XOXO, I Hate You
By Elena Lane
Date: May 29, 2019
Ch. 88

Gordon stopped Beverly just as they got on the stoop. Beverly thought that Gordon was going to give her another kiss, but he didn’t. Instead, he took her hand and looked her square in the eye, not caring about the pouring rain. “I love you, Beverly,” he said earnestly. Beverly’s heart fluttered, but then, it quickly sank.
She wanted to say, “I love you back,” but she couldn’t give in to her feelings yet. It was too soon. All she could think about was her parents’ smug faces, telling her, “We told you so.” No, as good as it felt to be loved by Gordon and as much as Beverly wanted to love him back, she couldn’t let herself make it all real by saying it. Somehow, she needed to stop herself from falling in love, even though it was too late.
“I like you a lot, but you know that I can’t love you,” Bev said gently. She didn’t want to break his heart. It would kill Beverly if she broke his heart. She did love him and the last thing she wanted to do was hurt him, but the hurting was inevitable. No matter how she let him down, Gordon would be hurt.
“Can’t or won’t?” Gordon asked quietly. Beverly couldn’t think of anything to say; so, she just shrugged. Gordon spoke again, “Sometimes, you have to suck up your pride and follow your heart. Don’t deprive yourself just because you’re stubborn and desperate to make a point. That’s stupid, Bev and I know that you’re smarter than that. So, please, give our relationship a chance. Do it for me.”
Beverly was still at a loss for words. She just didn’t know what to do anymore; did she want to stick to her principles or did she want to turn her back on love? Eventually, she found her voice. “I need to think,” she said, but in her mind, she already knew that Gordon was right.
“Fine, but think fast because I go back to school soon and when that happens, I can’t promise that I’ll still be available.”
Beverly gave him a patronizing look. “You’d do that to your parents? You marrying me is what they want more than anything, but you’ll just give up on that? Mommy and Daddy won’t be happy at that, will they?” It was a low thing to say, but Beverly was going crazy trying to make her decision: to be a rebel or girlfriend.
“It’s not like that, Beverly. I told my parents that I’d marry you before I even knew how awesome you were, but if you aren’t going to love me back or agree to marry me then there really is no point in me chasing you. As much as I want to please my parents, I can’t do that so long as you want to displease yours,” Gordon said and Beverly could tell that he was starting to get angry.
Beverly bit her lip, “I like you.”
“You said that already and hearing it doesn’t help me. It just gives me false hope that maybe my love will be requited. That isn’t fair to me, Beverly. If only you could get past this arranged marriage thing, then we could actually be happy, Bev. Don’t you want to be happy?”
“Of course I do. Isn’t that what everyone wants? Things are just complicated and I’m confused.”
“It’s simple. I love you and I think that you love me. What’s so hard about that?” Before Beverly could speak, Gordon added, “Just forget it Beverly. Go inside and think about it. Us arguing isn’t going to accomplish anything; so, I think it would be best if I just give you a little more time. Then, maybe you can see how stupid you’re being.”
“Fine,” Beverly said, crossing her arms defensively, shielding herself from the thunderous rain. She felt like such an idiot.
After her disagreement with Gordon, Beverly stormed into her room and enshrouded herself in her duvet cover and several pillow. She was feeling more conflicted than ever with Gordon’s profession of love and she simply didn’t know what to do about it. Of course, it wasn’t something that she could talk to her parents about; they’d surely tell her to marry Gordon. So, Beverly was alone with her thoughts. That is, until she heard a knock on the door.
She looked through the pillows to see Bradley. “What do you want, Bradley?” Beverly asked harshly. She really wasn’t in the mood for her brother’s usual shenanigans. Most of the time when he came to talk to her, he acted like a fool. Most of the time, Bradley’s candid sense of humor was refreshing, but Beverly wasn’t in the mood for her brother in that moment.
“I just wanted to ask if you were okay?” It was no wonder Bradley was the favorite. Somehow, he always knew what to say and because of this, Beverly offered him a spot to sit on her unmade bed. “So, what’s the problem?” Brad asked and Beverly went into an hour long monologue, ranting about her feelings and all the things she was confused about. That was another great thing about Bradley- he knew when to listen and he knew when to speak.
After an hour of listening, Bradley finally piped up, “I think you’re in love with Gordon,” he said.
“Well, yeah, I know that,” Beverly replied.
“So, I don’t see why you’re so conflicted. I think that you’re being kind of silly.”
“No, I’m not, Bradley. It’s called standing up for my beliefs.”
“The whole Greg thing already made the point that you can’t be forced into anything you don’t want to do and you’ve always said that you were going to marry someone that you love. So, if you didn’t marry Gordon, you’d have to settle for someone who you’ll never love fully. I’m not saying that you have to marry Gordon. You have time to make that decision, but the point is that you should at least give him a chance.”
“I think I do want to marry him- eventually,” Beverly said softly.
“Then, do it.”
“You know why I can’t.”
“Come on, Bev. That’s a stupid reason. Don’t marry someone because Mom and Dad want you to, but don’t run away from the man you love because of mom and dad either. Just don’t marry the way mom and dad want you to. Be yourself and do as you want. This doesn’t have to have anything to do with our parents if you don’t want it to. Bev, put yourself first and do what you feel is right.” Beverly was quiet for a minute so Brad broke the silence, “So, have you made a decision.”
“Yeah,” Beverly said with a smile, “I’m going to let myself fall in love,” and she wasn’t going to hold back. She was going to let her heart decide the outcome, not her parents.

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