“Your memory feels like home to me. So whenever my mind wanders, it always finds it’s way back to you.”― Ranata Suzuki
Windenburg "The Thinking Cup" Café Almost 4 months after Keira left
Keira raised her hand slightly, waving hesitantly, to flag down the tall, broad-shouldered young man with the buttery blonde hair down past his shoulders, who had just entered, he now saw her, then with the energy of a steam engine rushed to her, plopping down into the chair across from her.
“What the hell is going on, Keira? You run off and go dark for months at a time, ignore all my messages, then suddenly you summon me all the way out to Windenburg for a cup of coffee?! Have you been gone so long that you forgot where we live? Is this where you ran off to? Windenburg of all places?!” he barked at her.
Looking around to see if they were causing a scene, Keira responded, her voice low.
“Shh! Keep your voice down, Connor. I did not ‘summon’ you, I suggested to meet because you wouldn’t stop calling and texting, so I figured I’ll try one more time to explain. No, I don’t live here, it’s just kinda … in the middle, and of course I know where you live but felt it would be better to meet on neutral ground. Don’t you want to order first?”
“Do I want to order, she asks! No, what I want is for you to quit this bullshit and come back home, rather than meet me on ‘neutral ground’? I am not here to slurp coffee with you, Keira! I am here to find out why the fuck my entire life is in shambles! Why for more than a quarter of a year now my fiancée has been ghosting me – and unless they are lying to me – your entire family as well. We are all worried sick about you! Keira, if you are in some kind of trouble …”
“Connor! I am NOT in any trouble. And … please remember I did give you back your ring …” she started out firmly, then her voice got soft, as she averted her glance for the latter part.
He just stared at her.
Finally, he found his words.
“Is there another dude? Is that it? Or are you freezing me out because of the arrest? Are you blaming me for that?! That wasn’t just me! You could have said no at any point. You went along with it all and we got caught. Is THAT why?”
“No, it has nothing to do with that, Connor. There is nobody else and I fully accept responsibility for our actions.”
“So … it is the turning. Has to be. Nothing else left. We never really had big fights, just a little bickering, which isn’t unheard of for two people who grew up like siblings, sex was always good, money situation is okay, we were having fun, we never cheated on each other, … leaves the one thing I remember fighting you tooth and nail on. If that is why all this is happening now, I am going to fucking lose my shit!”
“Connor, no, I already told you that is not it. I am happy the way I am now, no regrets, and I am literally eternally grateful to you for turning me. Please quit trying to explain something that just doesn’t have an explanation. I tried to explain it to you best I could. This isn’t cut and dry. This is emotions, feelings, instincts, an inner drive …”
Connor just leaned back in his chair, staring at her as if she was insane.
“So … what’s gonna happen next? You go off for your me-time, then – what? You come back at some point? When? How much longer is this supposed to last?”
“I don’t know, Connor. I just don’t know. I am still trying to figure everything out. Your life is not the only one in shambles. I am trying to see land myself.”
“Only difference being that you brought this on yourself, and I got caught in the crosshairs of your self-finding situation here, as is Morpheus. You remember Morpheus? Cos he sure still remembers you, after all these months, that poor dog still keeps looking for you, wondering why his mommy left him. Keeps looking at me with big sad eyes, probably hoping to somehow mind-control me to get off my ass and get you back home. If only I could.”
“Of course, I remember Mo, what do you take me for, we raised him since he was 8 weeks old! I miss him like crazy, my life is a mess at the moment, I have no room for a dog, especially not one as big as Morphy! Okay, I deserve this. Yes, I caused all this. I never meant to hurt you. Or Morphy. That is literally the last thing I ever wanted.”
“Well, you failed royally then, this hurts, big time. So, are you also freezing your parents out or are they lying to me?”
“My mom knows a little bit, not much. My dad can’t keep a secret.”
“And neither can I, evidently. Thanks much. Aren’t we a bit young for a midlife crisis?”
“Connor, that’s different. You would come by and try to change my mind all the time. I know you.”
“Do you? Good for you. I thought I knew you too, how wrong I was, cos the Keira I have known all my life would NEVER pull this shit! And why would changing your mind be so bad? Sounds like you don’t even know what the heck you are doing. And from where I sit, it doesn’t make much sense either.”
“I am trying to figure out who Keira Vatore is. I cannot be with anyone, when I don’t even really know who I am. I need to be with me first, get to know me, figure out who that even is. Maybe I need to rethink my entire life. Nothing seems to make sense anymore; nothing feels right anymore. I love art, it’s been my life for as long as I can remember, but when I got fired, I had to come to terms with the fact that the type of job I want isn’t readily available. So, I have to figure out if I want to change my career, my ideas, my aspirations or if I keep doing temp jobs until something becomes available again.”
“I occasionally do some barkeeping or some barista work, skills we both probably picked up growing up with our parents and their many parties all the time, so I don’t blow through my savings too fast. Rent is high.”
“Rent?! You have a new place? Like for real? I thought you ran off to a hotel or some shit? You rented a place?!”
“Connor … I don’t know how long I need. I can’t live with you, nor can I go live with our parents again. Plus, please don’t take this the wrong way, and please, PLEASE don’t flip out, but … I think for this to have any meaning, we should both start seeing other people.”
“WHAT?! THAT is what’s all this is about?! You are tired of me and what to try out some new D?!?! You gotta be kidding me! I sit at home beating myself up over how I could have done you wrong and how to fix it, and you come with THIS?! Not enough that you ditched me out of the clear blue skies, now you wanna sleep around too?! I do not even recognize you at all anymore! This is BULLSHIT! FUCK THIS! FUCK YOU, KEIRA!” roared Connor.
One more angry glare, probably waiting for her to say something, anything, when she didn’t, instead just averted her gaze to the ground, he shook his head, jumped up, nearly tipping over his chair, before he ran out of the cafe, leaving behind a distraught Keira, who was fighting the tears.
“Bye Con-Bear. I really hope one day you will understand.”
San Myshuno Apartment Building
Almost exactly a week after their meeting at the cafe, she got back home from running some errands, stepping off the elevator to someone waiting for her right outside her door. Hot and cold waves shot all over her body, her cheeks flushed red, as she stopped and stared at him, who now nodded at her.
“Boo! It’s me, the ghost of Christmas past. Also: gotcha!” he said triumphantly.
“What are you doing here, Connor? How did you even find me?”
“Oh, I have my ways. So, this shithole is what you traded our house in for. A house YOU wanted, which YOU fell in love with. A house two doors down from our parents, who are wondering what the fuck I did to you for you to disappear and go dark like you have. You know how this makes me look? Like a fucking bastard. As if I did nothing but use and abuse you all damn day long! The way you left, what are people supposed to think other than that I am some brutal fiend causing you to run and hide from me and everyone we know. I know that’s what I would think!”
“Connor … nobody thinks that. Everyone knows this is on me.”
“How do you know? Are you talking to anyone? If you are, they are lying to me, cos I literally made the rounds asking everyone we know about you and all I reaped were blank stares.”
“I am not talking to anyone. The whole point is for me to get away from everything and everyone, put some distance in between so I can think clearly. I’ll go further, once I figured out where to.”
“Further? You’re not done running yet? Fabulous! Ever considered my feelings? Your parents’ feelings? My parents’ feelings, considering they helped raise you too? Ever thought people might be worried about you? This is unlike you, Keira. Very much unlike you. If you were a patient of mine, I’d call you unstable and be scheduling you for some serious testing, because personality changes this dramatic can mean a lot of things, none of which good!”
“I am NOT sick, Connor, or frail! I’m fine. Nobody needs to worry about me, I am a vampire now. What could happen? I am immortal, have super-human strength and reflexes; I have daylight immunity. I’ll be fine.”
“Just give me a hint, Keira, please! Stop punishing me here. What did I do wrong? Whatever it is, Keira, I can fix it. I can change, if that’s what you need. Just tell me how! What do you need from me? Please, PLEASE tell me … please …. say the words and I am doing it!”
“Connor, STOP! STOP, just STOP!”
She broke down and started sobbing, hard, out of the blue, Connor just grabbed her and pulled her close, which she allowed, on the contrary, she buried her face in his shoulder as he enveloped her with his strong arms.
He let her cry for a little while, before whispering
“Can we go inside?”
The moment he said that he felt her tense up and already knew the answer before she pulled away from him, wiping her eyes before looking up at him.
“Connor, no. I can’t. If I let you in now, I will just fold and go back to the old life. I need to do this, don’t you understand? I am going crazy wondering who I really am.”
“You mean, who you are without me.”
“In a roundabout way, yes.”
“Why is that so important to you, Keira? It never bothered you before, and I am in the same boat, yet couldn’t care less. I don’t want to know who I am without you. I already know what I am without you, which is absolutely miserable. That’s more than enough for me to call this experiment a failure.”
“It’s not an experiment. Okay, let me boil it down for you: I can never truly be someone’s partner, if I don’t know who I am without them. Who Keira really is. I don’t want to be Connor and Keira all my life. It’s always been Keira and Connor, always. What if we are not meant to be, what if we only THINK we’re supposed to be together, date, be engaged, get married? What if we’re supposed to be like siblings, not lovers? What if we’re in a rut? Forever is a very long time, Connor. Especially now, both of us immortal, forever really is a very long time to be stuck as one half of a whole. I want to be whole on my own.”
“Stuck?! Being with me is stuck!? Hang on, what was that bullcrap you served me at the cafe about seeing other people? Are you already doing other dudes? Is that why I can’t come in? Is someone in there?”
“No. Nobody is in there. And no, I am not seeing anyone. Not yet. But I might, and you should too, if only to get a new perspective and see if we really were something real or chasing our tails in a relationship out of convenience. I just don’t know anymore, Connor, and this uncertainty is killing me inside. My going on as before would not be fair to either of us. Which is why I gave you back your ring.”
“You didn’t give me back anything. What you did means nothing to me, other than that you are temporarily not wearing some jewelry. You took the ring off, so what? By your logic it would mean a lot of engagements are broken every time someone washes their hands. You took the ring off without any context and put it on your vanity, which, by the way, what am I supposed to do with that now, considering I don’t wear makeup, and what about all your other shit still at the house? Your artwork, even some clothes and all.”
“Fine Connor, if you need me to say it, I will. We are no longer engaged; I take back my promise of marriage and you take back your ring. And if my things bother you so much, put them in storage or something.”
“This just keeps getting better and better! You run out on me, dump me, and now I am supposed to foot the bill for not having to look at your crap every day, frequent reminders of me getting dumped out of the blue by the person I trusted the most?”
“Fine, Connor, then give it away or something.”
“Great, and then when you decide you are ready to come back, I am expected to just …”
“I AM NOT COMING BACK!”
“Why can’t you comprehend this?! Connor, it’s over between us. We are no longer engaged. I didn’t just take off the ring to wash my hands, I gave it back to you and you KNOW it! Just like I knew if I had handed it to you, you would have fought me on that too. This is hard on me as well! I don’t WANT to do this, but I HAVE to or I will go insane! I want so much for there to be an us to come back to, but I don’t know how long I need, or if the Keira that comes back is even gonna be someone you would still want, still love, and I know asking you to wait for me wouldn’t be fair, not with so many variables, so yes, I am breaking up with you and think we both should get some experience under our belts. When I left, I took with me what fit in my car, hoping I could get the rest once I figured out what to do, but if you can’t hold on to it all for me, then do with it as you will. I thought I was being as clear as I could be without hurting you more than I already was, but if you need it more brutal for it to sink in, here goes. We are done. Broken up. You are single again, as am I. I live here now, for the time being, this is only temporary – and you get to keep the house, it was in your name anyway. Did I get through now?”
“Loud and clear, but you still haven’t told me why.”
“Are you joking? I have been trying to explain it, again and again.”
“No. You are feeding my random esoteric bullshit. Some balmy ideas about finding yourself. Go to a lifestyle coach or a guru or do yoga and meditate on it for all I care, but don’t end a relationship that was flawless. Our life together was perfect. Go back home, relax and find yourself in the comfort of our own 4 walls. There, Doctor Cameron coached you. Let’s forget this idiotic idea and let’s go home now. I am tired of this, exhausted by it, Keira. No more of this.”
“I give up, you just don’t want to understand me. Leave me alone, Connor. I do not want to go back home, I do not want to live with you, I do not want to be your fiancée anymore. I want a new life, one with me front and center until I am sure I know who and what I am. I don’t want to be the bassist of 2Dark 2C’s daughter, I don’t want to be the advisor of the Grand Master Elder Vampire’s granddaughter, I don’t want to be Connor’s fiancée or girlfriend or anything … I want to be Keira Vatore, an entity of my own, a person. And since you are so worried about that, if I were to start seeing someone else, then definitely not to find love or get married, that would literally be the last thing I want. All I have ever known is YOU. You, you, you and you and again you, all over, everything, all the time. You are suffocating me. I know you never meant to, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. THIS …” she gestured around her in the hallway, “… THIS is what I need now. And if you care at all about me, you will let me go and let me do this. If you are so adamant about living with someone and being engaged, then you need to find another girl for all that. That girl can’t be me anymore.”
Connor’s facial expression ran through various stages of disbelief and hurt, until he punched the wall next to Keira, then turned to her, his eyes nearly shooting sparks.
“Fine! Have it your way! Hoe it up on your egoistic self-finding mission! But I tell you one thing, come pick up your crap this weekend! I am tired of looking at it, especially after hearing those gems from you! You need me to be a dick, cos all you are saying sure makes me sound like one, so here you go, Keira: if you haven’t come by the house by the time I go to work on Monday, I will come home and make a nice bonfire with all your shit, all your furniture, whatever nic nacs and clothing you may have left and not to forget your art. All those paintings you made will burn like tinder! Am I suffocating and drowning you enough yet? Yeah? GOOD! You want to be rid of me so you can screw other men? You want to be free? Okay, fine, you are fucking free of me!” he roared at her.
Using vampire speed this time, he turned and rushed to the emergency stairwell, tore open the door so hard that Keira worried he took it off the hinges, but it fell shut in his wake like a big, metallic exclamation mark.
Fighting back the tears, she mumbled to herself.
“I am sorry. Why can’t you try to understand that I need to know who I really am? And that I can’t do that with you, you are such a presence in my world, larger than life, when I am with you all I can ever see is you, I could never find myself, Connor. I thought you would always understand me. But you don’t, you don’t even want to try. Now I am all alone, but I need this, or I will go crazy wondering anyway.”
Sniffling, she turned to unlock and enter her apartment, where she couldn’t help but sob herself to sleep that night.
4 thoughts on “Chapter 442) Snubbed”
Oh my goodness… The hurt is so raw here. The words ‘suffocating me’ clearly ripped his heart out.
I can only hope she doesn’t regret this decision of hers when Connor moves on as she want him to, and she realizes he’s really who she wants and needs. Love this young couple so much. I hope they can both be happy. Eventually.
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My heart is ripped apart. They are both hurting but I’m not sure who is in more pain, Connor or Kiera. I know Kiera is confused and scared. I think it does have to do with being turned even if she doesn’t realize it. She left him because when she lost her job it scared her and now she doesn’t know what she wants because she suddenly has eternity. So what is out there? It’s there more than Connor? What else can I do? That has to be hard for her.
Connor is secure in who he is so he doesn’t understand her frustration and confusion. I mean they do have eternity to explore different things, but because she feels ‘suffocated’ by him, she ran. Connor feels betrayed and is very, very hurt. He loves Kiera more than anything and I’ve no doubt she loves Connor too, but yes, is that love supposed to be sibling love or romantic love. So hard. They may well be over, for a long time anyway. Perhaps they’ll find each other again, but I just don’t know. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
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You’re right, I think. Eternity was looking pretty long when you don’t know anymore what you should be doing with your life…
I just want to give them both a hug!
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Yeah, me too! 😔
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