“I’m sorry,” he said rawly. Letting go of her hands, he tried to hold her, to pull her into him, but she scrambled away from him, the look of fear on her face making his arms fall limply to his side.
He watched her struggle to breathe, and frustration and pain struck him, knowing that he could do nothing.
How could he when it was his own mistakes that were strangling Jane, his own blindness and cowardice that had made her like this?
“I’m sorry.” He couldn’t say it enough. “I’m sorry, Jane. I’m sorry.”
Her pain ravaged him, but he forced himself to keep looking, punished himself over and over with the sight of her tears tracking endlessly down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Jane. I fucked up. Everything was too new, and you made me feel too much, and it – it terrified me.”
The words were everything she wanted and expected to hear. But now it was too late.
And when Christian started, she realized she had said the words out loud.
“Please. Jane, please. Forgive me—-”
But she could only shake her head. “I w-want you to understand that this is not about H,” she said shakily. “It was never about you having a third party because—-” An empty laugh escaped her. “You’re H, Christian, and H is you. You’re intrinsic parts of each other, and I’ve k-known that from the start, so how could I have hated H when I—-” She swallowed hard. “When I loved you?”
Christian stared at her.
“I’m sorry,” she choked out.
“Jane – don’t you…” And Christian, too, choked. “Don’t you love me anymore?”
Instead of answering, she clumsily rose to her feet and walked to the door. Opening it, she said, “I think you should go.”
IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS, news about their breakup quietly spread and people started visiting Jane like she was sick. Jared showed up regularly, but she had almost barred him from coming. He kept trying to talk about Christian, until she was forced to tell him nothing he said would convince her things could work between them.
Jared had only smiled. “If that was true, then wouldn’t you be closer to falling for me now?”
Jaike had wanted to come, too, but since she was still bedridden after giving birth, Derek had persuaded Jaike to let a “representative” for them visit Jane. This representative was none other than Reid Chalkias, the Prince of Darkness himself, along with his wife Fawn. Jane was friends with them as well, and because there was something about Fawn that made people feel protective towards her, the other girl only had to look at her, and Jane found herself spilling everything out while they were out for dinner. Throughout it, the Prince of Darkness had simply nodded and held his silence, no doubt memorizing everything so he could share it with Derek.
On their way back to Jane’s apartment, they had come face to face with Christian, who had been on his way inside.
How was it that when he said her name, he still made her sound like she was the most beautiful girl to him, and that he would die if he couldn’t spend the rest of his life with her?
It frustrated her so much that when he had told her he had flowers for her, she had unthinkingly grabbed the bouquet from his arms, thrown it on the ground, and stomped on it until they were torn into pieces.
And when it was over, she felt completely awful, but she just couldn’t make herself say sorry. Instead, she lifted her chin, asking tightly, “Do you get it now?”
Christian only smiled. “I do. And it’s that I’m glad I’m rich enough to afford to buy you a thousand more without hurting the bank.”
She had shoved past him after that, acting like he had enraged her, but really it was because she didn’t want Christian to see that she was about to cry. Reid and Fawn followed her inside, and she had promptly burst into tears the moment she saw their faces.
The way they were looking at her…
Well, they were also her friends, after all, and so it was no surprise that they knew exactly how horrible she was feeling.
When it was time for the couple to go, Fawn had asked softly, “May I say something, as a friend and someone who’s survived…”
“You’re being unfair,” Jane muttered. “You know I won’t be able to say no when you play that card.”
Fawn simply smiled.
“Say it then,” Jane said tonelessly.
“You promised to be yourselves with each other,” Fawn reminded her gently. “You need to remember that also means accepting that we’re all human. That we make mistakes, and that sometimes our real selves can be ugly.” Fawn paused. “Tell me something, Jane – what if none of this happened and everything was going well between you when Christian gets into an accident—-”