She didn’t seek him out again. It was a one-time mistake, and she understood that. Haruma was comfort and a sanctuary. Keiichiro was safe and something of a dream, like a fantasy that barely happened and she knew she was supposed to stay away now. This was where it had to end if she wanted to keep him a dream.
She was almost sure she did want to keep him that way. See the problem was Talia was never certain about anything and this whole scenario had blown in unexpected, so it happened to be one of those things. The guilt ate at her sure, but she made sure she made up for it to Haruma in other ways when she saw how idiotically in love Haruma was with her. She hadn’t realized it before and now it seemed almost cruel that he looked at her like she was his world, that he passed her the remote and that he woke up early on Sundays to make her breakfast because he knew how lazy she was and that she wouldn’t make her mother’s pancake recipe because it took 2 hours.
But he would.
Because he wasn’t passive about this.
Keiichiro had been right. As much as she hated him for it. He was right about most things.
So she started to make it up to Haruma, because otherwise really how else could she live with herself?
She threw him the world’s greatest birthday party, she surprised him with the suit that he’d wanted forever with an advance she got for her next book, and she called his mother over to stay with them for a whole weekend and didn’t say a word as the Japanese woman bullied her so obviously, even in front of Haruma. She didn't even say a word about how upset she was that Haruma didn't bother to stand up for her.
That was how perfect a girlfriend she was going to be.
She would be overly mature about this whole thing because she had messed up. She had messed up big time and she knew that. She was reminded of that.
Every single day.
It happened sometimes when she was putting her jacket on, and she remembered the way Keiichiro’s thumb grazed past her shoulder as he took it off her frame, letting it fall to the marble floor of his apartment.
Other times it happened when she sipped her lacklustre coffee from Starbucks purposefully avoiding The Bulldog, just in case there was a chance she ran into him.
Most times it was when she was alone at home, hiding under her blanket like a little girl with a secret to keep with mere echoes of her memories.
Haruma of course had no idea. How could he?
But sometimes Talia wondered if he was just pretending, or if he actually was just that selfish and actually didn’t notice the small ways she had changed since she'd spent that night at her 'friend's' house.
Or maybe it wasn't Haruma's fault...maybe it was her fault because Talia herself was so good at pretending. She wasn’t sure. All she knew was it was starting to feel a bit exhausting all this acting like a perfect girlfriend when really she was starting to realize just how flawed she was for this man who was irrevocably in love with her. That she knew was her fault. She was trying so hard to make up for something he didn’t even know about, and it was driving her mad.
Keiichiro had called her since that night exactly twice. He left her a message once. The other time she heard him take an intake of a breath and hang up. The first message was not a great message that desperately asked her to call him back. Nothing overly romantic or dire or desperate…because Keiichiro was not that sort of man, he just mentioned that he hoped she was doing well and that if he had done something to upset her, he was sorry.
Keiichiro always got what he wanted, and he'd wanted her. She was just along for the ride.
It was that simple and Talia hated him a little bit for it. He was so calm, like some sort of being who had transcended human emotions. She hated that he didn’t seem to sound frantic when inside her entire being was completely rattled by the choice she had made that day on a whim. On a stupid fucking whim.
She hated that sometimes she thought it was the best choice she had ever made. It didn’t make sense. How could hurting the man she had spent so many years with, who cared for her so much, ever be the right choice?
She was slipping away from Miura. To him it looked like they were closer than ever. Like everything was perfect because everything they’d ever conflicted on, she made it a point to resolve.
He had no idea how far apart they were growing.