Escape the Doubt Excerpt

At school Dean approached me sitting on the bench.
“You look so sad, Riley.” He said.
I shrugged, “well, I am.” I replied truthfully.
He sighed. Probably thinking vainly that it was all about him, his ego getting a boost from my evident pain.
“We have been friends for a long time, Riley. Even before we became more. We were friends. Ya know? I miss you.” He told me as he sat down and grabbed my hand.
I inwardly cringed and recoiled away from him. However, outwardly—I did nothing. “I know,” I said.
I didn’t miss him. I didn’t need him. In fact, I resented him. So why was it that I rested my head on his shoulder? I’m asking myself that same thing as I stand in my shower. Replaying that thought and the image I saw on Josh’s face when he walked by—looking at us—as though something was there between us. There wasn’t.
I miss you, Josh.
I decide after my shower to toil without respite. I wrap myself in a towel and walk across the hall to my bedroom. I have my head cast down, flipping through the playlist on my iPod settling on, Wish you were here by Incubus. I kick the door closed with my foot and walk into my closet.
“We need to talk,” a voice says from my bed. I jump, dropping my iPod on the floor and nearly losing my towel as well. I step out of my closet, stand in the middle of my room, and narrow my eyes at my best friend. Ex-best friend? Preslee’s baby daddy? Ugh!
“Damn it, Josh. You scared the crap out of me. What are you doing here?” He drags his eyes lazily up and down my body before narrowing them on my face.
 “I just told you. We need to talk. You won’t answer your fucking phone, or return my calls, or talk to me at school. So, here I am,” he says dryly. 
“Um, if you haven’t noticed I’m kind of naked here. I uh, can you like shut your eyes so I can put my clothes on? Then we can talk?” I ask him feigning exasperated, when actually I’m feeling flushed and nervous as hell. I’ve missed him, his nearness, his voice, and those eyes.
The way he is looking at me. It’s so intense; I can’t help but feel affected.
He stands, and walks towards me. For every step he takes, I take one away, until my back is pressed to my shut bedroom door. He is standing so close to me, I can feel his breath whisper along my cheek. He puts his hands on opposite sides of my head of the door, caging me in. He is looking down at me with such heat in his eyes that I don’t know what to make of any of this.
“I noticed,” is all he says on a growl.
He trails his fingers along my cheek, down my throat, to my collarbone, where he pauses, and looks up into my shocked eyes.
“Your pulse is racing, Riley. Am I making you uncomfortable?” He asks, in a voice that is almost foreign.
I shake my head back and forth, “no, yes, no. I’m confused.” I sigh, and look down. He tilts my chin up with his index finger. I keep my eyes cast downward, not wanting to look into his eyes. If I look into those hazel eyes, I am afraid of what I will see. Of what it will do to me.
“I see that, Riley. Look at me.” His voice is soft, but demanding. I don’t want to look at him, but I can’t get my body to listen to my brain. I feel possessed. I meet his eyes just as a tear rolls down my cheek, and then another and another. Damn it. I am so weak. I can’t do this.
He watches my tears fall, and drags the pad of his thumb under my eyes to wipe them away. I can’t stop them from falling.
He seems just as lost as me in this moment, looking back and forth at each of my eyes. Studying me. Breaking me. “I’m sorry, baby.” He rests his forehead on mine, his dirty blonde hair tickling my eyes.
I begin to shake uncontrollably. “I… I… I can’t do this, Josh. You need to leave, please. Please, leave me alone.” I stutter as I tremble. 
“I can’t. I can’t leave you alone.” His eyes flick to my mouth, and very slowly he places his left hand on the door and raises his right hand to my face. He slowly pads his thumb along my bottom lip that is quivering now. 
I can’t help but shut my eyes and let my head fall back to the door. I feel dizzy. My breaths are coming shallowly, and my heartbeat feels like a marching band has taken up residence inside my chest. Thumping so loudly, that I know he has to hear it. I’m losing control. I want him to stop, to never stop. What is wrong with me?
He lowers his head to my shoulder, his breath so hot on my neck. “Riley?” He moves his hand away from my lips and is now tickling his fingers up and down my arm, leaving a tingling sensation and goose bumps in there path.
“Hmm?” I didn’t know what to say anymore.
He slowly lifts his head, dragging his nose along my cheek until our lips are almost touching. His mouth is only a breath apart from my own. I see a million emotions shadow his eyes as he looks down at my face. His breath is minty and tantalizing me. He presses his chest into my own, causing me to gasp. I look into his eyes, locking into a silent debate of will. He wraps his hand around the nape of my neck, his other hand cups my cheek, and I am certain he is about to kiss me. I don’t have the strength, or desire to stop him.
If I lean in, we would kiss. One last taste would put me in my coffin. Be my poison. I’m addicted to his poison, though. I want it on my tongue, inside my mouth. Kiss me.
He doesn’t kiss me, though. He steps back, and stares at me for the longest time. “I’m sorry. I can’t think straight with you like that. I’ll shut my eyes so you can put clothes on, and then we need to talk.” He says, gesturing to my towel wrapped body, and turns his back to me. It’s not up for question. We are going to talk.
I dress quickly in white shorts and a teal camisole. My mind is reeling of airing all of this with him. What was he going to say? How would I respond in hearing it? What should I say?
I walk over to my bed where he is sitting with his elbows rested on his knees, his head in the palms of his hands. I place my hand on his shoulder, and he looks up at me with wary eyes. I place my body in between his legs looking down at him.
His eyes are indecisive and full of worry. I rub my index finger along his brow line to smooth it. “Do you remember when things used to be so easy between us? When we used to laugh together? When you would climb through that window just to annoy me?” I ask looking at the glass that holds so many good memories.
Tears are brimming his eyes, “I remember every fucking minute ever spent with you, Riley.”
He interlaces our fingers, watching mesmerized as he does. I look at our intertwined hands and back to his face. I bite my lip nervously. His eyes look to my lips and then back to my eyes.
“Are you getting back together with Dean?” He asks abruptly.
My mouth falls open in shock. What’s he smoking? For real? Seriously! Like, I would ever do that. Doesn’t he realize any of this?
© Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle

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