I can’t stop these thoughts

Since we’ve started packing for the move, I’ve been looking at what things to toss and what things to keep. I found a photo album last week or so and it happened to have a picture of the scum that I “dated” before my current boyfriend in it. The one who was married with two children and lied to me about it. I saw the picture and I got upset all over again, but something else needed my attention so I just closed the album without removing the picture. Now I can’t get the fucker out of my head.

Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong between me and my current boyfriend; we haven’t been fighting and everything has been going really well. There is absolutely no reason that I shouldnt’ be thinking about my man instead of the garbage before. But the asshole keeps coming across my thoughts and it really makes me mad. I keep telling myself that my boyfriend is the best man for me and that I’m really happy with him, so there’s no reason to think about anyone else. But I’m thinking I never got closure from the ex. I never got to beat the shit out of him for putting me in that position. I never got to tell his wife that he was cheating on her and had done it before to warn her of who she was sharing her life with.

He’s been in my dreams for the past three or four nights. So has my boyfriend, but the ex always appears first. It’s tearing me up because it’s starting to make me feel like I’m hiding something from BF or that I’m mentally cheating on him, even though I can’t control my dreams. Is it just a matter of forcing myself to think about BF to replace the random thoughts that pop up every time they do? Is it a matter of finding that picture again and ripping it to shreds to release the emotional hold it obviously has on me? Do I burn the picture instead?

I just want to be able to focus on my boyfriend because he deserves nothing less from me. He’s all I ever wanted and I don’t want to feel like I’m cheating on him mentally because of that fuckface.

Random Thoughts for Today

I didn’t blog yesterday. But the night before, my man came over and we talked some more about how I was feeling so down. I don’t know what kind of superpower this man has over me but he talked me through another down period. I guess I need to quit thinking about the future and just focus on what’s right in front of me, even if it means a breakup later down the road. But he pulled me back to my normal self, and I’m thankful for that. Now we’re going camping this weekend and I really hope it’s a great time.
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On the way to work today, I saw that a Texas State Trooper had pulled someone over. Those lights, that uniform, the emblem on the door bring back so many good memories. I can still smell my dad’s uniform and that leather belt and boots that he wore, the ones that he made look so good. The Trooper that I could see (there was one talking to the driver and another watching that trooper’s back) was such a cutie, too. ;P I wore my Texas Department of Public Safety necklace that my dad gave me when he retired, and it made me feel like there was a connection between me and those Troopers. Officers, Sheriffs, Deputies, Troopers are all family, and it angered me and worried me that when I looked in the mirror, the traffic behind me was not pulling over to the opposite lane to give the Troopers a full lane of space. I have seen many Law Enforcement Officers get hurt badly because people don’t move over, or at least slow down to 15 under the speed limit if moving over is not an option. Please, move over and give my family their space to work.
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When I got to work, there was someone new in the parking lot. Someone with a giant blue dodge ram. I didn’t capitalize its name for a reason. There’s that moment when you see or smell or hear something that reminds  you of the person who broke your heart because his marriage wasn’t enough for him so he lied to you in order to get you into his life. He told me he was divorced and that she was living in Florida. He told me he didn’t have girls over to his barracks room because it’s disrespectful. He told me he could only see me at lunch because he always had to work late, so he drove over the mountain at least once a week to pick me up for lunch and…. have me for lunch if you get me. After I searched for him on facebook and saw his profile, I did not add him but asked him whether he had a profile and he said that he did not. And that’s when I started doing more research, because the next day he had blocked me from seeing his profile. One of my friends looked at his profile and his friends list for me and we found his wife. She was, in fact, living here, and they were still very much married, with two children. I had fallen for this man out of sheer stupidity, and I hate that I fell so hard and so quickly, and I hate that there are still so many things that remind me of him. There’s “our song,” every f—ing blue dodge I see on the road, sometimes even my man will say something and it sounds like something the ex would have said. I just want to be over him. But all these things that remind me of him are there, and now there might be that giant blue dodge that looks just like the ex’s in my work parking lot every day if he is a new employee. I just want him out of my life and out of my head….
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Regret? Remorse?

So I’m talking to my ex, right? And he tells me he was with someone who’s dating someone else. And he seems pretty okay with it. So I’m surprised that he would do that, considering he doesn’t like cheating; he begged me so much not to cheat on him, and yet he was with a taken girl and therefore involved in cheating as “the other party.” He says the girl wasn’t happy with her boyfriend anyway and she wasn’t planning on staying with him long, even though right now she’s still with him.

I’m trying to get him to see why I don’t like that he did what he did, because when I was dating him, the same thing happened with us, only I was the one who cheated because I had a male friend who was there for me to support me when my boyfriend wouldn’t.

I’m trying to decide whether to tell him that I was in the same situation he’s in right now. I hope I make the right decision… Wish me luck

“Leah’s Discovery” Part 2

               Leah went back to sit on the bed, waiting for Charlie to wake up. That was the last straw. She needed to talk to him about what was going on. He must have felt her presence close to him but not relaxed, because he woke up just minutes later.

               “Good morning, love. Are you alright?” Charlie asked innocently, his eyes full of what seemed like genuine concern.

               “Charlie,” Leah started slowly. “Where did that black wrapping paper come from?”

               “One of the guys gave it to me last night when we went out. He just gave me a little gift.”

               “To celebrate what?”

               “Guys can’t give random stuff to their friends?”

               “Of course they can. But it’s very rare. And not so soon after the recipient gets mystery calls all the time that he doesn’t want his wife to hear but calls that she hears anyway.”

               “What are you talking about, Leah?”

               “I overheard your phone conversation the other night. Saying you can’t wait to see that person again and that you would take a nice bath with them with some wine. That you’re coming up on a relationship milestone.”

               Charlie shifted, laying on his back and staring at the ceiling. He took a deep breath and began explaining. “Leah, I love you more than life itself. But I’ve recently discovered that you’re not the only one I love.”

               “Who else do you love?” Leah knew that it was a man, and that that man’s name was Ryan, but she needed to hear Charlie say it.

               “His name is Ryan.”

               “He came into the shop yesterday. Bought a set of dog tags and asked me to engrave them. So today is your one month mark with him?”

               Charlie looked over at his wife when she said that. He nodded, not taking his eyes away from hers.

               “So you’ve been cheating on me with a man. Is it at all because I haven’t been doing something that you need from me?”

               Charlie immediately got up and went to Leah, kneeling in front of her and reaching up to put his hands on her shoulders. He was about to start speaking, but he stopped. “Hang on,” he said, getting up and going to the bathroom.

               Leah heard the sounds of him brushing his teeth and washing his face, wondering why he cared about morning breath when they were discussing him cheating on her. Morning breath was the least of their problems at the moment.

               Charlie returned, taking his spot on his knees in front of her again and placing his hands on her shoulders once more. “Leah, I didn’t turn to Ryan because of anything you did. You have done nothing but give me everything I want, and you have taken care of me very well, and I still love you more than life itself. You’re still so, so important to me.”

               “But?” Leah asked despite a lump in her throat with tears stinging her eyes.

               “But once when I was out with the guys, I met Ryan. He and I talked a lot that night, and when the guys decided to go to another bar, I stayed to keep talking to Ryan. He bought me several drinks, and we went to a part of the bar that was a little more quiet, and he was telling me about how he used to be straight, but he wanted to try being with another man once, and he was hooked. He isn’t completely gay, he still loves being with women too, but he likes to be with men as well.”

               “So he convinced you to try him that night and you got hooked on it too?”

               “Not that night. But yes, that’s what happened in essence. It’s just different being with him than it is being with you.”

               “So you still love me, but you’re cheating on me.”

               “I would have thought you wouldn’t mind, since it’s another man.”

               “It’s still cheating, Charlie. When we talked about maybe bringing in another woman and how that wouldn’t be cheating, that was because you would be right there with us. It’s not cheating if everyone agrees. You were hiding this from me completely. I only found out because I overheard your phone conversation and then Ryan came into the shop and I saw the same wrapping paper I used on those dog tags in our bathroom trash can.”

               Charlie didn’t seem to know what to say to that. He just stared into Leah’s eyes and when he saw the tears fall from them, tears welled up in his own eyes as well. After a moment, he said, “I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know what to say other than ‘I’m sorry.’”

               Leah shook her head once and moved to get up, forcing Charlie to shift his weight back on his heels so she could move. She walked over to the window and stared out at their yard.

               “Well, didn’t you tell me once that you’d be open to bringing in another man as well? In the same conversation where we were talking about bringing in another woman?” Charlie asked, desperate to keep Leah from being upset.

               “We also mentioned bringing that third person in once and then never talking to them again to preserve our relationship, Charlie. Not an ongoing thing.”

               “So you would be opposed to pulling a Charlie Sheen and having two men living with you?”

               “Charlie Sheen is Charlie Sheen. He can do whatever he wants because he’s Charlie Sheen. And I believe his ‘goddesses’ are mostly there for him, not that they were together and then joined him. This is something where you have a lover on the side and you want to keep him, so you’re asking me if I want to share you with him. This is you trying not to have to make a choice.”

               “I don’t want to have to make a choice.”

               “You married me, Charlie. You made a commitment to me. The fact that you have someone else now that you’re adding into the mix tells me that that commitment means nothing to you. That you just want to keep doing what you’re doing and try to make it seem like the best thing for everyone.”

               “You’d really like Ryan, though. And I think he would really like you, too. You just might fall in love with him, as easily as you fall in love.”

               “Not when he stole my husband in the first place, I don’t.”

               “He didn’t steal me, my love. I’m still here with you. I still love you.”

               “And you lied to me and you were hiding phone calls with him from me and…. You know what, that’s why I let you have guy time and I don’t beg to come along with you. I trusted that you would remember that I’m your wife and I’m supposed to be the one satisfying you. I trusted that you wouldn’t go off and hide things from me. This isn’t even about you being with a man now, it’s about trust and how you broke mine.”

               Leah had given Charlie something else he couldn’t find an answer to. She shook her head again and went to the closet to get dressed. She couldn’t stand to be in the house with him for another minute with how upset she was. She didn’t even care if Charlie brought Ryan over while she was gone. She just needed to get out of the house.

               She called her best friend Marlene and explained the situation as she was driving, and Marlene graciously invited Leah over to her house immediately. Leah spent over three hours with Marlene, crying and drinking the Jack Daniels bourbon Marlene kept in the house and crying more, and Marlene kept up with her in sympathy. Leah didn’t know where to start when it came to thinking of a solution.

               That evening when Leah decided it was time to go home, she was thoroughly intoxicated, so she left her vehicle at Marlene’s house and called a cab to take her home. She managed to unlock the front door and make her way to the couch, lying down and turning on the television to select a movie she didn’t really need to concentrate on. She heard footsteps in the kitchen and sat up to look.

               Charlie was there, and Ryan was with him. They were apparently making dinner and Leah hadn’t even noticed. The men stopped what they were doing and looked at her, and she looked at them. She only held their gaze for a few seconds, however; her body decided it was time that she fall asleep until her drunkenness had subsided.

               When she woke up, she was in her bed with the covers over her. She remembered what had happened the day before, and she was surprised that she had ended up in bed instead of the men leaving her on the couch. She pulled the blanket back and found that they had even changed her clothes. There was also a note on the bed next to her pillow. It read:

               “Leah, I’ve told Ryan about you, and he thinks the three of us could make it work. It’s up to you what you’d like to do, but until you make your decision, I’m going to give you some space to think, and I’m staying with Ryan. I hope we can work things out. Much love, Charlie.”

               “Well, you kind of made my choice for me, didn’t you? Staying with Ryan instead of with me while I think about things. I hope you’re happy with him, since you chose him over your wife.” Leah thought, and went to the kitchen to find the telephone number of a divorce attorney in the phone book.

“Leah’s Discovery” Part 1

               “Oh, I’ll be right back, sweetheart, I need to take this call,” Charlie said, bracing his hand on Leah’s knee as he got up. He didn’t press the ‘send’ key until he had reached the back porch and closed the sliding glass door behind him. He hadn’t even waited for her to say anything.

               He never missed seeing The Big Bang Theory. Ever. No matter how many times episodes were run, Charlie watched them and sometimes spoke the lines along with the characters. But lately he had been missing more and more of them for mystery calls like the one he just took. Leah had been suspicious of him for several months, but in the past two weeks, Charlie was over-doing the secretive thing. And it wasn’t because her birthday or their anniversary was coming up and he was trying to hide what kind of present he was getting her. He had worked to keep presents from her, but nothing special was coming up anytime soon. He used to drop by the shop she owned every single day to take her something special for lunch and spend an hour with her during the day, but for the past few weeks he had been coming in less and less often. She knew his work wasn’t getting too busy for him to be coming in, either. He was a car salesman, working at the Dodge dealership close to her shop, but he always made sure he came in around lunchtime whenever he was done with the customer he happened to be working with.  

               Leah had come to the conclusion that Charlie was cheating on her. Without turning on any extra lights, she walked to the kitchen where she had left the window open to air out the room, keeping it from smelling like the salmon she had prepared for dinner. She heard Charlie’s voice right outside the window, so he must have been leaning against the house as he talked to whoever was on the phone. She knew that she shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but she couldn’t help herself from trying to find out if her suspicions were correct.

               “Oh, I’m just sitting here with my wife watching The Big Bang Theory. What? I know, but at least I do spend time with you when I can, you know that. I know, I can’t wait to see you again either. You know what I realized the other day? We’re almost hitting a relationship mile marker soon. Yes, I’m excited about it. I have something special planned. I don’t know what I’m going to tell her yet. Don’t worry though, I’ll tell her something and you and I will have a special evening, you have my word. Okay? Don’t you trust me? Yes, we’ll have plenty of time for that. Take a nice bath together or something to start off with, how’s that? I’ll stop by and get us some wine to enjoy, too. Yeah, I think I like getting you drunk…” Charlie paused in between sentences, letting the other person talk.

Leah couldn’t listen to any more. She walked back to the couch, sat down, and blankly stared at the television. After a minute of staring, she decided she’d like to go and take a hot shower instead. It hadn’t sounded like Charlie was going to be done with his conversation in the next few minutes, so she started taking off clothes on her way to the master bathroom, dropping them on the floor when she felt cool tile under her toes. For the first time since she married Charlie nine years ago, she closed and locked the bathroom door as she finished undressing and turned on the water. The bathroom was completely lined with tile, so she knew the sound of the water falling from the showerhead would overpower any sounds she made if she started crying. Which she did.

Her body shook with sobs, and she braced her hands on the wall the showerhead protruded from, letting the hot water fall on her. Her long blonde hair had fallen over her shoulders and was now plastered to her breasts, covering her nipples. She had the fleeting thought that her hair was long enough and thick enough to keep her breasts from swaying obscenely as she cried. That thought led to memories of Charlie in this very shower with her, his hands where her hair was now, pulling her body tight against him. She wondered what his mistress looked like, and if his hands cupped her breasts as gently as they did hers. She wondered if the mistress’s head met Charlie’s chest at the perfect height like hers did, if he stared into her eyes with as much love as he had stared into hers. She knew it was even worse for her to be thinking those thoughts than listening to that conversation, but she honestly couldn’t help wondering where she had failed her husband for him to find someone else to satisfy whatever need she couldn’t.

She cried harder, until her legs became weak and she sat on the floor of the full-size bathtub, her head right under the hot spray, droplets of water that fell from the showerhead disguising the drops of water that fell from her eyes. She knew she couldn’t hold back all the noise she made crying, but what noise she couldn’t hold back, the echo of the running water would cover. So she let out all the hurt that had filled her heart through all of her suspicion.

Then she heard a knock on the bathroom door. Charlie’s voice filtered through the door, “Honey? Are you okay in there? You never lock the door when you take a shower.”

“I’m fine, Charlie, just needed some me time.” Leah knew that excuse would work.

“Okay, sweetie. I was just going to come in to use the restroom, though.”

“You can’t use the bathroom in the hall?”

“I meant I wanted to take a shower, too.”

“I’m using the shower right now, I’m almost finished.”

Charlie paused. “Oh. Okay, honey. Just let me know when you’re finished. I’ll be in the living room.”

Leah waited until enough time passed that would allow him to get to the couch and get comfortable, and then she shampooed and conditioned her hair, shaved her legs, arms, and for the first time in several weeks, the area between her legs that made her entirely female. She couldn’t resist giving herself a little extra pampering, making herself as beautiful as she knew how. She would get Charlie all worked up, and then tell him that she was going out with her best friend Marlene.

She would call Marlene on the way, of course, asking for permission to go to the house and have a glass of wine and maybe watch a chick flick. But she would make Charlie miss her. And then she would leave him hot and hard and ready for her and then just… walk away. She could do that. He deserved balls the color of a Smurf. Of course, if she went out and left him hard, he would likely call his girlfriend over and make love to her in their marital bed.

Maybe she should just get all prettied up and then go to bed. Let him wonder why she’s so smooth and moisturized and sexy. That sounded like a better plan.

“Okay Charlie, I’m done,” she called to him when she was finished.

“I’ll be there in a sec, sugar, the show’s almost done,” he called back.

Before that phone call, Leah would simply have gone about her business and left him alone. Now, however, she wanted to know what was really going on.

She approached the living room and stopped just before the corner, angling her head so she could see his reflection in the glass front of the kitchen cabinets. The Conan O’Brian show was on, The Big Bang Theory had ended. Charlie hated Conan. So she peeked her head around the corner just enough so she could see, and she didn’t have to worry about him seeing her. His eyes were closed, his pants were low around his thighs, his shirt was up around his chest, and he was pleasuring himself with one hand and holding his cell phone up to his ear with the other hand. He wasn’t saying anything, but Leah was guessing that the other party was happy with doing all the talking without getting anything in return. She wasn’t sure how long he had been working at it, but she didn’t want to see him climax listening to someone else’s voice.

She went back to the bedroom and got into bed, hoping to fall asleep quickly so she didn’t have to see him walk in trying to cover up the mess he made on the way to the bathroom. The mundane noises in the house and coming from outside faded in and out, and she was grateful to fall asleep quickly.

The next morning, she woke up with her alarm and found that Charlie was already gone. Sometimes he did leave before she woke up, so that wasn’t any cause for alarm. He had done that since they were married. She finished her morning routine and left for the shop, hoping today was one of the days that he didn’t take her lunch.

Customers came in and out steadily throughout the day, purchasing small gifts for their loved ones. Most of them were repeat customers, and she knew they didn’t need her help. One customer, however, she had never seen before. As he walked in, he looked a bit lost, so she asked if he needed help.

“Uh, yes, ma’am, I’m looking for something special for my boyfriend?”

He didn’t throw off any “normal” signs of being gay, and the statement took her back for a moment. “Of course, sir, do you have an idea of what you’re looking for?”

“Well, I see that you have sterling silver jewelry, and I was wondering if you do engraving or if you have personalized jewelry or things like that?”

“Yes sir, I do, and I will engrave anything you like, if you give me about an hour and a half. The most popular things I have that people engrave are in this case over here, let me show you,” Leah said as she led the young man to a glass case.

After looking over what she had, the young man decided to purchase a set of sterling silver dog tags. He pointed them out and looked up at her with a bright smile, as if he knew this was exactly what his lover would want.

“Great choice! What would you like me to engrave on them?” Leah said, unlocking the case and taking out a spare, brand new set of the dog tags.

The young man said simply, “On one, ‘To Charlie’ on one side, ‘Love Ryan’ and on the other one, I’d like ‘One month’ and tomorrow’s date?”

Leah stopped for a moment again, and then convinced herself that he couldn’t be Charlie’s lover. Charlie wasn’t gay… was he? “That sounds wonderful, congratulations on one month together.” It took a lot of effort for her to smile over that, but she did, and she was confident that it looked genuine. She hoped it looked genuine, because she didn’t want this young man to think she disapproved at all. She truly was happy for him and his partner. “I can have that ready in about an hour and a half, or possibly sooner, does that sound good?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am, that sounds great. I’ll be back around that time, then.” He handed her his credit card and paid for the item, walking out with a big smile.

Leah couldn’t help but be happy for the young man, seeing his happiness at buying a gift for such a short-term anniversary. First, she hoped it wasn’t her Charlie, and second, she did hope they were happy together.

She engraved the dog tags just the way he wanted it, with a font that suggested both masculinity and a touch of class. It only took her 45 minutes to finish the engraving, and her other customers were all regulars that she knew didn’t need help, so she took an extra step with the gift and wrapped the box in black wrapping paper and added a deep red ribbon, working hard to make the bow perfect.

The young man came back just as Leah was finishing the ribbon, and she was very pleased to hand him his gift just as he walked back up to the counter. He seemed very pleased with how quickly the engraving was done, and he left her a tip, telling her not to tell anyone.

Leah finished her day without any other big event, and threw herself on the couch as soon as she got home, not bothering to take off her shoes or anything. She quickly fell asleep.

When she woke up, Charlie was leaving the house, evidently after having a nice shower and making himself look very handsome. Leah almost told him to come to her and make love to her, but instead she asked where he was going.

“I’m just going out with the guys, sweetie. I’ll see you in the morning, okay? I love you,” Charlie replied, not even coming to her to say goodbye or even kiss her on the forehead.

Leah almost began crying again, wondering if there was anything she could do to get her husband back. She was still so in love with him, and she was willing to do almost anything to get him back and keep him. All she could do now was make herself dinner and relax for the night, watching a movie to try to keep her mind occupied.

The next morning, Saturday, Leah woke up before Charlie, and when she went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face, she saw black wrapping paper in the wastebasket. She also saw a red ribbon that Charlie had tried to cover up with what had been in the wastebasket before. There was also a set of dog tags in Charlie’s shaving kit.

Excerpt 3 from “The Hand That Gives The Rose”

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               “Anger suffers as grief withdraws,” Lucy said. “I don’t feel anything anymore. Not toward him.”

               “You’re always so cryptic, girl. What do you mean, ‘anger suffers as grief withdraws?’” Aimee whined.

               Lucy chuckled at her friend’s confusion. “I was grieving my relationship, so I was angry, bella. Anger is a part of the grieving process. As my grief withdraws, anger suffers as well. Anger wants to burn hot and bright but I’m over my grief now, so my anger is also dying.”

               “So why didn’t you just say that you’re over him so you’re not angry anymore?” Aimee said, giving her friend a playful shove. “Why do you have to be so confusing with your fancy words?”

               “Using eloquent words is a dying art, beautiful one. I choose to practice the art and differentiate myself from others who use colloquialisms.”

               “Well, it does make you sound smarter. And more caring, somehow. I don’t know why, but that’s how it feels to me,” Aimee said.

               “I do care about you. Despite the short time I’ve known you, I care about you very much.”

               “It doesn’t seem like it’s been long enough for us to get to like each other so much, but I care about you a lot, too. When you told me what happened with Angelo, it hurt me and angered me almost as much as it afffected Luca. How’s he doing now, by the way?”

               “My father has commissioned both Luca and Angelo to make a deal with a realty company to build a new hotel. It is a big project, so the men will be working together for several weeks. Luca is very much not happy with the situation, but he knws as well as our father does that he and Angelo can get the project finished in good time with great financial benefits.”

               “And do you know how Angelo feels about it?”

               “He knows that he has wronged me. And he knows that Luca now despises him. I believe he regrets his decision, but he has not made an attempt to assuage his guilt by apologizing to me. In fact, he does not even enter my hotel. And rightly so; the employees now know what happened and they would not respect the Almighty’s right to revenge as Luca and I believe. Angelo is not welcome in the hotel.”

               “So he feels bad but he knows no one around here is going to do anything—“ Aimee stopped before she finished her sentence. “Speak of the devil.”

               Angelo was walking toward them with one hand behind his back. Aimee got closer to Lucy, offering to let Lucy lean against her. When Angelo reached them, he stood in front of them, between them and the ocean. The three of tehm remained silent, just looking at each other. Angelo couldn’t seem to hold eye contact with Lucy for more than a second at a time. Lucy stared at him, waiting for him to say something. His hand was still behind his back, but he brought it in front of him, holding a bouquet of blue roses. He knelt down, holding it out to Lucy.

               Lucy raised her eyebrows, not accepting the bouquet.

               “I’m sorry, my love. I’m so very sorry,” he said, still holding out the bouquet.

               “You’re sorry I caught you,” Lucy said, her voice rough with irritation, her eyes steely with indignation.

               Angelo breathed faster, bringing the bouquet closer to his body. Now he looked at Lucy, not taking his eyes away from her. The longer he looked at her, the more pain twisted his handsome features, his eyes brimming with tears.

               “Your tears will not sway me, Angelo. I gave you everything you wanted and still it was not enough. You were all I wanted and more. But it is apparent that you wanted something I could not give you. And I believe this,” Lucy gestured toward the roses and Angelo’s now tear-stained face, “is all an act. I do not accept your apology. And I do not accept those roses that symbolize impossibility.”

               Without another word, Lucy got up and walked back toward her hotel, standing taller than she ever had before. Angelo shifted his weight from kneeling to resting his knees on the sand, breaking down into sobs and hyperventilating, but keeping the bouquet protected from the sand.

               Aimee stared at him as he cried, torn between following Lucy to comfort her and watching Angelo express the pain he deserved. She decided to follow her friend, leaving Angelo to cry alone.