I stood in the doorway, feeling uncomfortable. Shifting my weight, I paused before turning back. What a fool I was, to think he’d want to reconcile. He was probably preparing some sort of revenge while I stood here waiting. I hadn’t given him that chance last time. I must have been smarter back then.
“Going somewhere, Lacie? You just got here, didn’t you?” I turned again, slowly, expecting some sort of rifle in my face. But Devon was just standing there, hands on his hips, cocky smile on his face. “Or were you having second thoughts?”
“I just-” I sighed. “I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to- I know you, well, I know we weren’t happy, neither of us, last time we saw each other and-”
“ ‘Not happy’ is a bit of an understatement, Lacira.” He shook his head and walked back down the hallway, beckoning me to follow.
“Don’t call me that,” I said in reflex, hesitatingly stepping inside his house after him. “But… I just… I’m so sorry, Devon. I know you- I know I wasn’t- I did horribly, and I didn’t know how to make it better, so I didn’t, but here I am, and I’m trying, and I know you’ve always respected that, when I tried. So I am and I- I’m just… sorry. I want to make things better.”
He stopped at the end of the hallway, facing my blubbering mess. “Yeah, I always respected when you tried.” His eyes were hard on the edges, trying to be soft, but I could still see it. He hated me. Oh, how he hated me. I didn’t blame him for it.
“I don’t know how else to put it… we were both trying to do what we thought was right, and I was wrong. I see that now. You, you were right, and I didn’t- I was wrong. I’ve made it better, though, I’ve tried, and this is… this is the last thing I need to do to fix it all.”
“Another check on the box, I see. You haven’t changed a bit. Let me just smile and shake your hand and send you on your merry satisfied way, shall I?” He led me into the kitchen and took the kettle off the stove. His voice was light, joking, but there was a layer underneath that made me tense.
“I… you know I don’t mean it like that, Devon…” I set my hand on the countertop, shifting my weight.
“I’m kidding, Lacie. You’re right this time. I’m glad you came. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it, darling?”
I flinched at the familiar endearment and felt the wateriness in my eyes begin to build. “I’ve missed us,” I whispered, looking down.
“I have too,” he said, putting a hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him, trying to blink away the tears. His eyes had softened. He carried the kettle to the table and gestured to the mugs. I selected my old favorite, a simple white one with a decal of foxgloves on the side, and let him pour the hot water in. He hesitated a moment before lifting the kettle back up and transferring it to his own mug. “Peppermint as usual?” He asked.
“As usual,” I answered, soaking in the memories from before it all happened, when we would just sit together and have tea.
“You know, I almost got rid of that mug,” Devon said, sitting down across from me. “But I kept it, just in case this day came. The day you finally come crawling back to apologize.” He lifted a smile and an eyebrow.
I gave a breath of a laugh and sipped my tea. I quickly realized after the sip that it was poison. My eyes snapped up to meet his.
“It’s foxglove tea, darling. The mug is coated with it too. A bit of irony, I suppose. But then again, I’ve had years to mull.” I tried to get up and scramble away, but he caught my arm and began to hiss in my face, “You can never fix what you did.” I regretted dropping my training regimen. He evidently hadn’t, for he was able to keep me pinned in my chair as he plugged my nose and forced the rest of the tea down my throat. My heart was thumping erratically. He finally released me after I had been forced to swallow the last drop. I backed away from him quickly, hand over my mouth, tears coming back to my eyes.
“I should’ve known… you’d never forgive me… I don’t suppose I’ll make it out of here…” I crumpled to the ground, crying. “You won’t let me, will you, Devon… I should’ve known…”
“Yes, darling. You should’ve known.”