I would love to tell you all that I'm fine. I'd love to say good riddance.
I wish I was indifferent. After all, I did know for a while now that Scott had feelings for Juliette. I did know for a while now that things weren't like they used to be with us. Our relationship had been rocky for a long time. I could honestly say I saw this coming.
But I wasn't fine. I can't say good riddance.
"I'm shacking up with you. In the 'living-with-you' sense, not the sleeping with you sense." I dully said as bookstore David opened the door to his apartment.
I didn't give him a chance to respond before I slipped into his place and settled on the couch. Throwing my two backpacks full of crap beside me, I lied down and shut my eyes.
Everything I owned was in storage now except for those two backpacks I had with me.
I had considered leaving a note explaining that I was moving out, but the thought was quickly dismissed. Only a moron could misinterpret the complete emptiness of my old room. I knew that despite yelling that I was moving out, he wouldn't have thought me serious. He would now.
I didn't want to think about what had happened barely three hours ago, but I couldn't block the thoughts out. It didn't matter that our relationship had degenerated these past few months; I had loved him completely. I had trusted him completely. And now nothing would be the same.
His words had been harsh. He had called me dull, of all things. I can safely attest that for all of my bad qualities, dullness would hardly be listed as one of them. I guess he considers ex-hookers dull.
I felt remorseful, though. I knew that I had messed up too in that conversation. I should never have said that thing about him not being able to keep secrets. Still, I believed he overreacted to that minor slip of mine.
It didn't matter now anyways, I guess. He was harsh, I was forgetful, what did it matter when we were over?
We were never an on-again-off-again couple. We had broken up briefly before, but those break ups were over serious matters, never trivial. And there had only ever been three off periods in the time we dated. There would never be an on period again. I tried to wrap my head around that.
I had been with Scott for most of my "mature" and "together" years. The years where I wasn't selling myself, getting molested, or hating my life. It was weird being without him. I suppose therein lay another issue with our relationship. I had grown comfortable with him. He was like a familiar safety blanket. Try as I did to ignite passion in our relationship, I never really succeeded. We had grown complacent with each other. And then we grew apart. He found someone else.
I would like to say that I cheated on him while in Australia, or that I was about to. I would like to say many things. Truth was, my image of my relationship with Scott was skewed. I thought he was my Prince Charming and that I was living in a fairytale. Being away for so long only helped me prolong my delusion that had started off when I really only saw him a handful of times in senior year. I loved him so much, maybe because of and not in spite of the fact that we barely saw each other. We worked so brilliantly long-distance, when I couldn't tell that his romantic words weren't filled with emotion for me, when he couldn't be there to make me see his flaws.
He fell from the pedestal. I fell from his.
We had both come to blame my time in Australia for our separation, but wryly I believe that if I was still there we would still be together, happily deluded in thinking we had found our perfect significant others.
Juliette and I made up. I ran into her on campus and we talked for a long, long time.
"I'm a backstabbing boyfriend-stealing slut." Juliette blurted out to me when our eyes met.
I stared at her for a moment. "Yeah, you are. Bitch." After a moment, I laughed. It wasn't a good or happy laugh, I just found the whole situation ridiculous.
We spoke about last year, we spoke about this year. We bashed Scott for a bit. I asked her if she had done anything with Scott, to which I received a resounding no.
Finally after a bit of thought, I asked her flat out, "Juliette, do you want to be with Scott?"
"No," she shook her head.
I stared at her. "But you two…"
"I thought I wanted to, in all honesty. I thought I liked him as more than friends. Last year especially, he was pretty great, you know? We got into relying on each other and you know me- I wanted more. Things were at a high when you came back; I was totally jealous. I thought I wanted him." She was playing with her hands, staring anywhere but at me. "But then I realized I really only wanted him because I couldn't have him. It was just the thrill of the chase. Which meant that I never truly wanted him at all."
"You don't? I wouldn't really hate you if you did, you know. I-I could get over it in time. So you don't have to lie."
Juliette finally stopped squirming and met my gaze. "No." Laughing, she told me, "Shelby, I'm moving to Spain in two weeks. I've got the tickets booked and everything. I want Auggie."
I was really genuinely happy for the girl. "At least one of us will have that fairytale romance with their high school sweetheart," I grinned and instinctively opened my arms to hug her.
"We're really okay?" Juliette asked.
"Sure. As though I'd exert the effort into hating you. It's not like you did anything wrong, really. Scott's an ass, but you're still my friend."
Her face lit up. "You know you're like my best girl friend, don't you?"
I jokingly scowled. "What an honour." It took me a few seconds of smiling before I realized that I truly wasn't mad at Juliette and that being around her did cheer me up. This led to a revelation. "Juliette, why are we the ones who are chased out of our homes? Scott's the dick, but he gets the apartment to himself and we're made to leave. That's bullshit- especially since both of us still pay rent. I say we kick him out. When 2/3 of the inhabitants are fine with each other, it should be the last of the three that has to leave."
"You're right." Juliette nodded decisively.
We had on our feminist, determined faces on and stood up.
"Are you-are you sure you're ready to face him again so soon after the break-up?" Juliette asked, studying my face with concern.
"I'm not 'facing him', I'm helping you kick him out of our apartment for being an ass."
Her face did this twitchy thing as she hesitated in saying something.
I rolled my eyes. "Seriously, I don't intend to talk to him for more than a minute."
"Shelby, I know he really-" She cut herself off and looked away. "But the thing- it's just-"
"Spit it out."
She looked conflicted and finally just shook her head. "Never mind." Putting on a smile, she beckoned towards the direction of our apartment. "Let's just do this."
I closed off from thinking as we walked. It was the only way I could deal. My mind was doing this spastic, horribly painful thing where I kept remembering random flashback moments between Scott and me. It's good to be broken up from him but damn, we had some amazing moments.
He's an ass now. He's an ass now. He's an ass now.
Juliette raised her fist to knock on the door but I quickly seized her wrist. "Woman, we live here. We're not going to meekly knock." I dropped her hand and turned the door knob with a confidence I didn't really feel.
It took a lot of acting for me not to flinch when I saw that Scott was sitting on the couch, staring at the blank TV set.
It took a moment for Scott to register that we were there but the moment he did, he jerked forward to clench his fingers around a magazine on the table, hastily pretending like he had been reading.
"Shelby, Juliette…" He choked out, completely caught off guard. His eyes were swimming with pain. The apologetic puppy dog. Ugh, I used to cave under that stupid expression.
"Scott." I answered tersely.
"I'm sorry for- I've really… I'm glad you both came back," He stammered.
"Yeah well, we realized that hey I'm not mad at Juliette, she's not mad at me. You're the one we can't be around. So the fact that we were the ones living elsewhere when you're the only one of us three paying inhabitants that's a messed up fuckwit really makes no sense." I interrupted his attempt at making peace. I was going to wait for Juliette to back me up, but one quick glance at her told me that his miserable form was softening her resolve like the sun on ice. "In other words, get the fuck out."
He looked like I had just slapped him across the face. Which, come to think of it, I really should have done a while ago.
Juliette opened her mouth to say something but judging from the emphatic expression on her face, it wouldn't be along the lines of 'yeah, ass hole' so I shot her a discreet look.
"You're…you're right." He swallowed. "It's unfair for you to… I'll stay with a friend until we get things sorted out."
"Do you really think that's going to happen?" I was being ruthless.
"Shel," His eyes met mine and I felt my stomach clench up. Oh God, he's so… He's an ass, he's an ass. "Don't you think we'll ever be able to be friends again?"
I was softening so I quickly told him, "Look, Juliette's gone in two weeks anyways and this apartment always did cost too damn much anyways so I'll find a new place to bunk when Jules leaves and then you can have this place back to yourself."
"I'll be out in an hour then." The wounded look had disappeared, replaced with a neutral indifference that I recognized from the Early Days.
"Good." Without saying goodbye, I spun around and headed for the door, subtly pulling Juliette with me.
"It's for the best," She muttered to him before we left.
Sitting in the apartment knowing Scott wasn't going to show up seemed utterly wrong. Even though I had lived here for over three months now, I still thought of it as Scott's Apartment.
I couldn't help but mull over his words to me. Could I ever be friends with him again? Our break up was bad, he had technically cheated on me, he clearly didn't care about me as much as I did him… but beneath all that, we were each other's support systems. But romantic relationships aren't a separate entity from friendships- I never believed that you could really remain friends with someone you ended a serious relationship with. It's not like you could go back to how things were before you dated- they aren't two different chemistries, it's entwined. And when one's severed, the other one is killed along with it.
He had been in too much apart of my romantic life for me to just move on from that and treat him like any other friend. A year down the line, maybe I wouldn't resent him any more, maybe my brain wouldn't do a hurtful memory montage, but it'd still sting even just a little. At the very least, I couldn't see how it wouldn't be awkward.
But then, I am pretty young and inexperienced with this whole thing. Maybe that won't happen. Maybe Scott and I can actually salvage something. Do I want to? God, I can't even answer that much.
Juliette sat down beside me on the couch and put her arm around my shoulders. "This is good for us."
"Yeah." I said distantly. I hoped she was right.
AN: Yes, I suck at updating. Apologies. This is only up because someone nagged me into it in a review for another story- thank you for that, it pushed me :) Thanks to anyone who's still keeping up with this haha