Have you ever had the feeling that lasted like an eternity but it was only 10 seconds? For Chris and Susan, that kiss was forever lasting. When their lips parted, they both felt like giving away something and receiving something strong. Although their hearts were beating fast, their minds were very calm. That moment they knew what they have received, love.
Their senses came back, reminding them that they just both kissed a stranger. Yet it didn’t feel offbeat, as it was a heart-warming kiss. It was like drinking a warm cup of tea in the cold winter, or feeling a gentle and calm breeze at night.
“I am sorry I kissed you like that.” Chris broke the ice. “I really wanted someone to console me, I guess……”
“Don’t be sorry.” Susan smiled. “I guess we both needed someone to be with. There is nothing wrong wanting to be comforted and loved.”
Chris nodded and smirked. And everything went silent again. They could hear the clock chime. “Tick Tock.”
He was relieved that she didn’t hate him for his sudden kiss. However, he was still disappointed in himself for his actions, because it was not reasonable to kiss a stranger to get sympathy. Inside his head, a war has begun.
“How could you kiss her!” a sharp tone appeared. “You barely knew her.”
“Shut up!” Another voice shouted. “She said it was okay. And she said it was okay. She needed someone to be with her too.”
“Forget what she said. Are you really going to take her words literally?” It shouted. “You don’t even know what she really meant inside. And maybe she was not okay with that?”
“Or maybe she was okay with it? That reviving touch really helped, didn’t it?”
Chris shook his head to clear the voices.
On the other hand, Susan’s mind was also in chaos.
“Look at what you’ve done.” A voice scolded. “You shouldn’t have kissed this stranger, even though he saved you.”
“That kiss was an act of sympathy.” Another voice refuted. “It wasn’t sending any kind of mixed signals. And I have already made that clear to him when he apologized.”
“Do you really think he won’t overthink? After all these irrational actions, his mind clearly isn’t ready for that speech.”
“It is because I care about him……..”
“Oh really? Are you really true to yourself right now? Are you true to the man who rescued you? Are you……..”
Susan shook her head to clear her mind.
The living room was silent. All they could hear was “Tick Tock”.
“I guess I shouldn’t overstay my welcome.” Susan stood up.
“No…..You are very welcome here.” He tried to make her stay, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. The living room was filled with deafening silence again.
The clock chimed, as the pin struck ten. They both stood up and looked into each other’s eyes, coincidentally.
“I should really go home” she looked away.
“Alright.” he scratched his head as he looked onto the floor. “Let me clean up and go with you.”
“No need….” she rejected politely. “I will be fine by myself.”
“Please.” He inched towards her. “Let me escort you home. I will clean up later.”
“Well, if you insist…….” She nodded. “Let me just get my clothes and belongings.”
“Ok. I will be waiting for you by the door.” Chris grinned as he strolled towards the door.
As Chris was near the door, he heard a knock. “Who will that be at this time?” he wondered. When he turned the doorknob and pushed the door open, he was taken aback by the person he saw. Her eyes were puffy and her hair was a mess.
“Mary!?” His eyes popped out. “What are you doing here?”
“Chris!!” She clenched onto him with all her power. “I am so sorry…….” She cried.
He was too surprised to react. The first thought rushed into his head. “Susan!!” He screamed inside his head… He took a step and closed the door as he heard footsteps coming from the bathroom.
“I am sorry……” screeched Mary. “After that night…….. I came to my senses in the morning….. and I found some photos in Tom’s phone………”
“There there……” Chris patted her back. “Please let go first, and then tell me what’s wrong.”
As Mary was about to let go of him, the door behind Chris opened. Lots of men like to watch girls fight, but that wasn’t going to be pretty for anyone, not even the male himself. Chris prayed for safety as their eyes met.
“You wh#re!!” Mary pointed at Susan.
“Chris? Why is she coming out from your house?” Mary screamed. “How could you do this to me?”
“Shut up.” Susan shouted. “He is the nicest person in the world.”
“You evil whore! First my boyfriend, and then my closest friend?” Her face started to turn red. “What have ever I done to you?”
“What have you done to you? Go ask your stupid boyfriend, he was the one who lied to me first!” Susan’s head was showing blood vessels. “And do you know what you have done to Chris!? Do you know how he loved you? How he cared about you? What he did to Tom to make him confess the affair?…….”
“Shut up!” Mary rolled up her sleeves and raised her fist.
“You wanna fight?” Susan clenched her fists. “Bring it on, wh#re.”
“Both of you stop it! Right now!!” Chris demanded as he stood between the two furious infernos.
“Fine!” Mary took a step back. “Defend her. Nobody is worth trusting anyway.” She ran away.
“Mary wait…….” Chris wanted to chase after her, but he looked backwards.
“Go.” Susan urged. “Don’t let her get away.”
“Are you really okay with this?”
“Just go. I am fine.” She gave him a push.
Chris ran for a few steps and headed back to her. He hugged her and whispered “Thank you” into her ears.
It was an easy job finding Mary because she always goes to the same place to sob. When Chris arrived at the pier, she was looking into the water with a blank face.
“Mary?” Chris whispered. “Are you okay?”
She looked up and recognized Chris. As she was trying to get up and leave, he grabbed her hand tightly.
“I am never letting you go again.” He said firmly. “Everything is going to be okay, Mary.”
“Leave me alone and be with that wh#re.” She said coldly.
“Just let me explain…………”
“ What’s more to explain?” She struggled. “She came out from your house? Isn’t she suppose to be your enemy?”
“No. It’s not like that. I saw her lying alone in the alley and…….”
“And you took her home, trying to be a nice person, gave her a bath and treated her breakfast. And then what? Start a relationship?”
Chris was speechless.
“All men are like that. Always needy, but never satisfied.” Mary sighed. “That’s why I ended things with Tom after that night…….”
“Yeah. After that horrible night, I went home and had a long sleep. In the morning, my senses came back and I thought things over…….”
“I am very sorry for what I said to you that night.”
“Don’t mind that.” Chris gave her an assuring smile. “You were not thinking straight that night.”
“Yeah. The finding out the truth that way was very painful.” She gave him a cold laugh.
“I am sorry you have to find out that way…….”
“Don’t be. There’s nothing wrong with doing the right thing.”
“Yeah.” He scratched his head.
The morning sunshine was softly caressing the surface of the water. The water was shimmering and reflecting the colour of the clear sky. Seagulls and birds were singing a lovely morning piece, water was gently hitting onto the shore.
“Hey.” Mary sat near him. “About what she said back at your house…..”
“Hmm?” Their eyes met.
“Something about……… You having feelings for me for a long time…….” She avoided eye contact.
Chris decided to be honest with himself this time. “Yes. I do have feelings for you.” He confessed. “I was heartbroken when I saw you kissing Tom every time. And I always blame myself for letting you go in the first place.”
She was taken aback by his honesty and was speechless.
He didn’t back down, he reached for her shoulders and shifted his face closer to hers.
“I am sorry….” She looked down. “For all this time. I didn’t know you are there for me…….”
He pressed his finger on her lips. “Shh. As long as you are happy, I am fine with it.”