twenty-three ~ disclosure
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"I went round to Brent's last night."
I looked up from my lemonade. Mia had said it in a very matter-of-fact voice, but I had a feeling that there was a deeper meaning behind her telling me. Sure enough, she soon embroidered on her initial statement.
"I'm telling you because I don't want to be stuck in the middle," she said. "You both mean a lot to me and I don't want to keep secrets from either of you. I saw how that backfired on Brent with Austin...I'm not gonna be like that."
Nodding, I lifted my lemonade to my lips and took a tiny sip. "And?" I pressed.
"I feel like he sort of wanted to talk, but he didn't."
I sighed quietly and placed the glass down on the table, resting my head in my hands and rubbing at my temple with my fingers. "I feel awful."
"You're just trying to be a good person, Rose," she said softly. "Have you spoken to Alastair?"
I shook my head. "No, not properly. I don't want to talk to him. He's part of the reason I'm finding myself in this horrible position."
Truthfully, I didn't want to talk to Alastair. It had been just over three days since I found out about his second — second that I knew of, anyway — night with Daisy, and this time I wasn't ready to forgive quite so easily.
"Did Brent say anything else?" I asked, straightening up in my seat again.
The cheap, plastic diner chair creaked under my weight. It was uncomfortable, the way that my bare thighs kept sticking to the plastic, but somehow I barely felt it.
"Not really," she admitted. "He said he'd opened up about his brother, and explained why he'd been so hostile to you...I got the impression he regretted telling you a lot of that. I think he got carried away."
"He was quite upset," I murmured. "I understand why he regrets it. I was hardly comforting."
"Actually, that's something he did say," she said. "He said you were very comforting. That's about the extent of it, though. I don't know if he wanted to talk, or if he just wanted company. You're up to your usual tricks of avoiding the beach, so..."
"How can I possibly go back down there after this?" I asked her. "I was so torn! Part of me wanted to tell him that I returned his feelings, but the other part of me didn't want to lead him on. He just crumbled in front of me, and I'm not used to seeing him like that! I'm used to seeing him being strong and blunt and not showing any signs of emotion. I've seen this different side to him and—"
"You're falling for him."
"Please, I don't want to talk about it anymore."
I lowered my head back down towards the table top as I suddenly became extremely fascinated by the patterned decoration on the plastic surface. To distract myself from Mia's suggestion, I traced one of the patterns lightly with my index finger.
"You don't want to know what I told him?"
My eyes widened and I snapped my head back up to look at her. It had never occurred to me that Mia would be having these same conversations with Brent, relaying information back to him in the same way she did with me.
"Oh my God...please tell me you've not said anything bad."
"No, of course not. I just said that you'd been in this conflicting position for a while. You're attracted to him but you want to remain faithful."