Chapter 31

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Monica's face flushes a light shade of pink and Beck glances over at her before turning back to the suspicious fellow.

"Who are you?" Beck asks the boy as Trip looks at his brother.

"Why don't you ask Monica that?" he replies, his lips curving up in a smirk.

She doesn't answer and Reed shifts his body, the awkward tension in the air stifling him.

"You only hit me up on the weekends, huh?" the boy asks Monica. "When you're not entertained by these three?"

"What?" Beck asks and Monica finally lifts her head.

"Oh," the boy says. "Are they not aware?"

"Stop," Monica says, her voice weak.

"Stop?" he asks. "That's not what you told me yesterday."

Trip stiffens in his chair as he looks at his brother again.

"Yesterday?" Beck repeats after the boy. "She was at her grandparents' house yesterday."

The boy folds his arms across his chest and laughs. "Is that what she told you?"

Beck looks over at Monica again and notices her hand is clenched on the table.

"Monica," Beck says slowly. Her head remains down as she focuses on the table.

Trip nudges Reed in the side and nods his head in the other direction, signaling its time for them to leave. He doesn't feel as if they belong there at the moment.

Reed gets the hint and the two plop down in the booth with Moose who frowns at their arrival. They're far enough away that they cannot hear what is being said at Beck's table.

The boy takes a seat across from Beck and Monica and waits for Beck to continue speaking.

"Were you at your grandparents' house yesterday?" he asks Monica quietly.

She fights back tears with as much strength as she can muster as she bites her lip so hard that it almost bleeds.

"No," she says but it comes out as a whisper.

Beck breathes out and leans closer to her.

"I think we should talk somewhere else," he whispers and she nods her head.

Trip watches as his brother leads Monica out of the restaurant and curses.

"Jesus," Trip says. "Now I have to pay for their meals."

Reed sighs. "I'll split it."

Meanwhile, Beck and Monica ride in complete silence for the majority of the ride back to Monica's home. She keeps her head down in her lap and struggles to keep it up.

The two make their way into the kitchen where they take a seat across from each other and Beck speaks up.

"Did you meet up with that guy yesterday?" he asks.

Monica nods her head slowly before looking up at him.

"Why?" Beck asks softly.

"You've been forcing yourself for a while now," Monica says, her voice soft as well. "I know that. And once we got married, you did things because you knew you should. But that guy made me feel wanted and I found myself needing reassurance from him instead of you."

Beck looks down at his hands. "I see."

Monica doesn't speak again so Beck takes the initiative.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean for things to turn out this way. And it hurts me to know that you had to turn to someone else," Beck tells her.

"Yeah," she says. "I'm sorry."

Beck tightens his lips together before he speaks. "I don't want to keep making you suffer, Monica. You need to be loved properly. Do not feel bad about what you did."

A single tear escapes her eye and falls down her cheek. She quickly swipes it away and sniffs before she brings her eyes to meet Beck's.

"Things just weren't meant to be, huh?" she asks, forcing a smile as another tear escapes her eye.

Beck reaches out and rubs his thumb across her cheek, removing the tears.

"I'm sorry," he says again.

She shakes her head. "It's my fault too. Don't be sorry."

The two remain in silence for a moment until Monica grasps the diamond ring on her finger. She averts her eyes from Beck and slowly pulls it off of her finger. It clinks on the table and Beck soon removes his.

"I wish things could've worked out between us," Monica says as she weeps.

Beck places his hand on hers and traces it with his fingers.

"Yeah," he says.

"I hope you find true love someday," Monica tells him as he rubs her hand.

"Yeah," he says again. "You too."

———

Beck moves his belongings out of Monica's house within two days.

He overcrowds Trip's small apartment and collapses on Trip's lone sofa, laying his arm across his forehead.

"I'll move out as soon as I can find a place," Beck tells Trip who stands at the doorway.

"Okay," Trip says. "How are you doing?"

Beck releases a deep sigh and peers over at his younger brother.

"I'm okay," Beck says. "We were both hurting each other for too long."

"Yeah," Trip says.

Beck and Monica file for divorce some days later and officially split up. It comes as a shock to Monica's parents who feel sorrowful toward their daughter.

But it needed to be done.

A relationship without love is painful.

And Beck just happened to learn that the hard way.

As he relaxes on Trip's sofa days later, he decides to ask a few questions.

"Uh," he begins as Trip walks over to him. He plops down beside his brother and focuses his attention on him.

"Hm?" Trip asks.

"You and Reed have gotten close, huh?" Beck asks.

Trip raises an eyebrow and simply shrugs.

"I guess," he replies vaguely.

"He resents me," Beck says.

Trip shakes his head. "He's not like that."

Beck remains quiet for a brief second before he talks again.

"Don't tell me that," he tells Trip.

"Why?" Trip asks.

"How am I supposed to get over him if he doesn't resent me?"

———
thank you for reading (:

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