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The Next Best Thing
I don't think you want to know how many times I imagined us together, before you were mine. It started before that train wreck at Ladies' Night, you know. You've fascinated me for years: you with your green eyed swagger and your cock-of-the-walk attitude. You're gorgeous and you know it. You're confident and strong. I think that's what I found so attractive. At first.
You came to me after she left you, and I helped you look for her. You came to me again after she came back to you, and I helped you hide from her.
I know, better than anyone, how badly she hurt you. I know the cleaving wound she left when she skipped town and abandoned you at that barbecue. I know that her disappearing act was the straw that broke not the camel's back, but you. No more or less than your very self. I know because you've whispered it to me as you clung to me in the dead of night. I know because your tears have bathed my skin more times than I can count. I know because I was there when she was not.
I'm the one who put you back together. I'm the one who held you and soothed you and stroked you when she just strolled back into your life with her doe eyes and her guileless smile and ripped the last shred of you in two. I'm the one who stood firm for you and didn't run and didn't hide.
And you stayed with me. That means something.
So I pretend to ignore the way your eyes sometimes seem a thousand miles away. I pretend to ignore the nights I wake to the sound of your tears knifing through my gut. I pretend to ignore how you grit your teeth when you come, for fear of screaming out the wrong name. I pretend to ignore all of it.
I've decided it's not your strength that I love. It's your weakness. Your weakness, your fear, your righteous anger at being hurt by her of all people, is what keeps you with me. It's what keeps you here, in my life, in my bed. And I need you here, because of one, undeniable fact.
Being your second choice is better than being no-one's choice at all.
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