BURNING LOVE

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Hating him

Lizbeth knew she was being stubborn. Sawyer just tried to make a truce with her, and he rejected him. He said it wasn’t their problem, but he kept thinking that Maggie was innocent, blindly defending her, and she didn’t want to be with him at the moment.

She felt angry and defeated, but the hardest part of it all was facing the heartbreaking disappointment invading her, poisoning, and hazing her reasoning.

All the love she used to feel for him had become a dark mass, weighing heavily in her heart. She was so furious all she wanted to do was scream to his face that if he still had feelings for his ex he should stick with her. However, she controlled the urge.

She wasn’t like that, she wasn’t the crazy kind of girlfriend that felt jealousy and insecurity just because he’s past had come back to bite them in the ass.

Sawyer had been nothing but good to her. He was caring and thoughtful and always put her first. He never lied to her and whatever decision he would have to make, he talked with her, insisting that it wasn’t a he anymore, but a them.

They had never argued. It was always so easy between them. The understanding, the trust, and the complicity. With just a simple look they knew what the other was thinking, they had a level of connection that seemed from another world. But they argued, using a disrespectful tone of voice and saying hurtful things.

Sawyer was trusting his own instincts, based on what he knew about Maggie and about Nick. They were both doing the same, yet to her, his reasoning was undefendable.

It was terrifying thinking that Maggie could have hurt herself just to get Sawyer back, but she couldn’t help it. She hated her for the constant scheming. She hated Sawyer for not trusting her. She hated herself for letting that woman come between them, for breaking them so easily.

She knew she didn’t have proof, but she was sure. After days of feeling that weird sensation biting her skull from the inside, her thoughts finally felt right. It was like being in the center of the eye of the storm, watching as the worst was about to come.

Nick could have changed in many ways since they separated their ways, but abusing a woman? That made no sense at all. She couldn’t believe it and she wouldn’t give credit to Maggie’s words until she talked with him.

She shook her head and huffed, walking inside her apartment and slamming her door behind her.

Frustrated and hopeless she let her purse fall to the ground as she took off her sandals. When the warmth of the wooden floor connected with her skin, she felt a slight discomfort as a stinging twinge pierced through the soles of her feet.

She was used to wearing heels but when her feet stepped flat on a hard surface after being inclined and forced into that unnatural position for so many hours, that burning sensation always shot a burning shock from her ankles to her knees.

It wasn’t exactly painful, but at that moment it was the last straw. As anguish rose in her body, erupting in the shape of a flowing river of tears, her breath stuck in her throat. The pressure on her chest was so sharp she wanted someone to cut her open, releasing her from that burden.

She pressed her back against the wall and looked to the ceiling, slowly gliding down to the floor, trying to catch some air into her lungs.

Desperation and fear had pushed her down the edge so fast, she didn’t know what to do. She had never felt so lost, it was like jumping from a plane without a parachute, watching the ground closer and closer, knowing the inevitable end.

She didn’t know for how long she had been lying on the floor, crying. She didn’t even know why she was crying anymore.

She got up and, like a zombie, she went to her room. The only thing that broke the disturbing silence in her house were her heart hammering in her chest and her bare feet stepping on the floor.

She shivered when she unzipped her dress and the cool air in the room caressed her back, dragging her out of the hazy state of mind. She let her clothes fall to the floor and, right after, she climbed in the bed, tucking herself under the sheets and snuggling against her pillow, letting exhaustion push her into a deep slumber.


Sunday was an awful day. She woke up throughout the night several times and when the sun began to slip through the blinds she couldn’t close her eyes anymore.

She stayed there, blankly staring at the ceiling for an hour. Feeling sick and tired of the stifled and turbulent emotions still swirling like an endless spiral inside her mind, she huffed. All she wanted to do was cry but at the same time, she felt as if she couldn’t do it anymore. Empty and heartbroken, she wished she could sleep until Monday.

Suddenly, a sharp and unpleasant feeling braced itself in the pit of her stomach. She shuddered and all her hairs stood on end. Then, a burning sensation began to creep up her throat, acid, and bittersweet.

Lizbeth jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, afraid that she wouldn’t make it on time. She lifted the toilet seat and kneeled in front of it. She couldn’t control her body and her stomach began to contract, short and uneven spasms.

She tightened the grip on the toilet edges and sank her head deeper, feeling her being twisting as she puked her guts out. Tears flooded her eyes as the tension clutched around her neck.

When she was done, she flushed the toilet and sat in front of it, with her head pressed to the wall and her eyes squeezed shut. I can’t let this destroy us so easily, it’s not like Sawyer is being completely irrational… Why would she fake something like that? And how?

She got up and took off her pajamas, carelessly tossing it on the floor. She stepped into the shower and opened the tap. The water was freezing at the beginning, but it slowly warmed up. As it ran down her skin, it was as if it swept her worries with it, drowning them and slipping them down the drain.

She got out after half an hour thinking about everything that had happened the previous night, determined to make things right with Sawyer. She brushed her teeth and put on some comfy clothes.

When she was ready, she took a deep breath and opened her door, only to find Emma in front of Sawyer’s door. “Oh. Hi!” She sweetly smiled.

“Hi, Emma… What are you doing here so early?”

“I came to check on you guys…” She trailed off. “I thought you’d be…” She started saying, pointing to his door. Her eyes scanned her, she had to look horrible because she knew. “Did you fight?” she asked.

“What? Why?”

“Because you’re not sleeping at his house like you usually do?” she noted.

Busted! “Hmmm… Kind of,” she simply said, stepping aside to let her in.

“God, Liz… I don’t even know how you must feel with all this, but you cannot let it get between you two…” Emma told her as she closed the door.

“I know… It’s just so hard,” she said as she walked to the kitchen, Emma following suit.

“Mike told me…” She bit her bottom lip. “I’m so sorry for everything that’s happening to you, guys.” She sat on a chair, watching her as she prepared some coffee for both of them. The sun was warming the space, making it bright and dreamy, but Lizbeth still felt cold and empty.

“Emma, Nick’s innocent. He’d never hurt a woman, not like that anyway.” She leaned on the counter, crossing her arms over her chest.

“But…” She paused. “I don’t want to take a side here, you’re my friend and so is Sawyer, but why would his ex fake anything like this?”

“I have no idea!” She responded. “I just know she’s up to something.”

“Honey, I’ve seen women like her at the hospital and it’s not pretty, nobody would want to go through something like that to falsely accuse someone…” She shared with Lizbeth her experience as a nurse. “Those injuries, the ones you see and the ones hidden are bad, and if the doctors checked her… Trust me, there’s no way you can fake them.”

“What do you mean?” Lizbeth asked her, confused.

“Ugh… I don’t want to get into many details because it’s a bit disturbing, but let’s just say that the injuries in the intimate area have a specific pattern when it’s rough sex or when it’s forced...”

“I didn’t know that,” she admitted, placing a mug of coffee in front of her.

“Yeah…” she muttered as she wrapped her hands about the cup. “Anyway, I just came to tell you that we’re here if you need anything, okay?”

“Thank you…” Lizbeth smiled at her. “I was about to go to Sawyer’s to talk to him. I’m still so angry with him, but I hate the way things ended last night.”

“Hmm… I think he’s not at home. I rang his bell, Noah barked but nobody opened the door...” She looked at her with concern filling her eyes.

“Oh.” She petrified. He hasn’t gone to see her, right? Her eyes watered with that simple thought.

“I’m sure he’s just taking a walk to calm himself down,” Emma tried to reassure her.

“Yeah…” Lizbeth lowered her head.

“Liz, he loves you. Don’t let this make you think otherwise.”

“You’re right. Thanks,” she gave her a small smile.

“You have plans for today?” Emma asked her.

“Not really… Why?”

“I think it’ll do you good going out, get out of your head a little.”

“I don’t feel particularly cheerful to go anywhere…”

“I know, but being stuck in this house waiting for him to come back will do you no good, so let’s go!” She got up, pulling from her arm. “You get dressed and will go wander around the neighborhood, or we can drive to the mall, whatever you prefer.”

“Fine,” Lizbeth chuckled.

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