resorting to the bottle, she shuffled out to the patio, taking a seat on the steps.

Despite the nightly hours, the air was warm against her skin. She loved summer nights like this, sitting outside when the rest of the city was fast asleep, tucked away into the comfort of their homes. Cordelia closed her eyes, giving another tear the chance to roll down her cheek.

“What’s the point of having a pool, if you’re not even using it?” Her hair was tied back finally, except for the loose curls framing her face. “I do use it.” Cordelia emphasized, “I dip my toes in.” She demonstrated, gesturing towards her legs that hung over the edge of the pool. “Let me rephrase then, use it properly!” Misty chuckled.

She got rid of her dress, which felt like it was clinging to her skin in the dry heat. Left in her bikini, she moved to the ladder and climbed into the cold water, a content sigh leaving her lips as she floated towards Cordelia. “You’re missing out, Delia.” She hummed in a sing-song voice, opening one eye to glance at the other woman.

“I’ll survive. I’m perfectly fine watching you. Let me live through you.” She grinned, observing Misty. She wished she could freeze this moment, capture it in a jar and relive it whenever she wanted to.

A splash of water on her skin brought her back into reality. “Where’d ya go?” The Cajun asked, arms resting on the ground beside Cordelia. “Mhm, nowhere. I’m happy right here.” She smiled at the younger woman. Misty mirrored her expression, moving closer. Her position didn’t change, but her arms now found their place in Cordelia’s lap. “Me too.” They looked into each other's eyes.

Cordelia’s hand reached out to tuck a loose strand of hair behind Misty’s ear, her hand lingering on her cheek as she cupped it gently. “Never been happier.”

She took a swig from the wine, keeping her gaze locked on the pool as if she could conjure her up with her mind, take herself back to that moment. But the garden remained empty, dark, and lonely.

She remembered the goosebumps on her skin when Misty touched her – blamed it on the cold water; the soft skin underneath her fingertips as she brushed the Cajun’s cheek, letting them ghost over plump lips. She remembered the taste of them — strawberries and homemade lemonade; the sting on her lower lip after Misty had tugged on it lightly. She remembered everything about her, about them, in those moments they shared together.

Regret bubbled up inside her chest, anger at no one but herself. For allowing those moments to fade out, to become nothing but a distant memory. Nothing but a time in her life she’d look back on whilst her heart broke, longed for it back.

“Wait, wait! Okay, I’m ready.” Misty laughed, straightening her back as she stood in front of Cordelia with the brightest of grin on her lips. The older woman had insisted on teaching the Cajun some dance moves, more than twirling around with one of her shawls — not that Cordelia minded that, it was one of the most endearing things to watch.

She cleared her throat, putting on a serious face. “Alright, give me your hand.” She pursed her lips before breaking out in laughter, placing Misty’s hand on her waist and taking the other into her own whilst her right hand rested on her shoulder. “I will lead you.” She smiled, starting the music with her phone.

They swayed back and forth, danced across the room with Cordelia showing her the steps, counting them in. Misty stumbled over their feet a few times, making them both laugh, but soon they found their rhythm.

We’re going down.

And you can see it too

We’re going down

And you know that we’re doomed

My dear

We’re slow dancing in a burning room

Cordelia got lost in Misty’s ocean eyes, swallowed whole by the deep blue, drowning in them without a care in the world. She could spend forever here, in the Cajun’s arms. That was all she needed.

I was the one you always dreamed of

You were the one I tried to draw

How dare you say it’s nothing to me?

Baby, you’re the only light I ever saw

She rested her cheek on Misty’s shoulder, wrapped her arms around her tightly. “Now I won’t make a fool out of myself at your wedding.” The younger woman whispered.

Cordelia had been staring at the ring around her finger for hours, feeling the weight of it on her skin. It made her heart race, the heavy feeling, the burden of it. She didn’t want all of this and she knew it, had known it for so long, but she couldn’t back out of it now. Not with the wedding so close, with everything planned out, the money spent.

She ran her fingers through her hair, emptying the bottle before returning inside, back into the kitchen. She took her phone back into her hands. But didn’t open her messages this time. Her finger landed on the camera roll, scrolling back to last November.

Smiling faces beamed at her, almost mocking her. Golden curls in her face, her laugh as she tried to blow them away, kisses on her cheek, on her lips, a hand covering the camera as if it was intruding on the most intimate of moments. And then nothing.

Those precious photos were followed by wedding inspirations from Hank’s mother, sending her different combinations of tablecloth and bouquets, wedding dresses, swatches for all kinds of things she should care about, but she couldn’t bring herself to.

They shared their first kiss in February of last year. One of many. Hank was away on a business trip, not to anyone’s surprise, and Cordelia had invited Misty over for Valentine’s Day. Neither of them had anything to do and they figured they could just spend the day together. Misty came over with takeout and two bottles of wine, the recipe for a nice evening. Eventually they settled down to watch a movie, cuddled under a warm blanket, slightly drunk on wine.

“Honestly fuck Hank, ya know.” Misty shrugged, looking at Cordelia with a grin. “He doesn’t even deserve someone as perfect as you.” She hummed. “You’re really drunk, Mist. I’m far from perfect.” Cordelia laughed, shaking her head. “No, Dee! I promise ya, you’re perfect to me.” Misty insisted, a serious expression planted onto her face. “You’re amazing.” They locked eyes. “I wish you would see that.” She added. Cordelia let her eyes to Misty’s lips, biting her own. They broke the distance between them, lips connecting in a kiss full of longing, need, love.

Their moment was cut short by a key turning in the lock. Cordelia pulled away from the kiss, moving to the other end of the couch, her legs pulled up to her chest. Misty was frozen in place for a second, glanced at Cordelia. She licked her lips and turned herself towards the TV again, pretending to focus on the movie when in reality, her mind was on nothing but Cordelia, and her lips, and her hands in her hair. “I’m home, babe.” Hank announced, shoving his bag into a corner in the hallway before coming into the living room, smiling at his girlfriend. Misty looked at him with a certain disgust that always seemed apparent on her face when the man was in their presence. She had never liked him. Cordelia knotted her brows together in confusion. “What about your business trip?” She asked. “Gee, I’m happy to see you too.” He laughed, “It got canceled last minute.” He offered as an explanation, kneeling in front of her. “Everyone was very happy to go back home to their wives, and so am I.” He grinned, “or well, to my girlfriend, who I hope would like to be my wife?” Cordelia raised a brow, mouth opening in shock. “Are you… Is this your way of proposing to me?” Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Misty shift in her seat, looking away from the scene. Hank nodded, chuckling. “Yeah, pretty much.” He pulled out a box from the pocket of his jacket, revealing a clearly expensive ring. Cordelia gasped as the realization hit her. “So…” Hank pushed, raising a brow at his girlfriend’s hesitation.

Misty stood up, grabbed her glass from the coffee table and left the room with nothing but a glance at Cordelia.