"Go away."

She says it before he can even say a thing, without looking over her shoulder – he wonders how she knows it's him, or how she knows someone's there in the first place. Or is she just guessing?

"Not until you let me explain," he tries – begs, almost. He's never thought he would beg, but for her – he'd do anything.

"There's nothing to explain." Her voice is an icicle – sharp, cold, hard – and it pierces all through his body.


He sits on the bench beside her; she continues staring straight ahead. Her words are the only sign that she even knows he's there.

"Thirty seconds," and he knows that she means it. He lets out a deep sigh.

"I guess you're right," he agrees. "There's nothing to explain. I did something stupid – said something stupid – and I'll never forgive myself for it for the rest of my life, and I don't deserve it, but please, please forgive me."

She turns to look at him for the first time. Her face is tearstained, but her eyes are blazing, burning, piercing his own as though she's boring a hole into his mind, his heart – his soul.

"Why do you even care, anyway?" she spits. Her words bite, each one leaving a new puncture mark, and he flinches back. But she's not finished. "Obviously, I wasn't worth this much consideration yesterday!"

"Please" – He tries to put a hand on her shoulder, but she flinches, shakes it off. "Please," and his voice almost breaks; it's all he can do to hold it steady. "I lost my temper, that's it, I swear, I didn't mean it, I didn't" –

She sighs deeply, her shoulders rise and then fall. "Just go," and the weariness in her voice hurts more than her anger. "I don't want to see you right now. Just go."

He doesn't move, tries to talk, to make his case again, but he has only managed to say, "But" – before she stands up.

"Fine," she says, her voice empty. "I'll go, then." And she turns her back on him firmly and walks away.

Her feet send up little puffs of dust from the dry ground as they hit the ground in a slow, steady rhythm; her back is straight and proud, only her head slightly bowed. He sees one of her hands rise to her face, just for a moment, as though wiping away a tear, but the next moment it's back at her side and he can't let himself imagine this, lets his brain drift just a little out of focus – just enough so that he doesn't collapse into tears of his own. He watches her walk away until she's nothing but a tiny black speck in the distance.

"But I love you," he whispers brokenly as she disappears.

And then he shifts so that he's lying flat on his back on the bench, staring into the bright sky until black spots appear behind his eyes, and trying as hard as he can not to think of anything.