She hadn’t expected to see Ben. And when she had, she had gone right back to the introverted freshman in college she had been when she had first met him. The years of misogyny, the abuse and all the pain she had been through had seemed to disappear from her mind. She hated that after all these years, he still had that power of her.
She hated that after everything, she was still in love with him…
Close to an hour after she had got home, the bell rung. She walked up to the door her worst fears in mind. She had been on the edge ever since she had met Ben in the restaurant. He had known where she lived but hadn’t bothered to visit in the two years it had been since they had last met. But after running into him today, she had a bad feeling. She was almost reluctant to open the door.
When she finally opened the door, she let out a breath of relief. Ryan stood outside with a tub of Chocolate Fudge Brownie. She moved away from the door and walked back to the sofa where she had been sitting and staring off into space for who knew how long. He followed behind her not saying a word.
Once they had sat down and she still hadn’t said anything, he turned towards her, ice cream stretched out, open with a spoon, ready to be eaten and said, “Henry called. He said you guys met someone called Ben.”
“Someone called Ben?” She asked skeptically.
“Well, that’s what Henry said so I assumed you haven’t told him anything yet..” He replied.
She couldn’t help but giggle at this automatically, “I was going to today” she told him honestly.
For a while after that, he just sat there thinking, just being there for her. When she was about halfway done with the ice cream tub, he reached out, trying to gently pry it away from her. When she glared at him, all he did was continue to gently not saying a word.
“Come on, give it to me or you’ll regret it tomorrow. Besides, I’ve got cider!” he finally said, managing to get the ice cream box away from her, handing her a glass of cider.
He gave her a bit of space to down the glass before he pushed again, “Em, don’t bottle, talk to me…”
“Did Henry tell you that Ben was there with some girl?”
“Yea, he did. But what does it matter Em? It’s been two years. You can’t still be thinking about him. He was an absolute…. It doesn’t matter Em. Why do you still let yourself be affected by him like this?”
“Why do I let myself?” She blasted back at him. “Do you really think that I want to keep thinking about a guy that abused me for 4 years of my life and made me half the person I used to be? Tell me, Ryan, am I anywhere close to the person I used to be?” She looked away, the tears now falling free.
She heard him move closer to her before she actually saw him and that was all she needed to turn around and throw her arms around her. His hands went around her, calming her. He didn’t say a word, and he didn’t need to. Both of them knew that what she needed right then was to let it all out. Let it out and move on.
For the next hour, Ryan didn’t say a word. He sat there holding her, letting her cry. And when she was all cried out, he held her, just being there for her. When she had finally pulled herself together, and he knew when she had, he brought her another glass of the cider. She took it, grateful for a drink for her parched throat.
“You’ve got to tell Henry, Em, it took you this long to finally go out on a date with him. I don’t know if you’re going to keep seeing him or not, and it’s completely up to you Em, but irrespective of your decision, I think it’s time you told him about Ben. And not just who Ben is, but the whole story.”
In her heart, Emma knew Ryan was right. She had been meaning to tell Henry in the last couple of weeks. But she hadn’t wanted to at the same time, worried about how he’d react. But tonight, she had decided to tell him no matter what. She didn’t want to be dating him when he didn’t know about something that had changed everything in her life. But seeing Ben there had changed everything, yet again. She had gotten flustered and distracted and more than everything, hurt, again. But Ryan was right. Irrespective of what happened between them now, she knew she considered him one of her best friends. And she knew that this meant that she needed to tell him. For his sake and hers.