What is it you want from me? I asked. I mean, really want from me?
Nothing, Francis said. I don’t want anything.
I folded my arms and crinkled my eyes.
Fine, Francis said. I want you to stop ghosting me.
We talk, and then you disappear, she said. What the fuck is up with that?
I didn’t know you felt…
Yes, you did. Don’t fucking gaslight me.
I held my hands in front of my body. I wanted to make sure you knew what you wanted. It appears you do.
So you were playing games with my emotions?
Of course not, I said before I realized she had a good point. I’ve been hurt one too many times.
Not ready for a relationship? she said.
I blew out my lips. I wanted to be sure.
And now you’re sure?
It’s like this, I’m not single.
I fucking knew it. I just knew it, Francis said, rubbing her temples as she paced a few steps before me. Who is she?
Me. I’m in love with me. I’m not ready for this.
That’s a new one, Francis said. It’s kind of a turn on, actually.
No, dear, I said. You don’t get it. I’m in love with me. Meaning, I love my personal time, and being selfish is a pastime. Sure, I give to charity and help at food banks, but I want to watch what I want to watch or go where I want to go, and I don’t want random arguments over nothing or anything.
Even more of a turn on.
I covered my eyes. I’ve tried to make this as simple as possible: I want to fucking marry you. I cupped Francis’s cheeks and kissed her over and over again until Francis settled in my arms, letting out a soft sigh I was sure she didn’t know existed.