"So, tell me what's going on."
Trace set the vase and flowers on the table and took a deep breath. "It's nothing, really."
"If it was nothing, it wouldn't be bothering you," Vinnia replied, trying to meet Trace's eyes. He kept averting them.
"It's just that...are you playing me, Vinnia? Now, before I sound like some lovestruck schoolboy, allow me to explain myself. I keep making nice gestures and trying to show my admiration for you, but you don't seem to want any of it. Am I doing something wrong? Or am I completely mistaken about the two of us?"
Vinnia reached out and placed her hand over Trace's. "Trace..." she said, voice soft, but Trace pulled his hand away.
"I don't know all the secrets you keep veiled behind those eyes, Vinnia, but they're concerning me. I can't shake the feeling that there's a reason why you won't let yourself respond to my affection, and I don't understand why you won't tell me."
Vinnia's pulse quickened, and she looked away. "Ah..." she began, then stopped.
"See? If you think I'm holding something from you, Vinnia, then I'd like to hear what it is that you're keeping from me. I can't keep going like this. I can't keep wondering if I'm interpreting all the signs wrongly. Is it bad to want to know where I stand in your eyes?"
"You're not standing; you're sitting," Vinnia replied half-wittedly. Her joke fell flat. "I'm sorry, Trace. I wish I could tell you everything." She clenched her fingers into a fist and ceased her speaking.
Trace looked on with sorrow in his eyes.
"I'm sorry for bringing any of this up," Vinnia said quietly. "I'm sorry for making you feel this way. I'm sorry for all the messes I'm creating. Why can't I do a single thing right, Trace? Why do I have to create problems wherever I go?"
"You don't, Vinnia!"
"That's what you think. If you knew...but you don't, and you won't." Vinnia shook her head, fighting tears. If only you know...but you can't, so you never shall. But oh, how I wish...how I wish things could be different...