Chapter 16: Guilt Trip
My arms tremble, “Why should I?”
He smirks at me, “Because you’re going to freeze out there,”
I round to the other side of the car, why don’t men just ever get to the point?
Either way, my attitude hasn’t faltered. I don’t know why talking about Aster does these things to me. Whenever anyone attempts to hold a conversation about him with me, I immediately change the subject.
It makes me feel better to not know that he isn’t around anymore.
“Finally,” Xander says when I close myself into the car. “Keys.”
I shoot him a look, “Why?”
“Unless you want to sit in my lap to stay warm,” An evil smile splays across his face. My face runs hot and I hand over the keys. There is no way I am allowing myself to be so exposed as to lap up with a jock in a restaurant parking lot, “You weren’t so comfortable in there, I thought that maybe if you were a little more secluded that you would open up to me.”
The car starts, and my heart stops. Why should Xander care about how I feel after those years he wouldn’t bat an eyelid in my direction. For a moment there I thought I would never see the day that he would call me his friend again, much less anything more.
Augh, what am I even thinking?
I’m an emotional mess and super transparent. Maybe I could express myself the same way I did with Gia, just a lot less physical.
“What happened to us, Xander?”
I breathe looking out the car window at the Hibachi logo, if I look him in his face I may cry.
Why, I’m not so sure. In my peripheral I can see his demeanor shift.
“Even after you knew Aster left, you left me too, for three years I was a forgotten thought, a faded memory and even with Gia at my side I felt so alone.” He doesn’t speak, “You wouldn’t even speak to me, not even a simple greeting and that h-hurt..” I stop myself. I need to be level headed, no crying, just express, “that hurt me more than you’ll ever know.” I lean my head against the window. “I thought you didn’t care about me anymore.”
I can hear him breathing, it’s almost too quiet. Now my thoughts are fighting against each other.
Why did you make him feel like that?
How do I expect someone to stick around if I’m always guilt tripping them.
"Saphyre.” Xander’s hand lays on top of mine, “Saphyre, look at me.” My head slowly tilts toward him, he’s practically stretched across the middle of the car. Here comes these stupid tears. “I didn’t ever mean to hurt you, which is why I kept my distance, if I confessed myself and what state of mind I was in after Aster...left I felt you would never want to speak to me ever again.”
Wait, “Xander, what are you saying?”
He’s practically glaring right now, “Everyone knew why Aster hated me, you did too, you just kept the truth to yourself.” He looks down, “He acted like you were his property, that if any other guy talked to you then he would get all angry and resort to violence.” I sit up in my seat, “Aster and I were always fighting over you, and when the day finally came that he left I felt like,” he pauses looking into my eyes, “like I had finally won.”
My heart rate quickens. Why does this sound so sick. “Won?”
“Yes,” He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, “That you were finally all mine, not his or anyone else’s.” “But there was no way I could be so happy when you practically grieved over him for months as if he died off or something, I couldn’t honestly look you in the eye and pretend to share the same sympathy, that’s just insane.” Xander backs into his seat, placing the back of his head onto the seat. “So I left you alone, I always asked Gia and Trey about you, your wounds were still fresh and then for my own eyes I started watching you shut the world out, putting those damn headphones in your ear for a form of protection.”
It’s getting a little hot in this car. I want to reach across the stereo and turn the key but that would be a little inappropriate hence the moment.
The moment of truth.
It would have been much less of a headache if we expressed these feelings to each other much sooner. Now things are really complicated, I don’t know whether to back hand him for wishing bad on Aster, or to comfort him for finally clearing the air.
“I am not sure how to say to this.” I haven’t spoken up, my voice is hoarse from sorrow to do that, “It’s as if you ran away from me, rather than claim your supposed prize.”
Xander clears his throat, “The whole ‘won’ concept was just a reference, I’m not objectifying you, Saphyre,” His hand reaches to touch my thigh, “Or else I would have claimed you long ago.”
My body burns up. I’m going to pass out if I don’t turn this car off. I reach across the car to turn the key. Xander grabs my arm pulling me towards him.
No, no, no this is not what I meant to happen!
He’s staring so earnestly it’s hard to break away from his gaze, no matter how ridiculous I feel in this awkward position.
His finger presses to my mouth, “This is the part where you apologize for accusing me of abandoning you.”
I can’t even speak in this state, his damn finger is still tracing my lips, “I don’t-”