There Was You

39: It’ll Hurt Less

“Are you actually going to eat something?”

Riley, who’d been vaguely moving her fork around her plate, jumped a little at the sound of Sabrina’s voice before she cautiously lifted her head, glancing at the other woman who sat across the table, a curious expression on her features. She’d known that it would only be a matter of time, with her and Sabrina having taken a long lunch, and Riley having barely uttered more than two words since they’d stepped out of the office, she had known that it would only be a matter of time before Sabrina asked what was wrong, but still she hadn’t got the answer figured out, even if she had been thinking about it since she had sat down. She still didn’t quite know what to say.

Blinking a couple of times, she glanced at her still half-full plate before she shook her head, gently setting her fork down. “I’m not really that hungry” she mumbled, gently pushing the plate away from her.

Sabrina frowned a little, but didn’t comment, instead opting to take a sip of her lemonade. “So” she prodded “How’d your weekend go? You went to meet Iker’s parents, didn’t you? Did they love you?” she added, a grin growing across her features.

Riley felt her stomach turn a little before she shrugged, trying, and failing, to fix a convincing smile onto her face. “I don’t think that they hated me” she quipped “That’s something, right?” she joked feebly.

Sabrina shook her head, not buying the joke, or the fake smile that Riley wore for a moment. “What went wrong?” she asked.

Riley opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, preparing to refute that there was anything the matter, but Sabrina was quicker, speaking again before Riley had the chance to. “We both know that there is something, Riley” she noted “You’ve been weird all day. You’ve barely left your office, and I had to practically beg you to come and get lunch with me when you’re normally the one who asks me, so let’s skip the part when you tell me that there’s nothing wrong. What went wrong?” she repeated.

Riley blinked a couple of times before she leant back into her seat, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth. “We went to dinner with his parents” she murmured “It was going really well, they seemed to really take to me, and then they sort of mentioned that there were similarities between me and Iker’s ex...fiancée and things sort of just...” she trailed off, not quite sure what to say next.

Sabrina nodded her head slowly. “You didn’t know about the engagement?” she asked.

Riley shook her head. “I never asked” she admitted quietly “He told me pretty early on that he’d gone through a breakup just before we met, but I never...I never followed up on it. I was so wrapped up in what happened between me and Ben, I didn’t even think about it, which sounds terrible now that I say it aloud. I should have, shouldn’t I?” she asked, talking more to herself than to Sabrina.

Sabrina thought about answering the question, but opted not to. “If it’s not that, then what’s bothering you so much?” she asked.

Riley was quiet for a moment, thinking over the question, before she shook her head, her eyes dropping down towards the napkin which sat in her lap. “He admits that there are things about me that are similar to her” she mumbled softly “And I just...I worry, Sabrina. I worry that it’s those things, the things that she was, that are the things that make him like me” she added, wrinkling her nose at how it sounded.

Sabrina tilted her head. “Really?” she asked.

Riley felt her cheeks flush before she nodded her head, not pulling her eyes away from the napkin in her lap.

“Riley” Sabrina mumbled “I’ve seen you together, albeit, only once, but that was enough to see how he looks at you” she added.

Riley shrugged, messing with the napkin. “I know it sounds stupid” she mumbled “I just...I can’t help but worry that things might not be what they seem. I mean, I thought I knew what Ben wanted and...”

“Ah” Sabrina interrupted, nodding her head knowingly.

Riley frowned. “What?” she asked.

“You thought you knew what Ben wanted” Sabrina clarified “But it turns out you didn’t, and you got hurt, and now you think that Iker’s doing the same thing. You thought you were sure of things, a tiny spanner got tossed into the works, and now you’re doubting him because you didn’t doubt Ben and it ended with you getting hurt. It’s easier for you to not trust Iker than just believe that he’s really as into you as he seems because if you don’t trust him, and it does go wrong, then it’ll hurt less” she added.

Riley shook her head. “Sabrina...”

“He’s not Ben” Sabrina interrupted “And he doesn’t deserve to be treated as though he is, Riley. So he was engaged before? You were practically engaged to Ben, weren’t you?” she asked.

Riley felt her cheeks get hot before she offered a tiny, almost imperceptible nod.

“You both have pasts, Riley” Sabrina continued “But that doesn’t mean that your future can’t be together. I saw him, when you bought him to that work party, I saw him keep sneaking glances at you when you weren’t looking. I saw the way his face lit up when you smiled at him. Say what you want about him, but you can’t say that he doesn’t have feelings for you, Riley. It’s so obvious” she added.

Riley sat quietly for a moment, taking in Sabrina’s words, before she lifted her eyes, glancing at her friend shyly. “I just don’t want to fall flat on my face again” she whispered “I’m crazy about him, but what if it doesn’t work? What if I get it wrong again?” she added.

Sabrina leant forwards, gently taking Riley’s hands in hers. “What if you don’t?” she asked.


“No one can promise that it won’t go wrong” Sabrina interrupted “But it won’t go right if you just run away from him. You can’t just let what happened with Ben ruin the rest of your relationships, Riley. You don’t deserve that. Ben sucked, he told lies, he almost certainly started seeing Melissa before you two were over, but he’s the past and you’re better off without him. I mean, you’ve seen Iker, right?” she asked, letting out a little laugh.

Riley smiled faintly, something which made Sabrina squeeze her hand gently. “Don’t let him go, Ry” she mumbled softly.
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Thanks to FootieJo, mslou1 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)