She's driven him to drink, she realizes. Her best friend of seven years, who has adamantly avoided alcoholic beverages like the plague is currently drowning in bourbon, and its all because of her.
He glares at her over the top of the crystal glass he currently cradles in his hand, his cerulean eyes glazing slightly, but still sharp enough to pierce through hers.
Her face softens, and he looks away.
She doesn't even know where to begin.
She doesn't even have to start,
"Two years," he scoffs and shakes his head in disbelief, "two years you've been screwing my brother and you didn't even have the decency to tell me"
She flinches, but he continues on as if he didn't notice.
"And now that he's gone and broken your heart like he inevitably does to every girl he decides to chase, you have the audacity to come to me and expect me to console you and tell you that your ex was a dick"
"I- that's not why I came here James-"
"Isn't it?" he inquires harshly, taking a step towards her and keeping his questioning gaze locked onto her eyes.
Her brows furrow and she opens her mouth to speak, but he shakes his head and changes the subject, "God, I thought you were different from the rest of the airheads he dates"
That pisses her off real fast. She springs up from the arm chair and stalks towards his turned back, slapping him on the back of the head with enough force to have him seeing stars. He hisses, turning around as his hand comes back to rub the area that hurts.
"Lets get one thing straight before you start acting all high and mighty, you pretentious idiot," she says, putting her hands on her hips in a no-non sense manner, "I didn't date your brother because he fed me compliments and brought me flowers. I know full well how he plays his game-"
"And yet you still fell for it," came the scathing remark.
A remark which earned him another slap to the head.
"I didn't fall for anything. What he and I had was genuine-"
"No it wasn't," he says quietly, and she stops short of lecturing him about interrupting her at his tone of voice.
"What do you mean it wasn't? You weren't present in our relationship, James. You don't know how we bonded over the fact that you're such a stubborn idiot, you weren't there for the conversations about our past and our futures, you weren't there for the late night drives on a random road. You can't possibly judge our relationship based on how he treated his previous girlfriends"
His gaze is trained on her, calculating, searching. His lips quirk upwards for a second before he turns away from her and walks towards the fireplace, leaning over the stone wall, staring into the crackling embers.
"You were there when he and I had our falling out," he begins to say, "you were there all those times when I ranted about how I mistrusted him, how he and I had nothing in common anymore save for our last name."
Her brows furrow in remembrance, and she considers pouring herself a drink as he continues, "You weren't there the first night after the funeral when he came to me and promised to make sure I suffered as much as he had. You weren't there when he came to me, gloating after your first date, going on about how he intended to use you and ruin you"
Her head turns sharply at that, as he lifts his head to stare back at her.
"I-no, you're lying to me," she stutters, her eyes wide and searching as they lock on his.
He offers a sad smile, "Have I ever been anything other than honest in these seven years we've known each other?"
"You're very good at omitting the truth, James. You might not be a liar, but don't try and act saintly. I know how you manipulate the truth to your advantage"
"So you believe me then?" he questions, fiddling with the cuffs of his shirt.
Its an odd movement, coming from him. She's never known him to be anything other than straightforward in action and words.
"I- why would he do that? Why would he use me to get back at you?" she asks, chewing her lip.
"Because you're my best friend," he says with a quick tilt of the head.
Her eyes narrow.
"Stop it," she chides.
He raises a brow, "Stop what?"
Her fingers twitch in promise of strangling his throat, "Telling me the half-truth. Why," she begins to ask, stepping forward dangerously, "would he toy with me to get to you?"
He turns back to his drink, "Why did he break up with you?"
A sudden thought springs to her mind, "Wait a minute, if you knew I was dating him this entire time, if you knew that he was supposedly using me, why didn't you tell me about it?"
"Why didn't you?" he fires back with unexpected vehemence.
"He asked me not to, and I respected his decision."
That earns her a scoff and a quiet repetition of her words under his breath, albeit in a slightly nastier manner.
"I didn't tell you I knew because I thought that you and I had no secrets, that you would tell me eventually. When that time didn't come, I knew that our relationship wasn't quite as close as I had imagined it to be," a flicker of hurt passes his features but its gone before she can comment on it. "There, I answered your question, now you answer mine. Why did you two break up?"
"Because he told me that you were in love with me," she says straightforwardly.
He freezes at that, staying still for the longest time that she begins to count the seconds in her head. The tension in the room is thick, but she revels in his discomfort. Its about time he tastes what that feels like.
"And why would you believe him?" he finally says, and she schools her face into stoicism, refusing to show the surprise at his line of questioning. This wasn't near close to what she had imagined him saying in reply. This wasn't near close to putting him on his knees, admitting his love for her. This was him turning the tables, something she was not comfortable with.
"Did I say that I do?" she inquires with a raise of her brows.
His eyes narrow, "then why would such an admission cause you two to break up?"
"So you lied then"
"I omitted the whole truth," his lips quirk at that.
"I broke up with him because even after two years, I could see that he was still in love with Nat and continuing the relationship wouldn't be fair to either of us."
He sighs and plops down on the sofa behind him, turning his face upward while he plays with the glass of bourbon in his hands. She fights to suppress a smile and plops down next to him, following his gaze to the high-arched ceiling.
"But most importantly of all," she says, taking a deep breath to gather her courage in between, "I broke up with him because it wasn't fair to him that he and I were together whilst I was in love with another man"
She watches his Adam's apple bob as he drowns the remaining Bourbon, "And pray tell, who might that sorry soul be?"
He chokes on his drink.
A/N: I The song that inspired me to write this was "Holding On and Letting Go," by Ross Copperman. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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