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The Broken Promise
Fynn laughed and wrapped his arms tighter around my waist.
“Did you have fun today?” He asked, grinning.
My stomach dropped, and I giggled. “Lots. Thanks for showing me the sights.”
“It was my pleasure.” He whispered, and leaned towards me.
My mind raced. If I kissed him, it would be me cheating on Cole. Then again, Cole had told me to form a new identity, separate from him and the team, so that I could really connect with everyone. And I hadn’t told Fynn about Cole for that reason. But even though I did really, really want to kiss him, it’d be wrong. On the flip side of that, though, ever since we’d arrived in Ordel, Cole had barely touched me. I needed to feel loved. Which Fynn made me feel, all too easily. So I let him kiss me, and my head spun like it’d done every time Cole did.
“That’s a nice thank you.” He laughed quietly, and smoothed my hair. When he leaned in again, I pulled back a bit. “What?”
I felt something, some disquiet in the night. Then it was gone. “N-nothing. You were saying?” I let him kiss me again, and maybe encouraged it a little. Okay, so pressing myself up against him was unnecessary, but it was like he was a magnet and I couldn’t stay apart from him.
“Alissa?” A broken voice asked. My head whipped around, and my legs wobbled. No. Cole’s face had a long scratch on it, and it was bright red, but what made me feel the most pain were his sad eyes.
“It’s not what it seems.” I said quickly, then realized I was still up against Fynn. I hastily stepped back, face burning.
“Oh, really? So you weren’t making out with that guy, that was just my imagination?” He asked, stepping out fully from behind the tree.
“Okay, so it’s exactly what it looks like, but I can explain!”
“No need. I understand.” He replied, voice hollow and emotionless.
“Aster...why’d he call you Alissa? And why did you call him Cole?” Oh...s***. Fynn’s face was guarded, and he was glancing warily between Cole and I.
“Um...long story. One for another time. Right now-hang on, okay? Just, shhh. Let me think.” I snapped at him.
“I’m out of here.” Fynn shook his head, “I thought you were different.” Just as he turned away, he fell to the ground.
“Cole!” I shouted, kneeling over Fynn and pulling out the tranquilizer dart.
“He found out, and he was going to get away.”
“Yeah, but he wasn’t going to tell anyone!” I resisted smoothing Fynn’s hair and stood, tossing the dart aside. “But, thanks. I need some time to think of an explanation.”
“I didn’t do it for you, I did it for the team.” Cole turned away, too, and began to walk in the other direction.
“No, wait-” I ran after him and grabbed the back of his white shirt, spinning him around to face me. “Cole, I’m...I’m...” Apparently at a loss for words. How could I explain my feelings for Fynn, or excuse what I’d just done? Just like the Cole I knew and loved, he waited patiently for my brilliant reasons. Except that, I had none. “I’m sorry. I made a mistake, because it hurt you. And as awful as this sounds, I wanted to kiss Fynn, and I don’t think that by kissing him I made a bad choice, I think that the fact that I was dating you while I kissed him and liked it and that hurt you, that’s the mistake. Ooh, too much information. Uh...you’re the whole reason I came so far, came here, the reason I’m alive today! But, I just don’t think that because of that I have to stay with you forever. God, I’m doing a crappy job at explaining myself. I still love you. But at the same time, I have an interest in Fynn, and it wouldn’t be fair to you to explore that interest while being your girlfriend. And I can’t ignore that interest. Does that make more sense?” I babbled, confusing even myself.
But he nodded. “Yeah. It does. You don’t want to date me anymore, because that guy makes you feel what I’ve ceased to do. Yeah, I understand perfectly.”
The way he said it made me sound so horrible. My heart throbbed, and my throat ached with tears I couldn’t afford to shed. I’d already made this so hard on him, I didn’t want to make it worse. Although at this point, I’d be surprised if he cared if I started bawling. “About right. But I do love you!”
“It’s just not enough for you anymore, is it? My love has fallen short of your needs.” “Cole-” I squeaked.
“You know what? It’s fine; I’m glad you know what you want. I just wish you’d thought of that sooner, and told me before kissing him. That way you wouldn’t need to feel guilty about anything.”
“Cole-” I squeaked again, eyes stinging.
“No, don’t worry, I get it. Happens all the time, right? I hope you two are happy.” Cole gave me one long, sad look before sprinting away at top speed. Right as he took off, something fell out of his pocket and hit the damp earth with a quiet “thud”. Cole gone, I stooped down and picked it up. It was hard to see in the dim moonlight, but it was a box, and it felt velvety. I ran my thumb against the soft side until I felt an opening, and flipped it up.
“Oh my God.” I breathed, taking the small object out of the box.
It was a ring.
Thin, solid silver braids intertwined to form the band, while tiny sapphires and pearls decorated it interchangeably. The main focus, the icing on the masterpiece of a cake, were the four rather large diamonds set in a diamond shape, glittering on top. It was an engagement ring, the most beautiful one I’d ever seen. Cole...he had followed me here...planning to propose! I sank to my knees, letting a small whimper escape from me. He had been going to propose. And I’d messed it all up by kissing another guy, Fynn, right in front of him. He was going to surprise me, probably take me out on a romantic moonlit picnic afterwards...and I’d been the one to surprise him. I’d blown it with the man I loved, for some guy I was kinda attracted to. The tears I’d been repressing poured down my face, blinding me and I curled into a ball, oblivious to the rest of the world. The only thing I was aware of was the ring in my hands, and the two broken hearts that accompanied it.
Palm Desert, California
West Jefferson, Ohio
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