20

Waking up felt like the worst possible thing to have ever happened. My body was weak and the only thing I could think was that I did not want to see anyone ever again. I did not want to face anyone after having failed this one thing that should have been so easy. Overwhelmingly, I felt embarrassment.

My eyes cracked open, it was too bright. There were tubes connected to me and my head was splitting. I could feel the pressure on my hand and I knew who it was before I even looked over at Roman. His face lit up as he seen that I was awake. He scooted forward in his chair and the look of pure relief and joy made me sick. I did not want him to look so happy that I was alive, because I did not want to think about how unhappy he would be if I had actually ended up dead.

I could not think of anything except that even though I was devastated to be alive, I was so happy to see him. This manifested in tears. I just started sobbing. I was upset about so much at one time. I was upset I was alive, I was upset that I wanted to be dead, I was upset that I had hurt Roman. He leaned forward and folded his arms around me. He kept whispering to me, telling me it was okay. It was not okay, nothing was ever okay. Against my better judgement, I gripped him and kept my face buried in his chest.

All I could smell was him and it angered me, that he was not enough to make me want to live. I wished he could be, I wished I could get my shit together long enough to not want to die. Why could I not do anything right? I could not even kill myself properly, for God's sake. All I could tell him was that I was so, so sorry. My already tired body eventually gave out once more and I soon quieted into sleep once more with Roman holding me.

When I woke up again, I was lying against Roman's chest, and he was breathing softly as he slept. He had my hand in his, carefully positioned around the IV in it, and his other arm around my body. It was probably numb by now. As I looked around the room, there was not much to focus on. For the most part, it was pretty bare and I quickly realized it was because I was on suicide watch. More punishment for failing.

I think his body was tuned to be aware of mine, because he stirred soon after I came to. He looked down at me and I hated seeing him believe that I might just slip through his fingers at any moment. I hated it because he was right. Nothing about me was permanent. I had been living my life with one foot in this world and the other in the next for a long time now. I had never truly been alive, not really.

"How bad was it?" I asked him, watching him flinch.

"They had to pump your stomach and you're lucky you missed your main artery on your first cut and the other was not nearly as deep. You've got stitches on your right arm and the other is just bandaged. You slept for nearly twenty hours and you're on watch. You're going to have a psych evaluation before you can leave. You will most likely be told that you need to go to therapy and medication is option, they highly recommend it."

Hearing everything was like blow after blow. We stayed in complete silence for a long time as I took everything in. It was just my luck that the one thing that would serve to make my life infinitely more simple, dying, would actually serve to complicate it further. I turned my face into his chest and he gently stroked my hair. I felt like a mess, because I was mess.

"I was on my way to surprise you when you called. You could have been dead in the difference of time it would have taken me to get to you. Passed out and bleeding out in the bathtub. That's the state you were in when I got there. I-I could barely even feel your pulse Scarlett." His voice was wavering with pain. "The entire drive all I could think about was a life without you in it and I couldn't picture it. I couldn't do it Scarlett. You wanna know why?" He lifted my chin to look at him and I knew what was coming.

"No, Roman, I don't want to hear. Please don't," I pleaded.

"You almost fucking died Scarlett and you'd have done it without me ever telling you, I refuse to keep it to myself." He leaned his face down closer and his voice came out quiet and powerful, "I love you Scarlett. I am so completely, uncontrollably in love with you." He confessed.

I could not even protest, I just felt the tears leak from my eyes. My worst fears had come to fruition. It was like he told me that I had lost it all. It was crazy that I was crying because I was upset that he loved me. What kind of twisted bullshit? Here he was, telling me that I was enough for him, that I was all he wanted, something that I have craved from so many people in my life and I was devastated.

The worst part was: I loved him too. I loved him so much that it hurt. I did not want to and I tried so hard not to, but he seemed to be all that I wanted and it was terrifying. I had lived a life where one person was pretty much center of the world and then I lost him. And I was squaring up to have it happen once more, because somehow Roman had become my everything.

The door to the room opened, and I tucked my face into him so they would not see me crying. He understood and put his hand on my hair as he asked what the nurse needed. She had food for me and she wanted to know if I was okay. He said I was emotional, but he did not think it was because of any physical pain. He leaned down to me to confirm and I replied by nodding against his chest. She took that and then brought the food in. Before she left, she laid out the next day and a half for me and told me that I would be able to go home after that. He thanked her and she left once more.

The next day and a half went by and I quickly found out that I was never allowed to be alone. Most of the time it was Roman, but sometimes, like when he left to get a change of clothes for him and me considering I had arrived naked, it was a nurse or security guard. They told me it was for my own good. I am sure they were right, but it did not make it any less annoying or intrusive. After talking to the therapist, she highly recommended that I continue seeing someone and that I also attend group sessions.

I was thankful that Roman did not tell Avery or Nat, and that he agreed not to after the fact. He was there every step of the way, doing everything he could and all I could think was that one day he would get tired of doing so much and being so much to me. As we got to my home, he put my stuff down in my room as I sat on the couch because my body was still tired. It was Monday and I had to call my boss and apologize for missing the day, but I promised to be there tomorrow.

As I sat on the couch, I went over in my head what I needed to do. I needed to let him go and learn to want to live on my own. I needed to set him free to find someone he did not need to constantly worry about or be with to ensure that she would not slip away. I needed to learn who I was without him, without anyone. Because I had no idea who I was, and I needed to find out. And because of that I needed to be okay with letting him move on, hopefully, he would find someone who could love him the right way. I needed to hurt him, so that he could heal.

He entered back into the room and came to sit next to me. He stroked my cheek and asked me how I was feeling and I thought that I was going to be sick. I had to pull it together, I had to do this, for him and for me. Just because it was right, does not mean it does not hurt. I told him that I was fine as I took his hand from my face and held both of his hands between us.

"Roman, I love you. Do not doubt that, but we cannot do this anymore." I began and I could barely breathe while my hands shook. "I need to learn to be alone and live for myself. You have been so important to me, more than you can imagine. The way I am right now is not fair to you. You mean more to me than anyone, please know that, but you have taught me that I need to trust myself and to do this," I sniffled, "I have to leave you."

I had to take a few moment as I tried to breathe. "And I don't want you waiting around. I want you to move on and to live your life. Find someone new, someone who can love you better that I can. I know it is something that I will have to be okay with, because you deserve so much more Roman."

"I don't want more Scarlett, I want you." He demanded and I could see the fire and passion and tears in his eyes. "I don't want anyone else, ever. I love you and I only ever want to love you."

"Roman, please." I cried, "I need you to do this, for me. I'll always be here, at most a call away, but I need you to live your life and stop waiting for me to live mine." I held his face in my hands and pressed my forehead against his. "I love you, so much and I always will. But we need to leave."

"I don't want to be without you," His voice cracked and I knew he was crying.

"I know, but I need you to, for me," His response to those words would tell me just how much he had changed from the man who first sat next to me at that table. The one who took what he wanted and did not think twice.

His breathing was ragged from trying to hold in his tears, and mine was just the same. "Is this what you, really want?" He asked.

"No," I replied.

"But it is what you need?" He continued.

"Yes," I whimpered out.

He took a deep breath and I knew he was steeling himself, and then he nodded against me. "Okay." He conceded and he sounded so defeated.

And my heart broke, but I knew it was the right thing. I choked back a sob and pressed my lips to his. If this would be the last time, I needed something to hold onto. He wrapped his arms around me as we said our silent goodbye. He touched me like I was already gone. I held him for as long as I could take, trying to remember how his lips felt for the rest of my life.

And then we pulled away, no more words were exchanged, no looks, I could not even watch him go. He stood up and he released my hand as he walked past me and out of the door. My eyes stayed trained on the couch cushion where he had just been and I listened to the door close behind him and then his steps fade away. And then, he was just gone.