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“Hey babe,” He sounded all cheery as the sound of the knife hitting the chopping board echoed in the room. “I know you wanted to go to that Mexican restaurant tonight but I was watching this cooking show today and saw this great recipe for homemade salsa and taco shells…”

“Did you hack into my phone?” I decided not to waste any time beating around the bush and just be upfront about it. He flinched for just a second before going back to dicing up the tomatoes.

“Of course I didn’t.” His response was so calm and certain that it irritated me because I knew it wasn’t the truth. “Don’t lie to me, Eli. Please.”

“I’m not.”

“Someone got into my phone and blocked Sean from having all contact with me and you’re the only person who’s had access to it in the last few days.”

He turned and looked at me with a puzzled look but I wasn’t backing down. It had to be him. It couldn’t have been anyone else. Seeing the determination on my face, he let out a sigh and caved. “I didn’t hack into your phone. I saw you put in the swipe pattern one time so I unlocked it for myself.”

“You did what?”

“Look, I know I overreacted…”

“Overreacted?! You had NO right!”

“I know, but…”

“You can’t go snooping through my phone! It’s a violation of my privacy! What were you thinking?!”

“You were in the shower and…he just kept calling. It was annoying. I thought if I blocked him then…look, it won’t happen again, I promise.”

“How am I expected to trust you when you do some shit like this?”

He cocked his head at me and then his whole demeanor changed. “Trust me? How am I supposed to trust you?”

“Oh, don’t even…!”

“It wasn’t just calls, he left a text. I saw the preview on the screen: ‘Hey sexy, I can’t stop thinking about you. So much I wanted to say last night. Can’t wait to see you for our dinner date.’ That’s a direct quote, by the way.”

Sean sent that? The ‘hey sexy’ part wasn’t surprising. It’s how he’d always refer to me in text. The other stuff I didn’t expect at all.

So much I wanted to saycan’t wait to see you

I was right for thinking he was asking me out on a date. I didn’t see that message because Eli must have deleted it after he read it, but what if I did see it? Would it have changed anything?

I didn’t have time to worry about that. My main concern was that Eli invaded my privacy and was now looking at me suspiciously like I was the one who did something wrong. “Who cares what he said, you still had no right to do what you did!”

“You lied to me!” He glared at me, throwing the knife down on the counter as he turned to face me. It made a clattering sound as it slid across the granite, making me jump a little. “You told me there was no one else and less than an hour later I find that text!”

“That’s…that’s just how he talks. Sean’s…flirtatious, but we’re just friends and that’s all!”

“Bullshit! I saw the thread, Liv! Nothing but ‘goodnight sexy’ and ‘what you wearing’, and you indulge him! I’m surprised I didn’t find any dick-pics on your phone!”

“Guess you looked in the wrong folder!” I snapped back. It was spiteful, and a lie because I was not in possession of anything like that. I only said it because I was just so mad at him. How dare he accuse me of lying and try to claim that he was justified in his actions? Who cares if I encouraged a little flirty conversation with Sean when it was BEFORE Eli and I got back together? “Who I talk to, and about what, is none of YOUR business. You had no right to block him or any guy I choose to talk to like some jealous psycho!”

“Jealous psycho? So you’re saying I’m just supposed to be okay with you flirty texting another man?”

“But I’m not! You just came back into my life! This was all before you!”

“You saw Sean, right?” He asked directly. “That’s how you found out, because he told you. Which means that you went to see him, or he came to see you, so this is not before me at all. This is right now!”

“He’s my friend. I ran into my friend today and we talked. What’s the big fucking deal?”

He scoffed. “The big fucking deal is that Sean clearly has strong feelings for you!”

“So what? How Sean feels doesn’t matter, but that’s not really the problem, is it? The problem is that you don’t trust me! Which is bullshit, because if anyone here can’t be trusted, it’s YOU!”

“Me?”

“Yes, you! You’re the one with the history of lying and keeping secrets, Eli, not me!” I took a deep breath and looked him square in the eyes. “You’re hiding something from me now. I don’t know what it is, but I know you are. I feel it!”

“Y-You can’t blame me for being cautious, Olive.”

“Cautious? What you did was sneaky and…and underhanded! And it makes me wonder what else you might be up to. Like, what else are you doing behind my back and hiding from me?”

“I’m not up to anything!” He yelled. “I just…I just didn’t want any competition, alright!”

“Competition?”

“Yes! I’ve put everything on the line and the last thing I want is for you to push me aside for Sean, or any of the many men you’ve screwed…!”

He stopped himself short, but he didn’t need to say any more. It was clear to me now what this whole thing was about. “Many, huh? I see.”

With a heavy sigh, he turned to me. “I didn’t mean it like that…”

“I think you did mean it like that.”

“No, I didn’t. I’m sorry…”

“No, no, don’t be sorry. You’re only being honest. And for the record, I never slept with Sean, but good for you for making sure I didn’t since I’m such a whore and all!”

“Olive…”

“YOU broke up with ME, remember? I was ready and willing to wait for you. Five years, Eli! I was willing to wait that long but YOU told me to move on and now you’re mad because I did?!” Hot tears started rolling down my cheeks as I watched him recoil at my raised voice. “You do NOT get to shame me for that!”

“I wasn’t trying to…look, I truly didn’t mean to say it like that…”

“I don’t want to hear it.” I cut him off, quickly wiping my face with my sleeve. “I can’t even look at you.”

“Olive, listen to me…”

He tried to touch me but I slapped his hand away so fast it made him jump. “Just leave me alone.”

“I’m sorry, just please…”

“Get out of my house. NOW!”

After a few seconds he obeyed my command and left the kitchen without another word. As I calmed down I realised I didn’t handle that situation as well as I probably should have, but he really hurt me with the things he said.

I probably should have told him about Sean and the sort-of complicated thing we had going on for the last couple of months, but Eli had only been back in my life for three days now. Did I really owe him so much so soon? Up until that morning I wasn’t even sure of what label to put on our relationship. And the fact remained that he didn’t trust me, and I no longer trusted him. What kind of relationship can we have without trust?

He was gone for hours. I fell asleep waiting up for him, even though I told myself I wouldn’t. For a moment I thought he wouldn’t come back at all, but all of his stuff was still here. I had no idea what time it was when I finally felt a weight press down next to me on the mattress. My eyelids were heavy from exhaustion, and also from crying a little bit over this whole mess, but I didn’t need to open them to know it was him. “You smell like a bar.”

“That’s where I went.”

“Drinking away your sorrows?”

“Just like him. That’s all he ever did. Drink, get high. Be a selfish prick.” I opened my eyes at the mere reference to the man he refused to talk about, even to me. “I swore I would never be anything like him but…I’m more like him than I realised.”

“No, you’re not…”

“I’m just like him, Liv.”

“That’s not true.” My heart ached seeing him so worked up. Any anger I had towards him dissipated when I saw his shaking hands and red eyes. “Eli, you’re nothing like your father. He was a horrible, disgusting excuse for a human. That’s not you, you’re far from that. You made a mistake…that’s all.”

“I made more than a mistake.”

“Look, everyone gets crazy jealous from time to time. Though, you did take it too far.”

“What I’ve done…is unforgivable.” He mumbled, the smell of cigarettes and tequila on his breath was almost unbearable. It made me nauseous, and we’d have to discuss it later, but I let him go on. “You should hate me.”

“I wish you talked to me about your feelings instead of doing what you did, but I don’t hate you.”

He let out a deep sigh and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. Was he crying? I’d never seen him so vulnerable before. Then again, I’ve never seen him drunk either.

“Look, let’s talk in the morning, okay?” It didn’t make sense having this conversation when he was clearly out of it. “Come to bed.”

He nodded, and then looked at me. “I shouldn’t have messed with your phone. It won’t happen again.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

“And what I said was…stupid. It’s not how I really feel. I was lashing out. I’m sorry I made you feel bad. I really am so sorry.”

“I believe you…”

He climbed onto the bed, I was about to shift around to give him more space but he just grabbed me and held me tight. “You’re the only one who’s ever loved me…I don’t want you to hate me.”

“I can never hate you.”

“You will…”

“Why, why would I hate you, Eli?”

He mumbled something incoherent before passing out with his forehead pressed against my chest. I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. The things he said were pretty confusing. Were they simply ramblings of a drunk man, a guilty conscience of someone who regrets what he did, or did he really do something that would make me hate him? And if he did, what could it possibly be?

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