“I’m so done,” you muttered as you stormed into your apartment. You were done. So done. You wanted to go back in there and punch his lights out.
Your phone pinged as you slammed the door behind you, and you furiously pulled it out to read.
Are you okay? It was Feliciano. Your gaze softened, but not by much.
I’m really sorry, bella. You know how he gets. You felt your glare return again, and your livid mood returned, to that scene in the cafe.
I know. I’ve been putting up with it for too long.
Please, just give him another chance. He really does care for you! Feliciano answered back after a moment. You sighed through your nose sharply, slumping down at a seat in front of your kitchen counter.
Yeah, he cares for me so much, huh? Then why has he sent you to text me an apology? Why hasn't he said it for himself? There was a minute of silence, which extended into two, then three, and you knew that you had crossed a line.
I’m sorry, Feliciano. But…Romano is too much for me now.
It’s okay. He’s sulking in his room right now. You rolled your eyes. Immature ass. You wanted to punch him so hard.
What’s he doing? You pressed ‘send.’ There was an answer in a few seconds.
He’s throwing things around. There’s a lot of yelling. Mostly bad words. You felt a pang of pity for Antonio and Feliciano, who were the ones that had to deal with it.
Why is he angry? He was the one who started it.
Bella, you’re sounding like a child. How ironic that it was coming from Feliciano, the king of man-children. Well, second to none but that irritable, stupid, annoying asshole of a boyfriend you had. You wanted to send something back that might make Feliciano cry, but you clenched and unclenched your fists and shoved the urge down. You got up and walked to the refrigerator, phone in hand, and texted something back.
You want to come over? I don’t want you to have to deal with that –you stopped as you tried to shoved down every curse word that came to mind and rephrased the text—with him right now.
There was a minute of silence as he thought.
Romano toppled the chair in the corner of his room to the ground and kicked it around, not caring about the pain in his toe but instead felt a savage victory from it, in triumphing over a wooden chair.
It scraped and screeched on the smooth wooden floor, leaving angry black marks that would probably be there as he wouldn’t ever clean it up.
When his toe hurt too much to kick it around anymore, he turned to what was next. His room was in shambles. Shoes and books and clothes were thrown all about the place. His small dresser was toppled, and he had broken his lamp on top of it that you had given to him.
You. The very thought of you threw him into his original fury again—and hid his shame. He turned around wildly, amber eyes blazing and picked up the closest thing at hand—a notepad—and threw it at the wall. It made a small thump and slid to the ground, bright green papers floating down gently everywhere.
He exhaled heavily out of his nose and his shoulders slumped as he surveyed the room, the mess he had made. Shame welled up in him.
What had he done?
He turned around and kicked the wall. It hurt, consuming his leg in a blaze of agony. He swore, leaning on his good leg, and picked up the chair and sat down on it, his heart thumping in his chest like a drum. He put his forehead in his hand, looking down at the ground, scratched with the black marks from the chair.
What had he done?
He heard the sound of Feliciano saying with overly-forced cheerfulness, “I’m going out!”
Antonio shouted a goodbye from the kitchen and the door slammed shut, reverberating throughout the house. It echoed in his ears long after it happened. He leaned his head back on the chair, and the cool wood felt nice on his neck. His eyes closed in irritation, and put a hand on his face.
What was he going to do?
It had been a lovely morning. You had waited at the cafe, writing something in a little sketchpad you kept on you at all times. He had given it to you about a month ago, out of the kindness of his heart, and you smiled and took it while he turned brick red and shouted about how he wasn’t going to do it again.
So typical. So him.
The sound of a salsa played in the background, and people walking in and out to get their daily fix of coffee were filtering through. The smell of whipped cream intermingling with ground coffee was heavenly. You looked out of the window, waiting for him, and your pencil tapped on the table with the beat of the song, making your warm cup of hot chocolate ripple.
He had come twenty minutes later than he had promised. And you could tell before he walked in that he was in a bad mood. But still, who says that you can’t make the best of it?
You had greeted him cheerfully and given him a kiss like you always did. He gave you one back, but that didn’t soften the hard look in his eyes. He had sat down in the seat and slumped his shoulders, staring out of the window just as you had, but instead of having a romantic air to it, he had furious one. A livid one.
“You want me to get you something?” you asked politely, knowing better than to ask about anything else. He grunted. You stood and walked to the line of people and ordered a strong black coffee after a minute of waiting and brought it back after two.
He was still glaring out of the window when you returned, his arms crossed. You remembered how he had sent you a text saying that Antonio had done something to piss him off last night, but he hadn’t said what.
“Um, Romano?” you asked, to get his attention. He met eyes with you and looked away.
“Did something happen?” you asked, knowing all too well what the answer to that was. It always something. It was ‘that potato bastard’ or it was ‘that tomato fucker’ or ‘my stupid little brother.’ It was never his fault; it was always someone else’s. You awaited his answer patiently, like you always did, drumming your fingers on your knees underneath the table.
“No.” was the curt response. You frowned. “Romano, I know that it’s not nothing.”
“Oh? When did you become a psychologist?” he retorted snappily. You closed your eyes, trying to be nice, be patient, be strong for him like you always were.
But there wasn’t something in you today.
“Look, if you could just tell me, maybe I could help you.” You reasoned with him.
“Maybe you could just fuck off.” He answered sharply, and your eyes widened in surprise.
“What?” you demanded, barely over a whisper. You couldn’t find the volume to speak. There was warmth coming over your face, but you knew damn well it wasn’t a blush. It was anger.
“’What?’” he mimicked you mockingly. “Don’t you know when to butt out of people’s business?” he asked, and you blinked again.
“I’m just trying to help. I’m your girlfriend, Romano.” You said his name sharply.
“Well, maybe I don’t want your help!” he snapped back, and you knew he was raising his voice but you raised it right back.
“Y’know, ‘help’ sort of comes with the title. If you want me to not help you, I may as well not be your girlfriend!” you exclaimed.
“Go ahead then! Get the hell out of my face! I don’t want to see it ever again!” he shouted, and you realized how silent it had become in the cafe. People were staring, wide-eyed, some sympathetic, some too stunned to react.
Three strikes and you’re out.
If that comment hadn’t hit you the hardest, you didn’t know what it was. You stared at him, eyes wide with shock and tears that wanted to emerge. For a moment, you saw a flicker of awareness in those eyes and knew that he had realized that he had stepped over the line. But it was too late.
With a glare full of malice aimed at him, you picked up your cup of hot chocolate, long gone cold, in his face. It felt good to see it encase him for an eternal moment and drip down his nose, drenching his hair and shirt. He stared up in shock at you that quickly melted away into fury. His mouth opened, to probably curse you out, but you ignored him, picked up your notepad and stormed out, the door swinging behind you.
“I’m sorry.” Feliciano had apologized to you, and hugged you tightly. “I didn’t know.”
You were a statue in place of a woman, rigid in your stance as you sat by your kitchen counter. Feliciano let go after a moment. “I didn’t know that happened.”
“It’s all right. I don’t even know what made him so mad.” You said, throwing your hands into the air.
“So, are you two not together anymore?” he asked cautiously. You jerked your head in
“I’m not going back to him after that. I don’t know what he expects; for me to come crawling back to him?” you turned your head sharply, biting your lip. Your bangs swung down in front of your face, and you sighed.
“I don’t know what I did wrong,” you voice cracked.
Feliciano had pulled up a chair and sat next to you, and patted you on the back. “It wasn’t your fault. I don’t know what made him so mad.”
“I don’t care.” You said coldly, and then you turned to Feliciano, offering a weak smile.
“Thanks for coming, Feliciano. I’m sorry you have to put up with me and my bad mood swings.”
“It’s all right. I’m used to mood swings.” He smiled innocently, and you tsked, brushing your bangs out of your face.
“Well. I’m not surprised.” You said, and pulled out your phone. There were no text notifications. Not even an apology? You scoffed, and pushed it away from you, then turned back to Feliciano.
“You want to bake something?” you asked. Anything to get your mind off of the morning. He nodded.
He had gone this way so many times before. Why was it so damn hard now? What had taken five minutes before took half an hour. There were so many things to distract him, so many things that he needed to say to you.
I didn’t mean it.
I love you.
There was something baking in your apartment as he drew near; he could smell it as he was sauntering down the halls, his heart still beating rapidly in his chest. It was like there something stuck in his throat and he couldn’t get it out. He plunged his hand into his pocket to take out the key to your apartment you had given him a while ago; told him that he could come over whenever he wanted.
Well, now was the perfect time to use it. Right?
It was quiet as he neared the door. He wanted to break it down and at the same time run away.
Excuses filtered through his head, reasons why he couldn’t go see you. She had already changed the lock, so he couldn’t go in. There was a car accident that jammed up the roads so he couldn’t cross them to get to you. Antonio dragged him along to a movie with his stupid friends and he couldn’t get away.
He didn’t love you.
But those were all lies.
It felt so easy, putting the key in the lock. It fit in silently and clicked softly. Romano opened the door and it didn’t creak. There was talking from the other room, and he froze. Who the hell was that? He hadn’t expected you to have any visitors over. He thought that you would have been alone, watching TV or something.
“…no, Feliciano, not there! You need to put it in there.” The sound of something sizzling on a pan came to his ears, and he smelled something delicious.
“All right, bella. Do you want me to put the eggs in here?” he asked.
“Sure. I’ll get the seasoning. It’s in the pantry.” Romano looked next to him and saw a cabinet full of spices behind the door. He felt as if his blood had curdled into ice.
Fuck. Who the hell keeps their spices next to the door?! Romano felt his heart speed up even faster, like the drums of war, and awaited his fate as your footsteps drew near, to the spices.
You weren’t expecting this. At all.
He was standing there, in the doorway, looking rather embarrassed and out-of-place.
“What are you doing here?” you demanded coldly, feeling the embarrassment and fury from the morning resurface. You never should have given him that key, the one that hung guiltily in his hand.
“I—I came to apologize.” He stuttered. His hair was combed and he had washed off the hot chocolate and changed into some cleaner clothes. All this to impress you? Too bad it was to apologize for being the asshole dipshit he was.
“I don’t want to hear it,” you said. “The door’s behind you.”
“Please! Just give me another chance!” Romano pleaded, taking a step forward. You took a step back.
“How many more chances do you want me to give you? Chances where I don’t throw coffee in your face but I leave crying? Chances were you hit me? I’m done, Romano. I don’t want to give you anymore.”
Romano looked down at the ground, his face red. His hands were in his pockets.
“I would never hit you,” he mumbled to the ground.
“How long until you take that back? Because you certainly have the guts to make feel like shit. I wonder how long until you have the guts to make me look like shit.” You answered back, crossing your arms.
“Please,” he said, looking back up to you desperately, “I love you!”
“Leave, Romano,” you said, bitterly and mournfully, not understanding why tears were stinging your eyes. “I don’t have time for this anymore.” Your voice cracked again, and you pointed to the door. "Go."
“Bella…” he said, coming closer to you, to comfort you, to try to make himself look good in your eyes again, to have you love him again. You took a step back, keeping your hands out to stop him.
He stopped short, hearing the finality in your words and realizing that it was over. His eyes were wide and his face was pained, hollow. You didn’t know it would hurt so bad to see him like this.
Without making another sound, he turned; his shoulders slumped, and walked to the door, dropping the key to the ground. It clinked and laid there. He reached out a hand to the door, and turned his wrist out, pulling open the door.
He walked through, and left.
The door closed with a final click.