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He loves me, he loves me not

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“Hey, I know you were mad at me about the whole lunch incident but I was just messing around with my friends. You know how it is babe. I love you. Call me back.” I deleted the voicemail and sighed. I dialed his number. I love you. What do those words really mean? Anyone can say it but when does it actually mean something? Love isn’t just a word to use after a bad fight. Saying I love you can’t fix everything. But that’s the way Braden was. Every time he thought he was losing me that’s what he said. But that’s the only time I had ever heard those words come out of his mouth. When he was afraid a break up was coming.

“Hey babe, I knew you would call me back.” Of course he knew I would call him back. I always called back. He was my life. I was 17 and he’s all I’ve ever known of ‘love’. I knew it wasn’t really love. He knew it wasn’t really love. He had all of his other ‘girl friends’ but he was my everything. He was all I had.

“Yeah, I’m sorry I got mad. I mean I know you don’t have a fling or anything with Madison. I was just in a bad mood and over reacted.” I paused to make sure he was listening. “Hey, do you want to come over for dinner tonight?”

“Are you parents going to be there?”

“Yeah, my mom is making spaghetti. You know you want to come over, it’s your favorite.”

“Oh, I would but I’m going out with the guys.” If my parents wouldn’t of been there he would of ditched the ‘guys’ and been at my house in a couple minutes. He didn’t care if my parents approved of him; he just didn’t want to come over when they were home. I knew it was because he knew he wouldn’t be getting what he wanted from me. But I just told myself he felt uncomfortable around them.

“The Guys?”

“Well Madison and Avery are going too…you want to come see a movie? We can ditch out and go to the park.”

“Um, no thanks. Not tonight, I’m not up for going anywhere.” That was true, especially if we were going to the park. A sloppy make out session was not what I wanted. That’s not what he wanted either, he wanted more. He usually got what he wanted but I just wanted to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. I wanted him to be with me, I wanted him to hold my hand, and run his fingers through my hair. I wanted it to be like the way it was the first year.

“Ok, that’s cool. Bye” He hung up before I could say anything. There was no I love you. Of course there wasn’t. He didn’t think I was upset. He couldn’t tell from the way my voice cracked when I asked about the guys. Or maybe he could and he just didn’t care. Why did I do this to myself? I closed my eyes before I could cry. Braden could tear me apart, but I couldn’t say goodbye. It looked like tonight was going to be another movie night, by myself. I would cry myself to sleep and wake up around 1 to eat some ice cream. That’s always the way it was after me and Braden would fight. Then when I woke up in the morning I would have some messages from him that would make me fall for him all over again.

I put in The Notebook, my go to movie when I was feeling bad.
“Why didn’t you write me? Why? It wasn’t over for me, I waited for you for seven years. But now it’s too late.”
“I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you every day for a year.”
“You wrote me?”
“Yes…it wasn’t over, it still isn’t over.” And then Noah kissed Allie. It was a real kiss. The kind that made your heart beat faster just by thinking about it.
Why couldn’t I have a love like that? Queue the negative thoughts. I was going to blame myself for the way Braden treated me. If I would just put my emotions aside and give him everything I wanted maybe he would love me. He wouldn’t have to get mad at me for saying no to him. He wouldn’t have to worry about my ‘mood swings’ and ‘bitchy comebacks’. If I just cared more about him and less about myself everything would be perfect. But what else did I have to give him? I didn’t think there was any way to care more about him; I gave him everything I had. I’ve lied for him, broken promises, skipped class to go hook up in his old beat up truck, I stayed with him even when I knew I shouldn’t. I knew if I walked away he would have another girl within minutes, and the thought killed me. I hated the way he looked at other girls, especially other girls he had hooked up with. Maybe he thought I didn’t know about all the times he cheated on me. After all the rumors flew about his drunken adventures with other girls circulated, I would blame myself for not giving him enough attention. I told my friends he was just upset about us and the best way to deal with it was to get his mind off me. They told me I was crazy, and deep inside I knew they were right. I was crazy. Crazy in love with a boy who didn’t have the same feelings for me.

I picked up my phone and stared at my wallpaper. Me and Braden the first year we started dating, my freshmen year and his junior year. The only year we were truly happy together. I dialed his number, but there was no answer. I sent him a quick text, ‘Hey baby, meet me at the park?’ What else was I supposed to do? I couldn’t stand the fact that he was out with Madison and I was home alone watching The Notebook. My phone vibrated, ‘Be there in a minute ;)’. I knew he would be expecting something but I was hoping this night would be different. I was hoping we would just stare up at the stars and he would push me on the swings. I was hoping we could be a normal couple for once.
*
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*

“Hey babe, I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist spending a little time with me.” He smiled and my heart melted. There was something dark and mysterious about him, and all the girls loved it. He had dark chestnut hair that fell perfectly above his green eyes. I stared at him and I still got butterflies, just like the first time I saw him. He was tall and had a nice body. He reached for my hand and pulled me in towards him, “you’re beautiful.” My heart skipped a beat, he never complimented me anymore. I breathed in his cologne as I laid my head on his chest. I smiled to myself, maybe he did love me. I pulled away and kissed him. Everything was perfect and I knew I had to stay with him. I would never find someone like him.

“Let’s go back to my place. My parents aren’t home.” Braden smiled and I knew what he had in mind. My perfect moment was ruined. It all came crashing down again, he didn’t love me. He loved hooking up with me, that’s all it was about with him. He started walking back towards his truck.

“Hey we can go back to your place but I didn’t take my pill last night and I don’t want to take any chances.” I lied. I always took my pill because an unplanned pregnancy wasn’t on my list of things to do.

“It’s fine. We can stop at the gas station.” He got in the truck and waited for me to get in on the other side. There was no way I was getting out of this one. “Hey Katrina, hurry up.” I felt hot tears of anger and sadness but I got into his truck anyways. I knew if I went home Madison would end up being the one in his bed with him.
*
*
*

“Alright, see you tomorrow.” Braden was already pushing me out the door. I wanted to stay and just talk to him but he said his parents would be home soon.

“I love you, Braden.” I wanted him to know how much he hurt me, I wanted to tell him how I really felt.
`
“Yeah, love you too.” He started to close the door but I pushed it open.

“Do you really? It doesn’t feel like this is love. I can’t do this anymore. I’m just letting you tear me apart more and more each day. I need to just walk away. Remember when we first started dating and you told me how beautiful I was every day? Do you remember when you told me how lucky you were to be with a girl like me? What happened to us?” I started to cry.

“Whoa, um, you know I love you. Don’t be stupid.” Maybe I was being stupid. If he said he loved me, he meant it. “But you really should go now.” He kissed my forehead and closed the door. I stared at the door for a minute and imagined myself walking away and never coming back. I wanted to walk away and wait for him to come after me. I wanted him to miss me like I missed him. But if I left him he wouldn’t chase after me, he would just let me leave. I was a damsel in distress but he wasn’t my knight in shining armor and he never would be. I walked home by myself, like all the other nights, when he didn’t offer me a ride. When I got home I cried myself to sleep and this time when I woke up there weren’t any text messages from Braden.





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