Ben took a deep breath as he got out of the car, clutching the item in his hand a little tighter. He closed his eyes before walking towards the building, reminding himself that he was there to be a friend and nothing more. This was not the time to let Rey know that he was kind of in love with her. Most definitely not.
He took another deep breath as he buzzed the apartment, noting the morose tone of Rey's voice when she asked who it was. “It's Ben. Can I come up?”
The door unlocked a moment later and he went into the building, jogging up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. The door to Rey's apartment was cracked open when he reached it, so he walked inside and shut the door behind him. “Rey? Where are you?” he asked after not seeing her in the living room.
“I’m in my room,” Rey called out. “I’ll come out in a moment.”
Two minutes later she made her way to her living room. “Thank you for coming over,” she told him as he came into view. The sight of him made her smile almost. “Do you want anything to drink? Or did you bring something?” She rubbed her nose on the sleeve of her shirt, and she felt like a mess.
Ben took in the sight of her and shook his head. Rey's hair was a mess, she was still wearing her pajamas despite the fact that it was after lunch, and her eyes were red which clearly indicated that she had been crying. “I came over to see how you were doing,” he said, walking towards her. “And to bring you this.”
He held out the item he had in his hands nervously. “I hope you like it.”
Rey looked at the light pink rose extended out to her, then she looked up at Ben. “That better not be a pity rose. Pity chocolate I’ll take, but that’s it.”
“It's not a pity rose,” Ben said seriously. “It's a rose to let you know that there are still people out there that care about you and that I am one of them. I care about you so, so much, Rey, and I just want you to know that there are guys out there that will treat you the way that you deserve. I would treat you the way that you deserve.”
Ben closed his eyes when he realized what he'd said. “I just wanted to make you happy. That's all.”
Rey didn’t know what to think of Ben’s words. She was surprised, but a smile tugged at her lips as she thought about what he said. She knew Ben was a nice guy, and she even had a crush on him when there wasn’t some guy stringing her along. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better,” she said as she finally took the rose.
She couldn’t resist smelling the floral scent. Her fingers lightly touched the smooth petals. She then realized the petal tips were dipped in red and knew Ben really listened to her answers all the times he asked her random questions. “I didn’t think you would ever feel the same way,” she said, smiling shyly at him.
“I'm not saying anything to just make you feel better,” Ben said, trying not to get his hopes up. “What do you mean about feeling the same way?”
“I know there are girls out there who would treat you like you deserve as well, and I could be one of them. I like you, Ben.” Rey began to feel nervous and brought the rose to her nose again. “I just didn’t think you felt the same way about me.”
Ben took a shuddering breath. “I've felt the same way for a long time,” he murmured. “But you had a boyfriend and I wasn't about to mess that up for you. I just want you to be happy, Rey, and you seemed happy. I didn't mean to say that today. I mean, you just broke up with him and you are quite clearly upset about it. I don't want you to think that I came over here to make a move on you or something. It really was something that I didn't mean to say.”
“I know.” Rey frowned. “I don’t want you to think I’m making a move on you either. I know I need time to deal with all this,” she said as she gestured the air with her hands. Her eyes began to water as thoughts of her ex cane to mind, but she fought back her tears. “I only said that because of what you said. Don’t feel bad about saying it to me. I’m glad you did because I really needed to hear that today. My heart aches, but you made it feel a bit better.”
“I'm glad I was able to make you feel better. But I think that this is something that shouldn't be discussed anymore. You need time and I'm not about to push you to anything. I'll even understand if you never want to do anything about this. I mean, a lot can change really quickly for both of us. I'm not trying to say that I'm going to change the way that I feel about you because I've felt this way for so, so long, but I mean, your feelings might change as you start thinking more clearly,” Ben rambled. “And I'll completely understand if you do. I mean, guys like me don't get girls like you. You're absolutely amazing and sometimes I just can't stop thinking about you, but as you said, you need time and fuck, I'm saying entirely too much here. Fuck. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said any of that.”
“Don’t be.” Rey smiled and shook her head. “My feelings for you won’t change, because I’ve had them for a long time. I just didn’t feel brave enough to say anything before. My past relationships haven’t been the greatest,” she said, taking a small step forward. “But you already know that. I would love more than anything to act on our feelings right now, but I don’t want you to be a typical rebound. You’re a wonderful guy, and I don’t want you to waste your time, wondering if I’m going to change my mind. I promise you I won’t, but I need time first.” Her body felt warm all over, realizing what all she just said. The words had flowed out of her, but she wanted to be honest like him.
“Then I will wait patiently.” Ben watched her for a moment before smiling. “I was going to invite you over for dinner tonight so that you don't have to spend Valentine’s Day alone, but I'll totally understand if you don't want to do that now. If you do, I promise that it'll be no different than we usually do. Pizza and a movie. You can even pick the movie.”
“Thank you. Pizza and a movie sound really nice,” Rey said, smiling at him. “And thank you for checking on me and for bringing me my favorite rose. I know I was harsh at first, but I really appreciate the gesture.”
“You're welcome. You deserved at least one rose on this day,” Ben said, glancing at his watch. “I should get going. I promised Mama I'd stop by this afternoon before Dad attempts to cook her dinner.”
“Okay. Tell your parents I said hi,” Rey said. “I’ll be over around six. Is that okay?”
“That sounds great,” Ben said, staring at her for a moment before making himself walk towards the door. “Don't forget to think about what movie you want to watch. I'm sure there's something on one of the nine billion streaming services that I pay for that you will want to watch.”
“Trust me,” Rey laughed, “I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity. But I’ll make sure you won’t regret letting me pick one.”
“You better not,” Ben laughed too, opening up the door. “I'll make sure that pizza gets there shortly after you do. See you at six.”
They said their goodbyes and then Ben walked out of the apartment. He jogged down the stairs and went out to his car, and once he was inside, he took a deep breath and dropped his head back against the seat. He hadn't meant to confess his feelings for Rey so soon after her breakup. Hell, he wasn't sure he would have ever confessed his feelings at all. But it had happened, and it might be something that would start something good.
Things with Rey could be something good.
Ben took another deep breath and started the car. He needed to get over to his parents as soon as possible so he could get home quickly. He hadn't been sure that Rey would agree to come over, and his place wasn't exactly clean enough for anyone to come over.