Imagine breaking up with Chris.
A/N: Just wanted to test my limits as a writer and write some angst.
You sat outside Chris’ house in a cab, terrified to go inside. The air inside had been thick with an impending tragedy since the morning; though the inhabitants could sense it, neither were ready to face it. Up until a few days ago, you’d never imagine you’d associate the feelings of fear and angst with Chris. It was unbeknownst to you, how a man you swore you saw the rest of your life with could bring forth such unwanted emotions. He was a good man, one of the best people you’d ever encounter in your lifetime. What you felt had nothing to do with him as a person; it wasn’t a reflection of your time together; and it didn’t tarnish the good feelings and wonderful memories you’d procured over three years. There was no explanation as to why a relationship everyone had expected to make all the way to a pretty white chapel was coming to an end. Sometimes things just didn’t work out, sometimes two people weren’t meant to be together despite how perfect they seemed for each other. It was unfair, but that was the odious reality.
Earlier, at 7:48PM, when Chris returned home from the gym to find his house without your presence, he knew you were attempting to prolong your workday in order to avoid the confrontation. He, too, wanted to avoid it; of all the things he’d give to be as far from it, his privacy was one of them. As he waited for your inevitable return, he’d found himself wishing he was on a press tour because he’d rather be with invasive journalists than in the same house with the girl he loved but had no future with. He felt terrible when he realized it was relief surging through him when he walked in to see you hadn’t returned from work yet. He didn’t understand what went wrong, he was so sure you’d been on the same path as him. And why wouldn’t he have been? You’d always been adamant about what you wanted in a relationship; how marriage and kids were part of your eventual plan. You told him when you first met him at twenty-three that twenty-six was the golden age for all of that. So why was it that when he asked you to marry him three days ago, you hesitated.
The diamond ring felt heavy on your finger as you lifted your left hand to grab your change from the cab driver. You got out of the cab and watched it drive away before you took carefully measured steps towards the front door. You felt like a soldier cautiously approaching the enemy’s base. Even with your guard up, you weren’t ready for the battle awaiting you. Your hands were as cold as the metal key you pulled out from your bag; your stomach twisted and turned like the mechanisms in the lock; and your heart skipped a beat that would’ve been as loud as the click when you successfully unlocked the front door. With a deep breath, you quietly pushed open the door and walked into the house.
Like every other night when you returned home from work, Dodger was waiting for you. However, tonight, his tail wasn’t wagging. It was almost as though he knew this was the last time he was going to get to welcome you home and it broke your heart to see his furry face so heavy with sadness. You slipped off your heels, scanning the vicinity for Chris as you gave Dodger’s head a quick pat. The house was unusually quiet, for you to come home to silence when Chris wasn’t working wasn’t something you were used to. He always had something going, whether it was the TV or music. He was definitely home because his car was in the driveway, so where was he? You wandered further into the house, turning to look down the hallway where the master bedroom waited at the end.
Your whole body flinched when you heard his voice. You turned and found him sitting in the dimly lit kitchen with a beer in his hand. He managed a small smile which you mirrored before dropping your gaze to the ground. You felt numb as your heart ached in your chest. You didn’t want to do this, you didn’t want to lose him. What was your life going to be like without him in it? What kind of misery were you going to suffer if you saw him with someone else? You didn’t want to think about it, but you had to. You were being selfish if you didn’t. You weren’t ready to live the life he wanted and if you forced yourself into it, it would only end in divorce. Right now, you weren’t married and you didn’t have kids; the collateral damage would be less if you left now.
“We need to talk, don’t we?” You asked in a voice so soft and feeble neither recognized it.
Chris’ heart ached hearing how the relationship had reduced you. Did he do that? Did he turn the strongest person he knew weak? He could feel how lost you were when he asked you to marry him. That pause you took before you utter the word “yes,” told him everything he needed to know. You didn’t say yes for yourself, you said it because of him. You loved him enough to help move his plans forward, even if that meant derailing your own. But that kind of love wasn’t going to last forever, he couldn’t have you resent him in the future because you didn’t do what was right for yourself. You were going to be better off with someone else, someone who had a plan similar to yours. The timing wasn’t right, and that was the awful thing about love- it was all about the timing. He loved you deeply and if it were his choice, he’d spend the rest of his life with you. But it wasn’t, so if you wanted to go- he was going to let you go.
“Yeah,” he felt himself nod.
There was a long, painfully deafening pause. You looked up from your feet and met his gaze; both simultaneously teared up. “Can we not?” You asked, trying your utmost best not to break down and cry. He didn’t need to see you cry; likewise, you didn’t need to see him cry.
“Yeah,” he felt himself nod again. “Have you had dinner?” He asked and you shook your head. “You good with spaghetti?” He asked and you nodded. It was like you couldn’t speak because you knew if you did, your voice would shake and you’d break down crying. “I made it while I was waiting for you, I was hoping we could have dinner together.” It was unsaid: “for the last time,” but it was there.
You sat in the bar stool adjacent to his and brushed your thumb over the diamond ring that wouldn’t be there in the morning while he plated. Neither really saw the point of pretending like you had an appetite, but it was a charade that helped slow the painful realization that it was over from reaching your hearts. “Thanks,” you mumbled when Chris placed a plate of spaghetti down in front of you. He placed his down in front of him then grabbed cutlery to distribute between the two of you before taking his seat.
The two of you managed a few mouthfuls- Chris one more than you, before reducing to just poking at the food. Chris didn’t know what to say. This was easily one of the hardest breakups he’d ever endured, mainly because he was so sure about you being the one. What if he offered to wait? Would you stay if he took back his proposal until you were ready? He couldn’t lose you, just the idea of waking up tomorrow to find that ring on your bedside table and his house emptied of your things stopped him from breathing.
“If I take it back,” Chris began and you looked up from your plate, “will you stay?” Your eyes quickly filled with tears, falling over the edge and rolling down your cheeks. Chris started to weep himself, “if you’re not ready to get married, I can take it back.” His tone was started to get frantic because he was afraid he’d never see you again after tonight. “We don’t have to get married, okay? I don’t need to have kids right now, I can wait. Please just-” He reached across and caressed your face in his hand. “Don’t quit me, Y/N.”
“I don’t want to,” you admitted as you started to cry. “I don’t want to, Chris.” You wrapped your hand around his wrist and he got off his chair to wrap you into a tight hug. He could tell from your tone that you’d made a decision he couldn’t sway you from. “But I might never be ready.” He closed his eyes, squeezing the tears from his corners as he pressed his lips to the top of your head. “I’m so sorry.” It was over, there was nothing up for negotiation; what was shattered was unfixable. You weren’t the girl for him, the run was over.
“Me too,” he whispered into your hair then drew back, brushing your tears with the back of his hand. “Will you at least stay the night? I don’t want to sleep alone tonight,” he admitted, earning a nod from you. “No,” he shook his head when he saw you’d started to take off the engagement ring he’d bought for you. “That’s- I got it because I believed it belonged on your finger.” You left it, getting to your feet and wrapping both arms tight around his neck. You started to sob the second he hugged you back. “It’s okay, we’re going to be okay.”
“I love you so much, Chris,” you choked out, cupping his face in your hands.
“I love you too, Y/N,” he managed a smile through his tears. “I just wish that wasn’t the only thing we had in common.” You buried your face back in his chest, hugging him tightly. “Promise me something,” he began then continued when he felt you nod, “don’t settle for less than you deserve.”
“Only if you promise me the same thing.”
That night, you slept in Chris’ arms for the last time. And in the morning, before the sun reached its peak, you pressed a soft goodbye kiss on his lips. You slipped downstairs and kissed Dodger goodbye too before leaving the house you’d called a home for two years. Your things would be retrieved later, on a day he’d promised he wouldn’t be home for. You hoped he’d keep to his promise after he woke and saw what you’d left on his bedside table.
Chris woke a few minutes after your cab pulled out of his driveway. “Y/N?” He rubbed his bleary eyes as he propped himself up on his elbows. “Y/N, are you-” He was cut off by the glistened of your diamond ring, sitting on top of a small notecard; they patiently waited for his attention. He had expected this, but he was still unprepared. His tired, puffy eyes started to weep again when he saw that one simple word in your handwriting: “Goodbye.”
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