Eran Mintor was sitting on a bench by the church looking at the steeple.
He tensed as he heard her voice and turned slowly to face her, his eyes lit with fear. "Shalee..." He forced a smile, "....it's good to see you again."
She furrowed her brows as she tried to decipher the look of fear. "You were at the Gate...?"
"Yeah. Not for long."
"Why didn't you speak to me?"
He ran his hand up and down his arm as he looked at the grass, "...I wanted to, but what am I going to say?" He blinked a few times then lifted his gaze as he stood, beaming at her sheepishly, "You look beautiful...as you always have."
She tilted her head, back lit by the sun. "Thank you."
His smile melted into a frown, "....I miss you."
Her expression softened and as he frowned, "I miss you too."
"...Did you get my package?"
She nodded, "The slicers? Yes, thank you. It was very kind of you, though I don't think I should have them....I will just save them for you I think."
He frowned deeper as he shook his head, "They're yours now. They were never mine to begin with...called in a favor from a friend of ours. I'm sure she's happy that you have them." He pushed the hood from his head, revealing a lack of hair.
Shalee moved over to the bench he vacated and sat down, her hands folded in her lap.
"So...how have you been?" he asked.
She shrugged lightly, "Busy. At least trying to stay busy with the war and all." She glanced to his shaved head for the moment. "....and you?"
"I...I'm..." Eran winced briefly before putting on another forced smile, "I'm fine." His smile faded, "Shalee..."
"Things will never be the same, will they?"
"...I don't know."
He walked slowly to her, apprehensively, and stopped in front of her off, "I've made a lot of mist-..." He choked on his words.
She nodded her head, agreeing, quickly looking down at the ground as her eyes misted over with tears. "Yes. You have."
He sat down on the grass and crossed his legs, picking at the blades of grass. "How could I fuck up this bad?!" He darted his eyes to the path leading to the new manor, contemplating leaving before looking back at the dirt and freshly picked grass. "I never wanted to hurt you."
She inhaled a sharp breath. "Then why did you do it? Why did you help someone to harm me Eran?"
"Because I wanted everything. I want everything and I can't have it. I was foolish, I thought it'd be a way, or something, to prevent the other militias infringing on the others space. I...I thought I was a....a superstar or some shit."
"You lied to me. You never even told me, Eran. You were in my god damned fleet and you were aiding the enemy to kill me?"
He looked to the grass again.
"How am I supposed to pretend that didn't happen? How am I supposed to just pretend like you're not a Brutor when you are."
He clutched his knees. "I'm nothing now....it did happen...I betray-god dammit," he winced, fighting off tears as he stood.
Tears dripped down her cheeks, "I forgave so much. So many times I tried to pretend you weren't destroying me."
He ignored the tears that ran down his face, "I...I hate myself for what I've done to you....if I knew this would've happened...I would've told you to stay away from me."
"This isn't about love, Eran, it was never about love. I love you. I love you. With every single breath I take, I love you, and a part of me will always love you. But my love wasn't enough for you, I wasn't enough for you. You wanted more, and all I wanted was to be with you."
He frowned. "I wanted everything....but I can't have that...I could have had...it's too late." He paced several steps from her and pulled his hood up.
"I don't want your empty promises."
"Of course not. My word is worth nothing. I could've been happy if I just gave up sooner...if I had listened."
"Not when you try to kill me no. Not when you say you only want to protect me yet you help the enemy to destroy me, no, it's not. Not when you say you wanted me, that all you wanted was me, but you destroyed what we had."
He turned to Shalee, his mouth open as if he were trying to speak.
She stood and started to pace, her hurt and anger fusing into a powerful emotion. Tears poured down her cheeks, her face flushed red, her vision blurred from the tears. "You have no right to make me feel sorry for you! I risked everything for you. I risked my reputation to be with you. I risked my LIFE to be with you, I would have done anything for you, I would have died for you. I fucking worshiped you and I was NEVER enough for you!"
"Some day you will find someone who will treat you the way I should have..." His voice was low, pained. "You will never know how much you mean to me Shalee, that's because my words can't be trusted anymore but that's my problem, not yours. I'm sorry for what I've done, I truly am." He glanced off into the distance, "...the manor is finished. I will tear it down and plant more trees there so you can have it the way it was before I came around."
She inhaled a shaky breath through her sobbing, "....you finished our house?"
He stared pitifully at her, "Please don't cry." He mumbled to himself, "God, what have I done to her?"
"Shalee....you'll be alright."
She shook her head, "No I wont. I wont. I'll never be alright again." She closed the distance between them, half stumbling, til she reached him and laid her head against his chest, "Hold me."
He looked confused and deeply saddened before placing a hand on the back of her head and an arm around her back, pulling her closer. "It's alright." He rubbed her back slowly and closed his eyes, letting out a deep sigh.
She stained his cloak with her tears as she slipped her arms around his waist, holding onto him tightly.He kissed the top of her head and spoke quietly to her, "Someday you will look back at this and be glad that you found me out for who I was before it really was too late....."
She tipped her head back, staring into his face as tears streamed down her cheeks. "That's all you can say to me?" She gasped for air, feeling breathless, "No more promises? You wont even try?"
"Shalee..." Eran looked down at her, "I still love you but I can't keep hurting you."
She stared at him, choking on the tears.
He frowned as he wiped his thumbs across her cheeks, swiping away her tears, "l promise that I always will love you....but I don't think I can ever forgive myself though. You deserve better."
She pressed her tear stained lips to his, "Just kiss me..." she whispered against his mouth.
His mouth melded to hers as he pulled her closer, holding her tight. She cupped his cheeks, holding his mouth to hers, kissing until they were both breathless.
He kissed the tears away as he caught his breath, "You give me too much."
Her forehead rested against his. She inhaled his scent, "I love you."
"I don't deserve this...you should be spitting on me. But I love you Shalee."
She tensed as she started to untangle herself from him, gasping for breath, wiping away the tears, "I love you but I haven't forgiven you."
He reached for her hand, curling his fingers around hers, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make sure we can at least still be friends. I need you, I know I do. It's beyond a want, and I wanted everything; that's why I fell so hard. It's up to you in the end.....I don't want to hurt you more than I have."
"I should go...duties and all of that," she said softly.
"Of course...take care, Shalee. Be well."
She wiped her cheeks with the edges of her sleeves, "I will. And you take care too....and we'll talk soon?" her voice was heavy with emotion, slightly higher pitched.
"Yes, of course!" He smiled to her as he squeezed her hand before letting it go.
She turned around quickly and dashed off into the distance.
He watched her, whispering, "I love you."