Woman's Resolve to stay Single

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Chapter 30 | Helpful Invitations

Elizabeth just sat there. Frozen in place. Hayden constantly looked into her eyes for answers and assurance, but she couldn’t seem to do anything at the moment.

“What do you say?” Hayden nervously asked.

With her intuition, Elizabeth stood up, her eyes trained on the man in front of her. From shock, she could almost feel the tears coming out.

Hayden stood up after her, scared and questioning her actions, “El?” He muttered.

With the feelings Elizabeth felt, she couldn’t seem to proceed and hurt her beloved friend with an answer. All she thought of right now was that she didn’t want him to see her cry. So hurriedly, she grabbed her bag and said,

“I’m sorry Hayden... I gotta’ go.” Elizabeth walked out of the cafe, leaving the unfinished cake and coffee on her table.

She couldn’t care less about it. Not bringing herself to cry for him. She hated how she felt; her actions; she hated herself. The chime sounded as she exited the place. A momentary noise, before silence.

She was greeted with the now cold outside air as the clouds covered the heat of the sun. She almost ran to the covered bus stop across the street to at least have shelter from the freezing.

She sat on the cold steel bench in that covered area and there. As she warmed herself up with her hands, she had remembered what she had done. There, the tears fell.

As she tried to wipe the tears from her eyes, back turned from the outside, a ringing sounded from her phone. She didn’t want to pick it up, but she thought it might be important, so she willed herself to suck it up and quickly fix herself before shoving her hand into her bag to locate her phone.

She quickly found the source of the sounds and vibrations. She then looked at the name plastered on the front screen. “Megan”, it said.

She thought for a while whether she would answer it since it wasn’t about work or anything, but she figured Megan would be nice to talk to at this moment. She decided she couldn’t tell her about the situation right now, since she was probably still at work, so she decided to tell her later.

“El!” the enthusiastic voice said, “I’m organizing the dresses that I showed you before for the show and I was going to ask you what should go first? The black with the collar thingy, or the one navy dress with what you said had weird sleeves?”

Elizabeth thought about it before she answered. Not only the about dresses but also how her voice may come out on the phone. Sounding as normal as possible,

“The...navy is good.” She replied.

There was a silence on the other line as she said those words. “Meg?” She muttered,

“El... your voice seems off - were you crying?” Megan asked.

She was screwed, failing at hiding her emotions. Yet, she smiled at how close Megan was to her that even she could tell, no matter how she tried.

“No.” Elizabeth didn’t give up.

“Don’t lie to me, you sound... different.” Megan said.

Elizabeth sucked up the tears once more before she spoke in a happier tone, “No... I’m completely fine! Go with the navy one... and might I suggest a hat with it?”

But Megan still wasn’t easily convinced. She knew something was wrong with her best friend and she wanted to help.

“El... Just stop this. It’s clear you’re holding back tears. No matter what you’re going through right now, I’m certain it’s all going to be okay. And no matter what it is, I’ll be by your side. You can talk to me and let it out.”

Hearing those words. Elizabeth had forgotten about being inside a bus stop shed once more. There were no people around, all the more reason for her to do what she couldn’t help. Through the phone, Megan could only hear the sounds of her friend slowly weeping. Elizabeth cried without a care for the surroundings. “El, where are you? I’ll come to you.”

Elizabeth didn’t stop but between the tears she tried to say, “Meg...don’t, you’re...busy” Elizabeth wiped the falling tears away and willed herself to stop once more, regaining the sense of her surroundings.

“Psh- I’m not busy when you’re drowning yourself in sadness like that. Now, where are you?”

Elizabeth gave up on telling Megan what not to do and told her where she was. It was not in great detail, but after being Elizabeth’s friend for so long, Megan knew exactly where she was talking about.

Soon after, Megan’s familiar red car appeared in front of the very bus shed where Elizabeth was. At that point, the tears already dried on her cheeks and she looked liked a horrible mess. She just came from an impressive achievement from work and the day ended like this. It was ironic.

She hopped in and at that point, the nearest place they could go to was Elizabeth’s apartment.

She had suggested so, so that she could easily wallow her sorrows in her own bed directly when she arrived and hopefully, solve it and forget all about it tomorrow.

The car ride was quiet, yet Megan’s attention was more taken up by how much her friend was holding up other than the road. She was worried.

After a few minutes, they had already arrived in the familiar presence of Elizabeth’s humble abode.

When they had opened the doors into her clean room immediately, Elizabeth went in first and sat down on her lounge’s couch. Megan closed the door behind her and worried about the look on Elizabeth’s face. She was red and teary; she was holding herself back, and she knew.

She then sat beside her best friend and took her head in her hands to lay her down on her shoulder as they laid back on the sofa’s head rest.

“It’s alright, El. You can let it all out now.” She rubbed her head in comfort and there once more, Elizabeth burst out in tears.

She didn’t want to, but Megan’s touch was comforting and warm. She trusted her and let herself go.

“Meg...” Her breathing was ragged but slow. A few tears rolled down until she eventually stopped crying. Her face was still wet, and she took in a sharp breath now and then. There, she explained.

“Meg... I hurt... Hayden.” Megan continued to stroke her hair in the darkly lit room. She didn’t speak.

“He confessed... and I- I just... ran. I didn’t know why I did that. And I even did that back then. I’m so... selfish. He must be hurting.” Elizabeth turned to look at her friend. “I want to love him back. I wish I could, so that he wouldn’t look as dejected, but... I just... can’t. I don’t know, yet... I don’t want to... He’s a good friend... and I hurt him so- so much, even then... but, I can’t Meg, I just can’t”

“El, it’s alright. You don’t need to cry. You’re already a great friend as well.”

“But.. I feel so bad.”

“Love hurts, El, but it cannot be forced. I know what you went through and if Hayden cannot break the wall himself, he isn’t the one. And you don’t need him to be the one. Realistically, he will feel sad... yes, but you cannot fake love for him. That would hurt him more. Just tell him what you feel... before it all goes too far, so that he won’t continue to be scarred.”

Elizabeth understood what she was saying. She had to reject him, even if it hurt. As a friend, she didn’t want him to feel this way, but it would be utter misery if she lies to him. Megan knew the trauma - her trauma in the looks of romances, relationships, or marriages. And it was hard for her to open up, and it still was. All she felt was friendship and nothing more. Hayden couldn’t cross the line deeper into her heart. He stayed at the place where others were.

Elizabeth didn’t know love. Heck, even sometimes, she wasn’t sure if she could love anymore. After thinking about what Hayden had said, she knew she didn’t love him. And she couldn’t date him just for the heck of it - for him to not cry. She couldn’t lie to him like that.

Even though she decided, she couldn’t imagine how she could say it all to him.

“El, I’ll go make you a cup of tea to warm up.” Megan stood and made her way to the kitchen after Elizabeth nodded at that suggestion.


A next few days during that week Elizabeth drowned herself in finishing her work. It was great so far for her not to continue about being stressed about the whole thing and forget about the whole situation quickly. She was extremely efficient the rest of the week, yet sometimes, she still wondered how she was going to break it to such a great friend.

She would lose it sometimes and stare at the empty white wall in her office, thinking about how it might go. But every time, she bid herself to forget about it.

That Friday, she snapped out of her robotic state at work at an usual phone call in the middle of her working hours. Who would call at these times? She thought.

She saw the name on top of the number, “Mark Hale” it said. She was shocked with him calling so randomly, but she exited from the office space and took the call.

“Hey El! Glad you picked up.”

“What’s up Mark?” She said in a soft voice.

“Are you busy right now or something? I hope I’m not bothering you.”

“Actually, I am at work right now, but it’s already been said and done, so go on.”


Mark seemed a bit guilty for calling her so he replied, “Oh... sorry, I didn’t realize it was working hours. I actually read that post two days ago about a team’s disqualification and saw your name at the bottom of that brief article. Were you part of that entire investigation?”

“I was.”

“I predicted right then. The team wanted to congratulate you for that win in the whole situation.”

“Awe, that’s really nice of them. ”

“But they can’t make it tomorrow, being suddenly subjugated by weekend drills. I’m free because I got a shot in at that practice match, as well as our keeper and Kit, but they made plans?”

“What are you saying?”

“You want to get dinner with me tomorrow? We can celebrate by ourselves?”

“Sure! But remember the deal... I’ll be the one paying and I’ll decide where”

“It was supposed to be for you, but oh well, okay. Pick you up tomorrow at seven P. M?”

“That sounds great. Goodbye then Mark.”

“Bye.”

The call ended right there, and for the first time that day, she smiled. Thinking about the whole thing upcoming, she was excited. It seemed like a splendid meal with a friend would be just the thing to take her mind off from facing Hayden soon.

It might be good for her.

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