What You Can’t Have
He didn’t say that he was pissed, but I could sense it. It was very obvious—and it wasn’t like he tried to hide it from me. Adam may not be verbal how pissed he was, but he still didn’t make any effort to pretend that he wasn’t.
When Zach and I returned from Hamptons, I didn’t bother to even say goodbye to him. I rushed downstairs and found Adam waiting for him. He was just standing in front of the building. He wasn’t saying anything. It made my heart beat faster—and this wasn’t the good rush. It made me feel nervous and nauseous. It made me light-headed.
That was the first word I said. He looked at me. His stares made my knees buckle.
“Let’s go,” he said. As he made his way towards the car, I still couldn’t move. He was so cold… arctic, even. I knew it was my fault. I ditched him and our lunch. And I forgot to tell him where I was going. It’s just that everything was crazy and our client was keen on the no-cellphone-during-work-hours rule that I really forgot to send him a text. It was my fault, really…
Following him inside the car, I tried to estimate the situation. I knew I was at fault and I should apologize. But when Adam’s pissed, like he was, it was quite hard to talk to him. His mind would be shut and no amount of words could make sense to him. And I couldn’t blame him. I was like that, too… No amount of words could pacify me when I am mad. I just shut people up and wallow in my own pain.
“I know,” he cut me off. “I called your office and told me you were in Hamptons with Zach,” he said as if the name tasted bitter in his mouth. I was about to reply when he continued. “Next time, I would appreciate a head’s up, Bree.”
I kept silent. I didn’t want to fight. I resolved on giving him space. I would talk to him when he’s ready… I didn’t want to force a conversation out of him—not when there’s a risk of a fight. We just got on the right track and I was afraid to do anything that would derail us.
“Let’s eat,” he said. Quietly following him to the dining area, I kept on staring at his back. Would tonight be another silent night? Another one of those noiseless nights that we spent?
When the food arrived, I ate quietly. I was hoping that maybe tomorrow, he’s already in a better mood. I didn’t want to prolong our fight—if I could call it that. But when we went to our bedroom, he quietly prepped himself. And next thing I knew, he was already fast asleep. Great. And when morning rolled in, he was already at work when I woke up.
“You look pissed, love,” Zach said. I fought the urge to strangle him. “And now you look murderous.”
‘Shut up, Zach,’ I wanted to say.
“Mrs. Sullivan wants to set up another meeting this week. You up for it?”
“Sure…” I replied. It wasn’t as if I had a choice. This was my job. And I immensely enjoyed my time. Only if Adam wasn’t mad at me, I would’ve enjoyed my job better…
“You sure? You don’t look all too sure, love,” Zach commented. He was playing with a pen using his fingers. Why wasn’t he working? I liked him better when he’s focused on his works, because that’s the only time when I could get the silence I much deserved from him. Because when he’s not working, he kept on annoying me—making me want to break his neck every single time. Yes, he had that effect on me.
“Just work, Zach,” I replied.
But of course, instead of heeding, he cocked his head and showed me his infamous smile.
“Trouble in paradise?”
I sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
I glared at him. “Because.”
“Because what?” he parroted. “Come on, try me.”
“It’s no use talking to you, Zach. You don’t even have a decent relationship, so how can you help me with my problem?” I asked. He was supposed to get offended, but the brute only laughed at me! I really couldn’t comprehend how his mind worked. It baffled me.
As I stared at his face, I noticed how hard he was fighting off a smile. He found this entertaining? Of course, what could I expect from him? He treated everything like it was a joke. He was only serious when it came to work, but with everything else, he was never serious. He treated women like they were disposable things. I had only been working with him for a brief period of time, but I had already seen 5 different women with him! I didn’t want to judge, but could I say manwhore?!
And god! The countless of times I had seen his zipper off! He couldn’t keep his pants on!
“Love, I have been working as a divorce lawyer for some time. Trust me when I say I know how relationship works… even if I don’t have one myself,” he said with a shudder. He really hated the idea of being in a relationship.
“Why do you hate the idea of love so much?” I asked him.
“I don’t hate it. I just don’t like the idea of being in a relationship.”
“Being in a relationship means committing and I don’t think I’m ready to tie myself in that kind of commitment,” he explained. “I’m a lawyer, love, and I take commitments seriously. When I say something, it’s ironclad and I intend to it to the end. And I know myself and I will lie if I say that I’m ready for that kind of responsibility.”
My heart fell when I heard his explanation. Why was he so… sad?
“What’s with the face?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I replied. I didn’t want to say that I found him sad. Although he made me want to strangle him numerous times a day, I still didn’t want to offend him this way. He’s a jerk, but he still had feelings.
“Come on, what is it?” I still stayed quiet. “I’m not a child, love. I can handle words.”
I stared at him. He was waiting for my answer…
“It’s just… I think you’re sad.”
The side of his mouth lifted.
“What?” he asked.
I looked at him and sighed. “Sad, Zach. I think you’re sad…” He was looking at me, not saying anything. And since I already started it, might as well follow through with this. “Why do you have that kind of thinking? Haven’t you felt love before? I mean, I’m not sure if someone hurt you so bad that it made you think that way… but love is a good thing, Zach. It’s exhausting, it’s difficult, it’s crippling—but it’s also exciting and intoxicating. It’s love. It’s good and it’s bad. It’s happiness and pain. They always come in pairs. You’ll feel pain… but you’ll also feel love. And that’s what makes it worth it.”
I had been hurt before. I had cried before. I had cursed love before… but I would always choose to feel all the pain, if it meant I get to spend one more happy day with Adam. I would always endure a week of agony for a day of happiness with Adam.
“I understand,” he said after seconds of complete silence. “But I still don’t want that.”
He reached for the folders. Was he going to ignore my question?
“Because when I fall in love, I fall really hard…” He looked at me. “The pain might kill me.”
THE NEXT few hours were spent reviewing all the pending cases. I answered calls from Zach’s clients and endured some harsh words. It was nothing, really. Words from strangers didn’t do anything for me. They were just empty words from people who didn’t hold a place in my life. It really couldn’t affect me at all.
When lunch came, I was staring at my phone. I wanted to call Adam and ask him for lunch, but I was also hesitant. Was he still mad? Would he ignore me if I try to call? But what if I go to his office? Would he blatantly ignore my presence?
But my thoughts were halted when Sandra came in.
“Delivery for you, Sabrina,” she said. She winked at me. “You’re so lucky!” she gushed.
I didn’t understand what was happening… not until two guys came in. One of them handed me flowers—Ecuadorian rose, my favorite—and the other guy placed a paper bag on my desk.
“Thank you,” I said to the guy, although I didn’t understand what was happening. I opened the card.
Dinner later. I’m sorry for the silence. I love you.
I bit my lip and fought a smile when I read Adam’s note. I really should put more faith in him! Here I was, thinking that he might ignore me and here he was, already did what I was supposed to do. I was really underestimating my husband…
“What?” I said when my eyes saw how Zach was shaking his head. There was a glint of mischief in his eyes.
“Nothing,” he said. But he didn’t stop smiling!
“What is it?” I said, a little annoyed.
He crossed his arms and smiled at me.
“You told him about yesterday? About me?”
My lips parted. My forehead creased. I didn’t understand what he was saying.
“Marking territories, love,” he said and then laughed while shaking his head. “And you say that I don’t know a thing about love and its ugly friend jealousy.”