Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Loyal No More

She loved him more than anything in the world, but sometimes she had a hard time showing it.  Sometimes she would appear difficult, but it was only her concern that drove her to be this way.  She was insecure and wanted reassurance that she was the only one he would ever care for and love in his life.  He would never come out and say it, but he did.  He was always loyal to her. Until one day when he had enough.

It was a day like any other. They spent their day separate from each other and met up at the movie theatre. This theatre was different from most that she had gone to.  It looked ultra modern with its white, polished surfaces and bright red leather couches.  They had a bar setup in the back of the theatre and a restaurant that would serve you dinner as you watched the show.  It was a new kind of luxury product on the market, so to speak.

She arrived with her family and she headed in ahead of them to save everyone spots.  It was hard since she was one person, trying to save spots for five people. As the theatre began to fill and her family was taking their time to show up, people started taking the spots she was saving.  Shortly after she was able to ward off several people, an events manager came up to her telling her she couldn’t save spots for people as this event was so fully booked that it wasn’t fair to people who showed up early if someone was saving spots for people who didn’t even bother to show up on time.  Reluctantly, she relinquished the seats, hoping her family would understand and be able to find their own spots elsewhere in the theatre.  She saved one spot for him.

Her mom came in and sat down next to her.

“Mom…I’m trying to save this spot for Declan,” said Grace awkwardly.

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey,” returned her mom, standing up.

“No, it’s-it’s fine. Um, you can have this spot and uh, dad can take mine.  I’ll find another spot when he gets here,” said Grace, shaking her head.

“Are you sure? I mean, I could go find a different spot since we need to save a spot for your sister too,” said her mom.

“Nah, it’s fine,” said her sister walking in, “I found some friends.  I’ll go sit with them, but guess who I found?”

Her sister stepped aside to reveal Declan with his arm around another girl.

In a word, she was gorgeous.  The type of gorgeous that would make you stop in the middle of traffic, the type of beauty that could get you in trouble.  She looked like she always got what she wanted and pursued what didn’t fall right into her lap.  She was smart. She was cunning.  In short, she was dangerous and Grace could see that.

“Um…excuse me, who are you?” asked Grace standing, feeling immediately threatened.

Her sister took one look at her face and knew she had to get the hell out of there.

“I’m Ashley, who are you?” said the other girl, looking Grace up and down.

“His girlfriend,” snapped Grace, “DECLAN! How could you? Who is this?!”

“Grace, relax, it’s nothing,” shrugged Declan in the casual way he often did when speaking to her, dropping his arm to his side, “She’s just a friend, that’s all.”

“Yeah, let’s go find our seats,” said Ashley taking his hand.

“Excuse me?” said Grace, blocking their way.

“Wha-” started Ashley, looking as though she  was about to protest.

“Ashley,” said Declan sharply, cutting her off.

Ashley looked from Declan to Grace and back, bewildered.

“Seriously? You’re not even allowed to sit with your friends?” asked Ashley incredulous, trying to hold back her anger.

“Drop it,” said Declan, not taking his eyes off Ashley,”Grace, go find a spot for us, I’ll go get us some refreshments.”

Grace nodded and headed up towards the left side of the theatre to find a spot along the wall.  As she settled into her bar stool, Declan returned with a plate of pasta and a basket of chips

“Sorry I couldn’t find better spots facing the screen,” apologized Grace, “I guess we’ll have to just turn the bar stools so we can see the screen, are you ok with that? I mean my back will be to you…”

Declan gave her a reassuring smile, “It’s fine, I brought you your favourite, orecchiette in an arrabbiata sauce.  Did you want a drink?”

“A Strawberry Daiquiri?” said Grace.

“Sure, I’ll be right back hun,” smiled Declan.

From across the theatre, Ashley watched Declan go to the bar.  She dropped her jacket on her seat and sprinted up to the bar.

“Hi, a sex on the beach,” said Ashley to the bartender.

“Comin’ right up,” returned the bartender, flashing her a smile.

“Hello stranger,” said Ashley sidling up to him.

“Ashley, don’t.” said Declan quietly, shooting a glance at Grace.

Her back was turned to him as she enjoyed her pasta.

“What? I thought you said you two were done,” said Ashley.

“I haven’t exactly broken up with her yet,” he said.

“So?” smirked Ashley, “We all know that you’re gonna, so I don’t see what the difference is if she finds out from me rather than you.”

“Ash, seriously, can we not do this here and now?” said Declan.

“Why is this bothering you so much?” asked Ashley.

“Cuz her parents are right there,” he said, “And I don’t want them to you know…kill me?”

Ashley laughed, “Alright, I’ll keep my distance, but just for tonight alright babe? You gotta break it off with her.”

“What if I don’t?” he asked, looking at Grace again.

“What would make you want to stay with her? You said it yourself, you said she was a psycho. You said she’s over emotional and cries over the smallest things,” said Ashley accusingly.

“She wants kids,” thought Declan, “Not like you. You have no love for children. You’re nothing more than a fling. I don’t and never will see this going anywhere farther than sex.”

Declan shook his head, picked up the drinks and headed back to his seat.

“Here, sorry it took so long, the bartender is swamped back there,” apologized Declan, setting the drink down and sliding it towards Grace.

Grace nodded, “Thanks hun.”

***

“Declan…can I…talk to you about something?” asked Grace cautiously.

“Something wrong?” asked Declan, cosying up to her.

“Who’s Ashley?” asked Grace.

“She’s just a friend,” said Declan, “Like I told you last night.”

“I know, but like how did you guys meet?” asked Grace.

“She was a childhood friend.  Grew up with her.  She was a neighbour’s kid,” said Declan.

“The one you had a crush on when you were a kid?” asked Grace.

“Yeah…” said Declan awkwardly.

“I’m gonna ask you just once, is there anything going on?” asked Grace.

“No,” said Declan immediately, “What would make you say that?”

“Well, I mean, I’m not pretty or anything. I’m always so insecure. According to you and everyone, I cry too much,” listed Grace, the tell-tale tears welling up in her eyes.

“Oh, hun, there’s nothing to worry about,” said Declan holding her close.

“Liar,” she thought.

She nodded and climbed out of bed.

“Where are you going?” asked Declan, sitting up.

“I…I just need some fresh air.  I’ll talk to you later,” said Grace walking out, feeling numb.

***

Grace drove herself down to the Glenmore Reservoir, sitting at the water’s edge watching the sunset, replaying the conversation she had with Declan, replaying the confrontation with Ashley, rereading the texts from an unknown number telling her about the affair.  From what she could see, logically she had two choices: to walk away from this or to try to make things work with him.  Her over dramatic mind gave her one more option, she could die.

Once the sun had set, she walked back to her car and drove home.  As she drove she steeled herself, prepared her mind for what she was about to do.^ (see below for ending three)

“Hey hun, everything ok?” asked Declan, picking up the phone.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  Do you think you could meet me at Chapters in Crowfoot?” she asked.

“You mean at the Starbucks?” asked Declan.

“Yeah,” said Grace.

“What’s this about?” asked Declan.

“I think this is a better conversation to have in person,” said Grace.

You could hear the pain her voice as she said it and the pain in Declan’s reply.

“Sure, I’ll see you in ten?” said Declan.

“See you,” said Grace, hanging up.

Shortly after, she pulled into the parking lot and headed inside to the bookstore.  She got herself a Grande Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher. She was a sentimental sort.  This was the drink she had had on their very first date here. He arrived shortly after, ordering Starbucks Refresher Strawberry Lemonade.

“Grace, please tell me what’s going on?” asked Declan sitting down.

“Declan…I don’t think this is working out…” started Grace.

“What do you mean?” asked Declan.

Grace pulled out her phone and pushed the messages towards him, “I know you’re cheating on me.”

ENDING 1:
Declan’s face fell, “Grace…I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

“I gave you a chance to tell me why.  To explain to me why you would do that to me,” said Grace, trying to hold back the tears that were fighting to break through the surface, “But you chose to lie to me.”

“Grace-” started Declan.

“No, let me finish. Declan, I’ve always imagined a life with you.  Getting married, having children, growing old, but your choice has taken that away.  I loved…no I still love you, but I can’t live with someone who would lie to me about something like this.  I trusted you and I thought you were better than this.  I know I’m not the easiest person to love, but you know that I would work hard to make things work,” started Grace, “Your one decision to do this has destroyed everything we’ve built together. We’re done.  I’m sorry.  Good bye.”

She stood, turning to hide her tears that had now spilled over when Declan caught her arm.

“Can I say something before you go?” asked Declan.

Grace nodded; he deserved a chance to explain himself.

“I love you.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I know I slipped up and I regret it, but I know that will never get you back and I’m sorry,” said Declan.

She nodded again and walked away.

Declan sat there for a while longer and called Ashley.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“How dare you!” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “We’re done. I don’t ever want to see or hear from you again.  Get out of my life!”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you this was a mistake.  I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Well I hope you’re happy because I lost the best thing that has happened to me.  I lost the ONLY person I ever loved because of you.  So fuck off and I swear to God, if you ever try to contact me, I will make sure you don’t see the light of day ever again. Am I clear?”

He hung up without waiting for a response.

ENDING 2:
Declan looked at her blankly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Grace looked at him puzzled, pulling the phone towards her rereading the texts, “What do you mean?”

“Like I told you, Ashley was just a friend.  Yes, I used have feeling for her, but that was maybe ten, twelve years ago,” said Declan, “Look, she contacted me and asked me about starting up a relationship with her, but I told her I wasn’t interested.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t having any of it.  She somehow figured out that we’d be at the theatre that night and went there pretending not to know I would be there.  And you know that I hug people rather than handshakes, so when I hugged her she just wouldn’t let go, so I left my arm around her.”

“And you’re sure you’ve never had anything with her,” confirmed Grace.

“Years ago, before we started dating,” sighed Declan, “Yes, I had a one night stand with her.”

Grace nodded, “I trust you.  Thank you for being forward with me.”

Declan smiled, “Now come here.”

Grace returned his smiled and hopped on his lap.

“Can I see that message again?” asked Declan.

“Why?” asked Grace.

“I just wanted to double check that number; I think that might be Ashley’s number,” said Declan, “And I want to make it clear to her that she’s to leave us alone.  I promise that I will never hurt you and I will never let anyone else hurt you either.”

Grace handed him the phone and he compared the number of the unknown messager to the number on his phone, confirming it was hers. He called Ashley, putting her on speaker phone so Grace could listen in.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“Ashley, I told you that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, I told you not to make up lies about us to try and break up my relationship with Grace, and you’ve completely disregard all my requests,” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “I love Grace.  Can’t you see that?  What we had was gone years ago.  I intend to stay with Grace, to love her until the end of my days. I don’t love you, I never have, Ash.  Why is that so hard to understand?”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you that was a mistake.  I had just broken up with Charlotte and was looking for the comfort of a friend and you took advantage of me.  When I found Grace, I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Don’t try to contact me again.  We’re done.”

“Deck, can’t we please talk about it?” begged Ashley.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” stated Declan plainly.

“How can you say there was nothing between us?  Did you honestly feel nothing?” asked Ashley.

“Nothing,” confirmed Declan.

Ashley broke down in tears, hanging up the phone.

Grace looked at Declan and smiled.  For once, she was glad she was wrong.

ENDING 3:

She drove across the grass, maneuvering around the blockades that would normally prevent people from driving on to the walking trails, heading straight for the spot she had been sitting, watching the sunset. In her mind this was the only solution. He was going to leave her; she just knew it. The world was better without her anyways. She was certain that no one would miss her. Her car bumped along; it was not made for off-roading. As her car plunged into the water she sent one final text: goodbye. Slowly, she lowered her windows. The water flooded in. She closed her eyes as the car began to fill. She did not go peacefully. Her body struggled and fought, but in the end, it was futile. She was gone.

 

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