I walked up to the apartment door and just stared at it for a minute. I knew I’d have a fight on my hands the moment I stepped inside. I’d texted Josh from the airport saying I was headed home; he had simply responded with, “I’ll be waiting.” Sure enough, the lights had been on when my cab had pulled up outside.
He was kind of right to be pissed at me. I hadn’t told him I was going with Luc to France until an hour before I had to leave for the airport. I’d just known he wouldn’t want me to go and would pick a fight. I hadn’t wanted to get into a fight with him before the trip, so I’d put it off until after. Admittedly, that kind of did make me a bitch, which I would admit to him once I was inside. I really just wanted to go to bed, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
With a deep sigh, I opened the door and stepped inside, putting my suitcase down by the door. Josh was sitting on the couch, with his arms braced on his legs. He looked tired and upset.
When he heard me, he looked up and got up from the couch. “So you decided to come home. How was France? Did you bring me a fucking souvenir?”
Here we go. “You know it wasn’t that kind of trip, Josh. I was there to support Luc.”
“No, I don’t know, Alison. I don’t fucking know a single thing about this trip because you didn’t fucking tell me about it. You called me while I was at lunch with my mother. And you hung up before I could ask anything about it.”
“Because I knew you were going to tell me not to go! This was important to Luc – “
“I am so sick of hearing about fucking Luc. You don’t talk about anything else anymore,” Josh accused.
I glared at him. “He’s my friend. And he’s yours too, unless you’ve forgotten.”
“Then why would you think I wouldn’t want you to go to France? Why, Alison? You didn’t even have to ask me – you’re a grown ass woman. All you had to do was tell me why you were going. You thought I’d make a big deal out of it. Why is that, Allie?”
Hearing his affectionate nickname for me used in such a harsh tone stung. “I don’t know! You’ve been making a big deal out of a lot of things lately.”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Are you fucking him?”
I jerked back, appalled. “What?”
“You’re so paranoid about me having a problem with you going away with him for a week. Are you sleeping with Luc? Why else would you be so fucking secretive?”
“I am not cheating on you! How can you ask me that?”
“Oh, gee,” he said sarcastically, “why might I think you’re sleeping with him? It’s not like you’ve been spending all you free time with him or anything. It’s not like you just spent a week with him in France and didn’t tell me until you were practically on the plane. Oh, wait, except you did do all of that.”
“Oh, fuck you, Josh. Like you’re so perfect. You’re the one to ask about slutting around. Remember before we got together? You were screwing some blonde bimbo while claiming to be in love with me.”
“So you can’t find any dirt to dig up on me, so you’re pulling up shit from seven years ago?” Josh scoffed.
I glared at him, wishing he was close to just one girl he wasn’t related to so I could accuse him of cheating just like he was doing to me. “You’re being a jackass.”
“No, I’m being a jealous fucking boyfriend, which is what I am, Alison.”
“Well then maybe you shouldn’t be!” I stopped as the words came out of my mouth. I rolled the notion around in my head but was surprisingly okay with it. “Maybe you shouldn’t be my boyfriend anymore.”
Josh jerked back as if I’d struck him. “Allie, I’m sorry,” he said, immediately backpedaling. “We’ll fix it, okay? I’m sorry for accusing you of sleeping with Luc.”
As I looked at Josh, I suddenly felt like the teenager I used to be. Josh was my best friend in the entire world. And look what I had done to him. I had been clinging to this relationship for years, even though I knew, deep down, that it was going no where. I loved Josh; I always had and I always would. But it wasn’t romantic anymore. And, as his friend, I couldn’t keep doing this to him. We would never stop fighting if we stayed together. This moment of clarity of mine probably wouldn’t even last if we kept going; I’d end up back at the same place I was just in. Antagonizing him, subconsciously hoping he would end it first.
“No, Josh. We aren’t going to fix it. This isn’t working. It hasn’t been for a while.”
“We’ll make it work,” he said, an edge of desperation in his voice.
I shook my head, a few tears burning my eyes. Now that I’d actually made the decision, the pain was there. The loss of my first real relationship and, more importantly, the death of my oldest friendship. There was no way our friendship could ever recover from this. Not just this fight but the whole doomed romance. “It’s over, Josh. It’s over. It will never work with us.” I smiled sadly at him. “You deserve a woman who wants to have a whole bunch of babies with you. That’s not going to be me, Josh. That will never be me.” I dashed my fingers under my eyes and turned away from him.
“Alison, no. I love you.”
I kept moving towards the door. “I don’t love you.” I walked out of the door. I managed to make it into the cab before the tears really came flooding out.