Christmas & Chill

Break Your Heart Right Back

“Because I’m an idiot,” Nathan answered honestly. “Because I started thinking about our future and all that time spent on opposite sides of the globe and I freaked out.”

Nathan wished there was some way for him to put into words how much he regretted leaving Ariana last Christmas. How he’d regretted the decision as soon as he snuck out of her house at sunset Christmas morning. How he got into his car and cried all the way to the airport. How he knew he screwed up as he boarded the plane but was too scared to turn back, the aching way he’d missed her every day since.

“That was a year ago,” Ariana said. “I called, Nath. I texted. And you had our manager tell me what to say to the press about the breakup we never had.”

Nathan bit his lip. “I told you I was an idiot.”

“Well, what the hell took you so long to figure it out?” She snapped.

“You were happy.” Tiny tears pooled in the corner of Nathan’s eyes. “Who was I to ruin that?”

“I was happy?” Ariana repeated, unable to believe her ears.

After Nathan walked out on her, Ariana got back together with her ex, broke up with him, started dating someone knew and had a very public breakup with him before taking an official “no boys” stance and throwing herself into workaholic mode, trying to pretend everything was okay until a stupid mistake landed her in the public eye for a scandal everyone dubbed “Donutgate.” She’d been a mess. She was still a mess.

She pasted on a smile. “I am happy.”

“You’re supposed to be in Europe,” he said.

“So are you,” she shot back.

That shut him up. Sure, she’d canceled the rest of her world tour but it had nothing to do with him. Plus he was blowing off his family Christmas. That was cause for some serious eyebrow raising.

Pausing for a long sip from her cup of coffee, Ariana wondered if Nathan had actually played a part in her decision to come home. She was up at 2am on Christmas recording a song about him after all.

It had been easy to justify the move back home. She had been working so hard for so long. She had an album to finish and a home studio to enjoy. When the terrorists attacks happened in Paris and everyone was warned not to travel, it was easy to join the ranks of pop stars canceling or postponing the international legs of their tours.

Now sitting here face to face with Nathan, she knew he never bought into the bullshit she’d been selling to everyone, even herself. There was something about that that was somehow equally comforting and ridiculously irritating.

“I was supposed to go home,” Nathan admitted. “But I couldn’t leave L.A. without making sure you were okay.”

“That’s not your job anymore,” she said slowly, her voice shaking with anger. “And I’m sorry but I don’t give a rat’s ass that you stopped by because you were doing a radio show in L.A. Our relationship has always been on your terms. It’s always worked when it was convenient for you. As soon as one of us has to go on tour again, you’ll disappear. I’m not doing this again.”

“I lost you once.” He leaned forward, trying desperately to make her understand. “I won’t make that mistake again.”

Ariana shook her head and stood up. “I’m going to the bathroom. I want you gone by the time I get back.”

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