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Dave: You weren’t careless…in fact, deep inside your unconscious mind, you wanted him to know. So, you just “forgot” to delete the mail from Alessio and you just “forgot” to shut down your computer…You wanted your husband to know.ย 

Me: Maybe…but the hurt and the pain in his eyes…I never wanted that! I love him…there are no doubts about that. I just wanted…I don’t know…maybe to make him realize how…

Dave: How he took you for granted. And how close you were to run away with your first love. But, Cari…was this the best strategy? Yes, you made Ryan jealous, you made him feel insecure…So? He was hurt and you’re the one trying to make things right…

Me: You’re right, it was childish, it was stupid…I wanted to shake things a little bit and it’s me the one who’s feeling down…again. Guilty, terribly guilty, like a liar, like a cheater…

“Leah’s scream broke the silence. It was that kind of sound…when you know something terrible happened. Matteo was calm, maybe too calm. Almost like he would expected from Leah to scream. But she wasn’t…all she wanted to do was to run outside and help them. Matteo took her by the arm.

-Let them alone. Come here, stay with me and let her deal with Adrian’s bullshit…After all, she needs to learn to clean his wounds…she’ll have plenty of traces to cover from his stupid actions…

-Matteo…you’re so cynical…Adrian is obviously hurt. They need help. I know how to give the first aid, I learned in the hospital. Let me help her clean those wounds, it’s blood everywhere…and you know, the cuts in the face are the most dangerous ones…Just let me…

-No.

She wanted to protest, to convince him, to go beyond this mask of calm and cruelty he was wearing…Leah and Adrian opened the door. Leah was hysterical.

-So…you two just pretend you’re not hearing, right? Cari, I asked you to come to help me, because the bandage was filled with blood. And you, Matteo? Where were you, when Adrian was attacked? You know what? I thought we’re friends but some people are just too selfish to have friends…

-Leah, please go upstairs, honey…I need to talk to Cari and Matteo. And I could use some painkillers…could you look for them in the bathroom?

Leah gave him a kiss and rushed to the bathroom. Adrian’s eye was almost black and his nose was bleeding. He started to talk and the fear, the pain and the shock in his voice was obvious.

-It’s better than it looks from outside…

-Yes, you’re lucky…You could be dead, you know that? So…you were attacked…

The calm in Matteo’s voice was giving her cold shivers.

-Yes…but it was a big confusion. One of the guys was holding me and the other one, while he was punching my face said something weird…he said: “That’s what you get for stabbing your best friend in the back!”. You’re my best friend, Matteo…

She understood and the image of reality was more that she could bare. She covered her face saying “my God…” and remembering…”I’ll deal with him in my own way”…now she knew what he meant by that. Flashes from the recent past…Ariana, herself…now Adrian…

Adrian looked at her.

-Cari, I wanna apologize to you. When Matteo told me about you, I never imagined how serious things really are between you two. I’m sorry if I did or say anything to make you feel uncomfortable and…I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt…I want us to be friends. Matteo is my best friend, I would be honored if you could consider me your friend too…And you, Matteo…

-What? What in the hell could you say to me to make things right? Sorry for trying to score with your fiancee? Like I said, you’re lucky, you could be dead. Get out of my sight…

-Matteo, let me explain…I never tried…

-Really? You never tried…Hmmmm…Alright…Let’s pretend I believe your bullshit…You’re in love with Leah, totally committed to her. You’re with her…for how long? Since first grade…Well, don’t you think it’s about time to propose that girl? Focus on her, she’s practically begging you to love her…and let my fiancee alone! Now, get out of my sight!

Adrian left the living room and she was still shocked. Almost afraid to talk.

-Matteo…that was…terrible…

-Sweetie, I meant what I said…A few centuries ago he would be dead because of this offence. Our days…I have the right to defend what’s mine! I do have the right to take action if someone is hitting on you! Is an act of honor, an act of love…you, Carissa…from all people…you should understand…you should appreciate.

-It’s not an act of honor nor an act of love. Is violence…is hate, crime…is aggression and it shows how much you disrespect us…everyone around you. You’re playing God, Matteo…And that’s wrong! He did something wrong too, now I understand. I did something wrong for being stupid and not slapping his face when I had the chance. But from all these wrongs…should really result a crime? Alright, you’re above us! You have money, you afford to pay someone to punch Adrian in the face and get out of this like nothing…You’re above the law, the justice does nothing cause no one press charges…What about me? What will you do to me if I’ll decide I want someone else? What if I’ll cheat you? Tell me! What will you do?

-I will kill you.

The words sounded surreal but she knew he meant them. She turned around so he couldn’t see how scared and hurt she looked. Her hands were shaking. He came closer, taking her in his arms.

-Look, Carissa, that’s…crazy. Why are we fighting? I love you, you’re everything to me. I agree, I overreacted about Adrian but you don’t know, sweetie, how it feels…when your best friend is stabbing you in the back. I lost it…I suffered more than him. Maybe those guys punched him in his face, but he stab me in the heart. I want you on my side, my sweet little angel…I know you’re good and loving…but right now I need you by my side…

She saw his eyes and she melted inside. Her anger, even justified, seemed insignificant compared to his inner demons.

Leah and Adrian came down from their bedroom. Strange enough, they looked happy. Leah was calm and smiling.

-Guys, I’m sorry about before. Baby…can I tell them the big news? (Adrian smiled and said yes) We’re getting married! Adrian proposed me…he said that the events tonight opened his eyes and he realized what’s really important in life…And how my love pulled him trough…See, Cari? I told you we’ll make a double wedding!

Like in a really bad movie…there were hugs, kisses…congratulations. She found herself hugging Leah and Adrian, wishing them the best…She felt paralyzed when she saw Matteo shaking Adrian’s hand. And even more horrified when Leah hugged Matteo, whispering (loud enough for everyone to hear):

-Matteo…none of this would ever happen if you wouldn’t invited us here. It’s this bond between us…that will never break. Thank you, you guys are amazing…Matteo, you’re a model to Adrian and you, Cari…I’m so happy to have you…I know it’s early but I want you to know that you’re my best friend! Hey, guys…can we count on you to help us with the arrangements? I know your family (Matteo’s parents) has some connections and I have a few ideas…

-Of course, Leah. What are friends for?

She had the feeling of sickness and nausea. ย She excused herself and went to the bathroom. She stood there, letting the hot water flow all over her body, letting her tears fall free. She knew that she’ll never feel innocent again. Or safe…”.

Dave: But you didn’t ran away with Alessio. You respected your marriage vows. The right choice…and you feel miserable.

Me: I didn’t ran away, but I wanted that with all my heart. And that’s what makes me guilty…because cheating starts in the most intimate emotions. And that’s the most painful thing…not the sex itself…

Dave: Cheating starts where commitment ends. The real commitment, the one made in your heart…Are you still committed to Ryan?

Me: Yes…

Dave: Then…you only cheated your own dreams…your own sense of morality and love.

 

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