“If loving you condemns me, let me burn in hell.”
“That’s… nice. That’s real cheerful. Why not tell me something to reassure instead of disturb this time?”
He frowned, looked down at his hands, shifted his feet. “I don’t understand what you mean. I tell you I love you, and you tell me to tell you something better? What more can I say?”
“You didn’t tell me you loved me though, you just said you were going to hell.”
“For loving you.”
“The wrong way.”
He twisted his body from the waist, looking out the window so he wouldn’t have to focus on eyes that burned his brain, and let his brows furrow. “I thought you loved me back.”
“Not like that.”
The almost scoff almost hurt, if he could define it so easily, and he moved his hips so that they faced the same way his chest was. He tried again. “I thought you felt the same.”
“Well… I’m sorry, but I don’t.”
“But…” It was hard to understand how he could have misunderstood all the clues he had thought so obvious. The hand almost constantly on his shoulder; the sly, secret smile that seemed to be only available for him; softly murmured words shared between closely bent heads when they were speaking; the fall of dark hair mingling with his own light hair. How could that have all been a mistake?
As if an apology could help at all now. He shook his head. “But then why… I thought…”
Maybe the pain would ease after a time, he thought hopefully. Maybe the pain would ease, and his chest would stop aching and become numb, immune to this kind of heartbreak, but their friendship… cherished and envied and so somehow private between just the two of them… How could that possibly survive without change?
“Look, I’d better be going. I’m expected on a date and…”
He simply nodded, not looking away from the window. Oh. That’s how it would work. Awkwardness and trailing off sentences, with no more shared laughter and secrets, no more discussing girls while discreetly watching the way the dark hair fell into eyes only to be flipped back again.
If loving you condemns me…
Loving had condemned him, damned him to a fate of watching his friend go on dates with people who didn’t know, couldn’t possibly realize the prize they might have, not the way he could comprehend and appreciate. He would be forced to watch from the sidelines as dating turned possibly to love, to marriage, and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.
…let me burn in hell
Hell was where he’d be for the rest of his life. Unable to love like he deserved to love, unable to show what he felt for fear of ruining a dating life that would make nights agonizing and days torturous.
He had signed himself to hell the moment he had fallen in love.
And there was no one to thank but himself.