My lover is perfect. He's tall and fit and heartbreakingly beautiful. When he fucks me, it's so intense that I nearly black out. But he doesn't love me.

I'm not sure when it was that I realized this. Maybe I always knew. I guess I thought I could live with it. I thought, this man is everything I've ever wanted, and if I can just be with him I'll never ask for anything else in my life.

But I think I was wrong, because it's killing me.

It's not as if anything has changed. He doesn't stay out later than he used to, he's no more distant than he was when he moved in, he still makes love with the same intensity. He hasn't changed. So I guess I have.

I didn't love him then, when he first moved in. I thought I did. I certainly loved the idea of him. But I didn't know him. I didn't know the way his eyes crinkle up when he laughs -- really laughs, not that fake chuckling he does in polite company just to be charming. I didn't know how quick his mind is, how he can jump from point A to point D while I haven't made it to B yet. I didn't know that he clears his throat when he gets nervous and his favorite color is green and he can't hear music without wanting to dance.

But he doesn't love me. He comes home, kisses me on the lips, makes idle conversation while he cooks dinner, but he doesn't look me in the eye. He doesn't tell me what he's thinking or about his day, and he never, ever asks about my day. He's polite and cold and empty and not mine, and it kills me because I should have known I could never really have him. I should have known that no one as perfect as he could ever be mine. But I'm his.

He doesn't know me from Adam and yet he knows too much, and it's too hard, and I have to get out.

He comes home early and my bags are packed and he doesn't give me a kiss.

"I didn't realize you had a business trip this week," he says.

And I look away, hoping to avoid a scene, although not sure he would bother to make one. "I don't."

"Then where are you going?" He's still standing in the doorway, keys still in his hand, door still standing wide open for the world to see in.

I sigh. "Let's not make this harder than it has to be, Drake. I'm leaving you."

Something flashes across his face, but then it's gone before I can tell what it is. It doesn't really matter. I'm not doing this for show. I'm standing here with my bags because I can't handle staying, not because I want him to suddenly realize he doesn't want me to go.

"I guess I've been waiting for this," he says in a wry quiet tone.

And it's too much. I turn my face away so he won't see the tears streaming down my face as I pick up my bags and push past him.

I'm almost out the door, where I can die -- but only once, not everyday -- when I hear his voice.

"Did you ever really love me at all?" he whispers.

My feet won't move and my voice won't work and I can't seem to breathe and I'm spinning around and his eyes are perfect. Perfect blue, and they're meeting mine and they're wet.

"What are you talking about?" I finally croak out, confused and scared and angry that I can't just leave and trying so hard, so very hard not to be hopeful.

He doesn't hear me. "You were going to leave while I was at work. Did these last four years mean nothing to you, Ryan?" He doesn't say "do I mean nothing to you," but it seems like I hear it anyway.

And this must be a play, or we're on candid camera, because we've switched roles and I don't want to play my part. "Don't make fun of me," I hiss, and I'm biting back tears and wishing I had just left when he first walked in.

"Make fun of you?" he says. "I'm over here losing it because I've lost you, if I ever really had you at all, and you're being flip."

"You always had me." I don't mean to say it, but it comes out anyway and he rolls his eyes and it's too late and I've lost it, too. "You always, always had me, but you never even gave me a piece of you!"

He opens his mouth, eyes wide and confused, but I'm not done.

"You don't know my favorite color, you don't know how I like my coffee, you don't know anything about me! You never look me in the eye, you never ask about my day, you hardly even notice I'm around." The words are coming out quieter now. "And it's okay," I say deep into his eyes. "You didn't sign up for that and we both know it. I thought I could handle it, but I can't. And so I have to go. I'm sorry."

I turn back around and head for the door. I should have left in the morning right after he left.

"Red." His voice is shaking.


"You like red," he says, sounding stronger. "You take your coffee with one cream and two packets of splenda, real sugar if you're feeling indulgent, but then you put in so much that I lose count and start to wonder why you never have any cavities and I have so many fillings I can't walk through a metal detector."

And I'm spinning around for the second time, running shaky fingers through my hair, gaping at this man I thought I knew but didn't know me, but he does. "Drake." My voice is hoarse.

"I know where you are every second. When I'm at work, I can't wait to get home. But then I get here and you're not you, and I don't know what I did to make you stop smiling."


"I don't get it. I don't ask you about your day because you told me on our second date that you hate thinking about what already happened and you'd rather focus on what's happening now. I just want you to be happy."

"Drake!" I know he can hear me now, but he's ignoring me because he needs to get this out and I know the feeling.

"And I don't look you in the eyes," he whispers, the tears that had been pooling in his eyes starting to run down his face, "because I don't want to see the contempt in yours. I don't want to see how much I've failed, and how I'm not good enough for you because I can't make you happy."

"Why?" I have to know. I just have to know.

Our souls meet through our eyes. "Because I love you."

Then I'm flying through the air and my arms are around his neck and I'm never, ever, letting go and let him try to get rid of me because it's never going to happen. "I love you, too," I sob and he doesn't respond and I'm holding him so tight he can't move and I don't care. Mine.

He manages to free his face from my chest. I touch his cheek and wipe his tears away and he leans into my hand like an attention-starved kitten and it's perfect.

Hours later, when I'm spent and drenched in sweat and he's still deep inside me, he tips my chin up and I can't get over the closeness when he's looking in my eyes.



"Don't be so insecure."