“How are you feeling?

” His eyes stayed on the road, but I knew he was focusing on me as well; checking to make sure I wouldn’t go into shock yet. “Did she over hear us? She aimed; she had to have aimed for me to get this.” I waved the small bouquet of orange and white tiger lilies in my lap around to make my point. “Rye, she was far away from us when I asked.” He griped my left hand tighter, finger grazing the small ring he had placed there just before we got in the car. “Then how did I catch this? She aimed, I know she did.” I waved the bundle more, making leaves fall from the long stemmed flowers. “Why do you think she aimed Rye, tell me that.” He sighed, tired of trying to convince me that I was being mad and just accept the fact I caught the object that had offended me an hour or so ago. “I can’t catch to save my life. Throw yes, but not catch. She aimed.” I turned away from the look he was giving me as we stopped at a red light. “Rye, why are you so upset about this? Yes, you caught the bouquet. Yes, I proposed and you said yes to me. But why are you so upset about this? It’s just some pathetic thing that most women believe in about being married next. Rye, I’ve had this ring since I left for the trip. So why are you so upset about catching it?” He turned to look at me, eyes begging to figure out why I was acting this way. “Because,” I bit my lip, trying to think of some lie he would believe, “I don’t want them to think badly about us.” I averted my gaze, trying to make it seem like I was telling the truth. When the flowers had landed in my hand, I had wanted nothing more than to flee. The way Drake stared at me, as if unsure on what had just happened. How Emily and Alice were staring between Tom and Drake as I stood there in shock; my mouth hanging open like a fish. Cheeks heated up in embarrassment and anger as I walked to the waiting table threw the flowers to the center. “Think badly of us? Why would they think badly of us Rye?” He started the car again as the light changed; hand going back on top of mine in a comforting manner. I chewed my lip in thought, trying not to cry. He was being so caring; so understanding to my small hissy fit at the moment. And I was going to have to lie to him once more about the way I was acting. “Rye?” his hand gripped mine tightly, letting me know he was still there with me. “After the inc-Miscarriage,” I held back the wince as I stared at his face, refusing to use the word others had called it, “some of them may have gotten the wrong idea about our relationship.” He was silent, thinking about what I had just told him about. He knew the others thought he was doing the wrong thing by not bringing it up, or making me talk about what had happened. Emily voiced this opinion when she came to check on me one day, only to get kicked out by Tom. “Who cares?” he pulled the car into a parking spot, cutting the engine so we could look at each other while talking now. “Rye, what happened was neither your fault nor mine. You didn’t want to bring it up, and I wasn’t going to force you to talk about something the hurt you that much. So who cares what they think?” he stared out the windshield in front of him, not wanting to see how I was reacting to what he said. “Tom?” I gulped quietly, trying to think of something to say. His eyes glanced at me hesitantly, as if unsure of what I could say to him. “Rye?” his hand went back to on top of mine, eyes searching mine for what I’m going to

say to him. “I want to marry you Tom. Don’t second guess that.” I went closer to him, my mouth connecting to his cheek as I pecked him lightly. I had said yes to him, and I was going to stick with my decision. Even if Drake would hate me for this, I was not going to back out on the one person who I love. Not when he cared so much for me. “Hey guys, what are you doing here?” I watched as they made their way into the loft, knowing full well that if I let them in they would figure out why I had been avoiding them. No one knew yet, and I was going to keep it that way until I was sure I could end the affair with Drake. “Riley where the hell have you been lately?” Emily narrowed her gaze at me, hoping it would convey her thoughts into my head as she placed a hand on the door, pushing it shut her and Alice could stay. “I haven’t been avoiding you, just busy. Work is really mad at the moment; deadlines and all. Mike has me doing this thing for him,” I waved my hand in their face, trying to seem normal as I thought of some excuse, a lie to use with them. “Rye, we know you’re lying.” Alice dropped her key in the usual spot along with Emily. “No I’m not. Why would I lie to you two? You’re my best friends and old roommates, who just happen to be barging into my place at a very important moment.” my left hand shot out in impulse; completely forgetting the fact I had the ring still on as I gestured to the door form my spot at the counter. “You said yes?” Alice gaped at me, glancing at the hand I held out for her and Emily to see. For two weeks I had done nothing but avoid their calls. I refused to let them know till I was ready, knowing full well that they would tell their own selective others; which would get back to Drake about everything. “I told you I would say yes. The bouquet thing just made it a little hard to keep quiet.” I forced the corners of my mouth up, trying to seem happy. They didn’t buy it. “Does he know? Wait, of course he doesn’t; you didn’t even tell us.” Emily flopped on to the barstool in front of me, trying to keep calm about what I had just revealed. “I was mad, okay? I was caught off guard, because Drake wasn’t supposed to be in the room if he was going to ask.” I placed my hand in my lap, hoping to get Alice’s stares off of it as she remained silent still. “You could have told us; we are your friends.” Her hazel eyes narrowed, face looking puckered as she glared at some spot on the bar, still refusing to look me in the eyes just yet. “Don’t tell John or Theo, I don’t want them to know yet.” I chewed my lip, feeling the skin peel in my mouth as they both turned to look up at me now, both having mirror images of shock and displeasure evident as they tried to think of what to say to me. “Rye, we have to tell them. I could care less if you don’t want Drake to know, even if he has a fucking right; just like we had a fucking right to know of the choice to keep the baby.” Alice got off the barstool next to Emily, ready to scold me like I was some child caught with a hand in the cookie jar. “You two didn’t need to know yet.” My eyes darted away from her own, hoping it would give off the vibe to change the subject to something less sensitive. “Didn’t need to know? Are you fucking kidding me? Shit, Rye were your friends, didn’t

you just say that yourself? For one week you kept us in the dark about the fact you didn’t abort your little bastard child, and now you lied about being engaged?” She licked her lips as she stared at me; almost prepping herself for the scolding she was about to give as Emily watched her in awe. “Alice I’m sorry. I just didn’t-” “Didn’t what Rye? Know how to tell us? What a bunch of rubbish! You knew damn well that we would want to know, and damn well that all of this was wrong. We didn’t force you into this, let alone force you to be with Drake. You could have said no. You’re just some selfish girl who doesn’t want him to be with another. And what about Tom? What are you going to do with him? You love him don’t you? That’s what you keep saying to us.” She gestured to Emily and herself, trying to make a point as she got ready to comment more on what I was doing. “Well Rye, do you love him?” Emily’s voice was cracked as she asked this, as if she was holding back tears as she watched the scene unfold in front of her. “Yes, I love him. How could you doubt that I don’t?” I looked at Alice for the answer, knowing full well that Emily would not be able to reply to my own question. “I don’t know Rye. But until you figure all of your issues out with the two of them, I’m done. Don’t expect to hear from me anytime soon. Let’s go Emily, were leaving.” She turned away from me, waiting for Emily at the door as they ignored where their keys were placed. “I’m sorry Rye.” Emily mouthed it to me as she wiped her eyes, showing how she was upset by what had been said. Her mouth quirked into a small smile, as if to apologize once more before turning back to follow Alice out the door. The door clicked behind them without another word, leaving me alone as my best friends walked out of my life over my own stupid mistakes. I walked into the bedroom; grabbing my purse and some shoes as I walked past their abandoned keys and pulled my phone out, dialing the phone number I had tried to so hard not to leave as proof to what had been going on for months now. “Riley, what’s wrong? You never call me.” he sounded worried, but I couldn’t be sure, for all I know he could have heard the truth from someone already, knowing how fast Alice and Emily would tell others. “Drake, can I come over?” I stopped the need to sniff as I wiped my eyes quickly, refusing to cry in front of the other people in the lobby as I hurried out to my car. I would not cry till I was with him. “Yeah, I’m at work now, but I get a break soon. Want to meet up for some lunch?” the sound of ruffling could be heard over the phone, showing he must have been going over papers while talking. He always worked hard when it came to his family business. “Yeah, that’s sounds nice. Any places near?” I tossed my purse into the seat next o me, grabbing my keys out and turning the car on. “How about the café around the corner from here? I’ll meet you there when I can.” The sound of more shuffling came over the phone. “Sure, I’ll get you something to drink as well.” My one hand on the steering wheel tightened as I realized I would have time to think till he arrived there. “Thanks Love, I’ll see you soon.” He hung up, not even waiting for a reply. “Shit.” I cursed and tossed my phone into the bag, not even caring if it made it in. I needed to think on how I was going to say this. I pulled into a parking lot across the café we were going to meet at; body slumped against

the seat as I cut the engine off. “Damn it Rye, what are you going to say? ‘Oh by the way Drake, I’m going to marry Tom. He proposed two weeks ago’.” I laid my head on the wheel in front of me, the cool rubber warming on my skin. I was screwed. If I didn’t do this now, he would find out from someone else, and then it would end really badly; either with a phone call when Tom was home, or just a repeat of what Alice did and storm out after telling me what a failure I was. “Fuck. You just had to say something, didn’t you Alice. Come on Rye, just go out there, say what you need to, and leave before he can react.” I moved off the steering wheel, rubbing my skin so I could get rid of the small red mark. My hand got the purse next to me, pulling out the sunglasses I still had from Emily the last time I needed them. I needed to do this. I shut the door behind me, not even looking much as I crossed the road to get to where we had planned. If I got lucky a car would hit me and none of this would happen. I could die without a word being said to him, and Tom would never have to know. I had no such luck. I was at the door in no time, standing on the grey and black matt on the outside. My heart drummed in my ears, as is aw a server come over, smiling happily at my presence. “How many?” She smiled, wrinkles forming around her mouth as she looked behind me for anyone else. “Two, he’s joining me later.” I kept my glasses on; knowing she would see how I was still trying not to cry. It was bad enough trying not to cry in front of Emily and Alice, I couldn’t do in now with strangers. I followed her outside; mouth forced into a smile as I thanked her and took a seat. It would only be a matter of time till he arrived, so I might as well think of how I could tell him till them. God! Why did I start this? Why couldn’t I have just walked away when I had the chance? He said I could say no; that I could just pretend that kiss meant nothing. But then I kissed him. “What would you like miss?” I jumped, looking up to see a waiter, wearing his red and black uniform with pride as he smiled down at me. A pad was in his hands, ready to write down whatever I asked for. “Sorry, lost in thought.” My voice cracked as I said this, showing how emotional I was without even meaning to be. It would only be a matter of time till I completely broke down in front of all the people around us. “No problem. My name is Scott and I’ll be helping you out today.” He tapped the shiny name tag on the chest of his shirt, as if to prove it was his given name. He was pale, but there was some sun on his form as he stood there in before me, smiling happily about something only he knew. He looked like he was still in University. “So what can I get you…?” He eyed me up and down, eyes scanning me slowly as he came back up to my face, done with the scrutinizing for now. “I have a fiancé, so don’t even think about it.” I turned away, trying to stop the blush crawling up my face as I looked around from the corner of my eyes. Knowing my luck Drake would be behind him, having overheard my comment. “Oh, sorry ma’am.” He looked away, his own face flushed as he tried to stop the awkwardness he was feeling. “I’m sorry I snapped,” My eyes checked the name tag he had tapped just moment ago to

make sure I got his name right, “Scott; just not a good time for me now. I’ll have an Iced Tea, and a coffee. I have a friend joining me soon.” I adjusted my glasses, pushing the falling object back up my nose. “All right, an Iced Tea and Coffee; anything else?’ He looked away, either still embarrassed or just bored with my attitude now as I tried to get him to go away faster. His eyes were still scanning my body. \ “That’s it.” I turned away from him then, not wanting to deal with anyone or anything as I waited. I still had to think of how to break the news to him, and this person was taking that time away from me. “I’ll come back with your drinks later.” He walked away, a coy smile on his face as he tried to strut away from the faded metal green table I sat at. “Fuck.” I cursed quietly under my breath as I pinched the bridge of my nose and tried to think of how to do this. I didn’t have a lot of time till Drake showed up, and by then I would have completely lost it. I wanted to cry, to scream and yell at the world for doing this to me. For making me have to admit everything to Drake. To curse at everything and anything around me for the loss of my best friends, who had lead to me sitting here now; waiting for the man I cared for still, just so I could break his heart. “Here you go ma’am. Anything else you can think of having before your friend gets here?” I could hear the smile in his voice as he stated the innuendo in that small comment. “No thank you Scott. I don’t think he would like that very much. He has to get back to work soon after this.” I took the drink from his hand, not even fazed by the way his face heated up as I ignored him and his flirtatious attempts. He placed the coffee down across from me, and left without a word; finally getting the hint I had been trying to give him as I sat there, glasses on my face as I stared down at the drink before me. Sweat started to drip down from the sides of the clear glass, slowly making their way to the metal beneath it. As if they were teasing the object as they moved closer and closer to where they desired, the way Drake’s hands had that night. I closed my eyes, trying to fight off the emotions I felt as I thought of all the minor details of that night. How he had kissed me in the familiar places he knew. The way he murmured he loved me, missed me, wanted me. How my body reacted with pure bliss and joy as I heard what he said. How I agreed with everything he said and more. Going over the familiarity of his entire being like it was just yesterday we had been together. My breath hitched as I thought of all that we had done that night, over these past few months. The lying to both Tom and our friends; the pain shared between us as I lost the child that could have been his. I wiped my eyes under the glasses, trying to focus as I forced back tears dying to fall down my cheeks. I needed to focus on the way to break the news. My eyes glancing over the ring on my left hand on the table, making me heart swell with pride as I thought of being with Tom, and yet breaking as I thought of leaving Drake. “Rye?” I looked up from the drink I had been staring at blankly, half expecting to see someone else instead of Drake. I must have been here for ten minutes now, racking my brain for how to do this as my mind went back and forth on how this all started; all the while trying to keep my emotions intact.

“I got you some coffee, sounded like you need it.” The corner of my mouth quirked up slightly, trying to make it seem like this was a normal get together. Fuck. How did it get this far? How did I let this all get so complicated? Tom loves me, he asked me to marry him after two years together. We live in the same place, share the same bed, act like a married couple already; and I was hurting him more then he knew. “Thanks love.” He smiled, going over to peck me lightly, only to have me turn so his mouth connected with my cheek in one small motion. “How was work?” I looked down. I couldn’t face him yet, let alone look at him. I couldn’t do this, I just couldn’t. The corners of his mouth turned upward, almost thoughtful as he eyed my face. Starting at the top of my frizzy ginger hair that I didn’t get to straighten today, past my freckled face and ivory skin; only lingering at the over sized glasses I had refused to take off yet. “No answer?” I raised a brow at him, trying to lighten the mood as he started to catch on to my mood, mouth open to ask the question he must have been thinking. “Work was fine Rye; a little swamped, mind you, but the usual stuff.” His eyes stayed focused on the tinted lens I still kept on. “Lucky.” I forced the corners of my mouth up once more. We were making small talk. I was so nervous I had resorted to the worst type of conversation possible, and it was with him Out of all people it was with the one who knew of my hatred for it. “Drake, you should drink your coffee, it’ll get cold.” I looked down, not wanting to say the words that I needed to. It shouldn’t be this hard. I should be able to tell him it was over, that I was going to marry Tom and get the happily ever after I had always wanted. That I was okay with the decision made. Yet I wasn’t. It hurt so much, being across from him and seeing the smile on his face. The way he had attempted to greet me as he arrived. God it hurt so much. I looked away, not wanting to see him as I broke the news. I needed to this. If not he would hear from someone else, or from Tom himself with my luck. I needed to get this done. No matter how much it hurt. “Drake,” I gasped, not even realizing how much it hurt right now. My chest felt tight, as if my heart was being suffocated with the sheer force of the pain I would inflict on him. “Rye, what’s going on?” He pushed the drink aside, his hand going on top of my right one as I placed it on the table. “Drake, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for it to get this far, but it did. And now you’re going to hate me like they do.” I swallowed the dry lump forming in the back of throat as I tried to force the words out. It almost felt like they were being held back by the lump so I could keep both of us happy. “Rye, what are you talking about? Why would I hate you?” He scoffed at the idea, as if it was impossible for him to ever hate me, no matter what I did. “Drake,” I pulled my hand out from under his, not wanting to be touched as I admitted the truth. “Tom proposed, and I said yes.” I lifted my left hand up form my lap, showing the ring I had kept on since Alice and Emily had left. He was quiet, watching the ring with curiosity as I placed the hand on the table across from him so he could get a better view of the white gold and diamond engagement piece of

jewelry. “It was at the wedding, when we were dancing. It was a spur of the moment thing, but he said he had been thinking about it for a while. I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I swore I would say yes if he did ask.” My breath hitched as I gasped lightly. My eyes were already watering as I told him everything; but I needed to be in control of the situation. That way, when he finally got ready to start yelling at me, I had already said what I needed to and I could leave without a second thought. “When I caught the bouquet, it wasn’t supposed to happen. Penny would never be that cruel, seeing as how everyone knows about this but Tom. And it’s going to stay that way. This has to end Drake.” I hiccupped lightly, trying to cover it up with a cough as I did my best to keep my voice form wavering. He stared at the ring still, most likely not even hearing a thing that was being said to him as I tried my best to keep calm. Any negative comment from him would undo the façade I needed whenever I was with him. “Take off the glasses.” His voice was tense, almost forced as he commented after my explanation without second thought. I gaped at him, unsure of what I should do. If I took the glasses, now starting to fog up, off, he would see what I was really feeling. The tears I was going to keep in till I was in the car on my way back to Tom, the man I loved and would marry. “Rye, if you want this to end, take the blasted sunglasses off and look me in the eye. I refuse to let this end again because of one damn piece of jewelry that doesn’t mean shit to me.” His eyed hardened as he stared back at me, not even realizing what he was asking me. If I took them off, he would know what I was really feeling. How I wanted to do nothing but cry and beg for forgiveness. How I didn’t want this to end, not yet. I loved Tom, and I loved Drake. I loved Drake. I was still that awkward girl who had moved out of the states for my dad’s job; the same girl who had fallen in love with the boy, not man in front of me. The same girl who was going to regret every single thing I was doing at this moment as I looked down at my lap; my heart clenched in my chest as I moved my hand up to remove the object on my fact. “Riley; look me in the eye and tell me you want to end this.” His voice wavered subtly, as if he wasn’t too sure of this decision now as I was doing the things he asked of me. I lifted my head up, not even trying to stop the tears that were now starting to fall down my cheeks in salty wet trails. My hand quivered as I placed the glasses on the table next to where my purse was. “Drake,” I looked into his eyes, seeing a flash of pain as he caught notice of the tears, “I want to end this. I want to stop the lying. I want to go back to the ways things were before everything happened.” His eyes shut at that comment, as if to block out what I had just said so that it wouldn’t be true. That I wasn’t ending this, and we were both going to continue with the affair and be happy. I looked away, not wanting to see any more emotion as we sat there. Our drinks were the only witnesses to what had just been said between us; keeping the meeting secret as I reached for the glasses once more to cover my watering eyes. “Riley, you don’t mean it. I know you don’t. The only reason you’re doing this is out of guilt, for a guy who doesn’t even know you well. He wasn’t there when you first moved here; he

wasn’t there when you were crying in the street in front of that bloody café as you brought up him. You don’t mean a word of what you said.” His eyes narrowed at this as he reached over and took my left hand in his, finger tracing over the ring with gentle touches as he made me look at him, waiting for what I would say in reply. “We should end this Drake; we should stop doing this while we still can. It’s not fair to Tom, or our friends.” I wiped the tears starting to fall down my cheeks. I didn’t need him to see how much this hurt me. How much I wanted to be in his arms and apologize for everything I had just said. “Rye, we won’t end this. I know you don’t want to.” He squeezed my hand lightly, hoping it would give me comfort as I nodded numbly to what he said. My body was moving on its own once more as I sat there with him. Protesting against what I was saying by reacting to his touch. Do what it felt was right as I griped his hand back, letting him know how sorry I was for everything I had said while we sat there. I couldn’t do it.