And looking at his pained expression, I suddenly get it. I don’t agree with it, but I understand a little better. He’s always seemed so untouchable. A powerhouse of vitality and wealth. He embodies strength in every facet of his life. He exhibits control in everything he does.
Except for this.
It’s not only fucked with his head, it’s also tainted everything.
“Because you’re worried about what others might think of you? You’re worried that I—”
He cuts me off, his top lip curling, “Would look at me the way you’re looking at me now?”
My head shakes frantically, but he keeps going. “I don’t want your pity, Lia. I can’t fucking handle that shit. And I didn’t want you to think …” He pauses, scrubbing his hands down his face.
“What?” I ask softly.
“That I betrayed you in some way.” He drops his hands, staring at the carpeted floor. “I didn’t want to let it become some kind of big deal. I thought I could just ignore it.”
I chew on my lip. “But it wouldn’t let you.”
His head snaps up, and he stares at me for a moment then shakes his head.
I walk over to him, stopping when he takes a step back.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper. “I never would have done it. I never even meant to …” His eyes darken as he keeps them on me. Hesitantly, I reach out and grab his hand. He surprises me by letting me. I stare down at our hands, turning his wedding band over and rubbing my fingers softly over every inch of skin he’s allowing me to touch. “I’ve only ever wanted you. And when I thought you didn’t want me anymore, I was desperate for you to see me again.”
He lets a sigh loose. “I see you, Lia. I’ve always seen you.” I look up at him then, my heartbeat kicking up speed in my chest. “Even in my darkest moments, you shined so fucking bright. Bright enough to keep me going.” He pulls his hand away. “Until you broke me even more and left me alone in the dark.” He steps back, bending to grab his bag before walking out of the room.
And all I can do is watch as he goes. Watch even after the door has slammed closed and I hear his car take off out on the street. I hear it all before being engulfed in the dead silence that now radiates through every air particle in this big house. And suddenly, I can’t breathe.
I never knew silence could be so suffocating.