“I’m sorry I kind of overdid the pancakes.” Angela Pleasant apologised. She had been cooking breakfast for her parents almost all week. She’d also been doing all the household chores, buying groceries, and keeping up to date with her homework, as well as helping her twin sister Lilith with hers. She hoped all of this would show Daniel and Mary-Sue just how mature she was, and that they’d finally give her an answer about whether or not she could go travelling for a year after she graduated.
“It’s alright. You didn’t have to make them for us, I know you’ve been trying your best to be responsible and mature this past week and it shows. That’s why me and your mother had a long chat last night about your future.” Daniel said. This was it, what Angela had been waiting for. “We both agree that your decision not to go to University, although a little risky, is perfectly acceptable when taken into account how much you’re going to be learning out in the real world. So, you have our blessing.”
“You mean it!?” Angela asked, as she smiled with joy.
“Of course. As long as you phone and write every single day!” Daniel laughed, although Angela knew he was really being serious.
“Yes? Yes! I can’t believe it... Mum, are you crying?” Angela asked, as Mary-Sue wiped her eyes.
“Oh! It’s just, you’re so grown up.” Mary-Sue said, as Angela broke out into a little dance of joy.
“Sorry, what did you say?” Mary-Sue laughed.
“Never mind. I just know that whatever you do with your future you’re going to make me so proud.” Mary-Sue turned away and desperately tried to hide the tears falling from her eyes.
“What your mother means is that we know you’ll make us both proud.” Daniel corrected his wife, who was emotional after the events of last week. She had received a call from her doctor in regards to her health; she needed to come into hospital for more tests to determine whether or not she had an underlying blood condition.
“You won’t regret it, daddy, I will make you and mum proud.” Angela said, as she heard a knock at the front door.
“I know you will.” Daniel looked at his beautiful daughter with an ache in his heart. He and his wife had had a serious discussion, not only about Angela’s future, but about everyone’s future. Mary-Sue made Daniel think realistically about if she wasn’t around anymore. It was painful to discuss, and Daniel wanted to make sure it never happened. That’s why they both decided that if Mary-Sue became even more ill, it would be best if Angela and Lilith weren’t around to see. With Angela wanting to leave Pleasantview for a year anyway, it made the situation easier. Daniel assured his wife that what she was suggesting was a last case scenario, but Mary-Sue was adamant that if things got too bad, she would leave her job and Pleasantview behind to beat her illness in peace, and she would ask her parents to move in and look after Lilith. Daniel hoped and prayed that things would never get that bad. Feeling the need to soak up as much time with his wife as possible, he suggested the two go for a gentle morning stroll.
Angela was surprised to see her boyfriend Dustin Broke when she answered the door. They had already exchanged presents, and Angela had wanted some time apart to sort out her feelings regarding Dustin. She loved him, so very much, but she didn’t want that to stop her from following her dream of travelling outside Pleasantview. She didn’t want to force Dustin into a long distance relationship either, and she couldn’t bear the thought of breaking up before she left in six months time, she wasn’t even sure that six months down the line she could bring herself to leave Dustin. But now her parents had said yes and everything was official, Angela knew what she had to do. “What are you doing here?”
“I know we already gave each other presents, but I was hanging around the house, a.k.a. the building site, and was bored out of my skull. I wondered if maybe you just wanted to hang out and do stuff?” Dustin smiled.
“Sure, what do you want to do?” Angela innocently asked.
“You know... Stuff.” Dustin repeated himself, as he cuddled Angela. His warm embrace was too much, it was killing her inside knowing that she was going to have to leave him. But he needed to know now rather than later.
“No, no stuff. We need to talk.” Angela said monotonously, as she motioned for Dustin to follow her outside. It was a typical Pleasantview winter, not a cloud in the sky! This is what Angela was talking about, she couldn’t believe that only once in her life had she seen snow. She imagined the sights she’d see outside Pleasantview, but her thoughts were short lived as Dustin joined her.
“Why did you want to talk to me out here?” He asked.
“Isn’t it private enough in your bedroom?” Dustin hinted.
“No, Lilith’s on the computer. She’s been on it everyday this week chatting to Alexander Goth. I swear something more than friendship’s going on between those two.” Angela theorised.
“Really? I think that’s sweet, Lilith’s a great girl and it was awful what Dirk did to her. She’d benefit from a nice boy like Alex. Maybe in the new year we could double date.” Dustin suggested, once again embracing his love.
“Stop!” Angela blurted out and backed away. She couldn’t bear lying to Dustin anymore.
“What’s wrong?” Dustin sported a puzzled expression. Angela pouted, trying to hold back her tears.
“I don’t know how to tell you this. I want you to know that I love you...”
“And I love you too.” Dustin interrupted her.
“Let me finish, please. I don’t think this can go on.” Angela began.
“Our relationship. After I graduate next year... I’m leaving Pleasantview.”
“What! You’re family’s moving?”
“No, just me. I want to travel instead of going to University. And I don’t want to keep you tethered to a long distance relationship - so I think it’s best if we break up now.” Angela finished. Dustin's puzzled expression remained frozen. He had been left speechless, what could he say after that?
“You want to end it now? What about Prom? What about going to Sim State together? What about... us?” Dustin said, as he began to hold back tears of his own.
“I though it would just be easier this way.”
“Oh! Sure, easy for you maybe. A good excuse to get away and start a new life with some new guy.” Dustin suggested.
“It’s not like that.” Angela reasoned.
“Why can’t you just be honest and tell me the real reason you want to break up. What is it, you’ve suddenly realised that what your precious father’s been saying about me all along is true, and that you’re never going to have a future with me?” Dustin argued.
“No. In my heart, I feel that if we’re meant to be together, then we won’t need to pretend that a long distance relationship can work. And I do think we’re meant to be together.” Angela hoped out loud.
“If we’re meant to be together, then why are you breaking up with me?” Dustin yelled.
“Don’t yell!” Angela cried, as she tried to make Dustin understand why she was doing what she was doing. “I know that six more months of being with you would just make this decision even harder. I know I couldn’t do it, and I wouldn’t. I’d stay here, and yes we’d be together, but deep down a part of me would always regret not being true to myself. And I don’t want us to be like that. Even if that means we can only be friends. So I’m doing the right thing, and I understand you might not see that right now but I know that given some time, you’ll agree.”
“Sure, after girl number four, I think I’ll definitely be seeing the upside of breaking up.” Dustin cruelly suggested.
“No, it is not like that. Why are you making this harder than it has to be?” Angela asked, hurt by Dustin’s coldness.
“Oh, so now it’s my fault. I didn’t do anything, you’re the one who wants to break up. Why you can’t give me the decency and just be truthful and admit that you’re getting out whilst you still can is beyond me.”
“You don’t think these are my true feelings? You wanna know my true feelings? I can’t even begin to contemplate giving myself to you and then leaving... It would be like it meant nothing.” Angela pleaded.
“What’s wrong with that?” Dustin coldly asked. Angela saw a side to Dustin she didn’t like, and could hold back her tears no longer.
“Then, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you feel as if our years together have been a waste of time.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got an urge to make up for it.” Dustin vindictively remarked, before walking away and back through the house. Angela was heartbroken. It was like Dustin had completely shut off his emotions. It was understandable she supposed, if he indeed really did love her then maybe it was the only way he could leave without breaking down and crying like herself. Dustin couldn’t see Angela’s logic about breaking up, all he knew was that he loved Angela and wanted to be with her no matter what. He felt foolish, he did feel as if the whole of their relationship had been a waste of time if Angela had had planned this all along. He knew there must be more to the story... What if Angela had met someone else; a mysterious, exotic man who was luring her away with promises of excitement and travel, Dustin thought. It was surely tempting; a life he could never offer Angela. Maybe they were better off apart - no-one had ever thought it would last to begin with. So that was it, he thought, we’re broken up. His most meaningful relationship had shattered into a million pieces in front of his eyes. But he couldn’t mourn, instead he hungered for revenge. He wanted to tear Angela’s heart apart just like she had done to him. He knew it was an empty threat, in the back of his mind. He would get home and find some solitude in his concrete shell of a room. If only he had made it straight there... instead of bumping into Lilith. Lilith; Angela’s twin sister. Angela had warned Dustin that her sister appeared to have a crush on him. And now he saw just what she was talking about. The look in her eyes when she touched his hand and apologised for what her sister had just done was full of such compassion and admiration - the same look he used to get from Angela. “You knew?” Dustin said, as his reflexes kicked in, jerking his hand away from Lilith’s touch.
“I hoped she’d back out, I know how much she loves you.”
“If she loved me, then she’d want to be with me.” Dustin said. “Wouldn’t you want to be with the man you loved, no matter where you lived?”
“Of course, if it was you.” Lilith said, as she backtracked and tried to rationalise her rather suggestive comment. “What I mean is, I know what you and Angela have been through and I just can’t believe she’s doing this.” Lilith reached for Dustin’s hand ever so slightly again.
This time, Dustin completed the action and interlocked his fingers with Lilith’s. “What would you do? If you and me were... together.” Dustin dangerously suggested. In a few seconds, Lilith had turned a deep shade of red, as she dared to think about Dustin’s question.
“I... couldn’t leave you. Not if I loved you as much as Angela says she does.”
“What about you?” Dustin asked, his voice no more louder than a whisper.
“What about me?” Lilith coyly replied.
Moving closer to Lilith’s body, Dustin seized his chance for revenge. He could hear Angela coming into the kitchen, and Lilith was too wrapped up in Dustin to realise that her sister was approaching. “How much would you love me?” Dustin replied to Lilith’s question with another.
“I don’t think I should answer that.” Lilith honestly replied.
“You don’t have to, I think I already know the answer.” Dustin smiled, as he leaned in to kiss Lilith. Reeling from her break-up and still wiping the tears away from her eyes, Angela wasn’t emotionally ready for the sight that she stumbled upon. Her sister, in the arms of her ex-boyfriend - gazing into each others eyes.
As Lilith gently guided Dustin’s chin away from her face, she could see that he was really hurt by her sisters rejection. Despite wanting to badly kiss Dustin, she just smiled and stroked his face. “I’m here for you... but as a friend.” Lilith said. Ever so slightly, Dustin looked to his right and grinned evilly, as Angela backed out of the kitchen in disbelief.
“Thanks, I’m feeling a lot better now.” Dustin replied to a clueless Lilith, who showed him out of the house. Angela silently ran up the stairs. Although Lilith didn’t kiss him, his revenge was complete. But as he left the Pleasant house, he began to wonder if he had gone too far. No, he said to himself, desperately trying to grasp the feelings of rejection that Angela had cruelly inflicted upon him. But he couldn’t - and that made him feel even worse than Angela had done. He didn’t like feeling this way; he didn’t want to feel anything, he just wanted to cut himself off from reality before he collapsed into a stream of his own tears. Trying to calm down, Dustin breathed slowly and turned around. He wasn’t going home - not just yet. He couldn’t stand the thought of being trapped in his room with only himself for company. Walking in the opposite direction, Dustin smiled, as he knew that soon he’d feel a lot calmer.