Chapter 28 : Chapter the Twenty-Eighth
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And I don’t find myself missing him as much as I usually would… Have I stopped being in love with him?
I want to cry when I think of that sentence. I’m always going to love Elliot, but I don’t know if I’m in love with him anymore.
When I get to work I stay quiet and Mark looks at me curiously. “Are you okay, Lily?” he asks in concern.
I don’t know if I should tell him. I open and close my mouth a few times before saying, “Never mind. It isn’t important.”
“Lily, you’re like one of my closest friends at the moment, I can tell when you’re lying,” he tells me flatly, poking me with the end of a wooden spoon into my sides.
I laugh and dodge the spoon. “Seriously, don’t worry about it,” I say. “I’ve just got a lot on my mind and question: if I’m your closest friend how come you didn’t tell me you had a date last night? I had to find out from Molly!” She told me yesterday and I couldn’t believe he didn’t tell me! The little minx!
He looks down with a sheepish smile. “I was going to tell you eventually…” he mumbles.
“Come on, what was she like?” I say eagerly, leaning forward for any information.
“He,” Mark corrects. I start to open my mouth to ask him if he’s gay and he must know what I’m going to ask because he says, “I’m not gay. I’m bisexual.”
“Oh cool,” I say. “So what was he like?” I rephrase my earlier question.
He shrugs. “He was really, really nice. And super funny. I didn’t stop laughing the whole time. And I may have put out on the first date.”
“Mark!” I shake my head at him and he grins sheepishly. “Was he worth it at least?”
“Oh yeah,” he says, nodding his head enthusiastically. “I only got a few hours sleep but so worth it.”
“Is this going to become a serious thing then?” I ask, waggling my eyebrows with a knowing smirk.
He snorts. “I’ve no clue. I guess we’ll see and wait it out.” I smile and then suddenly think of Elliot and I have to fight to keep the smile on my face. I turn around and go get something so I can try to compose myself and not break down.
And I know if I break down, it won’t be because I’m angry or upset at Elliot. It’ll be because I’m angry that I no longer love him.
I shut my eyes and try to force the thought out of my mind.
Maybe I’m just overthinking things. Next time I see Elliot I’ll see if I get that little stomach jump thing I usually get whenever I see him. Since the whole time we’ve been together every time I see him my stomach leaps at the sight of him. It’s not from fear or anything, it’s just because I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to snag him.
I shake my head and get back to work, ignoring Mark’s inquisitive stare.
I decide to put myself out of my misery three days later by going over to Elliot’s house. I knock on the door and wait anxiously whilst shivering. It’s so bloody cold.
The door swings open and Elliot is standing there in trackies and a woolly jumper. I wait for the usual leap of my stomach but it doesn’t come. I feel a sense of dread.
“Hey, Lily,” he says with a grin. He gives me a kiss but I’m not feeling it.
Shit. I smile weakly at him. “Mind if I come in?”
“Of course!” he says, moving to the side. None of the awkwardness from last week seems to still be on him, I note.
I walk in and decide to put my feelings aside and I’ll work it out if I’m just making up this tension or it’s actually there.
We have dinner and talk about work, discussing boring things and I realise I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t. I can’t handle a relationship at the moment, and not one like this. I’m still young. I want spontaneity. I don’t want to be in an ‘old-married-couple’ type of relationship already. I want to have flings. I’m nearly twenty one for goodness sake. I shouldn’t be tied down this young.
When I come to this realisation, tears spring to my eyes. “Lily? Are you okay?” Elliot asks, stopping his dead-boring speech on some Quidditch politics thing.
I shake my head. “No,” I whisper. “I’m not.”
“What’s wrong?” he asks, worry etched all over his face. He reaches to grab my hand but I pull it back into my lap and flick at my nails.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I say softly, not looking at him.
“What?” he asks, looking very confused.
I gesture between the two of us. “I can’t do this! It’s too serious! I feel…”
Elliot looks at me blankly. His mouth drops open a little bit and he asks warily, “Feel what, Lily?”
“Bored,” I admit. My cheeks warm and I bite my lip to stop it from wobbling. “We’re in such a serious relationship at such a young age! That’s not normal!”
Elliot looks like I’ve just punched his kitten. I try not to cry harder but a few tears escape and leave trails down my cheeks. “I’m sorry,” I say honestly. “I’m always going to love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. And I don’t think I have been for a long time. I’m so sorry, Elliot.”
He opens and closes his mouth a few times before finally saying, “What did I do wrong?” There’s something in his voice that makes me feel like I’ve been torn into two pieces. I put a hand to my mouth to stop a sob from escaping.
“You did nothing wrong, Elliot,” I assure him. I want to reach over to him and give him a hug but I know it won’t be beneficial. Especially at a time like this.
He looks numb. I don’t think it’s hit him just yet. I give him a pitying look but seeing as I’m the one sniffing and sobbing, I don’t think it comes off that way. “I’m sorry,” I repeat pathetically.
“Don’t,” he says roughly. “Don’t do this. You’re just going through something, Lily! We can work through this, I swear!” He looks at me pleadingly and now his eyes have watered up. Oh god.
I shake my head. “I have to. I should go.” I stand up and make my way to the door but Elliot darts in front of me and clasps my hands in his. I don’t pull away but just look at him and sniffle and cry.
“Lily, please think about this,” he says. “You know you love me and I love you so much. Don’t do this to us. I’ll make more time for you, I swear.”
I shake my head. “Elliot, it’s not you not having enough time for me. If anything, I don’t have the time for you.”
He drops my hands and straightens up. “Oh,” he says quietly, not meeting my eyes. I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand.
I need to hurt him so he won’t come after me. “I’m sorry,” I say and then wince when he shakes his head and whispers, “No you’re not. If you were really sorry you wouldn’t be doing this.”
“Do you think this is easy on me too, Elliot?!” I yell. “This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! I don’t want to stay with you for such a long time and then end up hating each other anyway! I can’t be in this relationship anymore! It’s too serious and we’re too young! Maybe if we met each other when—”
“When what?” he spits. “When we were older? If we met when we were older, we wouldn’t have had all these experiences. It wouldn’t have been the same and you know that!” He glares at me but his eyes are still shining with tears he’s unwilling to shed.
For a small moment I try to envision meeting Elliot in the future and I realise we would never be compatible. I’m always going to be too focused on work and he’ll be travelling for his work and won’t have time for me, nor I him. I’m going to need to find a guy that will either run the business with me or have a job that requires him to be at home a lot of the time. And that’s not Elliot.
I step closer towards him and say, “I met the right person at the wrong time.” His face twists into something so agonising I can’t help but cry again. “I’m so sorry, Elliot. I’ll always love you.” I give him one last kiss and he holds onto me tightly, unwilling to let me go.
He rests his forehead on mine and looks down, his cheeks now wet. Whether it’s from my tears or his, I haven’t a clue. “Please don’t go,” he mumbles. “Lily, I love you so much. There’s nothing I won’t do for you.” He squeezes my waist and holds me close to him.
I give him a hug and try not to sob into his shoulder. I shut my eyes for a moment and his hand goes to the back of my head, holding me there.
We stay like that for a long time.
Or maybe it was only ten seconds. I don’t know. That moment seems to stretch out for an infinite time.
I pull away and he lets his hands drop. He looks at me and I take one last look in his warm brown eyes. “I love you, Elliot,” I whisper before picking up my coat and boots and walking outside.
When I’m outside I pull my boots on and coat on and then sit on his front porch, my back resting on his door. I let my head fall backwards and shut my eyes.
If I finally did what I wanted, why do I feel like absolute shit?
I don’t know how long I stay like that but then a very pretty, young girl starts walking towards me. I don’t want to talk so I stand up and wipe the dust off of me. I try to walk past her but she says, “Hey, you’re Elliot’s girlfriend, aren’t you? I’m Nat. His neighbour? Are you okay?”
She says all that in one breath. I don’t bother to correct her though.
I blink quickly. “Yeah I’m fine. I just gotta go. Nice seeing you again.” She looks at me inquisitively but I don’t look back and walk quickly to a dark, quiet area to Disapparate home.
Thankfully I arrive straight in my bedroom with no dramas but I collapse on my bed and sob loudly. Why am I feeling like this? I’m the one who ended it, not him!
Oh god what if I just made the biggest mistake of my life?
I need to talk to someone. Now.
I walk out of my room, wiping my eyes on my sleeve when I see Glitter in the usual position of being slumped on the lounge with his laptop resting on his stomach and an oh-so-attractive double chin.
“Yo, Lily what are we—holy shit are you okay?!” He does a double take at my expression. I shake my head and crumple down in tears again and he puts his laptop on the coffee table and rushes to me, enveloping me in a hug. “What happened?” he asks, squeezing me super tight.
I take a shuddering breath. “Elliot and I just broke up,” I whimper.
He doesn’t say a word but forces me to sit down on the couch. He then puts the kettle on boil and starts preparing us a tea each.
He gets it.
I stay on the couch and sniffle, and when the teas are done, he slowly brings them to me and sits down, wrapping me in a one-armed hug.
“What happened?” he asks gently, his hand rubbing my arm soothingly.
I blow on my tea and take a sip of it before explaining everything. He listens and makes small noises here and there to let me know he’s paying attention. Even if he wasn’t, I’d just need to talk it out. When I finish, I cup my hands around my mug and wait for any wisdom to come out of Glitter’s mouth.
“Shit,” he says oh-so eloquently.
“Thank you,” I say dryly but it comes out very weak and pathetic sounding.
He looks at me in sympathy. I don’t meet his eyes. “Lily, are you sure you’re still not in love with him? You’re this broken up over it – it doesn’t seem like you don’t love him anymore,” he says gently.
I shake my head. “I don’t know if I stopped loving him. But for once in nearly two years I’m unsure of it and that’s why I did it. And I’m bored. I’m so bored with him. I want to go out and have adventures but I can’t ever do that with him seeing as we’ve had our adventures already!”
Glitter understands that by ‘adventures’ I don’t mean travelling and visiting all sorts of places – although admittedly that would be fun – I mean experiencing firsts with someone. Finding out their favourite food, meeting their family, first kiss, finding out the one thing that annoys you.
I’ve done that with Elliot. And I wish I could say that I was excited for the future with him but I’m not. I never expected to have such a serious relationship as my first relationship.
“You can still have adventures, Lily,” Glitter says softly. “They’re just going to be a lot different. But you can be in a long relationship and not be serious, you know that, right?”
I blink. That is true. I can have a ten year long relationship and still be carefree and young for majority of it. And parts of it can be serious, but I can still be young and be in a relationship.
Holy shit I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life.
I stand up abruptly, careful not to spill any of the tea. “I’ve just made the worst mistake of my life,” I say in a panic. “I need to go over there right away! I need to fix everything!”
“Then go,” Glitter urges me, also standing up. “Go get him and tell him what a bloody idiot you were being. You just had a really weird case of cold feet!”
I nod frantically and thrust the mug of tea at Glitter. “Take this! Thank you so much, you’re the best person in the whole wide world!”
“I know that but go!” he says, pushing me and picking up my wand so I can Disapparate to his house. I start to turn on the spot but then remember that it would be very impolite to do that – especially seeing that the last time I saw him I kind of had an existential crisis on him.
I make my decision to Apparate into that side alley and thankfully I arrive without Splinching anything.
I nearly run to Elliot’s house. I knock but I swing the door open at the same time. This can’t wait. I call out Elliot’s name but halfway through saying his name, I see a girl and Elliot in the living room, snogging as if their lives depended on it.
My stomach plummets.
“Elliot?” I ask dumbly.
He pulls away from her and looks at me in horror. “Lily!” He makes his way towards me, zipping his jeans back on and she starts pulling her clothes back on. I want to be sick.
I don’t say anything and he says, “Lily, it isn’t what it looks like – I’m sorry. Lily, please.”
I finally find my voice and in a wobbly tone I say, “It’s been two hours. TWO HOURS, Elliot!” My eyes fill with tears and I can’t even look at the girl but I do and wince when I see that it’s the neighbour, Natalie.
“She came onto me,” he insists, looking at me desperately. I can’t find it in me to snort at that ridiculous statement but Natalie snorts for me instead.
“Yeah, I came onto you. Tell her the truth, Elliot,” she says harshly. A sense of dread slowly runs through me as I wonder about that sentence.
He looks at me sadly and I whisper, “Is this the first time you’ve kissed her?”
He won’t look at me in the eyes and won’t answer but that’s all I need to hear. I can’t hold back my tears anymore and I try not to make a noise.
However, Natalie doesn’t think this is a sufficient answer. “We’ve been shagging since you first had that massive fight. He came home from your argument, told me everything what happened between the two of you and made a move on me.” Elliot looks so ashamed at this.
I feel like vomiting again. That’s nearly been a year. It’s October now.
“How did you hide it so well?” I ask, wishing that my voice wouldn’t crack and sound so pathetic.
He shrugs. That hits me so hard and I can’t believe how much he doesn’t care. Even though he’s been looking sad this whole time, that small movement makes me realise he’s just putting that face on and he doesn’t care.
“You’re so naïve, Lily,” he says quietly. “You believe anything I tell you.”
The way he says it implies that it’s somehow my fault for being so naïve and not his for being a disgusting, dirty, rotten, cheating scumbag.
I snap, “So it’s my fault for trusting my boyfriend of a year?! God, how naïve must I be! I must be a fucking lunatic for trusting someone who I thought cared about me!” I stumble and stutter throughout the whole sentence but hopefully my point gets across.
“Did you even love me?” I ask, afraid of what the answer will be.
He looks at me, dropping the sad and pitying façade. “I did,” he says simply.
“Then why did you fight so hard to keep me with you?” I ask quietly, trying not to look at him pathetically but I don’t know if it’s working.
He shrugs again and I feel like a shard of ice cuts through my heart. “I want to be with you, I really do,” he says but I can’t tell if he’s being honest. “But like you said, Lily, I was bored. And that’s why Nat and I happened.”
I feel hot and feverish. I still can’t believe this is happening. I say to Natalie, “Can you give us a moment, please?”
She shrugs and I want to punch that girl in the face. I also want to punch Elliot in the face. And I want to cry.
“Sure,” she says. “I’ll be at my place. Sorry,” she adds but she doesn’t look sorry at all. How could she have been so nice the first times we met?
I wait for her to leave and then point my wand at Elliot’s throat. “YOU PIECE OF SHIT,” I shriek, digging the tip in deeper. He makes a choking sound. “You rotten scumbag! I can’t believe you! You are the most worthless piece of shit I have had the misfortune to meet and I nearly spent two years with you! And one of those you were cheating on me you arsehole! I hate you so much!”
“Lily,” he pleads, his hands going in a surrender position. “Don’t hurt me!”
I take my wand away from his throat but then make a slashing movement with my wand and his body is thrown against the wall. He lets out a groan and I scream, “Levicorpus!” so he hangs upside down in the air, his arms dangling.
Al taught me that nifty little spell. I must thank him later.
I want to kick at him and shout at him and make sure he’s bleeding out of his fucking ears but I don’t. Instead, I take the jewellery off that I wear that I got from him and pile it in front of him. I go find the presents I gave him – including the signed copy of Quidditch Through the Ages – and he starts pleading with me to not do what I’m about to do.
I ignore him. I also find some of his clothes and add them to the pile so he can see them. I point my wand at it. “Lily, please don’t do this,” he says desperately. “Kick me in the bollocks, kick me in the face, hurt me in every way possible but don’t set fire to my possessions. I’m begging you.”
I cock my head to the side. “I don’t want to do that but since I’m so naïve I guess I should just believe you and agree with you, huh?”
“I’m sorry, you’re not naïve,” he says, his face red from hanging upside down.
I snort and then vanish the objects in front of me. He yells and I say nastily, “Relax, idiot. I just sent them to my place. And you’re never getting them back. This is my stuff and I own it. There was no way in hell I’d set fire to that book and that jewellery.”
He looks at me in confusion and I say, “But what I will do is get a rope to make it look like I’ve tied you to your ceiling, cast a delightful spell and be off on my merry way and let Natalie—” In my head I’ve given her the nickname ‘disgusting little whore’, and Elliot is the ‘rotten scumbag’, but I let him know that. “—find you like that. Then you and your whore can continue living your lives and I’ll go live mine and never see your sorry face again.”
He looks at me, starting to become nervous and I bend down to his level. I point my wand at his forehead and with the spell Aunt Hermione taught all us girls when we were younger, spell out ‘ROTTEN SCUMBAG’ in big purple, pustules that look like if they are touched any time soon, they’ll burst with pus. The ‘rotten’ is on his forehead, the ‘scumbag’ is spread out across his cheeks and over his nose. Perfect.
He tries to wriggle away but I hold him in place and then I decide to cast another spell of the same pustules but instead of on his face, I hope they are in the place where they’ll hurt the most.
Judging by his howl, I think I have done it correctly.
Suddenly, I don’t feel pathetic anymore. I feel empowered and that I could probably karate kick anyone who dared got in my way. But I know as soon as I go home, I’ll be crying into Glitter’s shirt and then I’ll go to Mum’s and cry into her shirt.
But for now, I’m going to strut out of the house with a sway of my hips and a whistle on my lips.
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