Ridiculously, her first thought is that he looks like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. He is sitting in a chair that faces away from the door, toward the TV, where he watches QVC. He always watches QVC when he's depressed. They have Christmas ornaments and juicers they don't need.
The TV turns off. He's tall, much taller than she is, and she can see the fine blonde hairs on the back of his head. They're light, always so light, and she knows just how soft it is to rest her hand there when she kisses him.
He stands up. She hates arguing with him when they stand, because he overpowers her by almost a foot. She stands on the little footstool by the chair. He is still taller.
"You're a little late," he says wryly.
Nervously, she tries to will herself not to tug on the ends of her hair. "There was traffic."
He's still got the smile, the superior smirk, and it would piss her off if she didn't deserve it. "No. There wasn't."
He can do this so easily, catch her off-guard in a lie that came out effortlessly. "Well, study group ran over."
"It didn't." He holds up her favorite sweater. "I watched the Weather Channel for you." He bends down again, and she inhales painfully when he's holding a carnation. "This was for you, too." He tosses it to her. She misses.
"Thanks," is all she can manage.
"Nice hair," he says.
She can't resist pulling on the strands now. She feels a few pieces out-of-place, and she knows he knows. She tries to rearrange it anyway.
He shakes his head, laughing bitterly. "You just made it worse."
"Come on," she tries, fishing for time, struggling to maintain any grip on this.
He stares at her mockingly. "Is he a good kisser?"
"Eli…" she tries.
"Lizzie," he says. "Is he?"
"I'm sorry," she says, but she's interrupted.
His lips are on hers, and he kisses her hard. When she tries to kiss back, he's gone.
"Fuck you, Elizabeth," he says. "Oh, wait, that's what he did."
"Eli," she tries again, weaker.
"No. No. You know how much psychological shit I have now? This is gonna take years. I'm gonna go through the what-did-I-do stuff, the is-it-my-fault stuff, and finally I'll blame it all on you. But I can't do that now. Know why, Lizzie? Want to guess?" He's in her face now, sneering, and it's out-of-place on his boyish face.
"Don't say it." She cannot help but be weak. She has no strength left.
"I love you." She feels physical pain in her abdomen. "I love you!" he yells.
There is silence.
"Get out," he says quietly. If the TV were still on, she could see silver tear-tracks on his face. She can't.
And she has nowhere to go.