What is wrong with me? Why do I do this to myself? Everything I want is right in front of me and I run the other way. And I'm not only hurting myself. I'm killing the only man who has ever loved me, character flaws and all.
I said yes. The morning after having wonderful, painfully passionate sex with Jim in my office, I said yes to Robert. What was I thinking?
Robert is not right for me. I'm sure he's right for someone…he really is a good man…but I'm not myself around him. By agreeing to marry him, I condemned myself to years and years of pretending to be someone I'm not.
He wouldn't recognize the woman I become at work. I tell him about cases sometimes, but it's entirely different to actually be there. He wouldn't believe the opinionated, somewhat belligerent hard-ass of the seventh floor is Alexandra Cabot. And he would hate it. He would hate that I can be so relentless. Hearing that I fought for the death penalty is one thing, but if he were to actually see the perps I'm trying to have killed, he could never look at me again.
And unfortunately, it's who I really am.
That's what Jim sees. He has been there at my worst points, at my meanest points, and he stuck by me. He doesn't abandon me and condemn me for doing my job, because he understands. He knows that I'm fighting for something that is bigger than my personal beliefs, more important than the way I appear. I'm upholding the law. I'm trying to stop violence from happening, or at least from reoccurring.
He is always at my side, supporting me, even when we are arguing so violently that we should probably be frisked for weapons. He's always there…so why do I do this to him?
I could hardly sleep last night. I kept thinking about Jim and the look in his eyes as he made love to me. The way it felt to have his weight on top of me, the feel of his muscles under my fingertips. I didn't allow myself to give in fully to the sensations at the time, knowing that I was being unfaithful to Robert, but I couldn't stop replaying it in my mind after.
I felt like I was cheating on Jim, lying in bed next to Robert and letting him trace patterns on my arm.
When Robert asked me to be his wife, I responded without even giving myself a chance to think. He looked so relieved, so happy…and it was like a stab in the chest. He came to me and pulled me against him, kissing me and guiding me back to the bedroom. I knew he wanted to make love to me, and I knew that I should have no reason not to let him, but I had several reasons.
I was afraid that I would say Jim's name instead of his. I held in my cries in my office, weighed down by the guilt of what I was doing, but I didn't think I could do it again. I didn't trust myself not to betray where I had really been last night.
I made a ridiculous excuse to Robert; I told him I was on my period. In reality, I was too sore. I could take the pain when it was Jim moving inside me, but the very thought of letting Robert do the same made my entire body hurt. So I left the house and came to the office.
I tried to act naturally with Jim, but he asked me to dinner. I knew he would do something like that, and he had every right to. We had sex. Of course he thought I was going to leave Robert for him, of course he thought I wanted to be with him. And I did. But I couldn't let myself.
The look in his eyes when I told him about the engagement…he tried to look flippant and annoyed, but I could see his heart shattering. And it was entirely my fault. I don't deserve to have the love of a man like Jim Steele in the first place, and then I threw it away.
I couldn't say no to Robert because the thought of his face if I declined was too much. I didn't want to hurt him. But why is hurting Jim so much easier?
It's not. It's harder, and I know that now. I just didn't think about it before. I thought about what Robert would feel if I said no, but I didn't let myself consider what Jim would feel if I said yes.