The Ex Project

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eXample

JASON

"I can't believe I have to do this," Charlotte mumbled, glaring at me as I shrugged. It wasn't a biggie to me; just get through it and move the fuck on. But someone like Charlotte couldn't bear it.

Because she was so controlling, hence my nick name for her.

"Calm it Steer, not many more left."

"If you call me that again-"

"What? You'll finish with me?"

I couldn't help but wind her up, despite it being my fault we were breaking up because of me.

"God, I hope you grow up one day," she muttered, as I noticed one of the counsellors glancing at us repeatedly. I avoided his gaze, instead continuing to fill in the sheet in front of me.

"Reason for break up. Great," I sighed, as Charlotte gave me a smug smile.

"Yes, Jason, what was the reason for our break up?"

"Irreconcilable differences?" I offered, as she narrowed her eyes into slits.

"That would mean you did nothing wrong. So try again."

"You want me to write infidelity, don't you?" I sighed, as I scribbled it down. Fuck it, if it made her feel better, I'd take the hit.

"I'm sorry, isn't that what you did?" she snapped, as her dark eyes flashed at me.

"In your eyes, yes. But you're a psycho."

"How am I a psycho?!" she hissed, glancing around us as I chuckled softly. The couples around us weren't faring any better, and I exchanged a sympathetic look with a guy a little younger than me who looked like he'd rather be drinking hot fat than sitting here.

"Anyway, reason for being unable to overcome said objection," I read aloud, gazing at the sheet as though it were my first time seeing it. Could I put that it was fucking draining listening to her list my faults? I could when it was my turn.

I sighed, before meeting her eyes. I noticed they were heavily made up today, something she only did when she was going out drinking.

Not your concern, Hanning.

"Lack of trust? Loss of respect?"

This was ridiculous. Any counsellor on their right mind would see this was utterly pointless. Did they really think they could mend broken relationships with a shitty six week programme?

"Do you still love your ex?" I asked quietly, as her eyes locked onto mine.

"Yes, I will always love you. I'm just not in love with you anymore."

Her answer was immediate, her voice delicate, and I felt a wave of affection run through me, before she squashed it with a stiletto heel.

"Ever since you decided to fucking cheat on me, you wanker."

"Wonderful. Just for the record-"

"She kissed you. I know. She just, happened to fall on your lap with her legs wrapped around you and your hands up her-"

"Fucking hell, alright. Calm down."

She gazed at me with hatred, before I placed the pen down, my eyes meeting hers.

"Your turn," I yawned in a bored tone, before stifling a yawn. I'd been working until literally twenty minutes before this started, and it had been a long shift.

"Why is this different to mine? Why do you get different questions? This must be wrong," she grumbled, flipping the pages over as she chewed on her lip. I noticed a guy across the room watching her idly, his gaze travelling up and down her legs that were covered by shiny purple tights, a tight black dress gripping her curves as she flicked her dark red hair over her shoulder. I couldn't say shit; but technically I could. She was still my girlfriend until the powers that be declared otherwise.

But even I wasn't brave enough to piss her off anymore than I already had.

"What was the best part of our relationship?"

I almost laughed, as it sounded so foreign coming from her mouth. Which, incidentally, was painted a deep red.

I loved it when she wore red lipstick. It reminded me of the time-

"You can't even answer it can you?"

"Of course I can," I protested, as she looked up at me through her lashes.

"If you say the sex, I'll cut your balls off right here and now."

I held my hands up as I spoke.

"The banter, you know, the friendship," I mumbled, refusing to meet her eyes.

"Which was also fucking trampled on."

"Just ask the questions, babe," it slipped out before I could stop it, and I knew she was probably going to uppercut me.

"Babe?" she echoed, as I covered my face with my hands.

"Sorry. Habit."

"It takes two weeks to break a habit. It's been four. Why haven't you broke it? Try harder," she demanded, before scribbling an answer down.

"When did you first realise you were in love with the other person?"

Why was I getting all the mushy shit? This was bullshit.

"No way will you know that, because you were never in love-"

"You were standing by the arcade machine at Casey's party. You were wearing these crazy ripped leggings and some long red shirt. You were tanned, because you'd been to Mexico," I said softly, the memory playing in front of my eyes like a film.

Flashback...

"I won! Yeah baby. I told you I'd win! Your turn. You owe me a teddy now."

She grinned at me, as she pushed a stuffed panda into my arms. She was excited, jumping up and down as I tried not to let my nerves get the better of me.

It was one of those claw machines that I'd spent all week telling her were fixed, but she wouldn't listen. Now she had gone and actually won, I was never gonna hear the end of it. I pushed my sleeves up as a crowd gathered around, chanting my name. She folded her arms around herself as she bit her lip, watching me with excitement as I slid the pound coin in.

"I did it on my first go, Hanning, no pressure," she teased as I positioned the claw perfectly above what could only be described as a purple octopus. As predicted, the claw gripped the toy, before releasing it in mid air. There was a collective groan from the people around me, as I moved aside to let the others have a go.

"I'm sorry, C. I told you I'm shit at those things plus they're rigged."

She pouted at me, before she pulled the panda from my hands.

"That's fine. We will share the panda. I'll sleep with him this week, and you can have him back the week after," she looked at me seriously as I studied her, her childlike innocence melting my icy heart.

"You have him, and when I next stay over we can share him."

"But you never stay over..." she laughed, as I reached for her face, cupping it in my hands.

"Don't kiss me, Jason. You'll ruin everything."

"I don't have a choice."

"Is that when I told you not to kiss me because it would ruin everything?"

"Yep," I popped the p, as she arched a brow.

"If only you'd listened, we wouldn't be here. I'd be outside waiting for you as some random chick screamed at you for breaking her heart again- instead here I am, that random chick."

"You were never a random chick," I responded instantly, as she scowled at me.

"No, but I was replaced by one. Next question. If you could have control over the decision without asking the other person, would you get back together?"

Her cheeks were flushed now, as she rubbed her neck nervously. I'd hurt her enough, I didn't need to hurt her anymore.

So I lied.

"No, we are better off as friends."

"Which we won't be. Friends. Friends don't shit on each other."

She filled in the sheet as I watched her, understanding that she meant every word. I really had lost her.

Even as a friend.

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