October 25, 2012
By Anonymous

Dane called to tell me he wanted me to come over. I wanted to be excited, but I could not help but feel uneasiness from this meeting. Recently, we were becoming more and more distant from each other. I was afraid he might be thinking of breaking up with me. I was way too young to settle down, and I knew that, but that did not stop me from believing that I loved him. He was my first boyfriend, but we had been dating for eight months. Reflecting back on the facts, I realized how childishly I approached this situation. I did not seem to realize that he was a full three years older than me and he surely thinks of me as nothing more but a high school fling.
When I arrived at the fairly new building he lived in down town, I broke out in an almost panic attack. My mind split with two possibilities: he asked me over to fix our relationship, or he asked me over to break it off. I stood in the hall, staring at the door to his apartment. I had to inhale deeply, and then knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Dane called out.
I opened the door, my heart racing. Dane was standing inside, facing the door from the kitchen. His usual settled shaggy hair was all but settled. He had a tensed look on his clear blue eyes that sent me spiraling through all the ways I could just make what was coming as short as possible in order to avoid a painful conversation. My face let the fake smile drop to the floor and I creased my eyebrows. He closed his eyes, opened his arms and said, “Come here.”As I was walking toward him, I dropped my bag on the couch. I walked up to him and slowly accepted his embrace. He held me in his arms, but the hug felt wrong. He was not holding me with the same tenderness and warmth, it was something else. Inside, I began to panic, when out of nowhere, felt his body tense.
“Look, Dane.” A deep voice seething with anger spoke out from what seemed like nowhere. “If you let her go, I can make it painless.”
All I could do was stand there in confusion. The voice… it hit me like a brick wall.
“Lance,” Dane said. “Look man. Just… just put it down. Nothing needs to happen, and no one needs to know.” I felt something touch the back of my head, and I tensed to match Dane’s position.
“I’ll shoot her,” Lance said.
I leaned close into Dane and hugged him tightly. I felt him breathing heavily, despite the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
“Put the gun down,” Dane sounded like he was from a crime show. He was actually trying to keep Lance from killing me.
“No!” Lance was yelling. “You don’t get it! Before, it was just us, and then you met her. She’s all you care about. It’s like I mean nothing anymore!”
“Okay,” Dane said. I felt as if I was part of a hostage negotiation. “I get it. It’s not like she could ever replace you anyway.” I wondered if he spoke the truth. I squeezed my eyes shut. That is when I realized I was crying. I knew something had to be done if I wanted to keep living.
“Lance,” I said. I gave a little push against Dane. Slowly, I turned around. I faced the end of a gun’s barrel. “I get where you’re coming from, Lance. If you just let me—”
“No,” Lance cut me off. “You have no idea what’s going through my head!”
“Just let me talk,” I said. Before he could answer, I continued. “I know you miss having your best friend. So, I’m going to do it. I’m going to break up with him and leave.” Lance’s arm began to tremble, and I worried he would pull the trigger, even if accidentally. Although every ounce of my conscious mind wanted me to focus on the danger staring me in the face, I turned to face Dane again. I had to look up and stare him in the face.
“Dane, I’m sorry. But this isn’t working. I’m breaking it off between us.”
I turned back around slowly, only to realize Lance’s gun was down at his side. He was staring at the ground, almost as if he suddenly got lost in a trance. I decided to take this opportunity to leave. I walked around him, stepping carefully, as if I were trying to sneak out of my house on a late night. When I reached the door, I looked over my shoulder one last time to see that Lance was still in the same position.
“Goodbye,” I murmured. The instant the word left my mouth I felt a sharp, burning sensation tear through my left shoulder, and I crippled to the ground. I saw images that would not compute in my mind. Everything seemed to be in place still, but it felt as if the world was spinning at a high speed. I felt myself slipping away, so I just closed my eyes.
I woke up in a hospital. My mind told me how cliché this scenario was. I looked around and saw flowers on a table with some crappy hospital tissues and a glass of water. My mother came in, playing with her belt buckle. When she realized I was awake, she rushed to the bed, telling me how scared she was for my life, how she felt terrible for not being there for me and she thought she lost me. Most of the events that happened made sense now, but I only wanted to know about one person.
“Mom,” I had to butt in to something she was saying. “Where’s Dane?”
She exploded.
“That boy is the reason you’re here in the first place! I don’t ever want him to be near you. Never again will I let something this stupid happen. He’s not coming back. He decided he’s going to try and wait to talk to you here but there’s no way I’m letting him—”
“Mom, where is he?” I wanted to see him. It is all I wanted.
“He’s in the waiting room. He’s been there for three days. He thinks he’s going to get to see you but I set him straight. I won’t let him in here.”
“Get him in here now,” I said. I did not care how disrespectful that sounded, I needed to talk to him.
“I refuse to—”
“What? Not let me love who I want to love?” I retorted. My mother was one of those people who knew better than to argue with me when I was serious about something and this was something I was serious about. I can only be glad that she realized I was serious. After she turned the corner out of the room, it was only a matter of moments before Dane’s body came rushing into the frame of the doorway.
“Oh thank god,” Dane sighed. He seemed relieved, but concerned. Maybe the whole purpose really was to break up with me in the first place. All I could do was watch as Dane slowly walked over to where I was lying. This was embarrassing; I was lying in a bed with a stupid hospital gown on and an IV in my arm.
“I love you,” he said. He bent over and kissed me. It was probably the most awkward kiss I’d ever had, being under the gown and in a bed and, well, being shot. I wanted to say something, but as soon as he stood up again, he continued. “I always have. Even when I thought you were a cute little freshman, I was a sucker for you. I wanted you to be happy. I loved you, and look what happened to you. Lance, he just showed up at my apartment, out of nowhere, after I called you. I had no idea, and then he told me to just let you come. I don’t know… I guess I’ve had time to think about it, but it still doesn’t make sense.”
“I don’t care,” I interrupted. “I mean, I do care. I’m lying in a hospital, for crying out loud. What I don’t care about is whether or not you can make sense of it. As soon as it’s over, we can go back to being together. We can be happy again.”
“You don’t…” he seemed to not know where to go with his words. “You don’t hate me? You don’t blame me? I let it happen. Not on purpose, but if I hadn’t called you or let you come or if I’d done something better, I could have stopped it.”
“No, you couldn’t have. You did everything right. Everything’s fine. It matters not to me what happened to Lance or where he is now, as long as he is not outside. It makes no difference, as long as you do not blame yourself and we just stay together.”
“Like I said,” Dane told me, “I’m a sucker for you. If that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get.” The only gesture he had left to do was to plant a perfect kiss on my lips.

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