Uncle Tom heard their argument early on that he decided to leave, preferring to stay out of the lovers’ quarrel he had no actual knowledge about. He closed the bakery to give them the privacy they needed.
“We have to talk, please!”
Still, she would never let go of his arm, unwilling to believe he did not love her anymore.
“Please stay out of my life.”
She would not listen, embracing him so tight he could not walk away from her.
“It’s over, Wendy!”
Those were not the words she wished to hear from him. But he said them with a finality that hurt her so deep she could not breathe.
“I am willing to wait,” she begged. “You have no idea what I went through after I left.”
Rusty’s eyes looked too frightening for her, their meaning was filled with anger, almost bordering on hatred.
“Do you have any idea what you did to me?” he yelled, his enraged face was too close to hers. “Do you?”
Wendy sobbed, unable to parry the truth he shot at her. She had no answers but to cry on his chest, throbbing so hard, the rumble inside too violent she could hear and feel it.
“So you came back because you’re hurt,” he said after a long while. “You would not have thought of me at all if everything’s fine with you.”
His words stabbed her where it hurt the most: he knew her that much to figure out the reason of her sudden reappearance.
“I don’t know what to do!” she cried out. “I’m lost! I’m hurt!”
Rusty let her calmed down for some time before continuing.
“You felt like I did,” he concluded.
Rusty removed her arms off him, ushering her to a seat to rest.
She was never this way before, her convictions back then were non-existent, only carefree notions. Perhaps, too much pain defeated her pride, her ego deflated, she was willing to go back to a safer haven she knew that could protect her again.
He knelt before her: she would not stop crying, her tears falling without end.
“You cannot blame me for feeling like a backup, an option you need for the moment. That when you’re up and raring to go, you’ll dump me. That’s not going to happen, Wendy.”
“This time I won’t leave,” she found her voice back, hoarse but clear. “I learned my lesson.”
Rusty shook his head, unwilling to believe her.
“I’ve known you since we were young. You never really loved me. I was a trophy you were happy to use when you felt like it.”
Wendy stood up and approached him. With a tighter embrace, she tried to assure him.
“You are right. Back then, what you said is correct. I admit it.”
Her honesty was refreshing, Rusty thought, but at the same time painful to hear.
“I had feelings for you but I did not take them seriously. It took me years and a lot of pain to realize that I committed a horrible mistake. I am sorry.”
He breathed deeply, an unspoken signal for her that he was letting his heart decide instead of his head.
“I love you, Rusty.”
(to be concluded)