Doug rolled off Sam when her breath hitched. She jerked up into a
sitting position and spun her leg so they hung off the edge of
the bed. "No, no, no, no, no," she mumbled to herself, holding
her head in her hands.
This was the first time the whole of Sam's back tattoo was exposed to him, yet it was the last thing on Doug's mind.
"Sam? What's wrong?" he asked, worry making his voice come out shaky.
Sam shook her head and started collecting her clothes that were scattered across the room. "This was a bad idea."
Doug's heart sank as he watched her dashing around his room and shoving on her clothes. "What? No. No it wasn't. What's going on?"
She was crying now, wiping her nose and eyes. "I'm a horrible person, Doug. I don't deserve your love."
He let out a laugh. "Don't be silly. You're far from horrible."
She shook her head, her blonde and black hair hiding her face. "You don't know me, Doug. You think you do but you don't. I ruin things for myself time and time again, which I'm okay with." She sighed and locked eyes with him. His blood ran cold as he saw the tears running down her cheeks and the guilt in her eyes. "It's when people get caught in the crossfire when…I can't stand myself."
He got up off the bed and shoved his briefs on. When he tried to approach her, she shielded herself from him with her arms. "What are you talking about? I know you and I know I love you."
She shook her head again and spun to the wall when looking at him became too difficult. "You wouldn't love me if you knew what I've done."
"We've been best friends for five years. I know what you've done."
She bit down on her knuckles to try and simmer her shaking. "There's things I haven't even told you."
"Then tell me now."
"Because you'll hate me and…I don't think I could handle that."
"I could never hate you, Sam."
"Yes you could. And you would. This…what we had…it was too good for me anyway. It was stupid for me to think I could actually be happy."
"Sam…I love you. And…and I thought this was working."
She shook her head. "Things could never work between us, Doug. I was fooling myself. You deserve better."
"Stop it." Doug's voice was so sharp it made Sam jump. "Just stop it. I love you and I want to be with you. Even if it is just as a friend. I don't care about your deep, dark secrets, Sam. I just want you."
She began to turn slowly. Doug's heart was in his mouth as she faced him. She was hugging her jumper around herself, her fingers tightly twisted into the sleeves. Her eyes were swollen and red with tears. Her lips were quivering. The sight took Doug's breath away. He had never seen her look so vulnerable. As if the whole world had crashed around her.
Sam watched Doug for a moment, taking in every detail of him. His wild, curling mane, his dazzling blue eyes, his lightly toned stomach. She wanted him too. So much. But he deserved someone better.
So, sucking in a breath, she looked at him flush in the eyes and tried to contain her trembling as she said, "I fucked your dad."
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Sam could almost see the words hitting Doug like a bullet. He staggered backwards and slumped down onto her bed, looking spent. He stared down at his carpet, eyelids flickering with the burn of tears. "You…had sex with my dad?"
She nodded, feeling disgusted with herself. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. "It was impulsive and stupid and wrong and I hate myself."
Doug stared at the floor for a moment, letting Sam stew in her own guilt. Finally, unable to look at her, he said, "Get out."
"Doug." She tried to approach him but he bounced to his feet.
Sam cowered back as he stood before her, towering over her
with a look of pure rage. He jabbed his finger to the door. "I
said get out!"
Too afraid to anger him even more, she did as he said, collecting her creepers as she made her way to the door. She ran down his stairs, slipped on her shoes and shut the front door behind her.
She collapsed on his front step and bawled her heart out. She was crying so much she actually couldn't stand. Shaking and convulsing, she stayed there for a good few minutes before her legs started to feel less like jelly and she was able to clamber to her feet.
People gave her a wide berth, shooting her confused looks as she made her way home. She hugged herself tightly, crying and mumbling about how much a bitch she had been as she walked down the streets. An old woman stopped her and asked if she was okay. Sam said "no," and kept walking without looking back.
It felt as if her whole world had shattered around her like glass. Doug was her whole world. And the worst thing about it was that it was all her fault. Like it always was. She hated herself for crying, for pitying herself. She deserved this empty void inside her. She deserved Doug's anger. She had been selfish all those years ago when she reeled Doug into her life. She should have left him well alone. But she was so desperate to have someone there for her. No matter what the cost.
This was the cost.
She pushed her front door open and almost fell into the hallway.
"Sam?" her mum's voice travelled from the kitchen. Sam didn't reply and made her way up the stairs. Her mum found her. "Sam?"
Sam turned and looked down at the petite woman in the hallway. Her mother was only thirty-eight but she had crows-feet and her shoulders were always slouched with fatigue. When she would go out, she would cake herself in make-up and do up her thin blonde hair to attempt to look youthful again. But it was no use. Sam had stolen those years from her.
Her mum's eyes widened at Sam's puffy red face. "Sam, what's wrong?"
She set her jaw and swallowed back a sob. "Everything. So, y'know, nothing new." She carried on up the stairs. When her mum reached from the bannister, Sam said without even looking back, "don't bother following me."
She slammed her bedroom door behind her and flopped onto her unmade bed. Her duvet was cold and crisp, she curled herself into it until she was wrapped up in a claustrophobic cocoon that she never wanted to leave.