Julian was still bruised and sore from his accident, but his bruises weren’t as black anymore. But, even as his bruises were fading, and the pain slowly subsiding, it pained him to think about the new bruises he caused on his and Jeannette’s relationship. When he woke up the next morning, he was still angry. But, now, he was only angry with himself. He understood that all of it was his fault. He couldn’t blame her or the other guy because they wouldn’t have been in this situation if it weren’t for him. Despite what he felt, and whose fault it was, he wanted to make one thing clear with Jeannette: they were meant to be together, and he would go through whatever they need to go through to make things right.
He was so glad it was a Saturday because that meant Jeannette would be at home. After a cold shower, he called a cab and took a ride to the Courtyard Lane neighborhood of Willow Creek. When he arrived at Brook Bungalow, he hopped out, marched up the steps, and banged on the door ferociously. She answered the door with her brow furled.
“Julian! What in the world is wrong?”
He saw the guy she was with in the park sitting on the couch behind her.
“What’s HE doing here?”
“Oh, this is–
“I don’t care who he is! You don’t need him, Jeannette! He’s a plumhead, and you know it!”
She raised an eyebrow, and the plumhead did too. She chuckled a little and joined Mr. Plumhead on the couch as she anticipated an excellent performance by Mr. J. Pruett himself. Julian followed her and joined them.
“We were meant to be together, Jeannette! He can’t give you Juliette! Juliette belongs with you and me! I don’t want our family to be hypothetical anymore either. I want it to be real!”
“Julian, you’re making–
“HE is a plumhead…but I’ve been one too. I didn’t realize who you were and what you meant to me before. I’ve been blind just like you said, and I was looking for something I already had, and I’m sorry. I am SO sorry for ignoring you and making you feel invisible. You deserve more than that! Can you forgive me?”
She rolled her eyes and said, “Are you done?”
A smirk snuck up on the plumhead’s face. He had to turn away to hide his laughter.
“No, I’m not! I love you, Jeannette! I have for a while, but I just didn’t know it. Or, maybe I knew, but I didn’t want to know it. I had the wrong idea of what love is, and I just didn’t recognize it. When we’re together, I feel like time stands still, and I never want our time together to end. I care about what you think more than anyone else in the world. You run around in my head all day and night, and I couldn’t stop thinking about you if I tried! I tried when I was with Rose, and I couldn’t do it! I worry about you when I don’t hear from you! I’ve been in agony all this time we’ve been apart, and I couldn’t stop worrying about if you were safe, happy, and in good health. HE doesn’t care about you like I care about you! If you tell him to leave right now, I promise I will be everything you’ve always wanted me to be because I want to be that guy. I’m ready to be that guy now. I AM that guy!”
“Are you done now?”
“Jeannette, please!! Don’t do this! Don’t let this man get inside your head! I know I don’t deserve a second chance…but give me one anyway! I’m begging you! Don’t make the mistake I made! Letting you go was a mistake! True…I didn’t know it at the time, but it was still a mistake. You don’t want to do this!”
Jeannette and the plumhead sat there in amazed silence with their eyebrows raised waiting for him to finish what he had to say.
“Can I talk now,” she said in a calmer voice.
“Yes! Please say something!”
“Julian…I appreciate you coming over here and telling me all of this. It took you long enough! But…I’m not giving him up…”
“Jeannette, no! You’re making a–
“HEY! It’s my turn to talk! Let me finish,” she yelled. “I’ve known him a lot longer than I’ve known you. We’ve been through a lot of tough times together, and while I was here sulking about you, he was here comforting me. I love this man.”
Tears were welling up in Julian’s eyes as his heart began to break.
“Jeannette, please,” he cried. “Please don’t do this to me.”
“I can’t choose between you! He’s not going anywhere.”
“Ok, Jeannette,” the plumhead finally said. “He’s starting to look suicidal. You’ve had your fun with this. Please put him out of his misery!”
“What’s he talking about,” Julian asked.
“Ok, fine,” Jeannette said with a mischievous smile. “Julian…I love him, and he’s not going anywhere because…he’s my brother!”
“Hi, Julian,” the brother said and extended his hand. “I’m Allen, the plumhead.”
“Your brother? Jumping freezer bunnies!! I’m so sorry I called you a plumhead!”
“It’s ok. Your girlfriend here is a reeeeeal goofball. I bet you didn’t know that.”
“No! I didn’t. How come I’ve never met you?”
“I work 4-11 after school, and I have a lot of extracurricular activities on the weekends. We’ve probably just been missing each other all this time,” Allen said.
“Ohhh, ok. I didn’t realize you were that young. Well…forgive me for saying so, but…you guys don’t look anything alike!”
“Yeah, we get that all the time,” Jeannette said. “He is the spitting image of his father, and I look like mom.”
“I am super embarrassed right now! You got me, Jeannette. You got me good! I guess I deserved that.”
“Yes. Yes you did,” she said.
“It was nice to finally meet you, Julian,” Allen said. “I feel like I already know you because she talks about you allllll the time. You make her so happy. Oh, and you better be glad you finally came around because I was gonna come find you a knock some sense in your head when she started being miserable!”
“Sure you were, little brother,” Jeannette said. “Let’s go upstairs, Julian.”
“Yeah…you guys go up there and make up and suck face and stuff, he he he.”
“Shut up, weasel!”
Julian and Jeannette headed up the stairs. Their house was fairly basic. There was the master bed and bathroom upstairs and another bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room downstairs. Jeannette open the door to her mother’s room and showed Julian in.
“Jeannette, I’m so–
“Stop talking,” she commanded as she yanked him into her arms.
As she kissed his lips, there were fireworks. Real fireworks. These fireworks were greater than anything Julian ever felt with Rose. It felt so good to be in the arms of someone who loved him, and better yet…someone he loved. They kissed passionately, and time really felt like it was standing still. No one and nothing else existed–not even the room they were standing in. Everything was spinning. This kiss that previously only existed in their minds was long overdue, and they had no qualms about making up the time.
When the world around them stopped spinning, and the room began to reappear, Julian opened his eyes to the realization that she was squeezing him a bit too hard.
“Owww,” he said quietly.
She gasped and said, “Oooh, I’m sorry! I forgot about your bruises. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s ok. If being in yours arms means I have to be in pain for a while, I’ll take the pain!”
Jeannette stood there smiling as she gazed into his eyes. She couldn’t believe they were finally in this place. It was like a dream, and she just knew she was going to wake up any moment. But, she hoped with every pixel of her being that she wouldn’t. She let Julian go as the magic of the moment ended. Julian felt stiff and tried stretching, but even that was painful.
“Oh! I think my mom has some of those muscle relaxing bath soaks. If you think it would help, I’m sure my mom won’t mind if you took some.”
“Hmmm….Does she have enough to fill a hot tub,” he flirted.
“Oh, Julian,” she laughed. “What am I to do with you?”
“Whatever you wish, m’lady.”
She was still so amazed by everything she couldn’t even respond to him and just stood there smiling. The sum of all the years he spent flirting with her did not equate to even half of the feeling she had in that moment. No longer did she have to decipher what he meant or even think about if he really meant it. No more awkward moments of desire being met with emptiness. No more internal debates. No more beating herself up. From now on, they were going to be open and honest with each other. From here on out, as long as nothing else crazy happens, it’s all about love love love.