Here is the continuation to The Hardest Thing.
It had been hours since Shane last seen Mya, and he still could not shut his eyes. He had just told his ex-girlfriend that he could not be with her after she had pleaded with him to get back together. Although that was what he had said, that was not how he felt.
“Maybe I’m making the wrong choice,” he thought. “I need to tell her I want to be with her. What the hell am I doing?”
He sat up in bed. He glanced over at the digital clock on his nightstand, which read 1:17 a.m. He grabbed his sandals and headed for the door. As he reached out to grab the knob, he abruptly stopped.
“Shane, this would be the last attempt at saving this relationship. Are you really ready or are you scared to lose her?” he thought.
Shane stood there for a moment, frozen. From the outside looking in, Mya believed Shane was taking measures to get his life together. He was attending college, and he was looking for an entry-level position to start his career and leave his dead-end bartending job.
When Mya ended their relationship, her decision became the catalyst for his transition. Mya saw some of these milestones and viewed them as progress, but Shane knew he needed to overcome obstacles that she did not see nor understand.
He reflected on how he told Mya he sought to change for himself, but he was doing it for them. Not only did he want to win her back, but he wanted to earn her. She had admitted that she saw the beauty in his spirit, who he was at his core, and wished nothing but happiness for him. Tender moments such as this one made his heart twinge. She was genuine, beautiful inside as well as out. He wanted Mya back, but he wanted to be everything she thought of him.
To do this however, Shane had to change his ways. The very foundation on which he was taught to navigate the dating world was to emotionally manipulate women. As a teen, Shane would get gifts, favors, and borrow cars from girls and be praised for it. This is how he initially approached his relationship with Mya. He had cheated on her early in their relationship. She was deeply hurt but forgave him.
He regretted hurting her and vowed to regain her trust. Mya believed they both needed to mature in all areas of their lives before deciding whether their relationship was worth fighting for. If they decided that it was, they would start from scratch.
He feared having a clean slate, falling back into old patterns, and ruining their relationship forever. Despite that anxiety, Shane was secretly dating someone else in a relationship built upon convenience.
“If I want to give her the world, I need to work on myself,” he thought.
Shane pulled his hand away from the door and stepped back. He walked over to the bed and rubbed his hands over his face as he reclined on the bed.
He let out a deep breath. This would be the moment where he proved to himself that he was worth Mya’s love. He never had had to break up with anyone. He would simply distance himself, and eventually the other woman would walk away from the relationship. He didn’t want to hurt that person’s feelings.
He took the decision to break up with the other woman, Bianca, as a sign of maturity. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his smartphone. He went through his contacts and stopped on her name. He opened the thread.
“When you get a chance, come by the house, I need to talk to you,” he wrote.
Shortly after, he dozed off.
The following day, Shane woke up to a text message.
“On my way,” it read.
Shane jumped out of bed and paced to the bathroom. He briskly washed his face and brushed his teeth. He made his bed and sat on the edge of it. His right leg bounced as he leaned forward, rubbing his hands together. He received a knock on the door. He looked out the window.
“Hey! How’s it going?” Bianca said.
“Good,” he said.
She grinned as she reached up to give him a hug and a kiss. Shane received the hug, avoided her kiss, and pecked her on the cheek instead. She furrowed her eyebrows as she pulled away and sat down on the living room sofa, half-smiling.
He slowly sat next to her. They spoke for a few minutes about recent events and how he had spent his birthday.
“So, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?” Bianca said.
Shane cleared his throat.
“Well, um,” he said.
His palms were sweaty and his pulse quickened.
“I think we need some space. I need some space to figure out a few things,” he said.
She raised her eyebrows and leaned back in her seat. They spoke a few moments more. Shane tried to explain how he felt as best he could and she nodded. He walked her to the door and she gave him one last hug. As she pulled away, Shane could see the tears brimming as she abruptly walked out.
Shane shut the front door and leaned his head against it.
“Damn, why do I do this to myself?” he thought.
A part of him felt a weight had lifted. For the first time, he began to feel like the man Mya said she saw in him all along.
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