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"Oh." Ciara was expecting him to tell her to leave him alone. It wasn't uncommon for her ex to shut everyone else out while his mind waged war on itself. She was expecting for him to shoo her away and to go back to her friends, one of which brought her here. Ciara was betting on being pushed away like she had been since the break up, taking off the majority of her clothes and jumping in the pool. Awsten wasn't a safe thing to bet on. Besides, she could get her clothes equally as soaked beside the purple haired boy. The tears coming out of  him were enough to drown someone. The glossy look in his eyes only added to the guilt she already felt. "I'm sorry."

"You aren't." Awsten voice cracked, causing Ciara to feel some sympathy for her ex boyfriend for the first time in a long time. The sound caused her to shut her eyes, unable to look at the pained boy any longer. "If you were sorry, you wouldn't have done it. You wouldn't have." If the first crack in his voice wasn't bad enough, this one was. Ciara was hoping that an asteroid would hit her and kill her instantly.

"You wouldn't have hurt me." He was to say it clearly that time but there was still hurt behind his words. Ciara had a history of this sort of thing. She would get together with a boy, then start being interested in someone else and start seeing them behind her boyfriend's back. Eventually, she would get caught, dump her boyfriend and get together with her next victim. She was a creature of habit, doomed to repeat the cycle. Awsten was just hoping he could break it. He couldn't. "I get it though. I would leave me too if I had the chance."


"It's okay." He shook his head, tears coating his reddening face. He wasn't one to go red often. Blushing was a rarity for him and it was out of character to cry until his cheeks turned red. Ciara had only seen him turn the warm color on one other occasion; their breakup. It wasn't okay. Both of them knew that. "Really. It's not-"

"You've got a big mouth sometimes and this is one of those times where you really need to shut the fuck up." Something he missed about her was her bluntness. Ciara never hesitated to call him out on his bullshit or when he was hyper-fixating on something stupid. She didn't always do it in the best way but it was a quality that very few people possessed to begin with. He missed a lot of things about her, even if there was just as many things he was glad to never have to deal with. "Shut up and listen to me this time."

"All you ever do is talk and talk and talk and blow me off but you never fucking listen." It wasn't the time or place to be having the conversation about their relationship but Ciara didn't really think she was going to get a better opportunity. It wasn't often that her former lover brought up the status of their once incredible relationship. Her words might have been coming out harsher than intended, especially considering the state of the person she was speaking but she couldn't help it. Awsten knew that. "I listen you to all the time but you never listen when I talk."

"Now you know how I felt when we were together." The statement hit her like a swift punch to the gut. She never thought of it that way at all. Ciara wasn't even sure if she believed the statement at first but given the fact that the purple haired boy was still sobbing like a kid with a scrapped knee, she figured he had to be telling the truth. At no point during or after their relationship did he indicate that he felt that way. There was still so many aspects of their crumbled relationship that had gone unspoken that neither of them truly knew where to start picking up the pieces.

"I didn't mean to make you feel that way." She paused for a moment, trying and failing to collect her thoughts. Ciara wasn't always the best at communicating how she felt to people. It was something she had been spending the majority of her life working on with little success. "I've been trying to apologize to you for months now because I feel horrible about everything that happened and you always leave." It was true. Whenever Ciara had finally gathered the courage to say the two words she hated the most, Awsten found a way to leave the situation or even worse, cut her off.

"Why would I want to be around somebody who broke off a part of me I'm never getting back?" His nose was congested at this point and if you asked Ciara, he looked down right pitiful. Awsten was reminding her more and more like a little kid with his chest against his knees and tears in his eyes. She sighed softly at the scene in front of her. Ciara didn't know that she had left him this much of a mess. If she did, she wasn't sure she would have been able to stay away from him for so long. She fished into her purse and handed him a handful of Chipotle napkins. "You hate Chipotle."

"I hate a lot of things but that doesn't mean I don't love parts of them too." She remarked sharply, staring the boy down. He was clueless to the fact that she wasn't only talking about the restaurant. His obliviousness and nativity was a part of the reason she fell in love with him the first time. He was more charming than the average person. Awsten blew his nose with one of the brown napkins loudly, allowing himself to breathe once again, even if he didn't feel like he deserved it. "Believe it or not, I like being around you. Dating or not."

"Why?" Awsten couldn't imagine anyone actually enjoying his presence. He was the most annoying person on the face of the earth and was pretty sure that everyone would be better off without him. He hadn't felt this low in a long time. His breakup was the last cause. Who knew talking to Ciara would invoke the same set of feelings. "I'm awful."

"I think you mean awesome." Her sappy joke earned a small smile from her ex. She counted that as a victory. A smile was a crack in Awsten's armor, allowing her to help him out of his current state. "You make life interesting. Do you know how boring work is since we've broken up?"

"Painstakingly." Awsten replied dryly. His job used to be the highlight of his day. He would get to spend eight hours with the love of his life surrounded by beauty. Now it was more like walking in to a date with death. The pair would avoid each other at every opportunity. His favorite days were the ones she wasn't scheduled to work with him.

"I miss when a customer would ask for roses and you'd give them daisies. I miss when you'd hide in the back freezer and scare me when I was coming in to get sunflowers. I miss when we would bring each other lunches to work and complain about whatever rich, white, asshole named Samantha would come in to make our jobs harder. I miss you, dummy."

He never thought he would live to hear Ciara say those three words. They were words that echoed in his mind consistently and made him feel worse than he knew was possible. I miss you was the gateway to I love you. Every part of his brain was telling him not to but he knew the truth. He had to say them back.

"I miss you too."

Game Over. Continue? // gawstenRead this story for FREE!