*Warning: this chapter contains mentions of a panic attack and sexual harassment.*
I couldn't stop thinking about him. By him, I really should have been referring to Dan.
'Just turn around, it's not like you've gone far, go back, before Taylor leaves-'
I kept walking.
My thoughts wouldn't let him go though, every step growing increasingly difficult as I mulled over that hour of bliss I'd abandoned- the way his face had lit up at the presents with a childlike pleasure, the silly milk moustache, and his laugh. Something uncurled inside of me at the rich sound ringing in my ears. The sensation blossomed and spilt over me like a private ray of sunshine amongst the dull clouds, even when I considered how similar to my own laugh Taylor's had been, unlike any laugh that I'd heard from a guy before...
"Are you getting on this bus love?" My head jerked around to see an old woman stood beside me. Although my mind was on Taylor, at least my feet had the right idea.
"Oh yeah, but you can go first."
She smiled up at me from beneath a red floppy-brimmed hat, the scent of lavender and roses trailing after her as she wandered onto the bus.
As I went down the aisle, I caught her eye, though all the nearby seats were filled, so I headed to the back. Everyone was doing their best to ignore whoever was cramped beside them, apart from a bunch of middle aged women at the front filling the silence with chatter about the best time to plant spring bulbs. I retrieved my earphones, sacrificing several minutes to untangling them before I could even connect them into my phone. I scrolled past the playlists of Taylor's recommendations, searching for something that I listened to before he took over my music taste (and my life). My finger found an old playlist I'd almost forgotten about, lips twitching as I started listening. Passenger never failed to bring a smile to my face-like Taylor.
'Stop. Thinking. About. Him.'
I closed my eyes and rested my head back into my fluffy hood, trying to erase all my thoughts to the music that floated into my head.
''But if you find someone that doesn't try to change you,
If you find someone that doesn't have to blame you,
If you find someone you don't need to explain to,
You've found the one you love."
My eyes snapped open.
'They're just lyrics. Lyrics that happen to fit with him- what am I doing here?'
I glanced around wildly, catching sight of the rugby pitch, its edge still glimmering with frost.
'And be careful my dear,
Cos the very thing that makes you,
Could be the thing that breaks you.'
Upon hearing those words, I remembered precisely why I had to keep my boyfriend, friends and family believing that my aura of perfection wasn't just an allusion.
Although the mist around town had faded now it was nearing midday, the air still felt dull. The overcast sky left the street looking bleak, mirroring the sombre sounds of the next song that had come on-Damien Rice, this time.
'Pathetic fallacy- when the writer makes the weather reflects the mood of the story,' I mused, trying not to think of the fact that Taylor would know exactly what I was talking about, whereas Dan would just say: "Pathetic what?"
Mud encrusted gravel crackled beneath my feet as I skirted around the packed car park and cut through a section of trees to the edge of the pitch. This time last year, I'd spent every match weekend here; I'd only attended one other match since the season began. As I walked, I grew aware of the thundering footsteps that grew closer. In a blur of striped shirts and bulky limbs, the home team passed me by.
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