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Walking after you

Part Two

If she went over and dared to speak to him, a door she had kept shut for years would open again. There was no way of keeping it closed in such close proximity. She could feel something banging against it already, begging to be released. What would happen if she let that part of herself out again? Would she survive? Megan had no idea. The only way she could know was to go over and say hello. This encounter was inevitable. They orbited each other, two tandem suns pulled together by some unknown force. Liable to explode if they got too close to each other. If it didn’t happen now, it would soon enough. So, Megan took a deep breath, cleared her throat and charged towards the table, hoping the very fabric of her universe remained stitched together.

“Hi, James. It’s been a while.”

James smiled that easy smile Megan remembered so well. It made her melt as much now as it did then. She shook off the feeling, determined to keep the steel in her voice and around her heart. 

“A while indeed. I never thought I’d see you in the city. It suits you.”

Megan stayed standing, hovering over the chair opposite him. It was tempting to pull out the chair, take a seat, and reminisce like old friends. But they could never be friends. They both knew that. And yet she did it anyway, her arm mechanically reaching and yanking the chair from under the table. She eased into the chair, eyes on him as she sat.

“Thanks. I figured it was big enough. That it had been long enough.”

“What do you mean?” his brow creased as if he genuinely didn’t comprehend her. There’s no way, she thought, no way he couldn’t understand. He waited, his soft, sweet eyes squinting, daring her to answer.

“I mean, I thought I could get away with avoiding you. And if I couldn’t, that it would have been long enough for you to forget.”

He barked at her. His smile remained, but his eyes darkened with the shadows of their former life. “I couldn’t never forget you. Not a single sigh or laugh or cry. Not a single touch.” 

James reached over the table as Megan pulled her hands back. She stared down at her coffee, cooling in its cardboard casing as she was heating up. He is lying, she thought. How could he not be? He was never anything more than a liar. A sweet-talking, incredibly attractive, well-built liar.

“Just tell me one thing. Just one thing, and I’ll leave you alone.”

She looked up and forced her eyes to scan the walls behind him—pale pink with soft gold feathers. Fake yet lush-looking plants stood proud in every corner despite the thin layers of dust that sat on each leaf. The decor in here had always made her feel calm. She took a deep breath and forced herself to look at him. “Fine. What?”

“Why did you disappear?”

She knew it was coming. What other question could he have? But it still hit her like a punch in the stomach. How could she even begin to answer that?

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