Possibilities – a short story

The campus was unusually busy, Levi noted as he fought his way over to the maths building. He had almost reached the large double doors as someone caught his sleeve. He turned sharply and made to jerk his arm away, but his breath died in his throat.
“Guess who,” whispered a familiar voice.
“Shiloh,” he gasped. “You can’t be here.” She chuckled lazily and pulled him closer. He could smell the minty scent of her chewing gum and a hint of jasmine perfume.
“Why not?” She batted her eyelashes at him coquettishly. “I’m just another boring student on the boring campus of a boring uni.” Levi could feel beads of nervous sweat breaking out on his forehead, thankfully obscured by his curly fringe.
“Well, technically…” He began, but seemed to think better of it. “Look, Shiloh, it’s not that it’s not lovely to see you, it really is, and I’m so glad you’re keeping well, but, I, uh, I really have to go.” He gestured vaguely towards the maths department with his free arm. “I’m running a bit late, actually, so uh,” Shiloh cut him off.
“Run away with me.” Levi’s mouth gaped, and he stopped his half-hearted effort to remove his sleeve from her clutches.
“What?”
“You heard me. Run away with me. I don’t mean forever, so you don’t need to look at me like that. I mean today. Now. Blow off your lecture – I mean, come on. I bet you’ve memorised the stuff already anyway. I want it just to be us this afternoon; I want us to forget about all that shit. The past can go fuck itself. We could do anything, Levi. Please?” Shiloh’s eyes were imploring, looking up at him from under a fringe of dark lashes. God, he’d missed her. But he couldn’t forget. Before he could formulate a response, she was speaking again. Her words were tumbling out like a waterfall, fevered and intense as if a dam had been broken. As if this were her last chance and she feared that it would be cut off prematurely, like an amputated limb.

“Anything, Levi. It could be like old times. Remember that? Nothing could stop us. Absolutely fucking nothing. The possibilities are endless –” She pulled his sleeve harder, urging him to look at her. “Let’s go to the train station, get on the first one to arrive. We don’t even need to know the destination – just get on and ride. Or fuck it, we could go to the airport and get a plane to anywhere. Figure it out from there.” Pausing for breath, she looked up at him with an expression of wild hope. Truthfully, he thought, her eyes looked slightly crazed. “It doesn’t have to be big, Levi, if you don’t want it to be. We could go to that coffee shop you like, you know, the one with the taxidermy and the hot chocolates with enough marshmallows to give you diabetes? Or we could spend the whole afternoon in the park we found when you were in first year. I have a bottle of whiskey in my car, we could drink that and watch the leaves drop off the trees. Just talk. It’s been ages, Levi. I know you want this too.”

He did. Oh God, of course he did. But he couldn’t. Not with her, not again. It would kill him. Her bright blue eyes bore into his, challenging him. She was close enough for him to see the faint freckles on her nose mapped out like constellations. She was everything, both too much and not enough, and he had to turn her down. The moment stretched out for what seemed like millennia, until the clock tower shattered it.

“I’m so sorry,” Levi choked past unwilling lips. “I can’t – not again.” Ripping his arm away, he turned away and trudged up the steps. She didn’t try to stop him.

Daily Prompt: Or

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