Gazing up at me, she continues, “Whatever you have to say, it’s not going to change a thing. We’re over.”
My heart twists and breathing becomes difficult. Mother fuck, her words cut deep, hurting even though they aren’t true. Sure, she believes them on some level—she had to, in order to get through what I did. Yet, along with the hurt and disappointment swimming in her eyes, there’s also tenderness and love.
“Tell me you’re happy and I’ll walk away.”
We always pushed each other, challenged the other to face our fears, to be honest with ourselves, with each other. I need to hear her say it. I don’t believe it, but if she is over me, I need to hear it in her voice and see it in her face—not because I want to, but because it’s the only way I can even begin to accept that we’re over. Even then, it’s not possible.
“I’m happy.” Her tone is laden with bravado, but no true emotion. Even her gaze, which never wavers from mine, is flat.
Shaking my head, I briefly cast my eyes downward to suppress my smile. “No, you’re not.”
“Van.” I flinch at that fucking name.
As a child, I thought it was so fucking cool to have a nickname that only my best friends would call me. Now, hearing “Van” from her pretty lips, I want to obliterate the word from her vocabulary, fucking kiss the word out of her.
“You can call me asshole for all I care, you’re not happy,” I retort in frustration. Catching my tone, I breathe deeply and loosen my fists to relax. “Don’t lie to me, and most of all, don’t lie to yourself.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You want to see what you want. I’m with Greg, and we’re happy.”
She grimaces infinitesimally, then averts her eyes from me. Unable to read her, I’m not sure if it’s because she means it and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings or if the lie tastes nasty in her mouth.