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"Hey, I'm sorry if it's early." I heard Vincenzo's voice on the other line.
"Morning." I greeted groggily. I didn't sleep well, not with the brand new braids heavy on my head.
"You need a ride." Vincenzo states, it's not a question at all. I took the phone away from my ear and looked at the date. I jumped out of bed, scalp stinging with force.

"Oh- I mean- yeah yeah, I was going to ask Serena to drop me off- she has a doctor's appointment, So we were going to go together.," I said, refusing to focus on the idea that he knew my course schedule.

"Okay." He said, and I expected to hear the line cut off, but it doesn't. I couldn't even hear breathing, but the line was still connected. I strained to hear anything, but nothing came through.
"Vincenzo?" I asked, and it's a muffled voice that answers.
"Yes." He says against his pillow, probably. I press my face against my pillow. I inhaled my scent and frowned wishing I had woken up in Vincenzo's bed surrounded by his masculine scent mixed in with the intoxicating clean honey scent of his hair.

"You didn't hang up," I said quietly.  I remembered Vienna's words. "2 years ago, I realized that if you say a sentence that sounds even remotely close to a goodbye, he'll leave."

"No, I didn't."

I could feel my body heat up at the tone of his voice.
"Do you have something you want to say?" I asked and hated the unpleasantness in my voice.
"Yes, I do."
Warmth settled inside me.

"Okay," I say, imitating his tone from earlier.
"Did I say something to upset you?" Vincenzo asked suddenly as if he'd been thinking about how to phrase the question.

I thought back to his words to her, and his 'I love you.'  My heart pangs, but I refuse to let myself dwell on it or Vincenzo.
"No," I responded, maybe a little later than I wanted to.
"Okay." He repeats, and The line is quiet again.

My hand hovers over the end call button.
I told myself I would distance myself from Vincenzo.
"Do you want to make out?" He asked suddenly, and my breath hitches.
"- like right now?" I asked, and he takes some time to reply.
"In 30." He says, and I rolled over on my bed.
"Can't promise 30," I said, thinking about the obstacles I would have to go through to look pretty now from my grotesque morning form.
" then we will have to reschedule, and I have pl-" he began, but I cut in.

"I'll be there in 30."

The promise of meeting Vincenzo's lips sent an adrenaline rush through my whole body. Everything was done with newfound haste until I looked down at my toner and then at myself in the mirror.

"What am I doing?" I asked myself, putting my hands on the sinks, steadying myself.
"You're running back to Vincenzo... like an idiot. He's sick, and he's probably a sociopath. He's going to drag you down to hell or even worse prison."

I slowed down to clean and moisturize my face.
I decided I just won't go.
I'm a semi-adult. I can control my urges.
I sat at the edge of my bed, fully dressed, looking at the seconds' tick by.

I remembered when our lips had met on this same bed, the rush of absolute ecstasy as I felt his slow, steady heartbeat against my racing one.

I began pacing, and before the actions even registered in my brain, I was speeding down the stairway.
My father was calling my name loudly.
"I'm gonna miss my bus." I insisted back as I sped out the door.
He follows me to the door, and when I turn to look at him, there's an unsettling look of utter despair on his face.

My father only had two emotions, and sadness was not one of them, so I hesitated for a second slowed down and then turned to look at him one more time before speeding up the street.

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