My first attempt at anything on Protagonize, hopefully it doesn't suck too bad :) I'd post a more detailed summary but don't know what I'm writing about yet, I'm just winging it . Gonna do this one solo but looking forward to getting into the collaborative stuff soon, expect another story by the end of the weekend.
When the end finally came and the curtain dropped, both Shayla and Nate knew it. It had been building for quite some time, a dark bit of something that neither could quite explain, a cancer eating at the innards of what had once been a loving and stable relationship. While they'd not had the explosive fights and the verbal wars so common with other couples, both felt their lives changing, drifting off down differing paths. Neither liked it, yet neither could figure out how to change it.
Nate looked across the table for what seemed to be the hundredth time on that final morning, eyes the color of steel running across the contours of her face as if he could memorize it. What happened to us, babe? He thought to himself, incredulous as to how he'd ceased to love her. She was, after all, the woman he'd chased fanatically during high school and yearned for during the two years of college, the most beautiful he'd ever seen. The soft tendrils of honey blond hair that spiraled down her back in a golden wave, those deep, pool blue eyes, and full, pouty lips had always melted him into a puddle of goo within seconds of taking them in.
But no more.
Nate allowed a sigh to bubble from behind pursed lips, pulling the sports section of the Winnipeg Free Press up to hide his face. Twenty six, and he felt as though he lived the life of a man twice his age. Pondering the future, annoyed with his fiancee for reasons he couldn't understand, and deeply dissatisfied with life in general. All that was needed now was to take up shuffleboard, or bridge, or something that older men did, and he'd be able to successfully pass himself off as a sixty year old man. Not a feeling he enjoyed, not at all.
This wasn't how it's supposed to be.
Across the table, she took small, delicate bites of toast, tiny sips of her ritual cup of tea, and looked more beautiful than he'd ever seen her. Yet it was the sort of beauty that Nate reserved for a woman in a restaurant, or the mall. The sort that he wanted to look at, but never pursue.
Even watching her chew the toast, wash it down with those birdlike sips of tea, annoyed him. He knew she wasn't doing anything he'd not seen her do a thousand times, ten thousand times, yet it made him feel like screaming at her, bellowing until she collapsed into a waterfall of tears and ceased to finish her breakfast. Why he wanted to reduce her to crying into her pillow, Nate didn't know.
But he did know that something had to change.
Rising from the table, shoving his half eaten Eggo waffle and cooling coffee away from him, he walked out of the room without a word to her. He ignored the questioning look and moved upstairs to the room they'd shared for the last six years. Even this room, where they'd experienced the heights of carnal bliss together and professed their love, where his long chase of her had finally yielded some fruit, annoyed him.
This is for the best, he reasoned, stomping to the closet and pulling out his duffle bag. It was fair to neither of them to continue this... this sham. He wasn't happy, not with her, not anymore. And she would torture herself trying to make him so, as he knew he had for the last few months.
Wadding up a sweatshirt and thursting it into the bag much harder than he needed to, Nate glanced around, taking in the bright yellow walls he'd fought so hard against. Shay had argued that it was a cheerful color, that they needed brightness and sunshine, and of course, he'd given in. Had to admit, too, that he had grown to kind of like those silly yellow walls. Somehow they had seemed right, perfect for them.
A quick pang inside of him told Nate that he wasn't completely emotionally dead, at least not yet.
There were a lot of things he would miss.
As many of his clothes as he could went into the bag, not folded, just wadded up and jammed in. Shay'd always been the one who did everything perfectly, so his clothes would't wrinkle, he almost smiled as the thought crossed his mind.
There was nothing left to do. He'd come back, he supposed, for the rest of his stuff. Somehow, he also knew, that he'd find it all neatly packaged up and ready for him, waiting for him to do whatever it was he was going to do. That thought was almost as bad as the thoughts of losing her had been at one time.
Shay, he knew, would be just fine without him.
She was stronger than he, stronger by far. She wasn't the one giving up, but she would quietly accept that he had. And when he was gone, she would cry, yes, but she would deal with it.
She deserves better.
Nate looked around one more time, then slowly made his way back to the kitchen. A whirlwind of memories assaulted him, tore at him, yet still he found his way to the door. They looked at each other for a long moment, eyes locking, emotion painfully obvious in the depths of each set of eyes. Nothing was said, because nothing needed to be.
Nate allowed himself one slightly rueful smile, and then he was gone.