LCTM Chapter 14

    ZoŽ awoke the next morning on a soft low-lying couch. Her head was groggy, and it took her a few moments to realize she was back at their apartment. It was cloudy, like last night, and light drizzle could be seen through the large patio doors. The cats huddled on the floor near the couch ZoŽ was residing on, and mewed affectionately at her, the moment she moved the slightest bit. Out of the corner of her scrunched eyes, she saw something move to face her, and under further inspection, she found it was Shang, and he did not look happy.

    Ah, buggery hell... ZoŽ thought. He was staring intently at her, dark eyebrows knitted with scrutiny. He was sitting in his black boxers, and white Nike shirt. His hands were balled into fists of anger, but she could tell he was worried; his eyes had told her. His eyes told her everything he could not. Like, how worried he was, how much he wished to protect her, or how deeply he loved, and cared for her. ZoŽ groaned.

    I can't take this. I'm supposed to be mad at him, not wanting to apologize for something he started. Latte meowed, and nuzzled her head.

    "How'd I get here?" She braved a question after a few moments of uncomfortable silence.

    "Ms. Nemui called me last night after you passed fell asleep on her couch." He said nothing more for a few small seconds, but continued. "I was worried about you."

    ZoŽ felt like crying, but refused. Shang didn't wait for her to reply, but continued, and glanced at the cats.

    "You don't have any idea how worried I was. I thought something terrible had happened. Whatís wrong ZoŽ? Why'd you do this?" he raised his head to meet my eyes with his own. The black, obsidian depths were too much, and ZoŽ had to divert her eyes under his scrutiny.

    "You think I wouldn't find out? I figured it out. I figured out what you couldn't tell me Shang. And it hurt. It hurt that you would keep a secret from me." She finished the last part silently, as a fluid tear dropped from her cheek to the floor.

    She could hear Shang's in-take of breath. "Oh lord ZoŽ... I didn't meanÖ I was going to..." He was at an utter loss for words. He never expected her to find out before he could tell her. He kept convincing himself, he would tell her soon. The time just wasn't right. But how can the time ever be right for something like this. Oh lord, this was how it always ended.

    ZoŽ was sobbing quietly on the cough now. Her hands covered her face, and the cats huddled around her, worried mewing was heard. Most likely wondering what was happening. Shang couldn't bear the sight of her in such emotional pain; emotional pain he had caused. It hurt him so much to see her like this. Too much, and Shang couldn't take it.

    "It was never supposed to happen like this." Shang started, a few precious tears sliding from his eyes. "I was going to tell you. Really, I was. You have to believe me ZoŽ, I never meant to hurt you." The last words were but a few hoarse whispers, lost between his sobs.

    "Did you think I'd never figure it out Shang? I'm not an idiot." ZoŽ raised her voice. She sat up, and looked at him, tears still flowing freely.

    He stared at the floor in front of him, hunched over, elbows placed on his knees, the tears fell on his bare arms, but he was oblivious to such a thing. "No, ZoŽ, I always told myself I would tell you soon. But I should have realized after it's happened in my many other relationships. I just wanted this one to last a little bit longer. I was so afraid you'd leave me. And I donít think I could live with myself if that happened. I don't think I could live without you." he brought his eyes up to hers. They were pleading, very softly: Don't leave me, I love you.

    "Say it Shang. I want to know for real. Tell me, and I won't go." She bargained with him, for what she hoped, wasn't the last time.

    She thought silently in her mind. Please Shang, tell me. I donít think I can live without you either, but I need to know.

    "I... I... ZoŽ, I love you." he choked out, and reached out to encompass her in a great bear hug. He held her fiercely, never wanting to let go. Wishing her to stay; wishing her to give him strength, to be with him; to give herself to him and him to her. To be his forever.

    For a few moments, ZoŽ sat there, in Shang's arms. She wanted to stay like this forever. But could she? Were they meant to be together? Could it work?

    We'll make it work. I'll make sure. She decided firmly, and grasped Shang's neck in her arms, kissing him sweetly on the lips, touching his soft lips with hers. She broke it off, for what seemed too soon, and buried her face in the crook of his neck.

    "Dork..." She whispered affectionately, and held him closer. Never wanting to let go.

    No, they would never let go.