He walks towards her, his hands coming up to cup her face, as he smiles down at her. The smile is one of those that is typically reserved for the bedroom, his eyes shadowed by the long blond hair that surrounds his face.His eyes, a shade of blue that she knows all too well, twinkle as he comes closer to her, his hands now cupping her chin, his hair grazing her face as he bends down towards her. Her face turns upward in welcoming, but her senses reclaim her. She cringes backward out of his reach, and he smiles as he drops his hands to his sides. He shrugs at her, his full lips turning upwards into a smile. She turns, hiding her face from his line of vision. He returns to the task of stacking boxes, and she stares at the ground, eyes blurring with tears that she'll never let anyone see.
She is sure that if he knew the turmoil that these innocent gestures threw her heart into, he would stop. But then again, his flirtacious nature was one of the many traits that he shared with his older brother. It is part of the reason that she finds herself so open and comfortable with him. Because he never takes no for an answer. He refuses to let her retreat into her bubble of solitude. And any time she tries, he grabs her hand, and pulls her back out. She is grateful for that. But at the same time, it hurts beyond anything she could ever describe.
Nights before, they had sat on the ground behind her car, fending off the cold air with a blanket that she kept in her trunk. Side by side on the cold pavement, they watched a comedian that she had discovered with his older brother years before. That morning had been burnt into her memory. Now each time he laughed, it sent a pain through her heart. He had the same laugh as his brother. They laughed at the very same moments. He grew sleepy, and lapsed into a sad silence. She was thinking of his brother, and he was yearning for her sister. Now they used each other as a substitute for what they really wanted.
She couldn't imagine why she put herself through this torture. She loved this person as a brother, but being around him was also painful. There were too many memories involving the man that had broken her heart. He had the same blue eyes, the same full lips. They shared the same touchy mannerisms, and she found herself unable to tell him no. She had never been able to tell either one of them no. She tried to keep a line of upbeat chatter going, but when she lapsed into silence, he would know why. They stood side by side in a cafe and listened to a song that reminded both of them of their lost loves. He looked at her sadly.
"Why do I do this to us?" he asked her. She had no answer but a hug, the only kind of comfort that she could offer. He accepted it, and the people watching them assumed that there was more to it. But it was only the grieving of two hearts that could understand what the other was feeling.
She was in love with his older brother. He was in love with her younger sister. It was painful to be around someone that was so much like the other, but it was also the only way to cope with the pain of such loss without breaking down. He got to steal a kiss from his beloved every once in a while. All she got was the disapproval of hers. He wanted to keep her to himself when he wasn't allowed to even be near her. She found herself incessantly talking of what a fool he was, all the while thinking that she would do anything to be near him. Her companion understood. He felt the same thing.
He sits across from her at a table, his hair once again shadowing his face. He tosses his head, his hair flying back beautifully, just long enough to offer a glimpse of his eyes, then falling perfectly back into place. With his head tilted down, he looks up at her. She's in a haze of exhaustion, and when her eyes settle on his, she wants to cry. She shakes her head, and it passes.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay to drive home?" She nods. She has gone the last twenty eight hours without sleep, and her weariness is obvious. So, he lets her go. She makes it home with no problems.
As she is about to pass out on her aunt's couch, the phone rings. It is handed to her, and she says hello. It is him, calling to make sure she got home alright. She lights up briefly, pleased that he cared enough to call. Then her sadness returns, because he's almost a stand-in for who she really wishes was calling.
It is painful to go on like this, but even worse to let him go. He's not her love, and yet he is so much like him. He's the younger brother that she should have had, and it pains her to see him sad. She loves him in a way that is perfectly appropriate to their relationship.
A few days later she calls. He already knows her number, and answers with a "Hey You!" It brings a smile to her face to hear the smile in his voice. They make plans to hang out the next day, each aware that it will be painful, but it is a necessary pain. They share one thing, and that is a love for someone that claims to be happy with someone else, but is also in love with them. And neither one of them will stop until their dream of being reunited with that person is realized.