He could smell her on the bedsheets. Rafe rubbed his face over the pillow, he had not changed the sheets since the last time he shared a bed with Eliza. He needed her scent to still have something of her.Neither one of them had tried to call the other. He knew she would not try to contact him, and he did not contact her because he knew she was hurt. She needed time, and he would give it to her.
When he started his relationship with her, he liked that she was bohemian. He had been raised very conservative, with all the trappings of an upper-class family. Fiona had managed to escape the expectations, she was the artist. A successful artist, but nonetheless not what their parents had planned for her. Rafe was the practical one, pursued the safe career in finance and did all of the things that his parents wanted him to do. His parents admired Fiona more than she knew, but they did love that he did all the things that they expected of him.
Eliza was like a diamond in the rough, and had changed for him. She had always changed for him. She became the art director of a major publication instead of being freelance artsy like she was when he met her, and she became polyamorous because it suited him.
Maybe because he had done everything else the way his parents wanted was why, he at least wanted his relationships to be what he wanted. He was a hedonist, he savored his pleasure with the women that he was involved with. But just because he was not monogamous, did not mean that he did not value the women he was with. He knew that the reason Eliza was upset was because he had gotten involved with Sandrine without telling her. It was wrong, but he and Sandrine had gotten close again. When it seemed like Sandrine had given up on him, it was too much for him to bear. He loved her, even though he was not with her, he loved her and would always love her. He called her and told her what had happened with Eliza, and she soothed him.
“We messed up cheri,” she told him, her French accent heavier from being in France. “We messed up, and we both hurt people we love. I hurt Marcus…but I know we will be okay. You and Eliza? Do you think that she will, that you will be okay?”
Rafe rubbed his unshaven cheek, unable to dwell on whether or not he would get her back. Whether she would come back of her own free will. His self-image was so tied up in being with Eliza, that he did not feel like a whole person now. He could smell her on the sheets, he smelled her everywhere really. She had only taken some of her things, there were reminders of her as he walked to the kitchen to make coffee. He was stabbed tinily with one of her pumps was on the way there. He cursed as the buzzer rang to the apartment. Hoping Eliza had forgotten her keys even though it made no sense, he pressed the buzzer.
Moments later looking at his sister, he was silent. Continued to go about making coffee, now for Fiona as well. The steam that came from the cup, looked like clouds in his coffee. Like an impending storm.
He gestured to Fiona which cup was hers, yet after he made the coffee he did not touch it. Just looked at the clouds of smoke gathering from it.
“How do you expect to get Eliza back if you look like you lost the battle already?”
Rafe shrugged, and knocked over his cup of coffee. The steaming hot liquid spilled all over his pants, and he did not even flinch. He hurt far worse on the inside.
He did not know how to be without her, Eliza would have told him to not leave the coffee on the edge of the counter like he did. Like he always did. The same way he always told her she could do anything that she did not think she could do. Because she was talented, she was talented, beautiful and smart. But mostly, she loved him the way he was. She never tried to change him. She changed for him, she was the chameleon in their relationship. He was the caveman, the one so set in his ways. He kept hurting her, because he did not know how to change and now she had forced change on him.
Without her was a change.
“Fiona, I really do not need your philosophizing right now. Just because you the one who is in stable relationship, does not mean that I want to hear you tell me what to do.”
“You mean you do not want me to tell you that you fucked up with Eliza as usual,” she said sipping her coffee. “But the good news is that she put up with this much from you, so you have a chance brother. You have a chance to get her back. But you have to put yourself together…for your own self-image you have to look like you think you have a fighting chance. Because some other man or woman will snatch her up. You are lucky I am with Alice, because you know I love Eliza…”
Rafe smelled coffee now instead of Eliza, as he pulled up a stool and stared at the gorgeous female version of himself and saw a reflection in the shiny appliances of his unkempt appearance. He was in a quandary, unsure what his next move was going to be. Spilled coffee mingled with Eliza’s scent, and he realized that he needed to get her back.
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coffee photograph with filter by f dot leonora