Chapter one: Patty.
I was sitting at a small table located in the far back corner of some new Italian restaurant, Cisco had insisted I had the try. Of course I had already downed a few pizzas before rushing here. I didn't want to be too hungry when I got here, eating too much food would draw attention and Patty was already starting to look at me with suspicion.
I fidgeted in my seat, first playing with my tie then the silverware in front of me. For once it was Patty running late and not me. I scanned the restaurant again, hoping to see her coming in. The place was nice, a little more expensive then I normally went for and a little more crowded, but it had a nice atmosphere. Our table was set for two with a candle in the middle and the lights dimmed around us. Hopefully this date would make up for the last two I had cancelled on her.
My phone vibrated in my pocket and I groaned.
"No, please, please, no. Not tonight." I prayed as I fished it out of my pants.
I let out a breath and smiled. It was a text from Iris.
I was texting back a thank you, when I heard footsteps approaching the table. Thinking it was the waiter coming back to try and rush me into ordering, I ignored it and finished my text. When I was done I looked up, it wasn't the waiter. It was Patty and I felt my stomach knot. The look on her face told me everything I need to know. How someone can look so beautiful and so broken at the same time, I don't know. This was it. She was going to break up with me.
I forced a smile onto my face and stood up. She returned the smile, it was small and it made the knot it my stomach tighten. I took her coat and pulled out her chair. She hesitated then sat down. I'm not sure why we were going to go through with the date, if she obviously wanted to be as far away from me as she could.
"Hey." I tried to start a conversation but my voice was stuck in my throat. It must have shown that I knew what she was going to do because she heaved a sad sigh and started talking.
"Barry…..I… I'm sorry." I could already see tears in her eyes. She looked down.
"What did I do?" I asked softly. I had an idea. I had seen the looks, she sent my way when I was made an excuse for why I was late or why I had cancelled on her again. She had started asking more and more questions. Ones I couldn't answer. I should have known this was coming, I had felt her pulling away. Putting distance between us, so that when this moment came it wouldn't be as hard.
When she looked up at me I was a little taken back for the anger mixed in with the tears.
"I don't like when people lie to me. " Her tone was full of accusation, but she kept it low, probably not wanting to draw attention to us. I got the feeling if we were outside, alone, she would be yelling at me.
"I know you are hiding something from me, and no matter how many times you tell me I'm wrong. I know I'm not." She had tears on her cheeks and more falling as she spoke. It made me feel guilty. Guilty for lying and guilty because I knew from the second I saw her, that this was coming but I didn't feel like crying. There was no shattering of my heart, not even the speeding heartbeat of panic, trying to force me to fight to save our relationship. Instead I felt resigned.
I froze. I had no words to comfort her. I couldn't tell her the truth. Too many people had found out about me being the Flash, each of them had been hurt in some way. I was not going to let it happen anymore. I wanted to protect people not keep putting them into danger. There was no lie I could tell her to make it easier either.
"Patty… I." I Stuttered. She held up her hand and stopped me before I could even try to get something out.
"Don't. Barry. I can't take any more excuses or lies." Patty quickly stood up, grabbed her coated and all but ran out the door.
As I was watching her leave, the impatient waiter returned to the table. I was tempted to snap at him and tell him how rude he was being. I could see people looking at me, no matter how quiet we had been Patty's break up hadn't been missed.
Instead I stood up and walked out. We hadn't ordered anything, so there was no bill to worry about.
I needed to clear my head, so once I was outside I did the one thing I could do without thinking.
I ran. Letting the world around be fade into one long blur.
I ran on auto pilot, from one end of the city to the other over and over again. I ran until I could feel exhaustion wash over me, then I ran some more. I didn't want to think tonight. Hell I didn't even want to dream. So I ran until my legs turned to lead and my feet just couldn't take anymore. By the time I was done running, I was tired I barely made it back to Joe's house.
Waking up the next morning was not fun. Despite my rapid healing abilities my body hurt. My back was locked up and tense and my feet were pounding.
I groaned and sat up, dizziness swept over me. I hadn't consumed enough calories yesterday for the running I had done. I hadn't felt this hurt from running since before the lightning. Normally when I'm in this much pain it's from a Meta human attaching me not from my own stupidity.
I took a couple deep breaths trying to get the dizziness to go away. When it finally did I pushed myself out of bed.
My clothes were dry, crinkly and stuck to me. I must have sweated a lot last night, and sleeping in them was just another of last night's bad ideas.
I looked at the clock, which sat on the table next to my bed. Red numbers showed 7:20 am. I had forty minutes tell I had to be to work. At least something was going right, I had time.
Searching my room, at non-flash speeds to find clothes took longer than I thought. I finally found a basket of clean clothes on top of the dryer. Thank you, Iris.
It was 7:50. I sighed; it had been a while since I did things at normal speeds. I needed to eat but only had 10 minutes to get to work. Running was a bad idea. With how my body felt any use of my powers would probably result in my passing out.
Grabbing my keys and heading out of the house. I started walking towards the station. As I rushed knowing it was useless, I was going to be late.
I pulled out my phone and called Joe.
It only took one ring for him to pick up.
"Hey Bar, what's up?" Joe sounded happy. Maybe I would get lucky and the Captain shared his good mood.
"Joe, any chance you can get away and get me some of those calorie bars for Caitlin? I'm running late and didn't get a chance to eat."
"Yeah. Sure Barry." Joe was smiling. Wonder what had him in such a good mood.
"Thanks Joe." He hung up and I picked up my pace.
I was sitting at my desk, my stomach growling and my head feeling like a drum, when Joe finally walked in. The amazing man he was had one hand full of two bags that smelled of greasy breakfast food and the other an couple calorie bars.
"Yes!" I jumped snatching the food. I quickly scarfed down one of the bars. They still tasted like crap but worked wonders. Once I had the first bar down I started going through the bags.
"You look like hell." I choked on the breakfast burrito; I had just taken a bite out of.
"Umm thanks." I said reaching for my cup of coffee. It wasn't jitters unfortunately just coffee from downstairs, but it would do for now.
"I mean it. What happened last night?" I was focused my attention on my food, but I heard him move and sit on my desk behind me.
"Patty broke up with me." I said more to my food then to Joe, but he heard me any ways.
"Sorry, Bar." I felt his hand on my shoulder.
"Me too." I mumbled.
Joe didn't stick around long after I finished off the food he brought.
It was a slow day, both at CCPD and at Star Labs. No new cases. So it gave me lots of free time to get lost in my own head.
I spent a lot of it thinking about Patty. I tried to understand how I was feeling, I should be mopping around, sad, maybe trying to think of ways to get back together. But I wasn't. I didn't feel heartbroken. There was some sadness and a great deal of guilt, but I was mourning the loss of a lover. It was more like I was going to miss a friend. I even felt a little relieved, because I wouldn't have to try so hard to hide my secrets from her. Patty was a great woman but for some reason, there had been something missing between us.
By the time I crawled into bed that night I had come to a couple realizations. Patty was nothing more than a friend to me; I had enjoyed spending the nights hanging at with her. Our easy conversations and our shared like for unhealthy food. I had used our relationship to avoid being alone. Since becoming the Flash I had spent most nights alone. Cisco and Caitlin where great as where Joe and Iris, but since becoming the Flash I had felt isolated. I hid some much from them. I couldn't tell them about how sometimes I just felt stretched too thin and that there were times I wanted to let the city go without me for a few days, take a vacation. Or the times I woke up shaking and covered in sweat from the nightmares.
I was alone because I didn't want to put anyone in danger, because I feared I would slip up and use my powers in front of someone, and because I didn't know how to share the dark parts of me.
The whole time I dated Patty, I had been afraid that she would see something, a flash of my powers or a nightmare when we slept in the same room.