I’m standing at my sink washing dishes. Jake, my new boyfriend, just left. We’ve been together almost two months. I met him at the movies of all places. He was there with a group of his friends from college and approached me, with their pushing, at the concession stand.
Anyway, he’s been gone maybe ten minutes when the doorbell rings. We had an early evening because he has to be up for work at five-thirty in the morning.
I dry off my hands and make my way to the front door. I’m not expecting anyone, so I check the peephole. My heart leaps into my throat.
It’s Eric. My ex-boyfriend Eric.
I open the door just wide enough to poke my head out and ask, “What are you doing here?” I haven’t seen him in six months.
“I was in the neighborhood,” he says with one of those charming smiles that used to make my panties go poof. “I thought I’d see how you’re doing.”
“I’m great,” I smile and try to close the door. He stops it with his foot.
I sigh and look up at him. Eric is easily a foot taller than me and he’s starting to lean in.
“What, Eric?” I growl. He dropped me out of the blue six months ago like a bad habit. Turns out he met another “pretty girl” named Dawn. She’s a fucking slut. Literally.
“I miss you,” he says.
Of course he does.
“You didn’t miss me when you told me Dawn could give you something I didn’t,” I smirk.
“I was an idiot,” he admits. “Please, Sookie, let me in.”
“Why, Eric, so you can come in and try to woo me back? No way, that ship has sailed. I’ve met someone new that doesn’t treat me like a sex toy he can use up and throw away,” I say.
“Pretty girl, I know I made mistakes–”
“You made a lot of fucking mistakes, Eric. You broke my heart.” When we split it came out of nowhere. As far as I knew we were on the track toward marriage when he decided he didn’t love me anymore and he’d already found someone new.
“I know, Sookie, I know. I have a lot of regrets about that,” he tells me. “Come on, let me in. We can talk it all out.”
Against my better judgment I take a step back to let him in. I don’t know what the hell he wants to talk out. He made it pretty fucking clear I was unwanted. I cried for days and weeks on end before I got the strength to get out of bed and start putting my life back together. Now I’m in a spot where things finally feel good again.
“What do you want to talk about?” I ask as he closes the door behind himself.
“Us. How to put things back together,” he says.
“Do you really think I want you back?” I ask, arching an eyebrow. “What about Dawn and all her fucking skills?”
“The thrill there is gone,” Eric sighs. “Baby, you’re better than her.”
“Oh yeah? What happens when another girl comes along? And then another and another? I don’t share, Eric. You broke my heart and my trust.” Who the hell does he think he is? Sadly, three months ago these stupid fucking lines would’ve worked.
“I want to fix it.” He comes closer to me, looking deep into my eyes and reaching up to caress my neck like he always used to do. “Please, pretty girl, give me another chance.”
“I’ve met someone,” I whisper.
Jake and I aren’t in love yet but he’s a lot kinder than Eric ever was or will be. He treats me like I deserve to be treated.
“Is it serious?” His thumb brushes my jaw and his stupid, pretty blue-green eyes skip down to my lips.
“It’s exclusive,” I reply. He knows how I feel about cheating. He knows I don’t cheat and I don’t want to play any part in cheating. When his gaze intensifies I have to turn my head. I’ve given into Eric too many times in the past. We’ve fought a lot and before I would break up with him he’d put this fucking whammy on me and pull me back in like he’s trying to do now.
“I miss you, pretty girl,” he says softly. “I miss the way you laugh and how grumpy you are in the morning before you have coffee, or how those animal rescue commercials make you want to adopt everything in sight.”
All stuff Jake hasn’t learned about me.
I can feel the tears welling. This is why I should’ve slammed the door on his foot. He starts to get under my skin like a parasite.
“You never answered my question. What happened to Dawn?”
“We decided to part company,” Eric answers and starts to play with my hair. “She was all wrong for me.”
I smack his hand away.
“Don’t,” I growl.
“I miss that, right there. I missed your fire.” His hand wraps around my hip instead. Oh hell.
“Eric,” I sigh. “I don’t think you should be here.”
He pisses me off to no end, but he tempts me as well.
“I know you missed me too, even if you won’t admit it,” he says. Eric leans down and steals a kiss from me like a thief in the night.
I smack him in his chest and back up.
“I did miss you for a long time, Eric. I’ve picked up the pieces, though. You moved on. You didn’t want me and now you can get your wish. I’ve found someone that treats me like I deserve to be treated.”
“He won’t ever love you like I do, pretty girl,” he whispers. “But I’ll go. You know where to find me when you change your mind.”
“That’s not going to happen,” I assure him. Unfortunately, I don’t even believe myself.
He comes closer to me again and presses his forehead to mine. “I’m not perfect. I’m a fuckup a lot of the time, but you make me better, Sookie,” he tells me and kisses my head before stepping back.
“How can you say that when you did the worst thing you could ever do to me?” I ask and the tears finally begin to fall.
“Because I’m a fool.”
“Yes you are,” I agree and wipe my cheeks. Eric’s major downfall has always been my tears. I’ve used them against him in the past but I’m not doing that now. It’s not fair of him to show up like this and tell me he wants me just when my heart is starting to heal. “You’re not good for me,” I sniffle.
“I still love you, Sookie. I tried to make that go away, but it’s still there. Every day I wake up feeling like something is missing and it’s because I don’t have you,” he says.
I nod but stay silent. I don’t know what to do with him. The more I want to push him away, the more I want to pull him closer. Standing here looking at this broken man is tearing me up inside.
He needs to reap what he sows. He made his bed; it’s time for him to take a nice long nap in it.
“You should’ve thought about that before you picked another girl over me,” I whisper.
“Pretty girl…” He reaches out to touch me again.
As much as I want to feel his hands on me, I pull away, shaking my head.
“Eric, no,” I tell him. “I was in love with you for a long, long time. I probably will always be in love with you but you hurt me too bad. This time love isn’t enough.”
He nods and I can see the pain and disappointment in his eyes.
“You know how to find me,” Eric says quietly and turns to leave.
I follow him to the door but don’t say another word. I lock the deadbolt behind him and turn to lean against the door. I slowly slide down until my butt is on the floor and my face is in my hands as I start to sob. If Eric had shown up even a few weeks ago I most likely would’ve taken him back. I can’t now. I’m stronger now. He had me for almost four years and he threw me away like trash. I’m better than that. I know I am, but that doesn’t stop the tears.
I end up crying by the door for a good hour before I finally get up and go to my room to wash my face. I obviously didn’t expect tonight to go as it did but I feel better. It feels good to have said no to him and mean it.