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The party broke up after dessert, and Ashley and I got into her car, ready to go home. After a short while of uncomfortable silence, the talking began.
“So…” Ashley began, “What, um… what’s wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong, per se. I guess I just realized that there’re a lot of… loose ends.”
“Us,” I replied.
“Well, why don’t we tie them, then?”
“It’s easier said than done.” And it was.
“Is this about the, um… the relationship thing?” she asked. I hadn’t expected her to blatantly recognize it, but now that it was out there, I wasn’t going to lie to her.
“Yeah.” She didn’t say anything in response, and the rest of the 5 minutes we had left in the car were spent in silence. When we arrived at the building, we got into the elevator, just like we’d done the previous two nights.
“Well… what do you think about it?” she finally asked, breaking the silence.
“The relationship thing.”
“It doesn’t really matter what I think,” I told her. “It takes 2 people to be in a relationship.” I guess she was thinking this over as we arrived at her apartment; she looked like she was in a daze, and she almost walked into a wall. I didn’t really think this conversation was going anywhere right now, so I switched topics over to my impending departure.
“Well, my flight leaves at 1 tomorrow afternoon,” I declared.
“Okay. So… I’ll drive you to the airport at, like…11?”
“I think it might be better if my dad drives me.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Because I don’t think I want to be hysterically crying when I check in for my flight,” I admitted with a slight laugh. She smiled for the first time since the bathroom episode.
“Do you have work tomorrow?”
“Yeah. Not until around 3, though.”
“Good… we’ll have a couple hours together tomorrow, then,” I said. She grinned again and walked over, taking a seat next to me on the couch. “Can we, um… can we talk more about this? I mean, about us?” So much for wanting to change the topic.
“Okay,” she replied.
“I guess… I guess I’m just confused. I mean, we both agree that we’ve pretty much gone back to how we used to be… which is a good thing. And the way that we both acted tonight… it was like we were a couple. But then I remember that you don’t want a relationship. And that we live 3,000 miles away from each other.”