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Reese raised her hand to slap him, fire raging in her eyes. She’d believed him again, let him work his way back into her heart just to have him break it again. It was always the same thing – Kyle simply couldn’t be bothered to give her the common courtesy that he so easily gave to others. Couldn’t be bothered to let her know when he’d be breaking a date…again. Left her waiting like a fool…again. Before she felt the sting of his face under her palm, she dropped her hand in defeat, all the fight leaving her. Maybe they just weren’t meant to be after all. If he couldn’t think about her in the simplest of times, could she really depend on him if she ever really needed him?
She turned away, not saying a word. The hurt on her face and her watery eyes told him everything. He’d messed up again. ‘Damn it!’ he thought. He knew she would understand if he had told her that his car had broken down, he just didn’t think to call her before they were supposed to meet. He realized that maybe he had taken her for granted too many times and this time he was going to lose her because of it. He didn’t know what to do or say to keep her there but he knew he had to try something before she walked out.
Kyle grabbed her wrist as she started to walk by him, her head held high. He gently pulled her to him and slipped his other arm around her waist, dragging her against his body until her head rested on his shoulder, holding her close so she couldn’t slip away. He bent his lips to her ears and whispered, “I’m so sorry. I would never hurt you on purpose. I’m an idiot and I’m sorry.”
As he held her close, he gently placed his lips on her temple and held them there until he felt her taking a deep breath and then relax into his embrace. He let go of her wrist to shift her more comfortably against his body and she took advantage of the release. Reese pushed against his chest and took a step back. Her look told Kyle he’d messed this up…again.
“Do you really think ‘I’m sorry’ is going to cut it anymore Kyle?!” she spit out. “I’m done. You can’t treat me like this. I wouldn’t put up with this nonsense from anyone else and I’m tired of letting you off the hook with a simple “I’m sorry”. It’s not enough anymore.”
Reese pushed by him, waiting until he couldn’t see her face before she angrily swiped at her tears. ‘Oh God,’ was all she could think. ‘Am I really walking out on him because he didn’t call me?’
Reese had to stifle a disbelieving laugh as she began a raging battle in her brain. One side of her wanted to forgive him again – she could understand his car having issues and him having to argue with the mechanics and everything else he’d gone through that day. But the other side was furious. She’d sat at her desk waiting for him, missing lunch and not having a clue what was going on. Again. He hadn’t answered her for hours and then finally he sent her a text telling her what was going on. A text. With no apology or explanation, just “Car broke down. See you tomorrow.”
That’s it after standing her up. Again. That word was the real kicker. This wasn’t a one-time incident. For the past three months every date they had set up had been rescheduled two or three times before it actually worked out. And always around his issues and incidents. And she was always ready to go whenever he asked and could finally make it work. Without hesitation she took any amount of time he would finally grant her and treasure it like a gift.
‘No more.’ she stated to herself. Then realized she had said it out loud when she heard Kyle ask, “No more what?” Reese turned around and stared at him in disbelief.
“No more anything, Kyle. No more being your doormat. No more waiting for you to figure out what you want with me. No more wishy-washy wallflower. Just no more…anything.” She was practically whispering by the time she finished, choking back her tears. She had never been so open with him. She’d finally told him exactly what she was feeling when she was feeling it but it was only the negative. She wanted, no she needed. to tell him everything now, before she walked out. She had to let him know what she really felt.
“I care about you Kyle. I have for a long time now. I could probably say I love you. I tried to resist it, but the longer we’re together the harder it is to avoid. When we actually get to spend time together, I love how you watch me, how you talk to me, how you listen to me. I love how we joke and how a simple lunch break can stretch to 3 hours before we realize it.”
She was nearly breathless as she continued, her need to tell him everything in her heart overwhelming her brain that was yelling ‘STOP!’, “I love how we can riff off one another and how our conversation slides effortlessly from one subject to another. I love how we have similar childhoods and that we share so many interests. I dream about just sitting and watching TV together, cuddled on the couch. About holding hands in a movie or dancing at a jazz club. I just love spending time with you in any way possible.
But when we’re apart it’s like I’m not even in your world. Like I cease to exist if I’m not right in front of you. And I can’t take it anymore. So, no more. No more waiting. No more blaming myself and not understanding what I did wrong. Just no more, Kyle. I can’t do it to myself anymore.”
Reese stood before him, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. During her tirade she had apparently walked towards him, not realizing it, wanting to be sure he hadn’t missed a word. She was so close, she could reach out and curl her hands into his hair, holding herself against his warm hard body just one more time. She wanted to kiss his lips again, for the last memory.
But, she also knew that if she didn’t leave now she wouldn’t be able to look in the mirror tomorrow. She needed her self-respect back. She needed to trust her instincts again. Yes, she loved him but that didn’t mean he loved her. And even if he did love her that didn’t mean he would ever be good at showing her, or that they were even meant to be together. He’d shown her time and again that she wasn’t that important to him and she needed to leave before his words could convince her otherwise.
With a sad look and tears once again filling her eyes, she backed up a few steps, slowly turned and walked softly but surely towards the door. She could almost feel her heart crumbling – not a ripping tear but small pieces falling off and breaking like dust as they crashed on the hard rocks of reality. She knew her heart would heal but it would never be full again.
Kyle said nothing as she walked out of the room.