I stare at the pond while the ducks glide past, pondering over Sasha's statement from the other day. I'm trying to figure out why I can't talk about the past to AJ, well, why I can't talk about Bex to AJ. I sometimes think that I'm never going to let it go. I'm never going to get over her, no matter how much of a Kraken she is.
This park used to be a happy place for me, now it kind of sucks. I'm just reminded of everything I wish I could forget.
"Ben?" An all too familiar voice shakes me from my thoughts.
I immediately look up and see Bex standing in front of me.
"Benley," I correct her. We're not close anymore and she better recognize that if she's choosing to make conversation with me. "I thought you skipped town?"
"Not yet," she says, her brown eyes conveying a true sadness about something. "Can I sit?" She gestures to the grassy patch beside me.
I shake my head. "I'd rather you not. This park is huge. Find another damn seat."
If she sits, I can't guarantee that I won't shove her into the pond with the fearless geese.
"I know you hate me but hear me out," she pleads, taking a seat anyway.
"Nothing you can say will make me see you any differently from the pathetic human being that you are!" I snap, on edge. I'm already agitated and she's making it a million times more worse.
"This park reminds me of us," she tells me, brushing aside the animosity I feel for her. "That's why I came here. We used to come here almost every Saturday. Is that why you're here? Do you miss 'us' too?" She bravely asks me, nostalgic.
I miss what I thought we were.
"Well, I don't miss the trash I throw in trashcans, so..." I answer, letting her write the conclusion that I've obviously led her to.
Bex rubs her eyes with her hands, her tears meaning nothing to me. "I made one mistake, Benley. Why can't you forgive me?" She asks softly, finally breaking down.
"Because the one mistake I made was you," I retaliate in a clipped voice.
If she were really sorry, she would have apologized years ago. I have no pity for her.
"Yet you still keep searching for me in every woman that enters your life," she argues, on the defensive. "Oliver told me about that girl you've been seeing, the pretty brunette who looks a lot like me."
Is Oliver blind?!
Seeing Bex again is tearing a hole into my being. I don't want her here. I hate her. I just want her gone. Forever.
"The fact that you're still talking to Oliver is all I need to know about you," I reply in a low tone, now angry.
I'm still sore about everything, a fact I keep denying. Bex and Oliver crushed me. I cared about them both and they didn't hesitate to betray me. As much as I wish it weren't true, it still stings. Right now, she's opening an old yet still painful wound.
"He's always going to be your friend, Ben," she responds, lacking any caution or brain. She needs to go back to the first grade.
I laugh humorlessly. "Go look up the definition of the word 'friend', you won't recognize any such attributes in yourselves."
"Can you be decent for a second?" She frowns, offended.
"You can look up the definition of 'decent' while you're at it," I reply, uncaring.
Her dirty, brown eyes only remind me of the pure, blue eyes I've been missing.
"I just want you back. That's what I'm trying to say," she says, sounding somewhat genuine and sincere.
"Someone who lands a Ferrari is not going to just simply go back to their used Toyota." I muster up a grin. "So thank you for destroying what we had." I mean it. "If it weren't for you being a complete screw-up, I probably would have ruined my life by marrying you. I wouldn't have met the girl of my dreams, I wouldn't have met your polar opposite in every single way, I wouldn't have met AJ." I pretend to wipe a bead of sweat from my forehead. "Phew. Close call, right?"
I pick myself up from the ground and mentally applaud myself for the speechless look I've left on her face.
"Why are you being so clingy and all emotional today?" AJ laughs through the billionth hug I've given her within the span of an hour.
"I'm happy you came back today." I shrug and smile down at her for the seventeenth time.
"You're still acting weird," she points out, having noticed. "It's why I actually flew back today. I wanted to talk to you. Something has really been bugging me." She moves out of my arms and out of my reach. "If you truly see me as someone important in your life, as your girlfriend, you'll trust me with even the things that hurt you. But you don't."
"Yes, I do," I protest, wondering how she's got to this topic in any case.
She smiles sadly and shakes her head. "No, you don't." She hesitates before sighing. "It hurts me that you can't talk to me. I tell you everything about my life but you're holding out on me. I get that your last relationship ended badly and that it's painful to dwell on but if you tell me what happened, I might be able to understand the issues that seem to keep popping up with you. I don't know where you are at emotionally because you don't tell me. I'm not meaning to pry but I can't be in a relationship where I don't know what the heck is going on. I've said it before but I feel more invested in this than you and you're not giving me much of a reason to believe any differently."
"No, trust me, you're not. I'm just as invested as you now," I quickly say before any more rash decisions can be made. "I wasn't in the beginning but things have changed."
"But there's no way for me to know that. How am I supposed to know that things have changed? You don't talk to me, not about the things that matter to you," she repeats, her message crystal clear. "Just tell me what you're battling to move on from? It's clearly hurting you. We're supposed to be a team. I need to know because it's affecting you and it's affecting our relationship."
"You're letting it affect our relationship," I argue, upset. I really don't need this right now.
"I can ask you the simplest of questions and I might step onto a landmine. Then you'll probably avoid me and ignore all my calls again. That hurts me. Nothing is constant with you and that worries me. I don't want to walk on eggshells all the time, Benley, not with you of all people," she says quietly. "If I'm letting it affect the relationship it's only because you are letting it affect you."
"I shouldn't have to tell you everything," I add to my point, hoping for her to see it from my perspective.
"I agree but you should want to tell me everything."