Alyssa froze at the door, uncertain of the words Jamie had just spoken. She heard them but they didn’t make enough sense for her to understand them. Which just further confused her. She turned to face her. Jamie hadn’t moved. She stood staring at Alyssa’s feet, the obvious shame and concern preventing her from meeting Alyssa’s gaze.
“What did you just say?” Alyssa asked, the shook of the situation causing her voice to sound a little weak. Her rational mind fought with the part of her that loved Jamie more than she loved herself. If there was anything she was sure of, it was that Jamie would never do anything that would hurt her. But here she was, admitting to have done just that, yet her heart wouldn’t allow that to be true. She swallowed, cleared her throat and tried again. “Jamie, what did you just say?”
“I… am the reason that Shane broke up with you.”
“Why-.” Alyssa stopped when she realized she didn’t know what she was trying to ask. She looked at Jamie, growing frustrated that Jamie wouldn’t look at her. Angrily, she stormed over to her, yanked the sunglasses from her face and tossed them onto the couch. “What the hell do you mean, Jay?”
“I told her,” she slowly brought her gaze to Alyssa’s, finding it even more difficult to admit the truth when Alyssa’s big blue eyes revealed the heartache she was feeling. She had vowed never to bring about such pain to Alyssa and it felt like a knife in the gut to know that she was. “That she was no good for you and to end things before she hurt you.”
The words didn’t bring about the clarification Alyssa was hoping for. Instead, a sea of new and old question clouded her mind and she tried to piece together the pieces of a breakup she had fought hard to forget. She had never experienced such an intense pain that losing Shane had caused. Before then, she had never thought it even possible. She had sulked all summer, needing the first two years of college just to get to a point where it didn’t hurt to breathe let alone think about what she’d lost.
“She never said-.”
“She wouldn’t,” Jamie stated, knowing where Alyssa was going.
“Because she loves you,” Alyssa said.
The muscle in Jamie’s jaw bunched and she nodded once.
Alyssa blinked, getting lost in the past as she tried to recall the moments of their break up. “I thought it was something I had done. I thought I had caused her to stop loving me.” She focused on Jamie again, her angry and outrage overcoming her initial shock. “I cried for three fucking months. You watched me cry for three fucking months, Jamie! How could you do this?”
“I was trying to look out for you.”
“Look out for me?” Alyssa paced to the other side of the room. “You were trying to punish her for something that happened in elementary school, Jamie. And you didn’t care that it hurt me to do that.”
“That is not true. I didn’t think she was any good for you. I said what I said because I loved you.”
Alyssa’s laughed harshly. “And you waited five years to tell me because you love me so much?”
“No, because I was afraid of what would happen when I told you. I didn’t want to lose you.”
“You wouldn’t have lost me, Jamie. There is nothing you could ever do to cause you to lose me.” She said it with such conviction that no one could ever doubt it, but the anger was too close to the surface for her to just let things go. “I love you, but I am beyond pissed right now. Even if what you said is true, you should’ve trusted me enough to make my own damn decisions. How dare you try to tamper with my life like that.”
“I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. You know I love you.”
“I wish you would’ve loved me enough to let me love whoever I wanted to love.”
“I just wanted you to be happy,” Jamie said, almost pleading. It felt like she could see Alyssa slipping away and it terrified her more than words could express. “I was just looking out for you.” She reached out for Alyssa but was rejected.
“I can’t -. I… I have to go. I’m mad at you. I’m mad at her. And I don’t konw if I can trust either of you right now.”