"Did you ever love me?" her voice cracked.
"Of course," he cupped her face.
"Do you still love me?"
He sighed, dropping his hands to his side. He started to say something when she cut him off.
"Yes or no. Answer the question. There is no in between. There is no maybe. Don't play games with me. Answer the question," her voice was now hard. She had regained her composure.
He sighed again. "I'm sorry..." he said.
"So it's a no?"
"I mean, I love you, but not like that. You're a great p--"
"Don't," she said, shaking her head, "don't you dare treat me like I'm some fragile child. I'm not going to die. Life goes on. I just wanted to know the truth. Now I know, end of story."
"Please don't coddle me. Just stop."
"It wouldn't have worked. You and me, it wouldn't have lasted."
She gave a bitter laugh. "You never gave us a chance."
He reached out and lightly took her hand. "Don't be like this."
She pulled away and narrowed her eyes. "You did this, not me."
"I didn't want this to happen..."
"But it did anyway, didn't it?"
He sighed. "Please...don't..."
"Don't what? Care? Be mad? Hurt?"
He sighed again. "I don't want it to end like this."
She looked up at him, her eyes filled with tears. "Me neither," she admitted.
He pulled her into a hug. "I want it to end well."
She pulled away.
"What is it?" he asked, lifting her chin with his finger.
She refused to look at him.
"Please don't make me feel guilty. I had to do this."
She yanked away from his touch as if it burned her. When she looked at him her eyes were filled with anger. "You were the one who did thisdid this, not me. So don't you dare try and make me feel bad for you. Now get out."
"Get out. I don't want to hear it."
"Please don't end it like htis," he pleaded.
"How many times do I have to tell you that it was you," she said, poking his chest, "who ended it like this. Not me. Now get out of my house."
He didn't budge.
This sent her over the edge.
Sobbing, she beat her tiny fists against his chest. "What did I do?!" she screamed, tears streaming down her face, "why wasn't I good enough?!"
He pulled her against him and wrapped his arms around her thin little body. She clung to him and cried into his chest.
"What did I do wrong?" she whispered through her tears.
"Nothing," he murmurmed into her ear as he stroked her, "I was never going to be the man you needed. I'm not good enough for you. You're going to find the right man. He's just not me."
He made the mistake of opening his mouth again. "I'm really sorry it had to end this way."
"Get out." Her voice was deadly quiet and calm.
"I said, get out."
For the second time, she snapped.
Putting her hands against his chest, she pushed away from him. "Get out!" She began pushing him towards the door with all of her might. "Get out!"
Bewildered, he stared down at her.
And so, seeing as there was nothing else he could do, he did.
As soon as the door closed behind him, she sunk down to her knees and sobbed into her hands. She felt completely empty and broken inside. She was lost without him.
He stood outside her door and listened to her heart-wrenching sobs. He felt the folded up paper in his pocket. On it, was the results from the doctor. He had cancer. It might be too late. In truth, he loved her more than anything, but he didn't want her to watch him die slowly. This was was easier. He was doing the right thing.
But as he listened to her raw cries of pain, he began to second-guess himself. Suddenly, the sobs quieted and all he could hear was her ragged breath. The door opened and he found himself looking at the only person he had ever loved. Her eyes were red and still brimming with tears. Her beautifully curly brown hair was messy and her clothes rumpled. He had done this to her.
"W-why are you still here?" she asked, sounding defeated. She looked into his eyes and was shocked to see that his gaze was filled with love. She frowned. She was being stupid. He didn't love, he had just told her to her face.
"I..." He wanted desperatly to take in her in his arms, but he couldn't, for her sake. "I was just..." Shouldn't he live hhis life happy until the end? It would be bad for both of them if he stayed. But it might be even worse if he left. He didn't know anymore. He was confused.
She narrowed her eyes. He seemed to be struggling for words.
To hell with it, he decided.
"I lied," he said.
"I am completely in love with you," he said honestly.
"What...?" she stood, completely perplexed.
"I thought it would be easier,: he said, pulling out the paper.
"What is that?"
- - -
Afterward, they lay on the couch, snuggling.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you, too."
"Don't you ever do that again. I don't care what happens, but you can never do that to me."
"I won't," he promised. He inhaled her scent and knew that his decision had been selfish, but it had been right. Tightening his arms around her, he smiled. Things were okay. As long as he had her, things were okay.