Maryanne clutched a tissue and stepped out of Lucas’ car. He had been silent the entire ride, not even turning on the radio. They walked toward her apartment. A soggy feeling twisted her stomach. Obviously she’d screwed up—displayed her jealousy and acted childish.
She unlocked the door, and he followed her inside.
“Could I get you coffee? Tea?” Her heart tolled heavy. He wouldn’t even look her in the eye.
“Don’t worry about it.” Lucas sat on the couch and patted it for her to sit next to him.
She moved to his side, but left a gap between them. “Are you mad at me?”
“No, I’m disappointed that you’d think so poorly of me.”
Why did she feel like a child being lectured by her father? She jutted her chin at him. “It did look incriminating. You didn’t tell me who you were going to lunch with.”
“So you took it upon yourself to spy on me?” He scowled and his face hardened with anger.
Maryanne wrung her fingers. “No, it wasn’t like that. I called you, but your sister picked up. And she was rude, asking, ‘Who are you?’ She never said she was your sister.”
Lucas fingered his cell. “Looks like she deleted my call log. Why did you go out with Ryan?”
“I’m sorry. I missed you and wanted to talk to you, and a woman answers the phone. What would you have thought?” Her stomach felt as if she’d dropped straight down an amusement park ride.
“But you turned around and went out with another guy.” His voice was relentless, demanding, blaming.
“I thought you were sleeping with another woman.” Maryanne hugged his stiff shoulders and shook him. “Please don’t be mad at me.”
He shut his eyes and his Adam’s apple bobbled. “I’m not mad, but we should take some time and think this through.”
“Are you breaking up with me?” A shot of adrenaline toppled Maryanne into that familiar sinking state, as if her life raft had punctured.
“I felt so crazy, so desperate when you weren’t answering my calls, and when I saw you with Ryan, I wanted to punch his lights out.” He disengaged her arms and moved to the edge of the sofa.
“I messed up, Lucas. I’m so sorry.” Maryanne choked back a sob. “I wanted so much for this to work out.”
“I did too, but I don’t think I’m ready for such an emotional commitment.”
That’s what they all said when they turned her away. She covered her face, unwilling for him to see the tears. She’d failed her very first day as his girlfriend, record time for driving a man away. What was it? Twenty minutes from the time he kissed her goodbye to the misunderstood phone call with his sister?
Lucas stood and moved toward the door. She lunged after him and threw her arms around his waist. Oh, to hear that heart beat and to tuck up against his warm chest one last time.
He rubbed her back gently. “I have to go.”
“Wait.” She scooped up the glass pumpkin from her coffee table. “I want you to have this. To remember this morning.”
For the first time, the mask on his face wavered. He stared at the pumpkin. “We were so hopeful this morning.”
She didn’t want it to be over. “You gave me your heart, and I wanted to keep it forever.”
“It was just a glass heart.” He lowered his face. “You left it in the glove compartment. I’ll go get it.”
She watched him shut the door. If only she hadn’t left it there, none of this would have happened. She took deep, gulping breaths and clapped her hand to her chest. Her pulse unsteady, she leaned her forehead against the door.
He returned a few minutes later and placed the souvenir on the end table near the door. “I’m sorry it turned out this way.”
Maryanne made no move toward him. He obviously didn’t want her anymore. “Is this it?”
“Let’s not call each other just yet.” He avoided her gaze. “I hope you’ll understand if I don’t pick up.”
“You are mad at me.”
His lips flattened into a line. “No, it’s not you. Now’s not the right time. I should have thought of it earlier. I have to spend the summer in Colorado doing altitude training and racing. There’s Ironman in the fall. Things are busy.”
It was always the same. Maryanne had heard it before. “Goodbye, Lucas. I thought you were different.”
He kissed her quickly on the cheek and shut the door.