“I’m not the kind of girl boys fall in love with.”
Her eyes stayed focused on her hands, mousy hair falling into her face as she muttered these words to her friend. They were sitting at a little café a couple blocks down from where she lived. They had agreed to get lunch together after she had been dumped yet again last night. When she had called her friend last night, she had wanted to get this horrible feeling off her chest, but now all she felt was shame. Lacey couldn’t bear to look up at her friend right now. He’d only have pity in his eyes, try to tell her that her conclusion wasn’t true, though her experiences had proven it to be very true. Once again she had been used as the rebound; once again she hadn’t been good enough to surpass the ex; once again she had been shown how inadequate she really was.
Lacey could feel the tears prickling at the corner of her eyes as she thought about it, but she refused to cry this time. It didn’t matter how much she really liked the guy this time around; he wasn’t worth the tears.
“Lace,” Spencer said, his voice soft as he placed a gentle hand on hers. She wanted so desperately to push his hand off and just leave, but she couldn’t take her hurt out on him. It wasn’t his fault.
“Lace,” He said again, “look at me.”
Lacey hesitated but finally brought her eyes up to meet his. Just as she had predicted, they were filled with pity. She hated that look. She hated being an object of pity. It was like he was saying that there really wasn’t any hope for her.
“Lace, you are a beautiful girl with a wonderful personality; you are funny, smart, and one of the nicest people I know. You have the world at your feet, and a full life ahead of you. Any guy would be lucking to have you—”
“Then why have I once again been used and left?” She interrupted.
“Because you keep picking complete morons who take you for granted,” Spencer replied.
A rush of anger coursed through her and she clenched her fists. So it was all her fault, was it? She was supposed to magically know which guys were idiotic jerks, and which ones weren’t, was she? How could he blame her for this? She wanted somebody on her side right now, because she certainly wasn’t.
“It’s not my fault that these ‘morons’ are the only ones who show any interest in me!” She spat, really fighting back those tears now.
Spencer looked taken aback and a bit offended as he responded “I wasn’t saying that it was your fault—”
Lacey interrupted him again. “Yes you were!”
Her voice had risen in volume causing some of the tables around them to look over, and her friend was starting to look as angry as she felt.
“You don’t need to take your anger out on me, Lacey.” His voice had begun to rise as well.
“I’m not taking anything out on you. You’re the one who’s blaming this…this bullshit on me!” She said loudly.
“No I’m not!”
“Yes you are!”
“I never said it was your fault!”
“Yes you did!”
There voices had risen nearly to the point of shouting, and they had quite the audience from the other patrons at the café. It was clear that the people around them were growing quite uncomfortable, and a few were trying to figure out if they should intervene or not.
“Fine!” Spencer finally shouted, “I do blame you!”
Lacey felt stricken, and reached for her purse. She didn’t want to be here anymore. She had wanted some comfort, and maybe some part of her had been hoping that he could make everything better, perhaps have some magical catch all answer for her problematic love life, though she knew that had been unrealistic. She hadn’t wanted to see her friend, however, for him to just make her feel worse. As she grabbed her purse, tears starting to blur her vision, he continued to speak, though with a much softer voice this time.
“I blame you, because you constantly pick guys who are obviously below you, like you think you don’t deserve better. I blame you because you are so desperately trying to find Prince Charming in a pile of toads who will never know how to treat a princess like you, and if you weren’t so blindly looking, maybe you would finally see the person who has loved you this whole time.”
Lacey froze in her seat, her heart beating a thousand beats per second. Her mind had gone blank and she brought her watery gaze up to meet his. With a shaky breath, after several moments of shocked silence, she asked “Who?”
Spencer ran his hand through his rust colored hair as he gave a breathless laugh. “Do you really have to ask?”
She gave a silent, slow nod. She had to be sure, she had to confirm. He broke eye contact, looking at his cup of coffee instead and rubbing the back of his neck. He suddenly looked unsure of himself, all the fire from the fight seeming to drain from him as he chose his next words carefully. Perhaps he thought her question was a sort of rejection. Lacey hadn’t meant it that way. She just wanted to be completely sure.
His voice was barely audible when he finally looked up at her again.
Lacey just stared at him, unsure of what to say next. She wished she could say that some part of her had always known, but it hadn’t. She wished she could say that she felt the same, but in this moment, when her heart was already so vulnerable, she wasn’t sure. She could feel the eyes of the other café patrons on her, though she couldn’t find it in her to feel embarrassed. All she could do in this moment was stare into her friend’s eyes as her heart rate sped, and think ‘What am I supposed to do now?’
"I love you, Lacey."