Tears begin to ooze down my cheeks, and suddenly it is too much to see him in the same prostrate position as the pathetic creature that was Leila. The image of a powerful man who’s really still a little boy, who was horrifically abused and neglected, who feels unworthy of love from his perfect family and his much-less-than perfect girlfriend . . . my lost boy . . . it’s heartbreaking.
Then if it’s so bad, call Peter Pan to take him off to Neverland.
As my thoughts clear, I can see only one way. Not taking my eyes off his, I sink to my knees in front of him.
The wooden floor is hard against my shins, and I dash my tears away roughly with the back of my hand.
Like this, we are equals. We’re on a level. This is the only way I’m going to retrieve him.
Um, you’re not equals. At all. He keeps insisting on having the upper hand and you keep on capitulating to his whims. You will never be on an equal level with him if you stay with him.
“I was going to suggest going back to my apartment this evening. You never give me any time . . . time to just think things through,” I sob, and a ghost of a frown crosses his face. “Just time to think. We barely know each other, and all this baggage that comes with you . . . I need . . . I need time to think it through.”
“I don’t understand why you find me attractive,” I murmur. “You’re, well, you’re you . . . and I’m . . .” I shrug and gaze up at him. “I just don’t see it. You’re beautiful and sexy and successful and good and kind and caring—all those things—and I’m not.”
“I just wanted you gone,” he murmurs, with his uncanny ability to read my thoughts. “I wanted you away from the danger, and . . . You. Just. Wouldn’t. Go,” he hisses through clenched teeth and shakes his head. His exasperation is palpable.
Yeah, Ana. He wants you gone, so please disappear into the next available alternate dimension.
He takes a deep breath and swallows. “I’m a sadist, Ana. I like to whip little brown-haired girls like you because you all look like the crack whore—my birth mother. I’m sure you can guess why.” He says it in a rush as if he’s had the sentence in his head for days and days and is desperate to be rid of it.
“How can your compulsion just go, Christian? Like I’m some kind of panacea, and you’re—for want of a better word—cured? I don’t get it.”
Face it: You’re not a panacea, but just the placebo for him.
“What can I do to make you understand I will not run? What can I say?”
He gazes at me, revealing his fear and anguish again. He swallows. “There is one thing you can do.”
“What?” I snap.
“Marry me,” he whispers.
What? Did he really just—
For the second time in less than half an hour my world stops.
Holy fuck. I stare at the deeply fucked-up man I love. I can’t believe what he’s just said.
And for a moment I am on my own, looking down at this absurd situation, a giggling, overwhelmed girl beside a beautiful fucked-up boy. I drape my arm across my eyes, as my laughter turns to scalding tears. No, no . . . this is too much.
Really, and you’ve just figured this out now?
And that’s a wrap for this week!