He guided Andrea away, her eyes dark with longing towards the door, into which Lucas had fully disappeared. The woman tore away, still powerful. They were less than a metre away, but they could not have been further.
“Keith…” Andrea sobbed, almost panting. “You needn’t have done that.”
“And now I am missing my gift-”
“A piece of theatre? Oh, yes, that’s love so secure.”
“Tell me you love me, then! Stop living for Lucas.”
“I’m living for nobody. If anything, you’ve…shown me that I can’t say…those words. I can’t do this if you are prepared to go and not trust my word!”
“Well, did you give me much choice?”
“That’s ridiculous!” It was obvious that Andrea was tiring of the full-on argument. Keith, however, knew that he was not.
“So: you can’t dothis? What? Please specify.” His voice darkened to the depth that he knew would get her attention.
“Is this really what we want, Keith?”
“You tell me.”
“Please. Stop it.”
He chose not to speak, staring at her agonised face instead. Why was there no empathy beside him? Oh, because of what she had done. That was his best reason, and Keith knew it.
“Keith…” She sunk her face into her hands. “I can’t say it.”
“Our relationship obviously means nothing to you, so it should be so easy.”
“No! That’s not true at all. I wish you would stop this bitterness. What has got into you tonight?”
Keith could not sigh along with her. He took one step forward, staring.
“You and Lucas. That’s what. Tell me.”
Still sunk within herself, Andrea trembled. For a minute, Keith thought that she was going to be set off crying again. Instead, when she lifted her head, her eyes were full of fury again.
“That’s all you came here for. To hunt me. Keith! And you question my motives?” She inhaled and exhaled loudly; the moon was flooded with a screen of speckled cloud in the second of silence that she held to her chest. “I want to break up. No, I think we should break up. I can pack my things tonight and be gone. I don’t wake up to another blank morning; you deserve not to be thinking that of me, of both of us. Am I…? Where is the trust we’re meant to have, Keith, where?”
He drew his breath.
“Now I have the truth from you!”
She bristled, stepping right up to him, albeit with a face wrecked from pain.
“No, it was you who forced this upon me. You’ve no one to blame…” She choked on the new tears, but fought on, for which Keith had to commend her. Andrea, stronger than before, held her head as high as she could compared to his. “No one but…yourself!”
She blamed him? The majority of all the fury there ever was sprung into Keith; all her could do was revel in the feeling.
He lifted his hand, ready to teach her the lesson she should have learnt at that first kiss. As Andrea flinched in a squeak, the voice called from the doorway, to the sound of neat shoes storming to them.
“Hey! Sir, don’t do it!”
Keith lowered his hand, regret painting his face, in time to see Lucas gather Andrea into his arms, letting her tears pour out onto his shoulder.
“Don’t,” she whispered, turning. Lucas wrapped an arm around her shoulder and guided her away into the night and his car.
Keith stared, his voice caught in his throat. If it hadn’t been, he might have cursed and sworn at the pacing figures. Instead, he fumed until they had vanished behind a set of foliage. The night filled with the theatre-foyer lights, people dripped out, but it hadn’t felt like altogether very long. Only a few faces filled Keith’s view, and he turned away, hurt.
The door swung open, followed by the rushing steps of heels. They stopped close beside him, but Keith had no interest in the guest, and so made no move to turn. It was only when she spoke that Keith’s awareness made him watch the girl carefully.
“Lucas! Oy, Lucas! Oh, blimey, he’s going to drive away without me, isn’t he?” As the woman’s voice softened with her final, self-regulated question, Keith, too, watched the little street-car zoom away, containing the woman who had called herself his girlfriend and the man with whom she now shared a life.
“Hmph,” Keith finally remarked in her direction.
“Yes?” she turned, a slight irritation crossing her expression until she saw him fully. “Oh, hello. Are you okay?”
Keith was actually taken back. It seemed a strange question for her to direct towards him.
“Didn’t you-?” He had thought… “Did you-?”
“I saw the altercation,” she muttered.
“And you don’t think I-?”
The head dipped.
“My father…strict also.”
“And now Lucas has left you with no transport, is that correct?”
She nodded, the little frown still patterning her small forehead.
“Yes, that’s right. I’m only in town because Lucas invited me… I’m his sister, Léa.”
And, without questioning motives, Keith shook the ringless hand that was extended.