The intensity was still there, electricfying the air between them. He broke their gaze suddenly as if he’d been shocked to recognise their old passion, here in a room full of people, his fiancee by his side. She looked downward solemnly, her shame at the secret she protected overwhelming her. She had never loved anyone as much as she had adored this man. They had been drawn together at such a young age, when mistakes made were so irrevocable that they had been pulled apart. But he did not know the mistake that had been made, nor the secret that kept her from him, until now: stood here awkwardly before him as her best friend smiled up at him as the love of her life.
Karma was so, so cruel. Yet all that was left for her to do was take a steadying breath, force herself forward and hope that no one noticed that the beaming grin she presented to congratulate them was marred by jealousy and a primal panic that made her stomach churn. If he were ever to discover the truth it wouldn’t just be his life ruined, it would also destroy the happiness of the only friend she’d ever confided in.
Please pretend she thought. Please act as though we didn’t have all of those moments together. Please don’t refer to that past we shared years ago, where you broke my heart. I punished you for it then, and I’m still punishing you now: you just don’t know it. You’ll never know it.
She reached out to clasp the proffered hand and stole a glance up into those deep blue eyes, still so alluring.
‘Hi’ he said, his voice sending a shiver of recognition up her spine.’It’s great to finally meet you.’
There was no dishonesty in his tone, or discomfort in his manner. Could he really have forgotten me? she asked herself. The thought crushed her. She mumbled something incoherent and rushed to the door. Out in the fresh air her fears seemed obscure, intangible: she wanted him to forget, it would alleviate the guilt she had always felt. But feeling it so obviously, so blankly, it terrified her. If he could forget so easily had they had anything at all: could it all have been the result of a schoolgirl crush, to him just a conquest, a convenience? To know that made her more determined to keep the truth from him. He would never know.