I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 32

RYAN

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?” I asked in a sigh, eyeing her closely while she chopped off some vegetables for dinner. I’d have wanted to cook, but she offered, so I remained there watching. I thought it was a good sign, it meant we’re getting back to our routine, but ... there’s something off about her tonight, same as these past weeks.

I suppose I brought it upon myself when I asked him to spend more time with her.

“About whom?” Silvia asked, seemingly absentminded, as she threw the vegetables into the pan.

“You know who.”

She heaved a deep sigh, turning to me. “Rye ...”

“I know, I know, I have nothing to worry about ... but still. You’ll have to admit you’ve been aloof lately.” I finally voiced my thoughts. As much as I’d like to pretend it’s everything alright, it’s not.

I know Jake has been helping her out with her ... whatever it is. I know it’s my fault, because I asked him to stick to her. I know I can’t force a relationship if it’s not working, but ... I’d rather try my hardest than fail without putting up a fight.

“I’m just ... overwhelmed. That’s all.” Silvia claimed.

“And worried.” I added for her.

“Rye ...”

“There’s nothing wrong about that. Your best friend has gone MIA, I’d be worried as hell too if I were you.”

She scoffed, turning back to the stoves. “I’m not worried about Jake.”

“No?”

“No.” She spat, clearly mad. “He’s a grown man that can take care of himself all too well.” Yeah, I didn’t miss the uncertainty in that statement. She might not want to admit it, but she’s worried sick, which is fine, because she cares and all ... I just wish she wouldn’t deny it.

“Even so, nothing forbids you to be concerned about him ... I mean, you haven’t heard from him since how long? A month?” I attempted.

I wanna say it surprised me, but her snappy answer was exactly how I thought she would react, scowl included. “I’m not concerned. Jake can do whatever the hell he prefers.” Silvia threw the cloth onto the counter that’d been in her hands in her hands, and stormed out of the kitchen.

Well, that was definitely the reaction I needed to be sure of what everybody knows already.

***

JAKE

“Don’t you think it’s time you go home?” she asked, even though she didn’t seem keen on letting go.

I half smiled, bringing her closer to me, so that she could rest her head on my chest. “Only if you feel ready.”

Her shaky sigh told me she wasn’t, but Olivia lied. “I guess I am.”

“You’re not.” I pointed out. “You’re a terrible liar, Liv, remember?”

She chuckled, nuzzling my chest. Okay, maybe we wound up in bed together, but ... it’s not what you think it is. It was a very platonic lying together on bed before going to sleep, I can assure you.

I’ve already caused enough damage to her heart. If just this once I can keep it in my pants, maybe I won’t make her predicament worse than it already is.

“The trial ended yesterday. It’s over.” She claimed. “I’ve taken up enough of your time.”

I rolled my eyes, turning to my side to look into her dark brown eyes. “Liv ... you know how much I care about you. You’re never a waste of time.”

“But it’s not fair ...” she murmured, half pouting. “I claimed a right I no more have ... it’s not fair at all.”

“You claimed a right you’ve always had and always will have.” I caressed her cheek, inching closer to her face, just enough for our noses to touch. Maybe it’s everything platonic between us this time, but I won’t deny I felt like kissing her, at the very least. “Remember what I told you when we parted?”

Olivia cracked a small smile, and nodded against my forehead. “That whatever happened, whatever the odds, you would come for me. As soon as I called you, you would come for me.”

I half smiled, tracing her soft features with my fingers. “Exactly. And you know I don’t like lying.”

“I know ... but it’s been 10 years.”

“So? It could be 40 years, it could be an eternity. I’ll always be there for my little protégé.”

She chuckled. “This is guilt talking, isn’t it? You still feel guilty for breaking my heart, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. But that’s not it.” I closed my eyes, pretending for a moment, just for a moment, that I really was back in time.

Back to when this insecure nerdy girl managed to sneak into my heart before my bed and lower my guard. Back to when I discovered cuddles after sex. Back to when having a woman in my bed without it being about sex wasn’t so dangerous. Back to when I somewhat still had an untainted piece of soul, the one Olivia gripped with all her forces.

She never knew the whole story, she never knew nothing of what I hid deep down, she just assumed that Serene and I were orphans, which we were, given that we lived with our uncle, but no more than that. It’s odd, really. Olivia never knew anything, yet she managed to sink deeper than I ever imagined into my damaged heart. I never loved her, not in that sense, but I’ve always cared deeply about her, and I still do.

That’s why when she called me, desperate, because she was stuck in a toxic relationship and she didn’t know how to get out of it, I ran. Of course I ran to her. I promised I would. I have many flaws, but at least this ... I’m a man of my word, I keep my promises, or at least I try my best to.

I’ve spent this past month with her to cheer her up, relax her, let her feel every clouds comes with a silver lining. She spent two years trapped in a toxic marriage, I had to bust her out.

The moment she called me crying, saying she didn’t know what to do, her husband had gone berserk the moment she’d told him she wanted divorce, and she was scared, I told her what I usually did back in the day: “Pack your bags. I’m coming for you.” It’s a thing between us, really. When things got too much for her, I took her out of town, to let her breathe fresh air.

I’d have wanted to give her moronic husband a piece of my mind, but I preferred to focus on Olivia first. The rest was all simple for a bored rich guy. Hire a good lawyer, preferably one far from the overpaid ones working for my family, keep Olivia safe, prove the abuse, and finally help her get a divorce. The trouble now is, how do I know he’s not gonna come for her?

I suppose it’s one reason why I’m not so keen on leaving Olivia just yet. I need to know her safe, and at least in this sense, with me she is. As long as she sleeps in her own room, obvious.

“If I’m here, it’s because I care about you, Liv. You know I do.” I reminded her. “What I did 10 years ago ... it was to protect you, you know that.”

She cracked a bittersweet smile. “Didn’t really work, did it?”

I knew she’d say that. Cupping her cheeks, I pulled her closer. “Don’t think about him. He’s gone, and he won’t hurt you anymore. I’ll see to that.”

“Not even you make miracles, Jake.”

“Maybe not, but I have a few aces up my sleeve.” I bit my lip, considering if I should say it now or later. I suppose any moment is the right moment at this point. “Actually, we can keep cruising from one place to another until you feel like, but when you’re ready, you may just come back to Boston.”

“Jake ...”

“You’ll stay with me.”

“Jake ...” Olivia sighed, pressing her cheeks against my palm. “You still treat me like a poor defenseless little nerd you need to shield from the bad, bad world. But you forget, you taught me to be strong.”

“I did ... but being strong doesn’t mean you don’t need help, Liv. Being strong means knowing when to ask for assistance.”

“And I did. But ... it’s enough now.” She pulled back, lying on her back. “You have a life to get on with.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t think about such nonsense. I keep telling you, I’m here, and I’m not going until you need me.”

She raised her head, tears pooling in her eyes. “But you see, that’s the trouble. I’ll always need you, Jake. Because I still love you.”

Oh, crap.

***

RYAN

“You know you don’t mean that.” I mentioned, unable to hold my tongue. We need to face this once and for all.

“On the contrary, I mean every word I said.” Silvia snapped, turning off the stoves. “And you, Tess and everybody need to freaking stop assuming things.” She turned back to me, her eyes blazing. “Just because I care about him, doesn’t mean I’m here wallowing in misery because I haven’t seen him in weeks.”

“Maybe. But you may as well admit you’re worried.”

“Of course I’m worried! Jake is gone and none of us knows where the hell he is, of course I’m goddamn worried! Same as we all are.”

“But you’re different ...”

She rolled her eyes, groaning. “Let me guess, I’m more concerned because I’m oh, so in love with him, and I can’t sleep at night because he’s not here?” She spat, crossing her arms over her chest. “Seriously, Ryan, this whole jealousy thing is not as sexy as they make it seem.”

“This is not jealousy talking. I just want you to be honest with yourself.” I replied calmly. “Because denial doesn’t help anyone. Not you, not me, and certainly not Jake.”

“You’re wrong.” She gritted through her teeth.

“Am I?”

Silvia growled, slamming the plates onto the table, nearly smashing them in the process. “You know what, I’m not hungry anymore. Goodnight.” And there she goes, fleeing confrontation again.

“Silvia, drop it.” I snapped, stopping her before she left the kitchen. The fact that she did listen might be a good sign. “You can’t keep on fleeing like this. You need to face it once and for all.”

I’m tired of this. This whole situation is pulling us farther and farther apart. I’m willing to fight for our future, but I need to know it’s not gonna be in vain.

Her shoulders kept rising and falling, clear sign she was heaving deep sighs, probably to calm down. My girlfriend has quite a temper, and lately she controls it less, which is a step in advance, because at least she’s tearing down her walls. The trouble is, whilst doing that for her, Jake also managed to sneak into her heart, I’m afraid.

I’ve always known that Jake was a heavy threat to our relationship, but Silvia kept telling me not to worry, so I started believing it was just me being jealous and paranoid. Turns out, being paranoid doesn’t always equal delusional.

And even though I keep fighting, the fact that she pushes me away, wakes up and decides we’re over, doesn’t make me feel any better. I mean, I’ve got a fucking heart too, and sometimes it feels like she manipulates it how the hell she wants.

Silvia is an ongoing fight, and I’m very willing to resist, but how can I be sure when there’s that vulture flying around, waiting for a crack in our relationship, where he’ll be able to sneak in? How can I be sure when I know that the one planning to steal my girlfriend isn’t just a nobody, but no other than her best friend, someone she cares so deeply about.

It’s happened once or twice that we were all three in the same room. And I felt like I was the one out of place. In between them, I felt so completely misplaced as I never have.

And it scares me, because I keep getting this feeling that sooner or later she’ll just realize I’m not what she wants and she’ll turn to him. I keep thinking that the connection between them is so deep that it’s palpable, and I wonder when will she realize it.

I’ve started wondering when will I hear those words from her. Those very simple words that will tear my heart to pieces. Those words where she tells me that we’re over, because she’s in love with her so called best friend.

I feel like he doesn’t even need to try hard, given how much she cares for him, it’s as clear as the fucking sun that she might fall, if she hasn’t already. It wouldn’t take much. Their bond is so tight, lately I feel like a third wheel.

Their bond is so tight, even his absence this past month weighed down our relationship. Jake might have not been around, but his halo haunted our love throughout the whole time.

At first I thought the threat was more physical, I thought she might give in to temptation if she felt attracted to him, I know it can happen in a workplace, hell, it happened to me before meeting her, when I was moping around, licking my wounds after Alicia, and there was this colleague of mine, we found ourselves doing overtime always together, and one night we gave in. Nothing big, just a fling, but the point is, I know it can happen to give in to temptation in a workplace.

So I thought, he’s her boss and friend, they see each other a lot, it might be that she feels attracted, they might end up doing it one time that they’re doing overtime ... fearing that was honestly better than fearing the vulture pouncing onto our relationship to steal her heart. One thing is fearing she might cheat on me, the other is fearing I might lose her heart, too.

“I trust you, and you should trust me, too.” Silvia hissed.

“I do. I –”

She snapped to me, holding up a hand to silence me. “I was saying, I put my trust in you, you should do the same.”

“I do trust you, Silvia. I trust you blindly. It’s not about that.”

“Isn’t it? Because you keep on doubting me!”

“I don’t. I’m just saying-”

“Ryan, I’ve told you and told you and told you that Jake and I are just friends! Yet you keep on doubting! What else am I supposed to do to convince you I love just you?! Break every contact with him? Well, news flash, he’s done that already! Happy?!”

God, I’m losing her already, aren’t I? I should have known, I should have realized when she kept mentioning him every time, I should have realized from the way she talked about him, damnit! It’s not like he was in her every discourse, but she’s always mentioned him even more than Tess, if that’s not alarming, I don’t know what is.

I love Silvia. With all my damn heart. And I need to know she’s into this as much as I am. That’s why I moved to lean against the counter, and took another deep breath before speaking: “Can you answer one simple question?” She blinked her eyes, probably taken aback by my calm tone. It took her a moment, but she finally inhaled deeply, and nodded. I bit my lip, nervous, starting to think I really don’t wanna know if I actually have grounds to fear.

Hell, I don’t wanna hear it from her lips that I’m losing her. I wanna ignore all of this and just get the best I can out of this limited time with my girlfriend, I want us to be perfectly fine, like we were in the beginning, where there was nothing haunting us, no worries, just the two of us enjoying time together, laughing ... hell, I don’t even care about sex at this point, I just want my Silvia.

I know she’s a tough one to handle, and sometimes I fear I won’t be able to, I mean, sometimes I wonder if I can seriously be up to the task, if I can be what she really needs ... what if I’m not able to cope with whatever it is that she’s been through?

I’m not saying I would drop her because of whatever happened to her, I’m saying I’m not sure I can be what she needs. God knows I wanna be, but what if I’m not enough for her? I asked Jake for help for this exact reason, but it wound up biting me back, as I knew it would.

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and formulated the question, not really wanting to hear the answer but needing to: “Silvia, do you feel anything for Jake?”

I could hear her gasp, vividly. And my heart sank. It’s like only that tiny sound gave me the response I dreaded. I don’t know, maybe I expected her to just scream an outraged ’no!’, maybe I’m only overreacting, I don’t know, but the fact that she didn’t deny right away was enough proof for me.

“I love you, Ryan.” Silvia confirmed, her voice solid, yes, but also so very cold, so very emotionless. Not exactly the kind of tone you’d expect from someone telling you those words.

I sighed, keeping my eyes closed. “God knows how much I love you, too, Silvia, but that’s not what I asked.”

“Rye ...” She brushed my arm, and I realized she was closer. I wanted to scream in frustration, I swear. I dropped my arms, leaning my hands against the counter, trying to be lucid enough not to let emotions win.

My problem is that I always give everything in these things, since the beginning, and I constantly get the worst of it. I thought with Silvia it would be different, or maybe I just hoped it would be, because I truly love her more than I’ve ever thought possible.

Hell, it took me a whole year to realize I was in love with Alicia, one more to see something past a simple relationship, but with Silvia it was all so fast ... we were friends, and then in the blink of an eye I was head over heels for her, she dumps me, yet I’m still there, with my damn heart on a silver plate for her. And what do I get? That she’s not even sure if I’m the only one she has feelings for or not.

She didn’t say it directly, but silence speaks much louder than words, if you ask me, and the way she seemed uneasy gave me the real response she would never give me with her own voice.

I ran a hand over my face, trying to be rational, even though I never am in these cases. Actually, nobody ever is, only my girlfriend is able to remain cold in the face of feelings.

“You do, don’t you?” I croaked out, already feeling my heart crack. I inhaled deeply, and moved, pacing the kitchen, rubbing the bridge of my nose as I tried to pull things together. It should have been so obvious.

And their connection? God, it’s so freaking evident that I feel like I’m the one in the wrong here. It’s like I’m the evil dragon keeping the princess away from her prince. It’s like that story she told me about, about this young couple that is engaged, and they’re about to marry, but this evil nobleman sets his eyes on the girl, and he does everything in his power to separate them ... yeah, that’s it.

This is I Promessi Sposi. Silvia is naïve and sweet Lucia, and for as much as I’d like to be her fiancé, the role of Renzo goes to Jake, while I’m the evil Don Rodrigo.

It’s like they’re Romeo and Juliet and I embody everything that keeps them far from each other. It’s like I’m the only damn thing that separates her from her true love. Do you have an idea how much that hurts?

I dipped my face into my hands, feeling weak at the sole thought. I gave her my heart, I gave her everything I could, and all this time, I was just a stupid decoy.

I don’t blame her, no. It just hurts damn bad. And how couldn’t it? You fall in love with a girl, you love her more than you thought possible, and then you find out that maybe she was sincere when she said she loved you back, but she doesn’t even acknowledge that her heart, truthfully, resides somewhere else.

“You love him. You ... you’re in love with Jake, aren’t you?”

“Rye ... no ...”

I laughed hysterically, nearly yelling as I turned to her, waving my hands in the air like a crazy man. “Yes! Yes, you do! And you don’t even see it! I’m here, my heart at hand for you, ready to give you everything and beyond, yet I barely even scratch your heart. I’m just a decoy, something to keep your mind off him, aren’t I? He’s the one you really want.”

I wanted to rip my hair in frustration, I swear. I thought we were going somewhere, I thought things could get only better now that she was getting the help she needed ... I had to smash my face against it to realize it.

Jesus Christ, they share such a bond that not even in a billion years I could replace him. Even if she does love me, she’ll never love me like she loves him, and who am I to keep them apart? Even if I win now, I’m gonna lose later, be it even in years. I’d rather take the least damage now than carry a crushed heart after.

Hence, I gulped down my emotions and stood in front of her. The funny thing is that she didn’t even look panicked nor anything. Silvia merely stood there, taken aback, maybe sorry for what she was doing to me, but not in the slightest bit worried about our relationship. As if I’d just freed her from a burden by pointing out what she didn’t have the courage to acknowledge. The next step is freeing her completely.

I took a deep breath, and tried to be calm as I spoke, despite my own emotions being all over the place because, you know, I’m a human being that has feelings and doesn’t fear them. And that has brought only damage, yet I’m still stupid enough to keep trying, because I stupidly believe in love, and I thought I’d found the one. Turns out she’s my one, but I’m not hers. Hilarious, huh?

“I love you, Silvia.” I repeated for the umpteenth time, looking straight into her hazel eyes. “I love you, and it hurts right now, and it’s gonna tear me in two, but ... I gotta do this.”

Her eyes widened as she acknowledged what I meant. “Rye ...” She merely whispered, not even really trying to stop me. Really I am only something she’s glad to get rid of, huh?

I was willing to fight for us because I love her and I couldn’t believe she didn’t see what we could create together, I couldn’t believe she wasn’t able to see that our story was set to become something really important. Now I realize she was right, I was only a romantic fool.

I was the idiotic lovesick fool that saw the stars where there were only clouds. She foresaw what I wasn’t able to. That we wouldn’t last, that our story was merely a meteor, nothing more than that.

Maybe, had I listened to my friends and learnt after Alicia, had I listened to them and had learnt not to commit so completely since the beginning, maybe now I could save my heart.

But it’s fine. It hurts like hell, and it’s gonna hurt for a long, long time, but it’s fine. Because, at least, it means it’s real love.

They say it’s not love if it doesn’t rip your heart into pieces. Well, I was about to be torn, I only kept enough dignity to sound firm as I spoke, despite wanting to break into tears because of how much my heart was bleeding right now, at the sole thought of what I’m letting go of. I wanna believe it’s for her own good, and it is, but it still hurts.

“It’s clear to me even if not to you that your heart resides somewhere else.”

“Rye, no ...”

I held up my hand, stopping her. “It’s true. Maybe you don’t wanna see it, but your heart belongs to him, Silvia. You guys belong to each other, and I’ve been a fool not to see it before.” I sighed, my chest feeling heavy. “I really do believe you’re the one for me, you know.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, clear sign tears were already threatening to make me look unmanly in front of this cold stone heart she carries so nonchalantly. “But, clearly, I am not the one for you.”

“Ryan, no, wait, I –”

“Come on, Silvia, think about it.” I laughed bitterly, rubbing a hand over my face. “Between me and him, who would you choose? If we were both drowning, who would you save first? Who would you push down a tower?”

“That’s not fair, I –”

“You love Jake, Silvia. Whether you like it or not.”

She closed her eyes, dropping against the counter, arms around herself, eyes on the floor. “I love you, Ryan.”

I bit my tongue, feeling even worse. Maybe she really does love me. “But not as much as you love him.” The sad truth, ladies and gentlemen.

She might even be in love with me, but I’ll never be as much important as him. She’ll never love me as much as she loves him. I wonder why the hell did it take me so long to realize it.

“You’re in denial, Silvia. Soon enough you’ll open your eyes and realize that you’re completely and utterly in love with your so called best friend. And, excuse me if I don’t wanna be there to witness when you crush my heart. Again.”

“You’re being unfair, Ryan.”

“Really? I’m only pushing you to face the truth.”

Her eyes snapped to me, and she gave me a dirty look. I wonder if he’s able to break through that impassive mask. I wonder if it’s just me not to be able to, or maybe it’s just that only the chosen one, Mr. Best Friend, is able to have her drop that deadpanned mask.

“I saw it. I saw it, Silvia.” I stated, kind of bitter.

She frowned. “Saw what?” She was getting snappy, but I guess that’s her immune system trying to protect her. I don’t doubt she feels something for me, but I’d be stupid and blind if I didn’t see where her heart truly resides. Maybe I’ve got a portion of that, but he hogs it completely.

I sighed, trying to think this was for her best, at the very least. “I saw this past month. Even his absence is penance you can hardly endure.”

“That’s a load of bullshit. I’m perfectly fine.”

“You know I’m right. You may hide it all you want, lie all you prefer, but I see you. You miss Jake, and that’s alright. You’re worried about him, and that’s alright too. But the thing is ... these emotions you feel, they’re not aimed at a ‘friend’.”

“Maybe you’re right.” She spat through gritted teeth. “Maybe I am worried. But, excuse me, it’s my best friend that’s gone MIA for a month! Of course I worry! Jake is a jerk for crying out loud, and the moment he comes back I’ll make him regret he ever did, but of fucking course meanwhile I worry! I care about him!”

“You love him, you mean.”

She looked like a volcano on the brink of eruption, but I couldn’t stop now.

“You never show emotions, Silvia. You’re always very controlled.” I said.

“That’s not a fault, I –”

“I know it’s not. But it’s what allowed me to see the truth.”

“Ryan ...”

“Maybe you love me. I honestly really hope you do. But in truth, deep down, you know I’m not as important as him. Deep down you know your heart belongs to him. You’re probably just scared.”

She snorted, frustrated, looking the other way. “How can you know such things?”

“Because I’ve spent these months observing the beautiful human being that you are, babe. And I’ve come to recognize some signals. For instance, now you’re indirectly telling me you know I’m right, but you don’t want to admit it.”

In the end, I sighed, closing my eyes for a moment. “The point is, I love you, Silvia, and maybe you love me too, but not in the same way, not as strongly as you love Jake, even if you like to deny it. And you’re gonna realize it someday. I just don’t wanna be there when that happens, because it’s only gonna hurt worse.”

She looked straight into my eyes, and my heart clenched at the sight of the emotions she was barely showing, there was something in her hazels, something like regret and apology, maybe even disappointment and hurt, but she was still controlled, as she always is. Then she turned away, I bet to protect herself. “So you’re dumping me.”

I sighed. “I’m only doing what’s best for the both of us.”

She snorted. “Good thing you were the one saying you wouldn’t give up.”

I guess I should have expected this bitterness. I was a little pissed, because it’s not like I am the one in love with someone else, but it’s fine. I moved to stand right in front of her, and I gripped her arms, staring right into her eyes when I said those painful words: “God knows I’d spend the rest of my life with you, Silvia. But what’s the point if I’m not what you need?”

I swallowed my own emotions to crack a tiny smile, despite the heaviness of my chest, also given how she was looking at me, with that bit of hurt in her eyes that was enough to make me rethink it all.

But I had to stay strong, despite how much I wanted to rewind this whole conversation, if not week, if not month. Yet no, I gotta tear my own heart to pieces for her own good.

I rubbed her arms with my thumb, the smile still there, but almost gone. “I don’t wanna give up on you. I said I never would, and I was sincere. But let’s be honest, you don’t need me when you’ve got him, do you?”

Silvia scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Jake and I are only friends! There’s nothing more! Besides, I haven’t got him, like you say. He’s gone, and nobody knows when will he be back.”

“But he’s in love with you.” She bit her lip, avoiding my gaze, so I pressed. “And you’re in love with him.”

Sadly, she didn’t deny it. Not right away. It took her a few moments to shoot back that she wasn’t, that she loved me, and wanted me, that he was just a very close friend she was very attached to ... I wonder when will she drop the act and acknowledge the truth. Even I can see it.

I took a deep breath, and cupped her cheeks, leaning in, letting our noses brush each other, our foreheads against each other, but careful not to touch her lips as I spoke, retaining pain as much as I could: “This is the last thing ever I would want, but only now I realize I can’t be what you need.”

I bit my lips not to peck hers, even though I know I won’t be able to resist for long. “I thought I was stupid for being afraid, doubting, but ... let’s be honest, you’re never gonna look at me the way you look at him, and it hurts like hell, but keeping you from him would only be selfish.”

Silvia scoffed, resented, but she didn’t move. “So you’re gonna bullshit me with the it’s not you, it’s me thing?”

I pulled back enough not to kiss her, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to remain up to my decision. “I’m gonna say I wanna do the right thing and let you have what you need. It’s clear that you need someone able to hold your pieces together, and it’s as much clear that I am not that person.” I thought he could work on that, while I took care of the romantic side of things, but ... it didn’t work. Not for me anyways.

Silvia snorted, pulling back, bitterly spitting that this was only an excuse, that I wasn’t even able to keep my word, about not giving up on her ... I let her rant for a moment, then grabbed her hands and entwined our fingers, looking straight into her hazel eyes and saying what I’ve never voiced: “I don’t know what is it, but you’ve got something chewing you up, something deep that needs fixing. And I hoped it could be me to heal you, but clearly I was wrong. I love you with my whole heart, Silvia, but I don’t think I’d be able to help you through your issues as much as Jake could.”

“You’re saying I’d be a burden for you, because of –”

“I’m saying you need someone that can hold your pieces together, and I can’t, no matter how much I’d want to.”

She slipped away from my grip once for all, and my stomach churned when I noticed the tears in her eyes, though she wiped them away almost instantly, going to grab a glass of water from the sink. “You’re saying you wouldn’t be able to cope with my past. That’s why you’re leaving me.” She accused, harshly slamming the glass down, her gaze holding nothing but resentment as she looked at me again. “You’re fleeing because I’m too complicated for you. Be damn honest, don’t bring Jake into this when he’s got nothing to do with it.”

I clenched my jaw, frustrated and bitter and kind of pissed because every word she says about him confirms what she’s too stubborn and proud to admit. “Do you even listen to yourself?” I spat, unable to retain myself. “Do you even hear how touchy you get when it comes to him? It’s like he’s this poor little thing you gotta keep from harm.”

The glare she sent me was only a confirm for me. Tell me, what kind of boyfriend would have to push his girlfriend into acknowledging that she’s in love with someone else? Only someone as stupid as I am. I could be selfish and just keep on pretending everything’s fine between us, that we’re a perfect couple, we love each other and we’re gonna last as much as possible.

But that would be very stupid. I would hurt myself and her. Not to mention that it’s honestly better to leave before being left, and given the easiness with which Silvia has dumped me already, I’d rather end it my way, other than wallow in misery after she breaks my heart again. I’ll be moping around, licking my wounds either way, but maybe this way it’ll be easier.

“You have no idea what he’s been through.” Silvia hissed, almost venomously, and I’ll admit I almost gulped at her tone.

He did mention that. Jake said his life is more fucked up than the average person. I guess that if he’s been through bad things, that’s one more added reason why they’re so close. One more cue for me to get out of the way. “You’re right, I don’t. And neither do I know what you have been through. I would like to, but you’ll never deem me ready, will you? And it’s fine, I get it, but that just tells me I’m right.”

She closed her eyes for a moment, crossing her arms, weaker. “Just because I care about Jake, doesn’t mean I –”

“Oh, come on, Silvia!” I raised my voice, throwing my hands in the air, restarting to pace the kitchen.

“You think I lie when I say I love you?” She questioned.

I rolled my eyes, stopping to turn back to her. “I believe everything you tell me. I believe you love me, but the bitter truth is, you don’t – and never will – love me as much as I do. Simply because your heart resides with him. You can deny it all you want, but that’s it. God knows I wanna be wrong, but I’m not blind, Silvia. Or not anymore. I can see how different you are when it comes to him. The deep connection between you guys is palpable, Silvia, how can you not see that?”

I dropped back against the counter, raking a hand over my face. “Sooner or later, possibly when you quit being so relentlessly stubborn, you’ll realize you’re destined to him, and I really shouldn’t be the one to tell you this, because it tears a freaking hole into my heart, but neither can I pretend it’s not true. And neither should you. I don’t know what chews you up, but it’s clear that if there is one person that can bring you out of it, that’s Jake. Certainly not me.”

I sighed, trying to relieve the lump in my throat, but I already know what I’m gonna do as soon as I’m out of here, because I’m still that oversensitive lovesick fool that gave his everything to a woman that needed much more than that.

“I think it’s better if we cut it here, Silvia. Before we both get too hurt.” Me in particular. I moved closer to her and grabbed her hands, looking straight into her hazel eyes, trying to smile, despite everything, as I concluded: “I’m not sure if I’ll ever quit loving you, probably not, but I want the best for you, Silvia. I truly wish you the best of luck. Maybe someday we’ll meet again and we’ll be friends. Actually, I do wish to meet you again, in a few years or so, but even though it hurts, I wish you’ll be happily taking a walk with your husband Jake Watson. Because you guys seem made for each other. And while I wish I was wrong, I also gotta push you to admit that he’s your only chance at a real happy life.”

I left her hands in a sigh and backed up. “I hope you can bypass your stubbornness and see what you’re missing out. Life’s too short to hold yourself back so stubbornly, Silvia. Let Jake heal you. Sadly, he’ll be a much better option than I.”

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