Susan took her in her arms the very second the door shut behind them.
Zara let her best friend hold her.
She needed it.
“I’m sorry.“, Susan murmured as she rubbed her back in circles, the way she always did when Zara was sick or down with a bad cold.
Zara smiled weakly. The tears had dried up sometime ago and she was determined to not cry.
The asshole didn’t deserve it.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.“, she mumbled, burying her face in Susan’s neck, the flowery perfume that she used soothing her like it usually did.
“I knew, you idiot. The hickey on your neck is quite visible.“, she said on a slight laugh.
“And I know you, Zara.“, she pulled back and looked her in the eye.
Zara swallowed when she saw the anger on her best friend’s face.
“You aren’t the type of person who has a casual fling and can just walk away.”
Zara dropped her eyes to the floor.
“You are better than that.“, she touched her cheek forcing her to look up.
“From what I saw today, Nathaniel isn’t worth your time and effort.”
“He asked me out to dinner this Saturday.“, Zara said lamely.
“Fucking bastard! And he was all over that bitch now?”
“I think he has slept with her.“, she said in a small voice, her chest feeling painful.
Susan froze, her eyes widening.
“How do you know that?”
Zara gave a shrug.
“I dunno. The way they were touching... it seemed too familiar, as if they knew their way around-“, she cut off the rest of the sentence.
Susan had gotten red in the face. She always did when she was really pissed.
“Motherfucking ass-“, she began with vehemently.
Zara shushed her with a hand on her mouth.
“Pizza and Charlie’s Angels?“, she asked hopefully, her mind too tired and her heart too bruised to think about what Danielle and Nate were up to now.
Susan’s eyes softened.
“That’s exactly what I was going to suggest.“, she kissed Zara’s palm.
Things weren’t so bad when you had a ray of sunshine fighting the dark clouds for you.
She didn’t hear from Nathaniel that night or for the next two days.
He hadn’t appeared in classes either and hadn’t texted her anything.
Zara kept herself busy, working with a vengeance on all her assignments, determined to chuck Nathaniel out of her brain.
Susan was a support and so was Matt. He didn’t bring up Nathaniel’s name during lunch nor did he ask Zara anything about that day. He had just hugged her tight when he saw her and had looked at her with concern.
Zara had ignored the pang in her chest when she heard that Nathaniel was apparently out with Danielle, showing her the sights.
Envy gripped her and she wondered how many of those sights were in the confines of the bitch’s bedroom.
It was on Wednesday, three days after the incident, that she saw him.
She had made her weekly trip to the store, earlier this time since they were low on ice-cream and wine. Susan had been working on a few assignments so Zara had offered to do it alone.
When she was standing in line to pay the bill, she heard the unmistakable sound of the voice that had been haunting her for the past thirty six hours.
Nathaniel stood in an aisle down the corner with Danielle on his arm.
They were talking in low voices about something and as usual she had her arm looped through his. Zara hated the sharp ache in her chest at the sight.
She had barely looked back at the list in her hand when she heard her name called out.
She turned and saw Nathaniel coming over to where she stood, a smile on the lips she had craved not too long ago.
“Hey.“, she gave him a tight smile.
Behind him, Danielle sashayed her way, a scowl on her beautiful face.
Zara noticed the way people turned their heads to watch her. She wore a yellow summer dress, showing off her long legs and full cleavage. With her hair tied up in a messy bun, she looked perfect.
“Haven’t seen you in a while.“, Nathaniel said as he began to step closer to her.
Zara flinched at the same time that Danielle grabbed his arm.
Nathaniel frowned when he noticed Zara’s reaction.
“Nate, why don’t you go get us a bottle of that wine you were talking about?”
Nathaniel shook his head lightly, his eyes glaring at Zara like she had just humiliated him.
Zara ignored it.
“Yeah, I’ll be right back.”
The moment he left, Zara turned away and pretended to consult her list.
“Handsome, isn’t he?“, Danielle said in a husky attractive voice.
Zara lifted her head and stared at the girl.
“Nathaniel? Yeah.“, she smiled absently, going back to her list, her skin feeling like something foreign and ugly was creeping across it.
“We dated for a while in high school.“, the redhead went on.
Zara released a light huff of air and plastered a fake smile on her face.
“That must have been great.“, she said in a bored tone.
Danielle stared at her, her eyes running over the length of her body. Zara tried to suppress the prickly sensation at the base of her neck.
“He’s amazing in bed too.”
Zara froze like she had been slapped in the face.
“Raw and passionate.“, she went on and Zara felt like a knife had just settled itself in her breastbone.
Her steeled voice didn’t betray the pain in her chest.
“Wonderful.“, she managed and gave the girl a full blown smile.
Danielle seemed taken aback and her face fell. She obviously hadn’t been expecting Zara’s reaction.
“We’re going out on Saturday.“, she goaded almost angrily, her eyes flashing.
The pain intensified.
It was supposed to be their first date.
Zara smirked, ” Well, have fun, you two.”
Danielle glared at her as Zara held her head high and walked ahead to pay for her stuff.
She was out of the store before Nathaniel returned.
When the doorbell rang that evening, Zara looked up from her laptop.
Susan had gone out with Matt and the two of them were supposed to bring back dinner.
Her stomach growling in anticipation, Zara untied her hair and tied it back up again as she made her way to the door.
“How long does it take you guys to-”
Her voice dropped when she saw Nathaniel staring down at her.
He looked the way he had the day he visited his grandmother, the first day he made her orgasm right in his arms. She felt her skin heat up.
“Can I come in?“, he asked in a low voice, his face unsmiling.
Zara stepped back.
He moved inside the apartment and turned around to face her.
Zara shut the door and looked back at him.
She felt small and exposed. Mentally. Her attire was a mess. An oversized tshirt hanging on her frame and a pair of knee length cotton shorts.
“What was that in the supermarket today?“, he asked deadpan.
Zara was surprised at the look of pure anger on his face.
“What are you talking about?“, she asked slowly.
For the first time since she had known him, he looked menancing.
“The stuff you said to Danielle.’, he hissed.
Zara’s eyes widened in disbelief and slight fear.
“I didn’t say anything to-”
He scoffed, “Please, Zara. Let’s get one thing straight.”
Scowling and stepping closer till he was invading her personal space, he gave her a death glare.
"We”, he pointed between them, “are not a couple yet. Hell, we haven’t even fucked.“, he laughed.
Zara felt her skin go cold.
“You go around complaining to my friend that I’m not giving you the time of the day? What the fuck is the matter with you?!“, he yelled making her jump.
“I-“, she started but he held up a hand.
“I don’t need this kind of shit, understand? This is exactly why I don’t want a girlfriend in the first place!“, he bit out, his eyes dark with anger.
Her heart stopped.
“And besides”, he said softly, “I was going to tell you about the change of plans on Saturday-”
Zara felt the anger rise in her chest.
“I said get out.”
Nathaniel stared at her in what looked like shock. And then pure rage.
"Gladly.“, he hissed.
He pulled open the door and stepped out, banging it shut.
The loud sound echoed through the walls.
When the shock of the encounter released its hold, Zara’s first instinct was to crumple against the floor and cry.
Rubbing the spot on her chest, she went back inside and sat down in front of her laptop.
Clicking open the Web page she began writing her assignment.
A single tear made it’s way down her cheek before it hit the keypad of her laptop.
She now knew exactly what a broken heart felt like.