After finding out that her boyfriend of 7 years has been cheating on her, Rose packed her things and headed straight to the airport.
She could not deal with the stress of many missed calls from worried relatives and friends who „could not believe he would do such a thing,a young man like him…“. Their overly convincing voices played over and over in her head.
She did think something was suspicious even before they moved in together,but whatever it was, she decided to ignore it when they found a perfect flat with the view of the big green park in the centre of the city.
Of course, her parents were always happy with him,coming from a respected family, well mannered and highly educated with bright future ahead of him.
They spent her last year in university away from each other. He got internship straight after college and had to move away to a different country. „Not a problem,we will still talk every day and I will visit every month or two“ He was always convincing and quick to brush off her jealousy as a „thing that women learn in silly magazines and not something a modern independant woman should feel in a serious relationship“. Even though he had a wondering eye, even though he never mentioned any of his ‘good female friends from college’ until their names popped up on caller ID and even though he never left his laptop unattended, she believed him. Believed his charming smile, well thought out sentences and unbeatable rationality.
All that had an expiration date apparently, for when she decided to visit him in his workplace one day, Rose got a mental slap in the face.
You see,she wanted to surprise him with his favourite writers unpublished new novel. A very thoughtful and clever idea, at the time. She had to pull many strings to get her hands on that book and just in time for the day when he was about to get a promotion.
She put on an expensive short dress with thin straps in the back, made entirely out of fine silk, in the colour of deep burgundy. His gift for her last birthday. He really liked all shades of red, so she thought this would be a perfect thing to put on (and off,mind you) when he gets promoted.
She packed his gift in lovely black velvet box and wrote a sweet note that she tucked in between the creases.
Rose felt a bit nervous because it was her first time entering his workplace but it was a good kind of nervous,the one that warms your heart with anticipation.
With the entering card in hand, which she got from a nice doorman who recognised her name, she slowly opened the door of the corridor which led to his office.
It was lunch time so no one was there. Rose slowly walked on the carpet which muffled her steps until she got to the door with his name on it. She opened it slowly and found herself in a corridor like waiting room. Then she used the card to quietly open the office door.
And there he was.
Leaning over a red haired bombshell.
Now when she rolled her suitcase furiously, the scenes that happened a few hours ago were blurred and overlapping. Her hair that she previously curled and pinned to one side so carefully, was messy and fell freely on her back. The makeup was now smudged and half gone with the help of a few wet wipes. The red silky dress had a slight tear on the side.
She took the first ticked available. The destination did not really matter to her, just a quick getaway.
Once in the airplane,she wrote a message to her mother not to call or disturb her, that she went away on a little vacation.
The flight was not long,but to Rose it felt like days. All alone, not being able to pace or scream to a wall made her,if possible, even more nervous.
But finally she did arrive.
Ireland is a gorgeous country and Dublin could probably offer her a great deal of fun and exploration, but since she wanted something more quiet, she rented a beautiful modern cottage in the nature. The cottage was built on the cliffs, away from the city,people and noise. It was made of out wood,with big windows overlooking the sea. It had a big gorgeous front porch that reminded her of sitting there with him, drinking hot chocolate and wriggling her fingers in fluffy socks. The thought made her sick in her stomach.
She left her suitcase half unpacked in the master bedroom on the top floor, plaited her hair in a long plait and changed in leggings and baggy tunic.
And then she poured herself a glass of wine.
She had never usually drunk alcohol before. Not even on parties. A virgin mojito was her staple drink.
But now she needed something to help her sleep.
The next morning,she had a glass of white wine for breakfast with a pear on the side.
For lunch, she had a red wine and some chocolate.
She entirely skipped dinner and went straight to bed.
Same with the day after and the day after that.
All that time, her phone was off. She did wonder if he had called her or worried about her,but that kind of thoughts just made her angry and ended up in her burning the red silky dress.
A week has passed.
The weather got worse as it started to rain heavily and the temperatures got lower. Winter was coming slowly.
One cold and rainy evening when she,again, had a bit too much to drink,Rose heard a knock on the door.
It was strange for someone to be knocking at that hour,but her fuzzy brain did not think so at the time.
In her baggy clothing,with her hair in a messy plait, she dragged herself to the door.
On her wet,slippery porch, there was a tall figure ducking under its arms to protect itself from the rain.
It was a young man,holding a weekend bag.
His hair was on the short side,windswept and sprayed with tiny drops of rain. And it was snowy white.
Rose looked at him in confusion as he towered over her. He said something about rain and being lost so she let him in.
Even in her alcoholic daze,she noticed that he was beautiful. Piercing blue eyes, softly chiseled facial features and plump lips looked slightly disproportional to his height.
She let him stay in the guest bedroom downstairs.
The pounding in her head woke her up the next day. She got up and went down to drink some water and take some painkillers.
As she drank the water,she noticed the brown leather bag in the corner of the living room.
Her brows furrowed.
And then she remembered the man from the night before.
In the surprise of her own stupidity and lack of caution, she dropped the glass and it shattered on the wooden floor.
Rose crouched carefully,so she could collect the pieces of glass when she heard a gentle voice.
„Did I hear a glass shatter? Do you need help?“
She flinched and rose up so quickly that she did not notice pricking her finger on a shard.
The man quickly crossed the room and took a paper napkin to stop the bleeding.
Rose could not stop staring at his eyes.
„Who are you?“- she said in a hoarse voice
„My name is Sebastian.“- he smiled – „Thank you for letting me stay here. I was nearly doomed yesterday“
„I’m Grey“- she muttered,still very serious. She did not want to give him her real name,out of caution and this was the first thing she thought of -„Silly“.
They talked briefly how he had a reservation in a hotel not far from here,but it somehow got cancelled and how his taxi was already gone and how he had to walk in the rain before seeing the cottage lights in the distance.
He helped her collect the pieces and as she realised what she looked(and probably smelled like),she ran to the bathroom,locked the door of the bedroom twice and took a shower.
She let Sebastian stay even though her brain told her to call him a cab and send him away.
Somehow,his presence calmed her. He told her funny stories about his family and how he got to be where he was. She told him about her internship and about her hobbies. He did not mention what exactly his job was and she thought it was rude to ask.
Apparently,he was 25. That made him two years older than her.
They talked into the night and ended up falling asleep half seated on the couch.
As Rose woke up and realised that she was sleeping close to him,she blushed. It was such a funny reaction that she smiled to herself. After a while, she called for some food to be delivered and after Sebastian woke up,they enjoyed a warm breakfast.
Rose realised this was the first real food she had in a week.
„So,if you don’t mind me asking,why would you come here all alone? „- he asked her while munching on a piece of toast
„Um… I just needed some quiet time. That’s all.“
„I see“- he smiled. He had an unusual, crooked smile. It made his face even more interesting.
„Why don’t you wear your hair down?“- he lifted her heavy,dark braid
The question left her flustered a bit as she mumbled- „It’s just more practical like this“.
That afternoon it finally stopped raining so they went to explore the surrounding nature. The sound of sea clashing to stones could be heard as the wind grazed their cheeks.
Rose tucked herself a bit more in her light jacket.
Sebastian looked at her for a moment and then took off his big scarf and wrapped it around her.
„Oh calm down. Did you not know where you were going when you packed or something? That thing “-he pinched her sleeve- „will not keep you warm“.
„So what are you suggesting?“- she raised her voice, annoyed that he reminded her why she was there in the first place.
And suddenly, he lifted her into his arms and ran towards the cottage.
To her surprise, she laughed wholeheartedly as he carried her.
Once they were inside, Rose made some excuse and went to her bedroom. Her cheeks were flushed and she felt hot in her chest.
„Why was she feeling like this“ -she shook her head. And as she did it,her hair unplaited itself and fell loosely down her back.
She walked towards the big mirror in the bedroom.
In the reflection there was a pale girl standing sheepishly with her dark hair almost reaching her bellybutton. She caught herself thinking about Sebastian standing behind her and hugging her from the back. She imagined his light hair grazing her cheeks as he bends over to kiss her neck.
Rose noticed her red face in the mirror and quickly turned around.
After she changed her clothes,she went downstairs.
„Ha! Your hair,I like it“- he flashed a toothy smile
Rose realised that she had left her hair unplaited by accident.
As the evening grew darker and colder, they tucked themselves into big warm blankets and talked about their lives and previous journeys.
Rose found herself liking this odd, white haired stranger whom she knew nothing about.
They ate some liquor chocolates that she had previously bought and laughed to each other’s stories.
„You have a little-„ – Sebastian smiled and reached out his hand.
Softly, he touched her upper lip.
His warm touch sent a chill down her spine that made her whole body shudder.
She moved a little bit closer to Sebastian, unconsciously wanting to feel his touch again.
He looked Rose deep in the eyes and responded by coming closer to her.
They were inches from each other and he could feel her breath quicken. Sebastian touched her hair with his left hand and removed a few lost strands from her face.
He felt her hesitantly reducing the distance between them more and more until he felt her tender lips on his own.