“Please Liv, you have to eat something,” begs Max.
I tighten the covers around me. I’m not hungry, but I keep quiet. If I speak, even about food, he’ll think I’m ready to talk. There’s nothing else to say. I poured it all out when I got home and there’s nothing left. He stayed with me all night, held me tight while I cried and now he is fussing around. He wanted to call everyone to tell them I was safe. But I warned him not to call Danny. I said he could let Mum know I was okay but that was it. No details and under no circumstances were any of them to make any contact with Danny either. I can just imagine Mum and Grace as vigilantes and, while I want him to hurt, he isn’t worth it.
“I’m going down to check on things, I’ll bring you something up anyway.” He says quietly. I don’t respond.
In the silence of my flat, my ears ring. I hate silence, I always have and without thinking I get out of bed, wrapping myself in a blanket, and sit in front of the TV. I find a film on a movie channel I’ve seen before and sit and ignore it. It’s better than the deafening silence. Now that I’m upright, I ponder what to do next. I know I have to pull myself together today, Connie is flying home. Ugh! She won’t let me just wallow, she’ll make me talk. I need to get up, shower and go to work. Keeping busy is my only option, it’ll keep people off my back.
As I adjust the temperature of the shower, I examine my options. I don’t really have any. It’s not like life was going well before I allowed Danny to walk in and screw me over. I have to just try my hardest to get back to normal as quickly as possible. I should have trusted my instincts. Danny was just human after all, hurting me was almost inevitable. Sadly, I knew that but the naive teenager in me just got sucked in for old time’s sake. I knew this would happen, I was safer with Mark, at least I could take that on the chin.
Max is waiting when I come out of the bedroom dressed for work.
“I brought you some coffee and…” He starts as he turns to me. His face falls as he sees me. “Liv, you’re not going to work?”
I walk across to where he is sitting and pick up my coffee. Taking a sip, I smile a tiny smile and sit beside him.
“What should I do then?” I ask softly.
“We have it all covered downstairs. You need to sort your head out.”
“I’m not going to do that here, trust me. I need the distraction.” I put my hand on his knee. “Thank you for looking after me, but I have to get back down there before I drive myself insane.”
He sighs. “Well, you aren’t going anywhere until you eat something.” He holds up a muffin on a plate.
I smile sweetly and dutifully take the muffin. Then, with some physical effort, I force some down. I may as well start now, Connie will be much harder to deal with.
Satisfied, Max sits back and seems to relax slightly. I can hear his cogs turning though and I know he wants to talk. So when he parts his lips to say whatever it is I know I don’t want to hear, I say “I don’t want to talk about it.” Then, getting to my feet, I take the coffee and the muffin and go to the door.
“Coming?” I ask innocently as I head down to the diner.
Jen places a coffee on my nightstand and sits on the edge of the bed. “If they know any more, they’re not saying,” she says softly.
She was just on the phone with Liv’s sister, trying to get more information. But I know all I need to know. They found the note last night when they got back; it said she was going home.
It didn’t say why, but I know.
She doesn’t love me.
She found out I was going to propose and she ran.
Last night after the dust settled, Jen found the ring bag screwed up in the trash. I’d left it out on the counter when I went to go meet Liv at the party and it doesn’t take a genius to see what happened. Liv came back just after I left, saw the bag, figured it out, freaked and then packed her things and left.
Scott and Jen left me alone last night, but only after I insisted. Jen came back first thing this morning though, to make sure I was okay. She wants me to get up and go over to Grace’s to find out what they know, but I don’t want to hear it. I can’t face their pity and I’m too angry to see Connie. This is all her fault. Liv and I were getting on with our lives quite happily until she interfered. Now I’m left with that old open wound and I have to start getting over her again. Except this time, I don’t think I can.
“Danny, come on, drink your coffee,” Jen urges. Reluctantly, I sit up and take a sip.
“Thanks,” I say distantly.
“So what are you going to do now?”
“Nothing,” I tell her.
She watches me as I drink, until I can’t take it any longer. I throw the covers off and get up.
“Are you going over there?” she asks hopefully.
I turn and see her optimistic face. “No,” I say firmly. “I have unpacking to do.”
“Danny! You can’t just give up.”
“Why not?” I scoff. “She has.”