"Emma, wait." When she gets up, I almost grab her hand; my own hovers awkwardly in the air when I change my mind. She stares down on it, and then her eyes meet mine. I put it back in my lap, brow furrowing.
"Why?" She asks, her voice just ever so slightly unsteady. "Why should I wait?"
"To give me a chance I don’t deserve. To… explain things. Not as an excuse, because there isn't any, but just… Please let me shed a light on the things I did." I don't know why I put myself through this. This whole ordeal has been painful, with my heart carelessly being ripped to shreds with every word she said, and here I am asking her to stay, so I can make it all a little worse. "Please." I plead again. Please don't go. Please stay with me and forgive me for all the stupid things I did. Please let this moment last forever, no matter how heart wrenching, because I fear it may be the last time I'll ever be able to talk to you. Where we used to be able to communicate without a single word, there now seems to be not enough words for any kind of message to come across. Which is why it surprises me when she sits back down; apprehensive, reluctant, but she sits and wraps her hands around her large cup of coffee, because Emma is too good for me. 
"Okay." is all she says, actively shutting me up because where do I even start? But I need to say something, or else she'll leave again. 
"Everything you just told me is in your right." I don't look at her, instead gaze down on my fingers crumbling the remnants of a piece of shortbread that was too dry for my taste. I used to give them to Emma, but that didn't seem right anymore. "Which you don't need me to tell you that, because who am I to say your feelings are valid or not? I just mean that… I understand. And I deserve all the hate you hold towards me." I lick my lips, my throat suddenly feeling awfully dry when the scenes of our break up play out in my mind. "When you left that day, something snapped in me. It felt like I was no longer tethered to the Earth - everything I had was suddenly gone. And I coped by doing everything I wasn't able to do in the past year." 
I pause, my cookie now turned to dust, and now I'm wringing the metal spoon in my hands. "I know that video was fucked up. I didn't write it. I didn't want to post it. Winoc made me, said it was the best thing I could do. He swore that he'd gotten your go ahead, but it's clear he lied. I fired him." I dare a glance up at her, but her face is void of any emotion. My stomach twists painfully, because she never used to look at me like that. Even in the beginning, when she still hated me, there was always a spark of something in her eyes. With a trembling breath I focus back on the spoon in my hands, because I fear I might lose my confidence if I look at her for too long and that I will let her walk away. "I thought going to France was going to solve everything, but I couldn't have been more wrong. You haunted me, Emma. Everywhere I went, there were you. I thought I saw you in my bathroom mirror, or stepping into the metro when I was at the station. You were constantly on my mind, ripping open my heart again and again and again. I couldn’t stop thinking about the good things we had, and the things I so carelessly threw away. The only time it would stop was if I was out of my mind drunk." I pause, because I'm trying to find a way to make the next part less awful, but I quickly come to the realisation that there isn't one. "I'm… This next bit is going to make me sound real bad. And it was bad, in so many ways. You're allowed to hate me for it, and believe me when I say I hate myself for this, too. But just… bear with me, okay?" 
I glance up again, and she gives a slow nod. 
"I went to every party that I was invited to. Every event, every get together, every opportunity to get drunk or fucked up on other substances - I took it. It was the only way to not have to constantly deal with this heartbreak. I wasn't thinking, because that was the whole point of it. I didn't take anyone's feelings in consideration, never stopped to think what my actions might mean for others. The weeks between September and October are a blur, Emma, I don't remember eighty percent of it. I was a robot on auto pilot just doing everything to keep myself occupied. I… I can't recall any of the things I did, barely any of the people I made out or slept with. Looking back, I feel sick. I hate that I did that. I'm not ever going to let myself live that down, because it's the lowest of the low. It's a miracle I never did something to get myself or someone else seriously hurt. Until I did." I still don't have a clear memory of that night, which in itself is telling enough. "Something… happened, during Halloween. And Matthew gave me an ultimatum - I was either going to let him help me, or he was going to break with me and take Brie and Eschieve with him. What choice did I have? He took me to a retreat in South-Africa, where I was practically closed off from the outside world. I could do nothing else but finally face all the things I was so desperately trying to forget. It took me seven weels to get back to any kind of functioning. I just returned last week, and it's been slow going." I let out a shaky breath, and finally look up again - really look up, trying to read the expression on her face. I can't pinpoint what I see, because it feels like I'm not looking at the same Emma that I know so well. "I'm not playing this off as an excuse, because there isn't one. I know that. But it was never easy for me, Emma. It felt like my entire life had slipped through my fingers, like everything I knew had been ripped away from me. I cried and I screamed and cursed everything and everyone, most of all myself. Gabriel told me you and I are going to have to learn to tolerate each other, but… I'm going to make sure you see me as little as possible. After all I did to you, you deserve a life without me."

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