Chapter 9 - I Love You, But

Beachside Apartments - 9 Sunsong Avenue, Greenland Bay

"Ding-dooonnnngggg, ding-dooonnnnggg!"

After immediately hearing the doorbell ring Josh walked briskly from the kitchen over to the front door to greet his girlfriend. The anticipation he experienced all day of knowing that he was going to see was enough to drive him crazy.
He was already in a good mood but his mood lifted even more the very moment he saw her and the moment they embraced in the entry way.

"I've missed you," he told her, smiling. His hand touching her hip. He stared back at her, first looking into her ocean blue eyes, then her nose, her lips, her small soft round chin, the way her naturally blonde hair fell over her shoulders covering her ears.

It was silly really but sometimes when he didn't see her for more than two weeks he felt like the young blonde girl he thought of in his mind was someone different, like a distorted picture of her that he couldn't make out.

"You always say that," she replied. Natasha had to admit though, it was nice to hear that she was missed. If there was one thing that made Natasha comfortable it was being the center of attention.

"How was your two weeks at Uni--actually don't answer that yet, lets go upstairs to my room and you can tell me all about it."

Josh took her hand and led her up the stairs to the second floor of the apartments. He always held her hand, it didn't matter where they were or what they were doing.
It was never a firm grasp of her hand, slightly loose, as if he was allowing her to release from his grasp if she choose to at any given moment. But she never did because she like they way he held her hand.

The second they walked into his room he cupped her face with his hands and tenderly kissed her. He had really missed her. Really, really missed her.

Two weeks had passed and Natasha told him she had a lot of classes, some even at night, one after the other. She said she had lots of studying to do and three field trips to go on with the rest of the class. Apparently, a lot of the field trips were in the first semester and if any of the students missed even one of the field trips it was noted as a negative mark against their grade for that semester.

They'd spoken over the phone many times but it wasn't the same, for Josh anyway. He didn't just want to hear her voice, he wanted to see her, feel her and hold her in his arms.

"Aghhhh, Josh! Noooooo!"  Natasha laughed loudly as he whisked her off her feet and tried throwing her onto the bed. His intentions were harmless and he was merely being playful with her.

"Put me down! Pleeeeaaase!"

"Alright, alright. Geez. I was only kidding but then if you're up for it you know I am too." He raised one eyebrow and gave her a cheeky grin.

Finally he let her drop gently onto the bed and Natasha immediately sat up settling in close to the foot of the bed. She shot him a look as if to say 'yeah right' and tried to smile but she wasn't in the best of moods.
She was nervous and scared and worried and so many other things at what she came here to tell him tonight. She stood up for a moment, smoothing out her ruffled clothing tucking her skirt under her bottom and then sat back down again.

"Alright, what's up? Was your two weeks at Uni that bad?" He asked her.

"No, it wasn't. It was okay. It was busy." She smoothed the front of her skirt this time, out over her legs. "I have so much study to do already, but I guess that's expected."

'Well, yeah. What did you think Uni was going to be about?" He smirked at her.
Josh knew he'd made the right decision in deferring Uni for a year. The thought of more study and more homework kind of gave him a headache, plus he wasn't exactly sure what he really wanted to study in the first place.

She looked around his room briefly before getting up and walking over to the large cork board he had hanging on his wall. It had lots of photos pinned to it. Some music articles, and small posters of musicians she didn't know playing their guitars. She wasn't just delaying what she wanted to tell him but she was also trying to figure out how to tell him.

After taking a deep breath she decided. "Josh, I don't know how to tell you this so I'm just going to come right out and say it. I want to have a break from us for a while."

"What do you mean? We have them all the time, two weeks here, a week there." He paused. "Do you want to go for longer?"

She took another deep breath. "Yes. I want it to be... permanent."

"So you want to break up? Is that what you're telling me?" She could hear the confused and slightly hurt tone in his voice already. And this is exactly what she wanted to avoid. She didn't want to hurt him. She loved him and cared for him, but she knew there was no other way.

She sighed and could feel the beginning of tears coming. She promised herself she wouldn't cry, it would be easier if she didn't, for them both.

"So do you want break up? Is that what you want?" He asked her again but she still didn't respond.

"Tash!" Josh shouted, surprised by the sudden rise of his own voice.

When she didn't respond or turn around he jumped up off the bed and walked over to her. "Tash, do you? Do you want to break up? You have to talk to me, I can't read your mind you know. You have to tell me what your thinking because I don't know! You never talk to me Tash, why?"

"Agghh! I don't know, alright! I'm sorry!" She said throwing her hands up in frustration as if it would help her to find the words that she need to articulate her reason to him. "It's complicated," was all she finally come out with.

"Of course it is." He quickly added.

"What is that suppose to mean?"

"Nothing, just that it's complicated. Everything is always complicated. Life is complicated!"

"So do you or don't you want to break up with me?" Josh couldn't believe that she wasn't able to give him a straight answer. What was stopping her from saying yes or no?

She looked up from staring at the floor and gazed directly back into his deep blue eyes, "Yes, I do."

The words came out loud and clear. She'd made her decision and she'd given him an answer, just not the answer he was hoping for.

"Um, o..o.okay."

Natasha could hear the hurt in his voice and just seeing the look on his face was beginning to upset her. It made her want to run away and cry. This is not what she wanted, she didn't want to hurt him but out of the two of them he was always the one who was going to get hurt.

 "So, can I asked why? Is there someone else? Do you not love with me, is that it? Because I still love you."

Natasha took a couple of steps over to Josh's dresser. She frustrating fiddled with the clip in her hair. How was she going to explain why when she wasn't even all that sure herself. It was just something that she needed to do for herself at this very moment in her life.

"Yes, no, aghh..."

"What... ?"

"Yes you can ask why! No, there is not someone else! And yes I still love you but... it's complicated Josh. I'm so sorry, I didn't want to hurt you. But yes I love you! YES I LOVE YOU, OKAY!" She repeated loudly. She was literally on the edge of tears now and it was taking all her strength to hold them back.

"So if you love me then why do you want to break up?" Josh couldn't understand it. He couldn't understand her. He knew something like this might have been simmering at the surface of their relationship for a while but in a million years he never thought she would want to break up with him. And the fact that she still loved him, it didn't make sense in Josh's mind.

"I just need some time by myself. I don't know why I need this but it's just the way I've been feeling lately." She could still see the confused and hurt expression on his face. "I'm sorry Josh. It's not that I don't want to be with you, I do but just not.. right.. now.. in my life."

She walked over to him and took his hands in her's, so that this time she was holding his hands, but he pulled them back. Her heart sank when he did this and that was when the tears started to flow.

"Josh please." She began to cry. "I didn't intend for this to happen. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, okay!" Tears were now streaming down her perfectly pink blushed cheeks. She couldn't stop them.

She moved forward and hugged him and she felt him lift his arms up and wrap them around her. "I'm so sorry," she said again still crying.

"So you just want to be by yourself for a while, is that all?"

"Yes." She sobbed. "I need some me time--and not the type where I go get a manicure or a facial or have my hair done. I think it's time that I need to discover who I am, who I want to be. Are you able to understand that?"

"Yeah, I guess. Sort of."

She kissed him on the cheek. "I do love you Josh. I think you're amazing. You are like the most sweetest and most caring guy I have ever meet, and sometimes I think I don't deserve you. I know you've given me your all, I know, and I'm sorry that I haven't done the same in return but I think it's because I don't know who I am yet. Do you know what I mean? It's just so hard to explain. But I just have this urge, this feeling to be on my own for a while."

Josh nodded.

"I don't want us to break up, I really don't! But for me to do this, this, whatever I am doing, I cannot be with you while I do it."

"So, um, are we seeing other people then?"

The words just came out and he could see she was surprised by his question. Josh wasn't sure why he asked this. It was valid though, but then he didn't really want to see other people, or did he? He didn't really know. All he knew was that he was still madly in love with her.

"I don't know Josh. That is not my intention but if we're not together then, maybe? I really don't know. If you feel like you want to then I won't hold it against you, because technically we aren't actually together, but..."

The end of her sentence hung in the air. She really wanted to tell him no. She wanted to be completely selfish and say that he couldn't see other girls, or hold them in his arms, or even kiss them. But she knew she couldn't control what he was going to do now that they weren't together.

"But what?" He finally said.

She sighed heavily and wiped the tears from her cheeks. "I don't know the rules to this Josh. It's all new to me too, you know. I'm just going with my gut feeling. I'm sorry. I know this is hurting you but it's hurting me too."

"Maybe I should go."

Josh didn't say anything. He just kind of stood there, his feet feeling heavy as if they were glued to the carpet. And it wasn't until she brushed past him and he got a whiff of that perfume she always wore, Chanel something-or-other, and started walking towards his bedroom door that he knew this might be the last time he'd be with her again.

"Natasha... wait," he walked up to her and firmly held her in his arms. Neither of them spoke, instead they kissed for a long time. It wasn't a full on passionate kiss, more like a long lingering goodbye kiss. Their lips touching for what felt like an eternity to Natasha but for Josh only seconds.

They're blue eyes met briefly as they broke from their kiss. He could see she was still upset, her eyes, they were still teary. He always thought she had beautiful eyes. He always thought she was beautiful. He always thought they would be together forever.

Then she slipped out of his embrace and walked out of his room for the last time.
"I hope that you can forgive me and that we can still be friends, it would really mean a lot to me if we could."

Friends. The word that every boy dreads hearing when they have feelings for a girl. But Josh didn't just have 'feelings' for Natasha, he was madly in love with her and right now thinking whether they could still remain friends didn't even cross his mind.

And then, just like that, she was gone. Out of his arms, out of his room and quite possibly out of his life. He heard her footsteps down the stairs and then the front door close. He wasn't sure how long he stood there for but suddenly he felt alone, confused and sad all at the same time.

How long would they be broken up for? Did she really want to see other people? Did he not give enough in their relationship? Was he too clinging with her? Should he have given her some space? So many questions ran through Josh's mind that he knew neither one of them would be able to answer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mitchell Residence - 130 Redwood Pkway, Greenland Bay

Roger Mitchell was in the lounge room with his feet up watching the weather channel when he heard a car roll up unexpectedly in their driveway.

"Honey, I thought Jon and April weren't coming around till 3.30?" he called out to his wife who was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Bridget was preparing for guests later that evening. They would be entertaining their long time friends, Jon and April Hamilton, parents of Natasha's best friend Madison.

"Oh, don't tell me they've arrived early. Our entree is only half way through cooking!"

Roger rose from the couch and walked over to the window. Peering out he recognized the white Volkswagen Beetle that was parked opposite their car in the driveway, it was their daughter's car. "False alarm honey, it's Natasha. Did you know she was visiting?"

But before his wife could answer their daughter came bursting through the front door. She saw her father and ran straight up to him and into his arms.

She was crying uncontrollably and lucky for Natasha she was wearing waterproof mascara, and I guess lucky for Roger too as he was the one being cried upon, though considering the circumstances I don't think he would have minded too much having black smears of mascara all over his hood top.

"I told him daddy, I told him!" Natasha wailed in her fathers arms. "I feel so horrible, you should have seen his face!" She said between loud sobs and sniffs. "He's going to hate me isn't he?!"

"There, there, sweetheart." Roger soothed. He knew exactly what she was so upset about and he knew it was her doing and not Josh's. Although he was feeling for his daughter right now he also wondered how Josh was taking it.

"Sweetheart, he isn't going to hate you, but he will need some time to mend."

"Oh daddy, I hope I've done the right thing!" She cried.

Roger knew this was the decision his daughter had made all by herself. He was proud of her, so was her mother Bridget. She came to them one night and discussed it with both of them, hoping for some advice on how to tackle it, making it easier. But Roger already knew that breaking up or having someone break up with you was never going to be easy.
It was heartache and heartache was possibly one of the most painful things to ever experience and recover from in your life.

>>Chapter 10 - Thrice Blessed

Jennifer  – (26 January, 2014)  

Only a couple of things to mention...

No actual tears unfortunately. I think I lost my PS action for those months ago in between transferring data from my old laptop to my new one. Oh well.

Also I could curse myself for Josh's top matching the colour of his bedroom walls. Agh. What can you do tho. Sometimes I find changing their clothes sooooo tedious. lol

Anyways, that's all. Hope enjoy & thanks for reading!

somewhereoverthesimbow  – (31 January, 2014)  

Aww shucks! They were so cute together! But I'm excited to see where they go from here, I can see Natasha regretting it and realizing it a little to late! Can't wait for your next update :D xo

Jennifer  – (01 February, 2014)  

Hi Simbow!

They were, but this is not officially the end for them. ;) Natasha probably will later on, knowing her, but she has Uni life to keep her distracted from the heartbreak I guess. We will see how Josh is coping in the next update.

Thanks for reading & commenting! <3

Florian –   – (10 February, 2014)  

Hi Jennifer! Loved your story, I litterally spent all my weekend reading the five parts of The Drifter ! Sad about Claire's death but I think Natasha and Joshua's break-up was way overdue, ever since high school.

Also noticed that Joshua is fluent in French haha ! I am French actually so if you ever need him to speak French in your story, I'm there ;)

Jennifer  – (11 February, 2014)  

Hi Florian, nice to meet you!

Aww, really, oh my gosh, that's awesome, thank you!! I hope you enjoyed it!

Yes Claire's death was rather sudden and the reason being is because I have other plans for Reece. *wink wink*

Haha, true. I'm sure Margo would agree with you on Josh & Tash's break up being overdue. ;)
He really does love her though so he was willing to put up with her the way she is but Tash obviously had her own ideas.

Oh I will definitely keep that in mind!

Thanks so much for reading & commenting! XD

Florian –   – (12 February, 2014)  

Yes, I've loved it all ! I thought the story was a bit slow at first but I didn't mind ! And I actually think the main focus on the teens now is a great idea !

Also I have a few questions !
Will we get to see Margo again in the next chapters ?
Will we see Natasha at Uni ? I'd like to see her making new acquaintances, perhaps a new love interest?!
And last but not least, is there something going on between Josh and Madison ? I think they would be great together, but then it'd totally mess up the whole group-of-friends dynamic

Jennifer  – (21 February, 2014)  

Hi again Florian! Seriously, have you secretly been hacking into my computer and reading my notes for Pt 5? ..just kidding but geez you are not far off on some of the questions you have asked! ;)

Yes I'm sure the first couple of parts were a bit slow. lol I think I have improved a lot since then! ;) I have to admit I absolutely love writing about the teens, it can be challenging but it's super fun at the same time.

Yes yes YES, we will see Margo in the coming chapters. :)

I'm not sure yet about showing Tash at Uni. I have thought about this, we will have to wait and see. Depends how much time I have.

My lips are sealed on that one! Haha. Again, you will have to wait and see. ;)

Thanks for stopping by again Florian. XD

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