Over You(3)

By: Christine Kersey

No, she wasn’t mistaken. And she couldn’t let herself feel sorry for Alex now as he looked so pitiful and sad.

The waitress appeared at their table, but Jessica had lost her appetite. Ordering a small bowl of soup, she waited for their server to leave before facing Alex again. “Alex, all I want is for you to be honest with me. Tuesday wasn’t the first time you ran into Mikayla, was it?”

“I want to be honest with you, I do. But I know how you are, and you’re going to jump to conclusions no matter what I say.”

Do I? she thought. Do I jump to conclusions? She had to admit that sometimes she did, but that didn’t mean she was wrong in this instance. “Just tell me the truth. That’s all I’m asking.”

He looked at his lap, then off to the side, before looking at her. “You’re partially right. It was actually a few weeks ago that I ran into Mikayla.”

I knew it, Jessica thought in bitter triumph.

“But we’re just good friends. Nothing more.”

“How can you expect me to believe you when you lied about when you first saw her?”

Alex shook his head. “See what I mean? There you go, jumping to conclusions.”

“If you weren’t doing anything wrong, why did you find it necessary to lie to me about seeing her in the first place?”

“Why are we even talking about this? We should be talking about our future together. That’s what’s really important.”

Jessica paused, considering his words for a moment, but then a thought came to her. “Alex, it seems to me that you really like this other woman.” Ignoring the sharp pain that those words brought to her heart, she continued. “If that’s true, then we don’t have a future. If you want to be with her, why are you wasting my time and yours, being with me?”

He frowned as he seemed to ponder her question. “As long as I’m being honest, I might as well tell you something. I do like Mikayla. I’ve had feelings for her since college. But nothing is going to come of it. I’ve had to move past it. I’m with you now, Jessica. You are the one I want to be with.”

Shocked to hear his admission, Jessica didn’t know what to say for a moment. Finally, she asked, “If you have feelings for her, what makes you so sure nothing will come of it? What assurances do I have that you won’t decide to act on those feelings and leave me?”

“Because,” Alex started, then stopped. He looked at his lap, then lifted his gaze to meet Jessica’s. “Because she’s married.”

“Married? And you were kissing her?” Startled by this revelation, Jessica was even more certain that she could never trust him. “So I suppose if she were to become available, you’d be the first in line to comfort her, right?”

He shook his head. “Not if I’m with you.”

“I’m sorry, Alex, but at this point any trust I may have had in you is gone.” The shock of the conversation numbed her feelings, allowing her to remain calm.

“Look, I know I made a mistake taking her to dinner. I let things get out of control. I never should have done more than say hello at the office. But I’ve learned my lesson. It won’t ever happen again. I promise. It’s you that I love, Jessica.”

Jessica shook her head. The damage had been done. She knew it was time to move on, and now she just wanted to get back to the sanctuary of her little apartment as soon as she could so she could mourn in private.

The waitress appeared at the table, their food in her hands. An awkward silence ensued as they both waited for her to finish setting their dishes in front of them. The waitress left, and Jessica stared at the steaming bowl of soup, her appetite non-existent.

Alex picked up his fork and began eating his meal.

“I really need to get back to work.” Jessica set her napkin on the table and lifted her purse from the back of her chair.

“So we’re good, right?” Alex took a large bite of his pasta salad.

She stared at him, stunned that he would believe things were possibly anywhere in the realm of good. “You’re kidding, right?”

He set his fork down. “No, of course not. Don’t you believe me when I say I made a mistake, and that it won’t happen again?”