38 | in which he sees the difference

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Show me you're different.
Show me you'll stay.
And maybe I'll show you what I really am.

.\.|./.

Ryan Falls

| in which he sees the difference |

I splash water on my face before looking up into the mirror. My hair dripping wet, I focus on my breathing, curling my fingers around the edge of the basin.

Images of the past flash on my mind's eye ... all the time spent loving her, kissing her, wasted on her.

Why her? Why did it have to be her here? It could have been anyone and it's her instead.

My eyes close tight and I inhale through my nose, wishing I could go out and know that she's gone. I don't want her here, back in my life and ready to wreak havoc. I have to admit, I had been expecting to run into someone here and internally hoping I wouldn't have to see someone.

Guilt floods me when I remember the way Crystal looked at me as I got up and walked out on her. I should have stayed, I should have said something. She deserved an answer, especially after she told me she was afraid of being left behind again. I feel like such a hypocrite, putting her through the exact thing she told me she didn't like.

I should go back to her, and I'm about to do exactly that, or would if I opened my eyes and didn't see the familiar face in the reflection. I spin around, wanting to walk right past her and out of the bathroom before she can intercept my path.

"Ryan, wait --" Lilliana begins, her face cautious.

"What are you doing here?" I demand, not wanting to hear a word.

The last thing I want is to get kicked out of the restaurant for having a girl in the bathroom.

"I just want to talk to you," she says, her blue eyes so different from Crystal's.

"There's nothing I want to talk about," I state as firmly as I can, trying to pass her by and make my way out of the place.

She blocks my path. "Please, Ryan, listen --"

"Listen to what? Another lie?" I snap, at the end of my patience with her.

"I never lied to you," she counters, her thin face still exactly as I remember. "You should at least give me a chance to explain."

"What do you want to explain?" I ask, curling my hands into fists. "You made me a laughing stock, Lily. You basically ruined me. How can you explain that?"

"I didn't mean for that to happen, okay?" she exclaims, and I'm worried somebody will hear her.

"You told them," I remind her. "You told them all."

"I didn't do that."

"You and I were the only ones there, Lilliana. How can you stand here and lie to my face?" I throw my hands into the air.

"I only told Patricia and ..."

She trails off and I purse my lips, folding my arms across my chest.

"You told the gossip queen and of course, that's not your fault," I mock.

"Ryan --"

"You fucking destroyed everything!" I snap, my temper rising.

I don't know what's worse -- what she did or the fact that she doesn't even realize it. I could have dealt with everything. I had been dealing with everything until she ruined it. She exposed me to the world and never even looked back.

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