Clair closed her eyes, thinking Rachel was doing the same. It was late, almost midnight, and Clair had to leave at nine the next day. She knew that Rachel was going to give her a long tearful goodbye, but after the three days spent together Clair was ready to retreat back to the safety of email and phone calls, the ability to not have access to a computer or not have enough time to call.
Their relationship was six months old, about as long as Clair had gone out with Thomas. At the end of that time both had realized that they were better friends then lovers. Looking back Clair was amazed at how six months could be so different. In that same amount of time Clair and Rachel had gone so much farther then Clair and Thomas. Theyd slept together. They wore rings. Cheap dress up rings, but the intention was the same. Rachel had even started to joke about the future. Their future.
Just as Clair was about to fall asleep she heard a sob from the girl who slept beside her. With a sigh Clair rolled over, so she could look at Rachel. Ray? she asked, moving in to hug the taller girl. Whats wrong?
This, this was the reason that Clair wanted to go home. With Thomas it was Clair who was the clinging emotional one. She couldnt be the one who had it together all the time. Clair broke down often and she broke hard. Shed hidden this from everyone and pretended to be a tough strong girl who never cried. Clair had tried to lean on Rachel, but Rachel wasnt able to support the emotional weight. So theyd tried to ignore that and march on. But Clair was starting to have doubts and had even considered breaking off the relationship. But Clair still loved Rachel too much to do that to her. Clair wanted Rachel to be happy, even if it meant sacrificing her own love life.
Rachel snuggled into Clairs arms, sobbing. Her tears tricked down between the two girls to soak the pillows. As Clair tried to hold Rachel she noticed the coldness of the room and then broke. At first Rachel was only sobbing out words that Clair couldnt understand. But as Clair tried to comfort her girlfriend Rachel stopped sobbing. Rachel pressed her head against Clairs chest, her long hair fanning out over the bed as she whimpered, I dont deserve you.
Why? Clair asked, trying in vein to see Rachels face in the darkness of the room. Why dont you deserve me?
For a second all was quite, save for Rachels sobs. Then she spoke and Clair felt her heart break with every word. Silent tears slide from her eyes until Clair closed them, desperate to stop crying.
I slept with Mark. Rachel could have stopped there and Clair wouldnt have minded knowing less, but she went on. I slept with him a lot
.at school I told everyone he was my boyfriend.
Mark. Rachels friend at school. Shed told Clair about him. Clair had like Mark. Mark was making Rachel do her homework and helping her with math. Mark had seemed like a nice guy. Shed met him, over AIM, a few weeks ago. Were you cheating on me then? Clair wondered. Was that why you introduced us?
More words came from Rachels lips, but Clair didnt hear them. She found that her heart had turned to stone. When Rachel stopped talking, Clair rolled back over and went to sleep. Clair moved away form Rachels arms, which were reaching out for her like nothing had changed. Like Clair didnt know Rachel had cheated. Like they still had the slightest hope of staying together.
The next day Rachel and Clair acted like nothing had happened. Rachel hugged and fawned over her, not noticing that Clair didnt return her caresses. She didnt notice that Clair stood like a statue as Rachel hugged her. She didnt notice that Clair pushed for an earlier departure.
On the drive home, Clair struggled to hold back tears. She hadnt told her mother about the events of the previous night. She didnt want to talk about that in a car, moving down the 101. Clair didnt know how much her mother knew. She didnt know if her mother knew how far Rachel and Clairs relationship had gone. So Clair stayed silent until her mother asked her if she had enjoyed the trip.
Clair forced herself to smile and nodded, looking down at her feet. I learned a lot about Rachel. Clair told her mother. Im glad I saw her.
Clair was glad because now Rachel thought everything was fine between them. Now Rachel thought they were going to go back to the same old long distance relationship. Rachel thought it was okay that she had cheated. She thought it was okay because she thought Clair forgave her. And that meant Clair could break Rachels heart as Rachel had broken Clairs.