Lucas felt like he could barely breathe as he followed Evelyn into the living room, flicking the light switch as he went. This can’t be good…
“Ev… What’s going on?”
Evelyn began speaking softly, not bothering to turn around and face him as she did so. “Your parents went out to use the hot tub tonight.” She began. “I was sitting in the grass, just watching the stars, when I heard them come outside.” Evelyn paused. “Not a big deal… It’s not like they can see me anyway, right? So I stayed…”
Lucas could feel a hidden wave of panic within him begin to rise. He knew exactly where this was going. “Evelyn…”
She ignored him, continuing in the same soft tone as before. “And then they started talking. And they were having the strangest conversation.”
Oh God… “Ev, just… just listen, okay?”
“They were wondering when you’d be back from your date.” She continued, her voice calm and steady as she spoke. “And then they started talking about how nice this ‘Melanie’ is, and how happy she’s been making you…”
She turned to face him then, but Lucas could not bring himself to meet her gaze. He walked past her, his eyes downcast as he was overwhelmed by the sensation of his stomach twisting into a thousand knots.
“Why would they be saying that, Lucas?”
He turned away from her. “…You know why.”
“I need to hear you say it.” She floated toward him until he was finally forced to look her in the eye.
“Please… Don’t…” He pleaded.
Evelyn hung her head low. She said nothing, but Lucas could hear her sniffling softly.
“Evelyn, just… Just let me explain.” Lucas couldn’t bear to see her tears. “I love you, okay? I need you to know that…” He reached out for her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
She pulled back sharply. “Don’t touch me!” Evelyn turned away, as though she could not stand to look at him.
“I… I don’t know what to say, Ev…” Lucas shook his head. “Jesus… I never meant for it to happen like this…”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Evelyn snapped. “And when exactly were you planning on telling me about this girlfriend of yours?”
“I don’t know… W-we were just friends at first. I messed up. I’m sorry, I…”
“Just shut up, okay? Shut up!” Evelyn was practically shrieking as her pale blue hue gradually deepened toward crimson. “I don’t need an apology. I just need to know why.”
Lucas sighed. “We both know why…” It was no use trying to deny it any longer. “I love you. I always will, Ev… But I can’t do this anymore. I mean, look at Sam and Laura — having a baby, starting a family…” He took a deep breath. “And Noah showed me the ring he bought for Cam last week…” He looked down at the carpet below his feet, unable to meet her gaze. “Seeing them get to do all that…” Lucas shook his head. “It’s… It’s just like you said it would be… Isn’t it?”
“Exactly!” Evelyn floated toward him. “I tried to warn you! I told you it would never work. I told you I would be holding you back. I told you one of us would get hurt…” She shook her head, disgusted. “But you promised me that would never happen. And I was dumb enough to believe you…”
“What do you want me to say? I can’t help how I feel…” He paused. “But I never meant to hurt you. I swear.”
Evelyn’s entire form shined brightly, pulsating with a fiery glow. It was almost frightening. “Is that so? And how was lying to me supposed to help with that, exactly!?” She demanded, throwing her arms in the air. “How long have you been going behind my back? Since your birthday? Because that’s when this whole thing started… I don’t know how I didn’t see it until now.”
“Mel had nothing to do with that.” Lucas replied defensively. “That was… different.”
Evelyn’s eyes widened. “So she’s not the first, then?”
“No! I mean yes!” Lucas groaned in frustration. “It was just… different, okay? I… I was drunk. And I did something stupid…” He admitted. “But it’s not the same!”
“I see…” Evelyn nodded. “So you had some drunken fling, lied to me about it, tossed that girl aside as soon as you get bored, and moved right on to the next one like it was nothing.”
“No! It’s not like that at all, I –”
“And now it’s my turn.” Evelyn interrupted. “Should I be flattered you waited this long with me? Maybe I need to warn this ‘Mel’ of yours that it’s only a matter of time before you kick her to the curb too.”
Lucas had reached his breaking point. “Jesus Christ, Ev! How can you even say that? You know I’m not like that.”
“Then tell me how this is any different.”
“I’m not ‘tossing’ you aside, Evelyn, alright? Will you just listen to me?”
“I think I’ve heard enough, thanks.”
Neither of them spoke for several moments. They simply glared at one another, a thousand bitter and hurtful thoughts floating unspoken between them. Lucas tried taking a few deep breaths to calm himself. It almost worked.
“I never wanted to be a burden to you.” Evelyn said, after a few moments. Her voice was considerably calmer than it had been a few moments before. “I never wanted to hold you back.” She paused. “But I never wanted to be lied to, either. Or strung along… And that’s exactly what you did, Lucas. You made me so happy. You actually made me believe that I could finally…” She shook her head, leaving the thought incomplete.
“And now you’ve taken it all away from me, just like that. You could have talked to me. You could have told me how you feel. But instead you went behind my back for who knows how long… And then I had to find out like this? God, you didn’t even have the decency to let me down easy.” A short, bitter laugh escaped her lips.
“I never thought I’d say this… But I wish I never met you, Lucas. I really do.”
Her words were like a knife through his heart. “You don’t mean that, Ev. C’mon…” Lucas tried to choke back the sudden wave of emotion that had welled up inside of him.
“But I do. It would have been so much easier… For both of us.” She shrugged her shoulders sadly. “But it doesn’t matter now. You won’t have to worry about me bothering you anymore.” Evelyn turned and began floating toward the doorway.
“Wait!” Lucas cried. “So that’s it then? You’re just gonna walk away? Never talk to me again? Just like that?” He asked, incredulous. “What about bringing you back? What about my promise?”
Evelyn merely glanced over her shoulder. “You were never doing that for me. We both know that.” She turned away. “Goodbye, Lucas. I hope you have a wonderful life.”
She floated through the open archway and out of sight.
“Goddamn it… Don’t be like this… Come back!” Lucas followed close behind, but she was too fast for him. By the time he reached her grave, Evelyn was already gone.
“Ev, please. I know you can hear me.” He looked down at the crumbling marble stone as he spoke. “I fucked up, okay? Bad. But I’m sorry. Just… come back so we can talk about this. Please.”
The quiet whistle of the cool evening breeze was his only reply.