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Chapter no 16

If Only I Had Told Her

Sylvie’s house isn’t as nice as a lot of people from school would expect. I don’t mean to say that it’s not a perfectly good home, but Sylvie carries herself like she lives in a mansion. It’s not a bad thing. I love her poise. I admire the way she finds high-end stuff on sale and handwashes her silk dresses and cashmere sweaters.

It’s not that Sylvie pretends to be rich. It’s more like she’s dressing for the adult she wants to be. It’s part of how she took control of her life after Wilbur, I think. And even though she doesn’t know what dream she wants to pursue, she knows that she could be a senator or CEO.

Sylvie and I make a great team. I never thought, I want to marry her, but I couldn’t see myself breaking up with her either.

I love Sylvie, and the thought makes the ache in my chest intensify. I pull to the side of the road.

It’s not a “but not in love with her” situation. I am in love with Sylvie, but I cannot be with her anymore, and that hurts. It also hurts to know that I am going to hurt her. The fact that this is all my choice doesn’t make it any better. I need to get off the side of the road and drive the rest of the way to her house, but I don’t. Not yet. I tap the CD player and start the song I played for Autumn last night. Last night, when everything was different between Autumn and me.

If only I’d told her that I loved her years ago, I wouldn’t be here now.

Because she loved me. She loved me this whole time.

Only two things will get me through this.

The first is that I want Sylvie to be with someone who loves her the way that I love Autumn. She deserves that.

And the second is that Autumn is waiting for me. I cannot fail her. Until I have ended this relationship, we can’t really begin ours. I want to hold Autumn without guilt.

I have to do this, and I have to go home.

By the time the song ends, I’m driving again. I’m nearly to Sylvie’s modest two-bedroom ranch where we studied and made out and tried to make love a few times. She must have been waiting for me by the door because she’s dashing through the rain toward my car before I’ve parked in the driveway.

I unlock the passenger door, and before I know it, she’s in the car, closing her umbrella with a shake and shutting the door.

Sylvie.

She brushes her blond hair from her face and looks at me. “You fucking asshole,” she says.

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