"...excuse me?" I repeated, not sure I'd heard him properly. The restaurant was noisy, with the din of happy couples exchanging pleasantries and remarks that I really should've been sharing with my boyfriend. It was Valentine's Day, for fuck's sake. Wasn't that what couples did on Valentine's Day?
"I think we should take a break, because I'm trying to explore myself."
"And you couldn't tell me this before we were out in public, at one of the most expensive restaurants in town, after I'd worked for ten hours?" I felt sick. "Why the sudden need to explore?"
"Polyamorous. It means I need to be with more than one person to be fulfilled."
I felt sick to my stomach, and drank the glass of wine in front of me, followed by the wine in front of him. "So you want to fuck other people," I said, flagging down a waiter. "Just leave the bottle," I told him.
"Well, I've been meeting with other poly people, and I've been seeing a few.." He said quietly. "Another man, and a woman. They know all about you, and they're okay with us continuing to date.."
"We fucking live together, Mark," God, it was hard to breathe. My chest was starting to hurt. "That's not dating. Dating is what you do before you fucking move in together. How many people have you fucked?"
I was becoming aware that people around us were watching us, but I didn't care. Let them.
"C'mon, Chris. I think we should just have dinner, and go home, and-"
"How many people have you fucked while you were with me?" I snapped, louder than I would've cared to.
"It.. it's not that," Mark whispered, looking at his plate. "I mean, it's not just sex.."
"Answer the fucking question!"
"Four. But I .. I mean, we love each other. And her husband is okay with it, and his boyfriend, so why can't you be?"
"Were you safe?" My heart was pounding in my chest, and it was aching. It was just one goddamned thing after another. He nodded, and I stood, wanting to throw up, but not wanting to give him the satisfaction. "I want you to have your shit out of my house by tomorrow evening, or I will put it on the sidewalk."
"Chris, you're being unreasonable! Why the hell can't you understand? This is who I am!" He said, sounding somewhere between angry and crying.
"Because we've been together for a year, and you've fucked other people behind my back! So don't make me the villain here, you piece of shit. Get your shit and get out."
"Where am I supposed to go?" He whined, grasping at my wrist. I yanked it free, aware that every customer and employee in the restaurant was staring at us now.
"Well, if her husband is okay with it, or his boyfriend's okay with it, I'm sure they'll take you in." I took the bottle of wine, took a long drink, and left the restaurant.
I don't know how long I wandered around, but at some point, I bought a sandwich from a gas station and went to my shop with a bottle of tequila, not wanting to go home in case he was there. It was mostly empty - Valentine's Day is busy for any flower shop worth its salt, let alone one in the heart of a busy city, and the quiet was helping me think. I sat with my head resting against the cooler door, and finally, after feeling the tears burning at my eyes and throat, started to cry.
I felt betrayed. Did I overreact? Should I have given him another chance? What if he hadn't been safe? If he'd slipped even once, I could've been put at risk.
How could he do this to me? Was it something I did? Was I not enough?
Fuck it. More tequila.