About A Boy, About a Girl
Chapter 5 – Fidelity
"We're reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was
But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do."
No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
The light in their bedroom is on, and Angelina hesitates in the doorway. He's up, waiting for her to come home. Waiting for things Angelina can't quite give him – motive, an explanation, love.
All she can offer him are excuses and apologies.
And all she can hope for, if she dares do such a thing, is forgiveness.
Taking a deep breath, she opens the door to their flat. It's time to deal with the man she'd promised love, faithfulness and a lifetime together. She has and will fail to deliver every single one of them.
She knows better now – knows that she can't offer him any of those things, and it was deeply wrong to pretend otherwise, as she had been doing.
As she enters their bedroom she knows how she must look – like a woman thoughtfully ravaged. It should shame her, but Angelina can't bother to feel anything but anxiety right now.
And when she sees Oliver's worried and shocked face staring back at her, she knows she has to do the right thing, that she has to tell him the whole truth - no sugar-coating or dancing around it, because she owes him at least that, this little bit of honesty.
"Where were you?" he asks the moment their eyes meet.
Angelina closes her eyes and drops her shoes on the floor, the loudness of its fall echoing in their silent flat. She enjoys the last seconds of having Oliver not hating her, not yet. Then she opens her eyes and grieves for the end of it.
"I was with George."
And the whole world crumbles into a tiny million pieces.
"George?" And it feels like a slap, his name, the bitterness in Oliver's once-loving voice, the sneer of disgust marring his beautiful features.
Angelina wishes with all her heart that she could've loved him like he deserves, wishes a different million things, but it all comes back to the fact that she can't change anything that's happened. "Two days before our wedding, you went out and shagged the twin brother of your dead boyfriend?"
He's looking at her as if she's a stranger, an intruder in his flat, in his life. Angelina can't blame Oliver – she doesn't feel like herself, hasn't felt like herself ever since the night she figured this whole mess out – that she's unhappy. That she loved Fred, that she loves George, that she can't marry Oliver.
"Something tells me this isn't the first time it happened." And he gets impossibly closer to her, so close there's no breathing space between them.
He lifts her chin up with his hands and they're now face to face. Angelina trembles without really knowing why, but there's something mad and haunted in Oliver's eyes that chills her to the very core. "I bet Fred wasn't even cold and buried in the ground before it happened." And Angelina wants to scream, to yell at him to stop, but she can't move, she can't think straight when he's looking at her like that, with murder and hatred in his eyes, so different from the Oliver she knew, from the Oliver that claimed to love her. "Am I right, Angelina?"
She just shakes her head. He snorts and releases her face, barely stopping himself short from pushing her away. He turns his back to her and runs his hands through his hair, then starts to cry. The tears startle her more than the rage, and Angelina feels worse at the sight of them.
The anger, the loathing, she can understand. She deserves them, feels them every day, and she no longer can stare at herself in the mirror. But the tears turn her inside out until she's raw and confused, a quivering mess worth of pity.
"I'm so sorry," she blubbers out, and they're both crying now, hugging, her face burrowed in his neck, his face burrowed in her hair. "I never meant for this happen…" She clings to him as if holding on to dear life. She needs him to understand, to know. "I never meant to hurt you."
They break apart, and he cups her face, kisses her cheek, her lips, tugs on her hair. It should feel like a blessing, to have him not pushing her away in disgust, to feel there's still love in every touch, but it only hurts, twinges and burns, an echo of what it should be had it been anyone else but him, but her.
This should feel right, she thinks. This should feel true.
But it doesn't, and she can't change that. She doesn't really want to, and Oliver can feel that.
"Leave," he says, his voice hoarse with tears, and she can see the anger rising up again. He's afraid that if she stays, he will either hurt her or forgive her, and he can't bear to do either. She wants him to do both, but she can't ask this of him, she doesn't deserve it. Not yet, maybe never.
So she leaves, quickly putting together everything of hers she had there, and wonders how a life and two years together can be so easily packed away. She leaves, and leaves the ring on the top of what used to be their bed, feeling only sadness now.
I wish it hadn't been this way, she thinks, but can't bring herself to say it, can't bring herself to impose on him any more than she already has.
So she leaves like he asked her to, and she never comes back.
He hears about what happened over breakfast, when Verity erupts into his flat with The Prophet in one hand and pastries in the other. He eats the pastries and pointedly ignores the paper and Verity's babble until she realizes he doesn't want to hear about the speculation over the break-up of Oliver Wood and Angelina Johnson just days before their marriage.
He considers it a small blessing that no one has been able to sniff out the true reason of that break-up, and just because he feels grateful, he kisses Verity's cheek as a way of apology when he finally makes it downstairs to open the store for the day.
He goes about his life as normal for the next six weeks – working, eating, drinking, and fucking Verity, not exactly in this order. He doesn't dream about her as he often did, nor does he seek her out. He especially doesn't obsess about her words, or about the fact she claimed to be in love with him.
Those words were everything he'd wanted and dreaded to hear, but right now, George is sick of Angelina, sick of the mess they made, sick of feeling guilty, sick of watching his family move on, heal, while he still feels as if he is going nowhere, and has nothing to look forward to.
No. George is now, for one, more than ready to feel happiness again.