“Keep going past the first house,” I tell him.
He drives past Vaughn’s parents’ house and then up to Vaughn’s house.
“Nice place,” he comments.
I pay him the fare and climb out. “I’ll get my case; don’t worry,” I tell him.
I lug my case from the trunk, and the cab pulls away.
I stare up at Vaughn’s house.
You can do this, Charly.
I take a deep breath. Legs trembling, I pull my case up onto the porch and knock on his door.
It’s silent. There’s no movement.
I knock again louder and wait. After a few minutes, I finally accept that he’s not here.
What do I do?
I came all this way, thinking he’d be here, that I hadn’t even considered that he wouldn’t be.
I can go to his parents’, but honestly, I’m afraid to face them. What they must think of me.
I can wait here, but if he doesn’t come, then I’m stuck.
Fuck. I didn’t think this through at all.
A lump thickens in my throat. And I feel like I might cry. Only I can’t fucking cry. Not even yesterday when I had to tell Vaughn that I was married. My eyes welled with tears, but they never fell.
I’m a screwed up, broken, fucking idiotic twathole of a person.
And I’m staring at his front door like it’s somehow going to magically open.
I turn around, unsure of what to do, and then all thoughts fall from my mind. Because he’s standing there at the front of his driveway, staring at me.
He looks beautiful. Tired but beautiful. My heart actually starts to ache from his nearness. My hands itch to touch him.
“What are you doing here?” he says in a low, hard voice.
I take a strengthening breath in. “I need to talk to you.”
“I already told you back in Vegas that I heard all I needed to. Shouldn’t you be in New York right now? I think you owe your husband a bigger explanation than you do with me. You did promise to honor him and not screw around behind his back.”
“I’ve already spoken to Nick. And I wasn’t screwing around behind his back.”
“You’re married! And you were screwing me! Most people would call that cheating, Charly. Decent people at least.”
Okay, so that hurt. But it’s nothing I don’t deserve.
“You don’t know everything.” I take a step forward.
He takes one back. “And I don’t want to. We’re done here.”
He turns to walk away from me.
“We’re nowhere near done!” I yell. “I came all the way here, and you will listen to what I have to tell you!”
“The hell I will!” He turns back to me. “I don’t have to listen to anything you have to say! You lied to me! Jesus! You even told me about Nick, that he was your gay roommate, and all along, he was your fucking husband! How fucking warped is your mind?”
“Nick is gay! And he is my roommate! He’s my best friend and my family! And he’s Canadian! He came here on a student visa, and when he graduated, he couldn’t get residency because he didn’t have a permanent job. He was looking at deportation, so I came up with the idea that we get married, so he could stay in the country because he was all I had in the world, and I didn’t want to lose him!” I break off, panting.
Vaughn is just standing there, staring at me, saying nothing.
“I wanted to tell you,” I say in a softer voice. “I was going to tell you when we got back to Vegas because I realized that I wanted…you. All of you. And I knew I couldn’t have you without you knowing the truth. But the press beat me to it, and I’m so sorry for that, Vaughn. You don’t know how sorry I am.” I press my hand to my chest, making my way off the porch and onto the drive, so there are only a few feet left between us.
“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I couldn’t tell you in the beginning because we were just sleeping together, and what I did, marrying Nick…I broke the law. If the authorities found out, then I would face jail, and Nick would be deported.”
“So, why are you telling me now? I could go to the police. Tell them. Have Nick deported.”
I swallow down. “Because you have a right to know the truth. The actual truth. You deserve to know. And I trust you. But, if you need to tell the authorities, then I’ll face that, whatever happens. But Nick…he has no one back in Canada. His family threw him out when he came out to them. His whole life, his career, is in New York.” My throat is starting to burn, my eyes stinging with tears. “Punish me for hurting you. But not him. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
He sighs and scrubs his hands over his face. “Okay,” he says, dropping his hands.
“Okay. You’ve told me. I won’t say anything to anyone.”
“Thank you,” I breathe.
“But you and I are done.”
And my heart shatters into a million pieces.
“I admire what you did for your friend. Even though it’s illegal, it was a selfless thing to do. But you lied to me, Charly. You lied for months. You looked me in the eye day after day and didn’t tell me. I don’t trust you anymore.” He rubs his hands over his head. “And you humiliated me, and I have been humiliated enough this year to last me a fucking lifetime.”
He doesn’t want me anymore.
“You…you said you loved me…that you’re in love with me.” The words physically hurt me.