I hummed happily to myself as I decorated the house. It was still two weeks till Christmas but I felt the need to just decorate. The tree would remain undecorated until Douglas had some time to help me with it.
I frowned as I stepped back to study what I had done. Looked pretty good, as far as I could tell. Hopefully Douglas likes it. He said he’d like anything I did to the house but I made him promise to tell me if he didn’t like anything. After all this was our house, not my house.
“Owww…” I rubbed my eyes, heading to the bathroom. I was not used to contacts. They felt strange and alien to me. Plus I was constantly having to fix them. I’ll get used to them eventually, I thought as I removed them and rubbed my eyes some more.
Just the week before Douglas had asked why I didn’t change from glasses to contacts. I answered that I didn’t really see any point. That’s when he took my glasses off my face and put his forehead against mine. “But your eyes are the most gorgeous eyes in the world. It should be criminal to hide them. Please don’t hide them anymore!”
So the day after, I bought contacts. Everyone remarked how different I looked and thankfully most of them agreed that it was really nice to see my eyes. Mom especially, since they were the exact same color as her mom’s eyes. In fact, the only one who seemed unhappy was Hal.
“Your glasses looked so you…” he mumbled, and that was all he said on the matter. Of course that hurt me a little, but it was getting easier to ignore the pain he caused me.
“I’m home!” Douglas called.
I put my contacts back in and went out to greet him. He had a large shopping bag in one hand that I pretended to want to get into. He yelped and tried to hide it behind his back. “Aw just a peek?” I asked.
“No!” he laughed. “And no going looking for them. If you do, Santa won’t visit. He doesn’t visit bad boys.”
I gave a very loud, exaggerated sigh. “Fiiiine. I’ll go bury my head somewhere while you hide the presents. OH!” I said as he turned towards the basement door. “I told you, you cannot go into the laundry room till tomorrow!”
He pursed his lips. “You should wrap them tonight. Fine, fine. I’ll put this in the trunk of car. Lemme know when I’m allowed to put them in the laundry room since I won’t have time to wrap anything till this weekend.”
“So what, you’ll do the laundry?” I asked, grinning broadly.
Doug made a face in reply then headed out of the house. I had taken over pretty much all the household chores. I didn’t mind cleaning as well as cooking, and he always complained about doing dishes and laundry. He did them, he just complained while doing so. Plus he had gotten another promotion and had to work more.
That night we decorated the tree then curled up on the sofa with some nectar. Not something we usually did since I wasn’t too big a fan of nectar. But Doug loved it, and it wasn’t terrible so took the occasional night to do this. We sipped at the sweet drink and watched a romantic movie. It was so cozy. The only thing missing was a fireplace. Maybe if we get a real house, we’ll get one with a fireplace, I thought, snuggling up against Doug and feeling more content then I ever had before in my life.
The cookies came out perfectly. I tried not to dance with joy as I set the beautifully made sweets on the counter. Viola was throwing a party and she asked me to bring some dessert. She knew while my regular cooking had improved, baking still seemed to cause me problems. This was my third attempt and finally the cookies were not burnt.
“Hey sweetie,” I said without turning around as the door opened. “Remember we have a party to go to. Do you need to get a shower? I need one. I’m covered in flour.” I finally turned, my big smile fading as I saw Douglas’s face.
I knew without hesitation something was wrong. I was at his side in an instant. “What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Yes,” he whispered. “No. Well, sorta. I–” He stopped and gulped, looking even more nervous. “Let’s go into the living room, okay?” He rubbed his hands, looking around the kitchen as if expecting something to jump out.
“Okay…” I trotted after him, not bothering to take my apron off. We took seats on the couch and I waited in silence for him to start talking. I was terrified he’d tell me there had been an accident. That something had happened to one of my parents, even though I would have been informed long before him… or maybe he saw something on his way home?
“Sebastian…” He dropped his head, his voice thick with… something. Sadness? Depression? Fear? “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I said, putting my hand on his shoulder but he flinched back as I did. I pulled my hand back, starting to feel sick. Why… did he start… the conversation like that?
He put his head in his hands and groaned. “I need to tell you something. It’s… something I really, really, really need to tell you. I just don’t know how to do it.” He was quiet for a moment more then looked back up at me. “I’ll understand if you totally hate me, okay?”
I put my hands in my lap. “What is it?” I asked, feeling even sicker. Was he going to break up with me? Had I done something wrong?
“I do love you…” he said and that really didn’t bode well. I sank back, waiting for it. The words ‘let’s break up’. Please, no, anything but that, I thought and then got my wish in a sickening, twisted way. “Right after you came back to Sunset Valley–before I moved here… I’ll just say it outright because you deserve the truth.” He took in a deep breath and looked in my eyes. “I cheated on you.”
I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. Did he say that? Did Douglas just say… those words? He must not be… he couldn’t… he wasn’t… no…
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice hoarse. My ears began ringing, it was hard to hear him. “I’ve wanted to tell you for so long but then I was so scared. I thought–I thought maybe if I never told you, it didn’t matter. That what you didn’t know…” He trailed off, looking at me–but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t move. No. “And then everything was so perfect between us!” he continued, nervously standing up. “I love you so much and the first time you told me you loved me, I knew I had to tell you. But I kept putting it off. I made up excuses.”
“You cheated on me?” My voice was very small. I was surprised I could talk at all.
Douglas flinched again, like he had when I tried touching his shoulder. “Yes,” he mumbled. “And I should have told you ages ago but as I said… I just couldn’t bring myself to and kept thinking up excuses but I realized last night that you needed to know. I knew that by telling you I’d probably lose you.” He ran his fingers through his hair and looked away from me. “But you deserve the truth. You deserve everything. You deserve… a much better guy than me…”
“You cheated on me.” I stood up slowly, feeling dizzy. “…how? With who? Do I know him?”
“No,” Douglas said quickly. “And… well, oh jeez, this is the hard part. It… wasn’t a him.”
I reeled back in shock by that. “I–I don’t understand. You… cheated on me with a girl?”
“A female friend of mine,” he sighed. “It’s so stupid. I wasn’t thinking. She had just got dumped and we got completely drunk, and she had never…” He stopped, putting his head in his hand again. “I was so stupid. I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t like it, I just wanted to help her.”
I turned away from him, hoping my heart would start again soon. “You were about to move back here to be with me, to share a house with me, and… you didn’t think anything of sleeping with some girl even though you knew you wouldn’t like it.”
“Unfortunately,” he sighed. “Sebastian…” I winced hearing my name from him after that. “I am sorry. I truly am. I regretted it right away and as I said, I’ve wanted to tell you but was scared. Except I couldn’t hide it… no… I could. I just didn’t want to. You deserve the best. I guess that’s not me.”
I went over to the tree, the beautifully decorated tree. I wanted to rip off the garlands, all the stupid ornaments, the idiotic lights… I felt like throwing up, I wanted to throw up. I wanted to throw him out. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to destroy everything. Instead I buried my face in my hands, the tears coming quickly.
“Sebastian, please say something. Or hit me. Please hit me. I deserve it. Or yell at me. Just don’t cry, I can’t bear seeing you cry.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have cheated on me!” I sobbed out.
“I’ll just go…” I heard him take a few steps then stop. “I am sorry. I wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to see me again.”
I whirled around, staring at him in despair. “Well how would you feel if I cheated on you?!”
“Worse than hell. I deserve execution.”
I folded my arms, managing to slow the tears at least for now. “You deserve something,” I hissed out. “I–I just can’t believe this. I trusted you. I trusted you!”
He backed away, his hands up. “I know, and I know I’ve broken that trust and won’t get it back. I’m sorry, I am so sorry! And I know I don’t deserve forgiveness but I’ll do anything to at least…” He stopped and then shook his head. “But I don’t deserve it.”
“Go.” I pointed at the door. I didn’t want to be in this house with him but I was the wronged one in this situation, so he was the one who needed to leave. “Just go!”
“GO!” I yelled and he jumped. “I don’t want to see you right now! Just leave me alone right now, I need to be alone right now! Please. Go.”
“I’ll come back to get my things–“
“…I do love you…” He went over and left the room, then I heard him opening the door to outside. As soon as I heard it close, I staggered back, slowly crumpling to the floor.
My heart still wouldn’t start. I felt as though I had died. I wanted to die. Douglas had cheated on me. He had… he had… How could he have done that? Why would he do that? To get drunk? With a girl? Why?
After crying for quite some time, I texted Viola letting her know I wouldn’t be able to make it to the party. Then I managed to get to our bedroom but I just stared at the bed. I didn’t want to be here right now. I didn’t want to be in the living room, with all the cheery decorations. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen with the scent of cookies.
So I managed to stumble down the stairs and collapsed in the laundry room, crying until every inch of my body and soul hurt worse than they already did.