All Over Again

00

Listening to the soft hiss of the shower through the closed bathroom door, Isabel pushed her fingers back through her messy hair, silently rehearsing the words that she had been practising for weeks. They had both known that it was coming. Only a handful of weeks after their first date, she had got the call, telling her that the job that she had applied for was hers if she wanted it, and whilst she hadn’t hesitated to accept the offer when it had been made, she was starting to hesitate now that she was only a couple of hours away from leaving.

She hadn’t thought that it would be so hard. They had broken up weeks ago. When Isabel had explained what was happening, they had both quickly reached the conclusion that their still-growing relationship wasn’t in a position to handle the distance, and that it was probably better for them both if they had a clean break, but it hadn’t stopped them spending nights together, something Isabel hadn’t regretted until that night. Everything should have stopped, but it hadn’t, and instead of feeling excited about what was to come, Isabel couldn’t stop thinking about what she would be leaving behind.

Squeezing her eyes closed, she tried to block out the sound of the shower, and the sound of the alarm clock that was ticking on the bedside table, trying instead to focus on the words in her head. It was a long shot. In total, since their first date, she and Sergio had only spent three months together, and most of that time had been as something more than friends, but not a couple, but she knew that she couldn’t leave without saying it. She knew that she would regret leaving without having at least tried.

“What time is your flight?”

Isabel allowed her eyes to open before she slowly lifted her head, looking up at Sergio who was stood at the foot of the bed, pulling a t-shirt over his head. “Huh?” she asked.

Sergio’s lips quirked. “Am I interrupting?” he asked.

Isabel shook her head. “Just thinking about something” she replied “What did you say?” she asked.

“What time is your flight?” Sergio repeated “I didn’t think it was until this afternoon, but you’re awake now, so I was wondering if it had changed” he added.

“It hasn’t” Isabel said “I just...woke up” she added vaguely. She didn’t know if he had noticed that she had barely slept, but she wasn’t in a hurry to point it out.

Sergio looked at her. “Is Asier still taking you to the airport?” he asked.

Isabel let out a muted sigh of relief before she nodded her head. “It’s become a family thing” she said “Asier somehow ended up inviting our parents, so instead of a quick goodbye at their house, I am probably going to get some big tearful thing at the airport” she added.

Sergio offered her a brief smile as he sat down on the side of the bed next to her.

Isabel watched him sit down, her ears ringing with the silence that had settled between them, before she looked away. “Sergio” she murmured.

Sergio, who’d been determinedly looking ahead of himself, turned to look at her. “Isabel...”

“Ask me not to go” Isabel interrupted, her voice just above a whisper.

Sergio exhaled a soft sigh as his head dropped, his eyes closing. It was all he wanted to say.

Isabel shook her head, using the back of her hand to wipe at her eyes. “I know we talked about this” she said “And I know that we agreed that...that it was for the best that we ended things, and I know that I talked about how much I wanted this job, but I...I...”

“Izzy” Sergio interrupted gently.

Isabel shook her head again. She knew that if she didn’t get through it then, then she would probably never get through it. “I don’t know what this is” she said gently “But it...it feels like it could be something big, something significant, and I don’t know that I am ready to just let that go because circumstances have changed. I...I...” she trailed off as Sergio pushed himself back to his feet, shaking his head.

Pacing away from the bed, Sergio pushed a hand back through his hair, trying to get a grasp on the thoughts that were running through his head. He wanted to say it. When Isabel had first sat in front of him and told him that she had accepted of a job offer abroad, his first instinct had been to tell her not to go, but it was an instinct he had worked to stifle quickly, knowing that it was too big of a thing to ask of the woman he had only been seeing for a few months. Isabel wasn’t wrong. Since they had met, the sense that they’d found something significant in one another had been apparent, but a sense that it was important wasn’t enough to make him ask her to stay for him. It was what it was. They had been a couple for a few weeks, and something else for a few more weeks, but it wasn’t enough. Sergio couldn’t ask Isabel to give up something she had wanted forever for something that was nowhere near guaranteed.

“Sergio?”

Sergio drew in a deep breath before he let it out slowly, turning back to look at Isabel who stared up at him, her blue eyes wide and shiny with tears. Letting his stare trace her face, he felt his stomach twist painfully before he purposefully looked away, fixing his stare on his feet as he spoke. “You should go” he said quietly.

Isabel shook her head. “Sergio...”

“Izzy, it’s not going to work” Sergio interrupted “I...I don’t feel the same way” he added. It was a lie, but it was the only thing he could think of. They had discussed things logically. They had reached a decision together, but it was clear that that logic wasn’t going to be enough to convince Isabel in that moment.

Isabel blinked slowly before she deflated.

Sergio just stared at her, not quite believing that he had gotten those words to come out of his mouth. Neither of them said anything else. Not when Isabel hurried to get dressed, or when Sergio stepped out of her way. Not even when she paused at the door, wordlessly imploring him to change his mind. He just offered her an apologetic smile before she was gone.