JJ and I finally connected late last night. I called him. “Can we talk now?”
“Sure.” He sounded tired and his voice was sad.
I turned over several different things in my head before speaking. “This is an impossible situation.”
I heard him sigh, and then I heard the familiar creak of the mattress springs and I knew he was in bed. “Agreed.”
My heart started pounding. “I don’t know what to do about it. I’m here and you’re there, and I have no idea when we’ll be together again.”
“Easter,” he said, waspishly.
“You know what I mean.” I snapped before catching myself. Bickering wasn’t going to accomplish anything.
He must have realized the same thing because he answered in his quiet, late-night voice. “I’ve decided not to come.”
I broke out in a sweat and my stomach turned over. “What?”
“Fen…I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last couple of days. I have a job and a life here. I don’t want to move. I never did. I was only going along to be with you.”
Thinking back over the last few months, I knew he meant it. He’d never had the enthusiasm for moving that I had, and he’d been downright distant the last few weeks, as if already withdrawing from me. “And now being with me isn’t enough.”
“You have AJ.” The springs spoke again. “You’ll always have him. I saw it from the start, but as long as we were together, I felt there was a place for me in your life. Now we’re not, and there isn’t, not anymore. He’s the one you should be with, not me. He won’t roll over when you give him shit. He’ll take you down a peg when you need it. I…I’m not that kind of guy. I was constantly making adjustments to keep the peace while you went on your merry way, saying and doing whatever you wanted to. You’d have gotten bored with me eventually.”
My eyes filmed over and I had trouble breathing.
His voice went even softer. “I love you, but I think it’s better we go our separate ways.” I heard him sniff and knew he was fighting tears, too. “Lucy says hi. Christian didn’t even notice you were gone.” He put the phone down and blew his nose before coming back. “When enough time has passed, we can be friends.”
“JJ…Jesus, I’m sorry.” I was choking and the words came out raspy.
“If you get back this way, give me a call…but wait a while, okay?” He hung up.
For a few seconds, I seriously thought I might throw up, but it passed and instead, I sat in the dark, my mind a screaming maelstrom of grief and pain, and cried.