"Do you want some tea?" Liam asked.
"No... no I'm fine. Thank you." Sam murmured.
In an effort to get her out of the house, I'd invited her to a band rehearsal. It had taken a bribe of pizza, beer and chocolate to sweeten the deal, but she had finally agreed. So now she was sitting, awkwardly, at the kitchen table, while we waited for the others to appear.
"Hot chocolate then?"
"No. Liam, I'm fine, really."
"Liam, why don't you go and drag Jak out of his room? I suggested, giving him a look.
"Okay." He disappeared, and I sat down in front of Sam.
"I'm sorry about him."
"That's alright." She smiled. "I can cope with a little care."
"In that case, how are you doing?"
She glanced at me, with a look that told me the answer was obvious, but she sighed, and ran her hands through her hair.
"I don't really know. Sometimes I think I'll be okay, but then I wake up during the night and remember everything she put me through. And I wonder how I can continue... no... how I can build myself up again. It took so much last time."
"But last time you didn't have everything you do now. Last time she was a vindictive teen and you were young and naive... ish." She gave a little smirk. "Now you're a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman with a successful business with international ties and very dedicated and loving friends."
"You make a good point." She chuckled, shaking her head. "But it's one thing to know that you make sense, and another to get over it. I went through... you can't even imagine Cara." All of a sudden she started to revert to the woman she had been when I had run to her house.
"Hey, don't... don't do that. I need to know what I can do to help you."
"I don't think you can. I don't want you to have to deal with this."
We sat in silence for a moment.
"Ironic really." I murmured. She glanced up, eyes hurt. "No, no I don't mean it in a bad way. I mean... I didn't let you help me, so it's only fair that I step back. I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't."
"So I'm a hypocrite for not accepting help?" She narrowed her eyes.
"No Sam." I tried patiently, "that's not what I meant. "
"Then what did you-?"
"REHEARSAL TIME!" Jak stomped down the stairs, Liam following, and shattered the quiet tension. Sam stood up from her chair and turned away, running her hands through her hair.
"Guys!" I glared.
"Er... Jak. Downstairs. Got a song to show you." Liam dragged him away and downstairs.
"Sam..." She was leaning on the kitchen counter, bracing herself against it. Like she was ready to run. "I meant that I made the mistake of not wanting help, but I can't very well then tell you to accept help. From me of all people. And besides that, it's not my decision. It's up to you to decide whether you want help. And however you pull yourself back up, if you manage to do it like last time, then that decision was right."
"Do you wish you'd done it differently?"
"Yes. And no."
"Explain." She murmured, turning around.
"It was right... that it wasn't you. No matter how in love we... were, it was still a young relationship." I bit my lip. "I wouldn't have wanted things to have turned sour, and have that all thrown back at us. But yes, I regret not telling you. I should have just been honest. Then maybe..." I left the sentence dangling in mid-air, but we both knew what it meant.
"How in love we were?"
"Hey Cara... oh hey Sam." Callum walked through the front door. "Erm... something going on?" Sam had shot him a half glare and turned away again.
"They guys are downstairs Callum. I'll be down... we'll be down soon."
Callum scurried as fast as possible out of the room. Sam and I stared at each other for a long time before I opened my mouth.
"Forget it," she murmured. "I'm sorry I brought it up."
"I already told you Sam. I still... feel everything. That's a terrible way of describing it but-"
"-I know what you meant."
I looked down at my feet and fidgeted with the edge of my jumper.
"You've seen me the last few days. It's like a vortex keeps sucking me back down in to those dark days... I can't try to-"
"-Oh I wasn't expecting-"
"-be anything right now."
Another long awkward silence.
"We should order pizza."