“Elise! Hi baby!” Alex nervously tried to look nonchalant but knew she was failing. Elise had tears streaming down her cheeks and looked the most furious Alex had ever seen her. Wracking her brain she tried to think of how to explain that things weren’t what they looked like but it felt like someone had shut off her brain. Her mind was blank and all she could do was try to smile and look not guilty. By the look on Elise’s face she was failing that last part miserably.
“Nothing to say? Isn’t this the part where you tell me things aren’t what they look like?”
There was fury all over Elise’s face but looking in her eyes Alex felt a lump in her throat. The only tears she’d ever seen Elise cry were when she had broken her foot. Looking at Elise now it was like her own heart was breaking. She looked shattered.
“It really isn’t what it looks like Elise. This is-”
“Save it!” People had already started slowing down as they passed to watch the drama unfold covertly but now they came to a complete stop and stared blatantly. Looking around nervously Alex tried to think of a way to either calm Elise down or move them to an area with less people. She hated being the center of attention for anything let alone something like this.
“I trusted you. You said I was overreacting and blowing things out of proportion. Explain!”
Alex stiffened at the tone. This was a complete misunderstanding and Elise was going to put HER on the spot? The hell? Here she was trying to set up a romantic surprise for her and Elise was going to shame her in front of the entire fucking mall? AND her cousin?
“You DO blow things out of proportion! This is my-”
“New girlfriend? Side bang?” The new voice was taking an obviously malicious joy in how things were going. Having half turned to introduce Elise to Deanna, Alex hadn’t noticed Jenny walking up. It took all her self control to keep from lashing out and knocking the gossip on her ass. Now she knew where this was coming from, nasty little whispers from a nasty little bitch.
“Tell me you’re not listening to the town bicycle? You know I’m not like that! This is all a misunderstanding.”
“It was a misunderstanding when you gave her flowers and a present?” If Jenny didn’t shut up soon Alex really was going to deck her. Depending on what else was said homicide wasn’t out of the question either.
“Stay out of it, Jenny. This is between Elise and me. Can we go somewhere to talk, baby?” If she just got Elise away from Jenny she was sure they could work this out and everything would be okay. Surely she’d see how ridiculous she was being once Alex explained things. Jenny’s laugh had her breaking eye contact with Elise. She was about to rip Jenny a new one when her head was rocked to the side. Raising her hand up to her stinging cheek she stared in shock. Elise had slapped her!
“I promised myself after the last time that I’d never put up with this again. Good bye Alex.”
All Alex could do was continue to stare at Elise in stunned shock as she tilted her chin up, turned her back, and walked away. What had just happened? Had Elise really broken up with her? In the middle of a crowd? At the mall? She was startled out of her thoughts by a vicious laugh. Alex was suddenly and embarrassingly aware of the people surrounding her, watching her reaction like it was a program on TV and not an actual life falling apart.
“Not going to run after her? Beg for her to take you back?”
Alex only got two steps toward Jenny before Deanna latched onto her arms giving the bitch enough time to run away. A glare at the remaining crowd had them dispersing too. She had never been more angry or embarrassed in her life. What the fuck? Here she was trying to plan a romantic surprise to reward Elise for doing so well in keeping her jealousy and paranoia in check only to have it explode in front of a crowd of spectators?
“I am so so so sorry Alex! I’ll talk to her, okay? I promise I’ll fix this!”
“Forget it. It’s not like she’ll believe you.”
Elise listen to the truth over her paranoid delusions? Hah! This was the last straw. She wasn’t dealing with this anymore. If Elise wanted someone who would be obsessed with her and cater to her psychotic whims she was free to go find the idiot. She was done. Pulling out her phone she paused half way in typing out a text to her parents. What was she going to tell them? You were right about me moving out? I need to move back in because my girlfriend dumped me in a fit of jealous rage over a hug with Dee?
“Sending her a text? Elise, right?”
“She can suck a toad.”
“Then who are you texting?”
Maybe if she told them her girlfriend was leaving the country on some job offer? Study abroad? Foreign exchange program? There had to be some way of avoiding the talk. She loved her parents but having to stomach their I-told-you-so lecture was more than she could handle right now. If she told them she’d been dumped they’d shake their heads and remind her of everything they’d said when she’d moved out. It didn’t matter that what they’d said would happen had happened, why it had happened was completely different. Neither she or Elise had changed their mind about liking girls, it wasn’t a phase they were going through, and Elise hadn’t been trying to take advantage of her. She just hadn’t trusted her.
“Oh no, don’t cry Alex. We’ll talk to Elise and it’ll all turn out alright!”
Dammit, she was crying. Deanna wrapped her in a tight hug and pulled her over to a bench where they sat and Alex cried. This wasn’t how today was supposed to go! It had barely been two hours since she’d told Gail that she and Elise were doing well but it felt like years.