It's Like This

It's Like This by Anne O'Gleadra

Book: It's Like This by Anne O'Gleadra Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne O'Gleadra
here. I’m just…along for the ride. I mean. This is what I wanted, right? Wanted him to say we were really together, that my fears were pathetically unwarranted. That I’m an idiot and he loves me and I really have nothing to worry about. But for some stupid reason I can’t say that. I can’t tell him what I want to hear, even though now because I’m petrified and my tongue is useless in my mouth and I just can’t .
    “I don’t know,” I murmur.
    “You don’t know.” I watch his shoulders tense in silhouette.
    “Ry…” I offer, helplessly.
    “What?” he snarls and turns on me, finally, his face screwed up with anger and making me wish he’d stayed looking at the window because I’ve never seen him like this, except maybe for the condom thing and I hate him like this. He’s not him like this.
    “I…” Can’t speak. I can’t.
    “What the hell are you doing with me, then?” He’s livid now, with a fearsome quality to his eyes that I’ve never seen, even when he’s holding me down.
    “You,” he echoes nastily.
    Fuck. He’s going to walk out. He’s going to turn and leave before I ever can spit out what I’m trying to say.
    “I don’t…” I try again.
    “How many people are you sleeping with?” he hisses, leaning into me. “All this time, I thought you belonged to me, with me, but maybe you’ve got a dozen others hooked in to your fucking little innocent, untouchable, unreachable scheme. Have them all fucked up and in love with you, just like me. You think it’s a good game, hey? Fucking with people?”
    “No! I…”
    I want to explain. I need to tell him. But I don’t know what I need to tell him, I can’t remember what’s the truth. If I’m the one that loves him or he’s the one that loves me and who’s been keeping what a secret all this time. I can’t keep track of all the shit we don’t tell each other.
    “How many!” he demands. He jerks his hand as if to grab my arm but stops himself, arm suspended in mid-air.
    “You!” I gasp out. “Just you. Fuck, just you.”
    He turns away again. “Put on some fucking clothes,” he orders. “I can’t concentrate with you sitting there like that.”
    I remain frozen, dumbfounded for a minute, waiting for him to recant that, he can’t mean it. He waits, then turns and watches me as I slide on some jeans and one of his T-shirts, one that obnoxiously hangs off him like some ’90s relic, but fits me. Shit.
    “OK,” I say, quietly. I don’t even know.
    “OK,” he echoes, voice hollowed.
    Fuck. I need to fix this. I never fix anything. I’m an adamant disciple of avoiding an issue until it goes away, but I know I can’t do this this time. It’s too goddamn important. I need to fix this. I walk to him and stand uselessly in front of him like some shy, dopey sixth grader who doesn’t know what to do with his hands on a first date.
    “I…didn’t mean it like that.”
    “Oh, really.” His voice is cold, sarcastic, detached. “Because there are so many ways ‘we’re not in an actual relationship’ can be taken.”
    “I know. I know. I’m sorry, I’m stupid, it’s stupid. I’m sorry.” I can’t tell if I’m talking or sobbing, my breath is so shallow and desperate.
    “What’s stupid?” he answers, and I think there’s a tinge of generosity, or compassion there—or at least something more than anger.
    “Me. I’m an idiot. A huge idiot. Colossal, even.”
    He waits.
    “It’s just…Fuck, Ry. We don’t…talk. About it. So I didn’t know, because…you never say…”
    Shock clouds Rylan’s expression. “ We don’t talk about it? WE? You’ve got to be kidding me, Niles. You don’t talk about anything! You don’t initiate ANYTHING. You leave me hanging here in limbo. Permanently wondering if you’re going to answer the next time I call, if you even want me to call, if…if fucking EVERYTHING. I don’t talk because you so obviously can’t handle it. And I am trying to be patient,

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