Chapter 46

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Jasmine's POV

"Thank you."

I said to the waiter as he pulled my chair. I sat across from Chris and saw him already staring at me. I gave him a small smile. He smiled back.

The waiter gave us our menus and left us to decide. I opened the menu and decided on the first thing I found edible enough for me. I wasn't here to dine; I was here to get answers.

The waiter came back and took our orders. I was a bit surprised to see that even Chris ordered the same as me: chicken alfredo. Either he's too not so keen on eating or he's nervous. I would like to go with the latter for my own self satisfaction.

The waiter left us after we declined having drinks and said we were okay with water. There was a long stretch of silence between us. Chris kept roaming his eyes all over my face and smiling wistfully. His face had longing and sadness written all over. His stare was so intense it made me squirm in my seat.

Finally deciding to break the silence, I cleared my throat. "Are you going to tell me?"

He smirked slightly. "What do you want to know?"

I took a deep breath. "Okay then. Tell me where have you been all these years. Do you know how worried everyone were when you left without any trace? Did you think once what would go through your parents who had only one child left now, who suddenly took off to God knows where? Did you think about me, Chris? Why? Why did you leave after everything that happened? You could've refused my father. You didn't have to leave. Do you even care?"

My voice nearly broke at the end but I held my ground. I was not going to show him how much this was hurting me, although he could already sense it in my questions. His eyes reflected as much pain as my voice did. For a moment I wanted to grab his face and pepper it with kisses but I restrained myself.

He looked down and sighed. "I don't know how to start apologising for everything I did Jasmine. I know I worried everyone and I shouldn't have left so abruptly without any chance of being found out. But you have to understand that at that moment nothing else really mattered. The moment I saw you on the hospital bed hooked to tubes, something inside me snapped. Trust me, I wouldn't have gone through with your father's words. I had kind of lied to him when I said I would. But I saw you and I realised that maybe I was pushing you too much. You had just come out from a traumatic experience and having to be in a relationship would've been too overwhelming for you. Moreover, since your parents found out, it would've been more pressurising for you to cope with your parents constant nagging and society's scrutinizing gaze. I always knew that the moment our relationship comes into open, all hell would break loose. And what would've followed, you wouldn't have been ready for it, at least not then."

"So you left."

"So I left." He sighed.

I took another deep breath and closed my eyes. It was too much to take in. I kind of understood his take on the matter but that doesn't mean it hurt less.

"You could've talked to me about it. We would've worked something out. We would've taken a break from the relationship instead of you abruptly leaving. Communication is the key Chris. When are you going to understand that?" I said, aggravated at his stupidity.

He looked up into my eyes and said sternly, "I know Jasmine. I know I could've stayed and we would've eventually got over it. But what about the damage it would've caused you? You were already going through so much. It would've been selfish of me to put you through something more. I did what I thought was best."

"What you thought was best?" I spat at him. I was past my breaking point now. "No Chris. You don't know what's best. If you knew you would've talked to me. If you knew what was best you would've stayed. Not knowing where you were, alive o-or..... d-dead....... that caused me more damage than anything else."

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