I waited for him to do something—to say something, but he just stood there, staring down at the floor, his bag in one hand, and his back to me. Finally, I realized that he was waiting for me to relent, hoping for it. Maybe he thought I’d start doubting what I saw if he was quiet long enough. “Look, now we both know something about the other that we’ll never tell anyone. You can leave, and we’ll just pretend the other doesn’t exist.”
It was only a few months, and then I’d be gone. I’d blow out of here and work really hard on forgetting Gris and regretting all our time together. Having someone in the world who knew about me made me feel vulnerable. I had ways for dealing with that, though, and Gris’s defection nullified any promises I’d made to him about anything.
“Is that what you want? Now that you know something dark about me… or think you know something dark about me?” he asked.
Of course I didn’t want that. I bathed in the darkness every day. I breathed it. Lived it. I could handle the dark.
“No, but I’m also not going to let you lie to me and act like it’s okay.” That hadn’t sounded quite so wishy-washy in my head.
He turned then with a fury in his eyes and his jaw tight. “So, you’ll be going with option B, then, where I tell you everything about me, and you want nothing to do with me because it’s dark and it’s ugly? Sometimes the lie is kinder than the truth, Piper.”
“Yeah, that’s a set of rules coming in handy when it’s you and not me.” I liked things even. I liked things fair. This wasn’t either, and it wasn’t the way I lived.
“No, it’s something that comes into play when one of us is a monster and the other isn’t.”
I swallowed. “Okay, so… if that’s the case, you may want to tell me which of us is which? Because I’ve thought I was a monster for years now.”
The fight went out of him. His shoulders dropped, and he said my name on a sigh. “You’re not a monster.”
“I don’t think you are either, Gris.”