He and Eliza were in a happy place, Rafe could still smell her on his skin. He had just held her face, and kissed her thoroughly before he left her. This time, he did not make a mistake, and let her know that he was going to see Severine.
“That was the reason why I left before,” Eliza had said, holding onto his collar as she kissed his neck and throat. “Not because you were with Sandrine, because we opened us…but because you did not tell me…”
Rafe closed his eyes, and kissed Eliza’s forehead in his memory again. Severine was in New York, and if nothing else she was still a friend, and he wanted to see her. He was going to tell her that things were going well with Eliza.
He had not been with another woman recently, except for Fiona. It was the three of them a lot. Fiona told him that she was very happy that he and Eliza had made amends.
“You seem stronger than ever, more in love than ever,” Fiona said to him, when Eliza was out of earshot. “Don’t forget what shit you looked like without her.”
Tugging on his coat, Rafe noted he was blocks away from the cafe where he was meeting Severine.
When he saw her.
Sandrine looked at him like he had stabbed her in the heart. Her eyes were cold, nothing like the warm brown he had known of them. The warm brown that burned like a dark flame when they made love. The abyss that he looked at now froze him in place.
She walked toward him, and then away.
He reached for her, but her arm flailed out at him. Her manicured nails snagged on his jacket, and broke his skin where it was bare. Rafe did not even register the bite of her nails into his flesh. It was the look on her face.
“I know everything that is going on Rafe. I know that you and Eliza are very happy, and that everything else was just a big joke for you!”
He grabbed her forearm, as she went to hit him again. In her fury, she broke free from his light hold and she set on him like a wildcat. She clawed at him wherever she could, Rafe was so startled that he remained still until she retreated. Her eyes were red, she looked like a monster. But the anguish on her face, the way that her eyes had softened with her pain…she pounded her fists on his chest exhaustedly, until he held her to him.
He pressed his chin on top of her head, and held her close to him. Her body heaved with tears, that he had not seen or felt from her since she was younger and they were together.
“I love you,” he whispered. “I love you, Sandrine.”
She heaved all the more, and all he could do was hold her. He was scared and guilty, as he rocked her softly. He closed his eyes and when he opened them, he saw Severine’s face pressed to the window of the cafe. He could not read her face, but he could read Eliza’s.
Rafe had told Eliza where he was meeting Severine, and now she looked at him with Sandrine in his arms.
Even with Sandrine’s bloodied fingers, the look in Eliza’s eyes made Sandrine’s earlier look warm.
Severine walked out of the cafe, and stood next to Eliza.
Rafe was still, except for Sandrine heaving like a heartbeat.
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bloodied fingers via wikipedia