How to Love Like Us (Ethan x Reader)
Description: Ethan is
asked to join his ex for a sit down video for a YouTube channel where they are
instructed to ask each other about their relationship. As they move through their conversation,
travelling through the past, a question comes up that has yet to be
discussed. The response Ethan receives
is one he never expected.
Word Count: 2,862
Warnings: Talk of depression. Language.
A/N: This is based off of YouTube videos such as Hurt Bae and other couple one on one interviews with each other. Thank you to @scuteedolans for encouraging me with writing this piece. In this Ethan is about 20-21 years old. I hope you enjoy it!
It had been 6 months since I had last seen him. I knew that we were about to enter the room at the same time to sit in those chairs, face to face, with nothing just a stack of questions and never-ending eye contact. Sat in the center of a nearly empty room were two, tall director’s chairs set so that we would be across from each other. A couple cameras were set up to record with the camera men standing behind them, just waiting for us to take our places.
I never thought that I would be in one of these “exes ask questions’ videos, but when I was told that Ethan was asked to do one, I felt like I at least owed it to him after the way we left off, so reluctantly I agreed to do it with him.
“Y/n, are you ready?” I turned to face the producer who had set this whole thing up. I’m sure my eyes were filled with fear and hesitancy.
I took a deep breath and nodded my head. Was I actually ready to face him? Did I have enough time to prepare myself for what was to come? I wasn’t told ahead of time what these questions were going to be. It was obvious that there would be questions that would catch me off guard or would be ones that I didn’t want to answer, but I signed the form that I would be completely honest and open throughout the whole thing.
“Is Ethan in place?” she said as she pressed the ear piece closer, waiting for the answer. “Okay, perfect, let’s get ready.” She placed her hand on my shoulder, “You’re going to do great. We can take breaks when needed and you don’t have to ask to get up.” Her hand gave me a quick squeeze. “Do you need a tissue?” she handed it to me without waiting for my response.
I looked at my feet the whole time I walked to my seat, too many thoughts racing through my mind for me to comprehend. Once I was standing next to the chair, I looked up to meet Ethan’s eyes. He looked at me with a warmth that made my heart skip a beat the same way it did the first time he ever looked at me.
We both picked up the notecards from our seats before finally sitting down. It took me a solid 30 seconds to adjust in my seat whereas it only took Ethan a moment to find a comfortable position. He tapped his cards against his thigh to straighten them up, his eyes still trained on mine.
“Would you like me to go first?” he asked quietly.
“Yes, please.” My voice could hardly be heard. It was like my voice had caught up in my throat.
“Okay.” He lifted the first card, reading it to himself before sharing it with me. A small smile formed at the corner of his lips, “How did we first meet?” he placed the card at the back of the stack.
I laugh a bit at the memory, “We were both at Best Buy.” He flashed a toothy smile, “You and Grayson were looking for a new camera while I was looking for a new lens.”
“Grayson was doing all of the work while I was taking pictures of myself on each camera.” Ethan filled in the next part, shaking his head at himself.
“You kept trying to take selfies with me in the background to make me feel uncomfortable, but it didn’t work.” I added, thinking back to that day. I had noticed Ethan moving from camera to camera, turning it toward his face and snapping picture after picture.
“And you,” he pointed right at me, “finally posed for a picture. You flipped me off in the background.” He broke out in a small fit of laughter.
I nodded, “I did. You deserved it.”
“You’re right I did.” He paused before nodding at the cards in my hands.
Flipping the top one over I read it aloud without taking a look for myself. I figured that it would be a better idea to just get it out. “Did I ever do anything that made you question whether we were supposed to be together or not? If so, what was it?” The question rolled off my tongue much easier than it would have if I had read it in my head first.
A frown formed on his face, his eyebrows knitting together. He was taking a while to respond and it was making me more nervous than it probably should have. “Nothing you ever did made me question us being together. You were everything I hoped for and more.”
My lips tightened, folding in as I tried to fight back the emotions I was feeling. He said it in such a light tone, but the hurt that was in his eyes made my heart want to explode. I tried to find the words to respond with, but there it was like fireworks, response after response exploding in my mind but fizzling away all too soon.
Before I could even say anything he read his next card, “If you could describe our sex life in 3 words, what would they be?” I was surprised at how well he held it together as he asked. I knew that he wanted to explode with laughter by the playfulness in his eyes.
I bit my lip to suppress my grin, “Amazing, loving, and…” I tapped my chin, “adventurous.” I absent mindedly played with a piece of hair that was brushing against my face.
“Oooh, adventurous!” he wigged his eyebrows and shoulders at the same time. I immediately hid my face in my hands, embarrassed yet amused by his response. “Don’t be so shy!” he leaned forward and gently hit my leg with his cards.
“I can’t help it!” I argued, pulling out my next card, “What’s your favorite memory of us?”
“Oh I don’t even have to think about this one!” he clapped his hands together. “My favorite memory is the time we went on the jet ski and I let you drive it for the first time ever. It was only a minute in and you knocked us into the water!”
“I was so excited! Guess the excitement got the best of me.” I giggled like a school girl.
He shook his head, laughing, “When we came up we realized that you flooded the engine somehow so we had to swim it back to shore which took like a half hour.”
“Then we got to the dock and you refused to help me out until I admitted that it was all my fault. So when you finally helped me out I pushed you back in.”
“And you told me it was out of love. And I just knew, that I couldn’t let you go that day. I’ve never felt the way you made me feel.” He laughed, throwing his head back. “God, no one could love the way we loved. No one knew how to love like us.”
“We did have an epic love.” I admitted, wishing I could relive all the moments we shared.
“Next question. What was your first impression of me?” he raised an eyebrow.
I shrugged, “That you were a goon. A cute goon, but a goon none the less.”
“You loved every bit of this!” he held his hands out as if to say, ‘look at me’.
I shook my head, heat rising to my cheeks. “Let’s move on. Are you in a relationship now?” my chest tightened. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear his answer, but the question had already been asked and there was no taking it back.
“No.” he answered. Short, sweet, and to the point. “Are you?” he retorted.
“That’s not your question to ask, it’s mine.” I raised my brows at him.
“So you are.” He deadpanned.
“No. I haven’t talked to any other guy since you. But it was my question to ask, so…” I made a childish face, placing the card at the back of the stack.
He chuckled, “Always have to be sarcastic don’t you?” I shrugged in response, “I miss your sarcasm.” We both got silent. He immediately looked down at his next card, “What was your favorite thing about me?
“Your smile.” I responded. “Your smile when you were excited, your smile when you were happy, your smile when I told a horrible joke, when we rode rollercoasters, when we were at comedy movies. The way you smiled for me when I was sad and when I needed courage. You’re smile whenever we were together. I love your smile.”
He purposely grinned from ear to ear. He kept moving his head back and forth to make sure that I saw each angle of his infamous smile. Of course I laughed because almost everything he does makes me feel an unexplainable joy that was unique to only him.
“You were the reason I smiled.” Of course he had to pull on my heart strings a little more. I was already feeling numerous different emotions and his actions and comments were only making those feelings stronger.
“You were the reason I smiled.” I answered truthfully. Again we shared a moment of silence before moving on. “What is the one thing you regret about our relationship or regret not doing during it?” I asked. Why did these questions have to go so deep?
His head turned to the side, his bottom lip tucked between his teeth. He kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye, but he couldn’t get himself to turn to me. I let him take his time; I didn’t want to rush him. “I regret not telling you I loved you more. You deserved more ‘I love yous’. I wish I would have told you how much I love you every second of every day.”
The tears finally started to well up in my eyes as he finally looked at me. The Kleenex that had been sitting on my lap was now in my hands, ready to soak up any tears when they finally fell. He had seen me cry enough already during the breakup, I didn’t want him to see me cry again.
I pushed myself up from the chair, setting the cards down on the seat. My feet carried me out of the view of the camera and off set. Ethan didn’t follow me, he remained in his seat, his head turned back to the side again, only this time his eyes were focused on the floor. I could feel my heartrate picking up and my breathing going deeper than it had in the past 6 months. My hands were covering my face as I took the time to collect myself. It was a solid 3 minutes before I built up the courage to return to my seat.
“Sorry for making you wait.” I mumbled as I returned to my position.
He shrugged, “It’s okay, you needed a break. I didn’t mind. I’ll always wait for you.”
I tried to ignore his comment because there was only so much more I could take before I had a full on meltdown. “It’s your turn.” I gestured towards the final card in his hand.
“Oh, yeah.” He whispered. “Okay, my last question is… Why did we break up?” his voice trailed off at the end. “I don’t even know the answer to this question; you broke up with me and never told me why.” The curiosity in his voice was almost over shadowed by the pain.
When we broke up there were so many things going on in my mind and when I made the decision I just left him with only a few words spoken and a thousand tears shed. He deserved more than that but I was too much of a coward to tell him the reason.
“I… I broke up with you because… I just…” I stuttered through my words. I never thought the day would come where we would be sitting face to face with nowhere to run, and I would be forced to answer this question. “I broke up with you because I wasn’t okay. I was filled with a sadness that couldn’t be lifted. It weighed heavy on my heart. There were things that were going on in my life that I didn’t share with you because I know how easily worried you get. I was just so sad.”
“I could have helped you. Why didn’t you tell me? We could have worked through it together!” his voiced raised a bit but not too much.
“Ethan…” I took a deep breath. “Ethan, you were the only thing that could make me happy, but when you were gone my world got darker. Do you know how scary that is? How scary it is to know that you are depending on one person to bring happiness into your life?”
“If you would have told me…”
I cut him off, “If I would have told you that would have put pressure on you. Pressure that you didn’t deserve. I needed to learn to be okay on my own. I can’t depend on someone all my life. It was up to me to choose the path, it was up to me to choose recovery, and it was up to me to let you continue on your journey without me holding you back. There were many times I wanted to call you. I wanted to tell you what was going on. I wanted to ask you to rescue me. But I had to be my own hero.”
He ran his hand through his hair, a frazzled sigh leaving his mouth. “What happened?” he whispered.
“I was depressed. At first I thought that there must have been something to trigger it, but there wasn’t. Sometimes people just get sad and there’s no explanation. I started to pick apart everything in my life. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. I was constantly searching for flaws on myself; it was almost an addiction for me. I hated my job. I chose to do what my parents wanted me to do. I’m an accountant! I fucking hate numbers! I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to tell the stories built up in my imagination! I wanted to tell our story! And… I thought I wasn’t good enough for you.” Once I finished I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes so that I could just breathe. The silence allowed me to hear my own heartbeat, my pulse pounding in my head. I could hear Ethan’s breathing. It was a sweet rhythm that brought me peace faster than anyone else could.
“You were always enough for me.” I felt his hand take mine in his. “You are always going to be enough for me.”
“But in my head I wasn’t even enough for myself.” I made eye contact with him. “And I deserve to be enough for myself.” I turned his hands over and traced the lines imprinted in them.
“How do you feel now?” he asked, his eyes watching my fingers dance against his skin.
I smiled, “These past 6 months I’ve been working on myself. A big part of it goes into my writing. I’m almost done with the first draft. I’m happier now. It’s a work in progress, but there have been many successes.”
“I’m happy that you’re feeling better and I’m happy you’re writing again.” He encouraged me, “I hope you continue to do so.”
“I haven’t finished it quite yet…” I lifted my fingers from his hand, leaning back against the chair. He leaned back as well, looking hurt that I pulled away. “There’s one more question by the way.”
“Hit me.” He said, tapping his hands against his legs.
“It says… Do you still love me?” my hands tightened around the card. “You don’t have to answer that.”
He held up his hand, “I will always love you. You were my world.”
“And you were my world.”
We sat there, eyes connected, voices off. The workers dimmed the lights around us, leaving us in a peaceful darkness. The cameras were turned off, all of the room was silent. I stood up and Ethan mirrored my actions, our eyes still trained on each other’s. He stepped forward, his hand sliding up my neck, delicately pulling me closer to him. He leaned forward, resting his forehead against mine. I could hear the shuffling of feet carrying the camera men away, leaving us two alone.
“God, I’ve missed you.” He whispered. I could feel his warm breath against my lips.
“And I, you.” My fingers lifted and played with the hair at the nape of his neck.
“Please, come home.” I could feel his thumb moving in circles against my skin.
“Okay.” I whispered, lifting my head a bit.
“I told you. I’d always wait for you.” He kissed me softly, whole heartedly, and gently. And although I never quit loving him, I somehow managed to fall even more in love.