"You always do these things to me," Kyle laughed. "You always make me think it's okay to let my guard down and then you hone in on the hate."
He was talking about my character. He was talking about my fake personality. I would never insult Kyle – I thought he was beautiful and brilliant and perfect, but Fake Andie, my other self, disagreed. She always did.
"I only do it so you can see where your prejudices lie." My mouth moved and my voice said the words but it was not me. She had total control of me around him.
"My prejudices?" he laughed again, taking another shot of tequila. I watched his lips curl around the lime wedge in his hand and I squirmed inside myself.
"Maybe vices would be a better word," Fake Andie covered – she was determined not to let Kyle see the effect he could have on me. "Or maybe it wouldn't," she continued. "I just think you should be aware of whatever it is." Inside I screamed for my outer self to shut up and let me out. Kyle was so close to me, close enough that I could smell the very essence of his skin, but she kept us apart.
"Well, thank you for bringing it to my attention," he said, his good mood enduring as he savored the flavor of the lime. "But if we're in a sharing mood, I want to ask you something."
"Why are you alone?"
I reeled. So did my other self.
"I'm alone because I want to be. I don't need to be in a pair."
"But don't you?" Kyle asked. "Shit, Andie, if you weren't like a sister to me I'd say we were practically that pair." My heart broke at his words but Fake Andie mocked me and kept talking.
"I don't need anyone, Kyle, least of all you." Kyle turned to look at me seriously. The alcohol had clouded his turquoise eyes but he was clear in his purpose.
"You're a damned liar, Andrea," he said, the scent of lime wafting over me with his breath.
"No, I'm not," Fake Me said. She forced me to stand, to put on the façade of anger while I screamed inside. I railed like an inmate in prison – I swore I'd be free, that I would love Kyle despite this bitch who kept me locked away.
"Yes, you are," he fired back. He stood to match me and grabbed my shoulders, giving me a firm shake. "You need me, Andie, like I need you."
"No, no, no," Fake Me said, but she grew weaker as Kyle continued to shake me and my own resolve grew stronger.
"Yes, Goddamnit!" Kyle yelled. "You need me and I need you!"
"But you don't love me!" I cried.
And then the shaking stopped.
Kyle let go of my arms and slowly sank back to the floor, letting untold minutes of silence stretch between us.
"No," he finally said, a faraway look in his eye, "I don't love you, but I need you all the same."