All rights and characters go to Sarah Dessen.
This is Heather's POV of the night she and Nate ended their relationship. Yes, this is pre-Ruby era and it is considerably sad. Please enjoy to the extent that sad stories can be "enjoyed".
"Nate," I whispered. He did not look up. I couldn't count how many times I used his name. A hundred? A thousand? A million? A billion? Nate. Nate, please. Nate, no. It was the same, over and over and over. It tore me up to see him like this. It was truly heart breaking. His figure was beautiful at first glance, illuminated by the moonlight, casually sitting on my window sill. But if you looked closely, if you looked through eyes that had seen his experiences and what he endured, his face was pained. His eyes were tortured.
How much longer was it possible for me to keep this up? Supporting myself and Nate at the same time was exhausting. But I had convinced myself that Nate needed me, I must help him. I must heal him.
"Heather," he spoke at last. "I'm sorry, I really am." I nearly cried from his sincerity.
"No, Nate," I begged for the millionth time. "It's not your fault, it's not your fault." Why did he always do this? I didn't want an apology, he knew I didn't want an apology. But it was instinct for him. To apologize, to mask his problem, to pretend everything was fine. But it wasn't. It never was.
"I know you must be disappointed, but I got you something special," he said, faking his cheeriness. It looked real. If I hadn't known better, I would have known it was real. That's where life dupes you. It is never real. You are on your own. That's why Nate needed me. He needed me to help him. I loved him and I would stick with him.
"Nate," I said, trying again. "Please, get help. Call your mom, call the police, call anyone. You can get a foster family and—"
"And where would that put me Heather? Away from you? My mother would worry and take me back. I would be a hassle, again," he snapped. Tears welled up in my eyes. His dedication was built on a false foundation. But he couldn't see that, he refused to see that.
"You're mother wouldn't submit you to this kind of treatment!" I cried hysterically. "I would love you, I will always love you okay? I won't leave you."
"Then stop," he sighed. "I'm fine, my dad is fine. He's just got to channel some energy now and then."
"That's crap," I said forcefully. "And you know it. Good parents don't hit their children. They give them love and support. Nate, are you listening to me?"
"My dad," he said, looking at me evenly. "Is a good person."
My heart sunk. He wouldn't listen. Couldn't he see himself? I placed my right hand on his shoulder and my left on his cheek, turning his face toward mine.
That was when I saw him. For the first time, saw him other than Nate my boyfriend, Nate the trustworthy, straight A student, Nate the helpful neighbor. He was a boy. A boy in pain. I gave him support and love, but it wasn't enough. Not from a girl who he was simply in love with. Oh no; he need a reaction from the one that he loved the most. His father, his closest "friend". It could have been humorous to refer to his father as his friend, but that was not the way Nate saw it. The way Nate had convinced himself to see it. Because anything other than goodly intentions would be too much. Too much to handle. So his father became the good one. But the blame had to go somewhere. So Nate put it on himself, to save himself from the pain. There laid the irony. By saving himself, Nate had ultimately ruined himself.
I knew Nate more than anyone else in the world. Ever since I had found his father had been abusing him, I immersed myself in Nate's world, Nate's thoughts, Nate's feelings. And Nate loved me and I loved him. But right there, in that moment, I could see. He was not listening to me. He would listen to his father. Never me. The gentle reminders, the sweet gestures. I tried. Now all I was was frustrated. Please God, I thought, make him see, make him listen. Crying all over again, I wished he could just leave. Leave his dad, leave the torture. I wished for him to get better, for him to heal. Because obviously everything I was doing was not helping him at all.
And after all this time, I felt tired. The hugeness of my position crashed over me like a wave and I sunk to my knees, as if it were physically weighing down on me. Nate got off the sill and raised me up, kissing me softly. He brushed away my lingering tears. His apology. Another one.
"Nate," I protested, pushing him away gently. "You need to listen."
"No," he said, turning away. "I don't. I don't need anything. Stop saying that. What I need is to not be a burden. Please understand."
"Nate," I said, my last attempt at this losing game. He needed stakes. He needed to listen to me and I had to force him to do it. As much as I hated to force him to do anything, I had to. Because I was tired of this. "Get help, or lose help. Make yourself better, or lose me. Pick the one in your best interests. I want you better. You know that. Please choose better. Please."
He stood there for what seemed like the longest time. I waited patiently, the way I always had. Inside I was unsure, though. What would he pick? Would he finally get help or notify authorities? For me? Would he really? I thought about it over and over, thinking about it through Nate's eyes. Would he really give it up for me?
No, I thought as I saw his descision in his eyes. His eyes had gone cold. No longer open and readable to me. He closed me out when I used force. The answer. Would he give it up for me? No. No he wouldn't. My eyes blurred. His figure vaulted over my window sill as I stumbled toward it, desperately clinging to hope that he would turn around and listen. I couldn't see. The tears, the sorrow, blinded me. He walked steadily across my yard, hopping the fence, and disappearing from view.
It's over. He chose to lose. And for some sick reason that I hated myself for, I was relieved. Why was I relieved? I screamed at myself. Nate is gone! You should have run after him! Begged him! Forced him more!
No, a suprising voice said. Because he never listened. And you don't love him anymore. The attachment was too great for you to leave, and you fooled yourself into staying. You did all you can do. You suffered for it. And now he is gone. You left your efforts. Let it go.
I sunk to my knees yet again, under a wave that was a million times more powerful than before. It held me in the undertow. I loved Nate, or did I? Why had I really stayed with him? I hated myself for not being able to help him. I hated him for not listening. I was relieved he was gone. I was sad that he was gone. I was guilt-ridden for swearing not to tell anyone. And now that it was over how could I betray him any more than I had already? How could I feel so many things at once?
I don't know. That is what I told myself. I don't know.
Falling asleep that night, I called out to Nate. Nate, please, I begged. Please don't be blinded. Please Nate.
End of Story
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it! Maybe you could comment and tell me if you liked it or not?