“God, that was great. I’ve missed this. Wanna go again?”
Michelle gave me a mischievous look from under her dark locks. I’d invited her over to my place to talk – really, to break up with her – but she’d shown up looking irresistible and had no trouble luring me into bed. A weak moment. But I had to be strong now. I sat up and moved to the edge of the bed.
“No, Michelle. I… I really think it’s time we talk.”
Michelle frowned. “Okay. But I thought you’d forgiven me for last week? I thought everything was all right?”
“It’s not just last week, Michelle. It’s everything.”
“What do you mean?”
I sighed. This was harder than I thought it’d be. “You don’t want to meet my parents. You don’t even want to drop me off at their home. You don’t care about my friends, you don’t want to go anywhere with me except your place or my place…”
“But you know why that is. We can’t risk getting caught,” Michelle tried to explain.
“I know that. Nobody can know about us, nobody can see us together, you even pretended to forget my name in the office for the first few months so nobody would expect anything. Don’t you see, Michelle? I’m tired of this. I’m going to be twenty-one soon, I don’t want to hide who I’m seeing and what I’m doing from my friends and family. I don’t want to be stuck in this… this relationship or friends with benefits-thing or whatever this is, if it’s never going to go anywhere.”
She didn’t say anything for a while. Just looked at me with a sad expression on her face. Then, she said, softly: “I wasn’t really expecting this.”
“Well, I’ve been feeling this way for a while,” I admitted. “And I’ve tried to tell myself that it doesn’t matter and that I’m still young and I don’t need to worry about it. But I can’t keep telling myself lies. And I have to be honest with you. You, me… It’s not going to make either of us happy in the long run.”
“I am happy with you,” Michelle croaked. “I enjoy our time together so much. And the sneaking around is so fun, don’t you think? That’s what makes it exciting. And the sex… It doesn’t even compare to what I had with my ex.” “See, that’s the problem,” I said. “You want thrill and hot nights together. I want someone who I can take out to brunch on Sunday and cuddle with on the couch and take to family barbeques.” I swallowed hard. “We’re not right together, Michelle. Not anymore.”
To my astonishment, Michelle hid her face in her hands and tears started rolling over her cheeks. I hadn’t expected her to be this upset – or even upset at all. But here she was, crying.
“I never wanted you to think I didn’t care about you,” she sniffed. “I think… After a while… I really loved you.”
The words that I’d been longing to hear without knowing it, were finally said out loud. Michelle loved me. And it only made me sad.
I shook my head, barely holding back tears myself. “It doesn’t matter anymore, Michelle. If you’d told me that a year ago, six months ago, maybe… But not anymore. It’s too little, too late.”
Michelle sniffed. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry, too,” I said quietly.
“So, this is it, then?” She lifted her head to look at me. Her eyes were red and puffy. “We’re done?” I nodded. “I guess so.”
“What about work?”
“What? No, don’t do that. You don’t have to do that.”
“Yes, I do. Not because of you – because I want to work at a place where I know that I’m getting important assignments because I can handle them, not because I performed well last night.” Despite everything, I smiled slightly. “It’s all right, Michelle. Really. We’ll both be happier.”
And though neither of us probably believed it at that point, I knew I was right.