He watched her as she approached slowly, her fingers twisting and untwisting around and into each other, bottom lip pouting and trembling, a solitary tear resting on the tip of her lower lashes. This was the hardest thing he’d ever done in life, but it had to be done. As much as he wanted to grab her up and hold her in his arms, he had to back away and let her figure out what she wanted with her future. He could no longer pretend he didn’t care as much as he really did. Stifling his urges, his passion, his love, while waiting for her “to be sure,” was breaking his heart. He had to call the relationship off.
Carmella heard the words Franklin was saying, but couldn’t comprehend. She could see his lips moving, but her mind was blocking her ability to put the sentences in any logical context. What was he saying? She shook her head to clear the fog, but it didn’t help. She no more wanted to hear him than she wanted to hear what he was saying. Was he really saying they should break-up?
“What are you saying?” Her voice came out in barely a whisper.
“I’m saying this is not working for me. I can’t keep coming here day in and out and not know how I will find you. What frame of mind will you be in? Will you love me or will you push me away? I can’t take it anymore. I can’t be the toad you kick around because you aren’t ready to have a prince in your life. I’ve been telling you this for days now. Call me when you’re ready to stop thwarting my every effort to make this relationship work."
Sighing heavily, Bernard closed his eyes for a second before looking in Ivy’s direction. He was angry and hurt. The hurt over ruled so much all he wanted to do was cry, but not in front of her.It was all that he could do to keep himself from running out of the building like a heartbroken little girl,the dismay and disbelief ran that deep. He pinched the space between his eyes to calm himself.
“Ivy, I can’t even tell you how I feel about this. I’ve mentioned it many times before. So many times, in fact, that I am beginning to think I sound needy. I’m finding it very hard to believe there is nothing going on between you and Nathaniel. You say you’re trying to match him with Lillie-Rose and yet I never see him with her. I always seem to find you huddled next to him, you smiling up at him or you deep in conversation. I can’t handle myself being so jealous and if you’re trying to play some kind of game to keep me in this emotional hell, I have to tell you, it hurts. Do you even realize what you are doing to me? Can you imagine how you make me feel?”
Holding back the tears shoving to escape, he paused to clear his throat and grab the reins of his emotions. The small action bolstering his determination to show her he had become tired of the ridiculous peek-a-boo she’d been playing with their relationship. Four months of love-me-love-me-not, had taken its toll.
“I don’t know what you were trying to prove with the little scenario you were delivering with such perfection, Ivy, or whether or not Nathaniel is a part of it, all I can tell you is this, you’re killing me. I can’t prove myself any better than I already have. If you’re trying to make me jealous or you’re,” he paused to clear his throat again. “Or you’re really in a relationship with him; I need you to understand I will not stand around and watch as you try to pull together some fanciful fairytale life. If I haven’t shown myself to be yours by now, then I never will. When you get your story straight, call me.” He stepped back and reached for the handle of the door. “You know where you can find me. I’ll be the one standing next to the white horse.”
“Okay Lillie-Rose, don’t answer me. I’m just going to have to believe what he has told me. You regretted breaking up after losing his child and then I come into the picture and make him see where he messed up. I’m going to have to believe you two never really ended the relationship you had as kids and I’m going to step out of the picture.” Without another word Nathaniel turned to walk out of the door.
Rushing forward, she made to grab for his shirt tail and missed as he slipped through the opening, closing it softly behind him.