“Hey, I need you to make me a promise.” Alex looked up from his paper and cereal to acknowledge Michelle standing at the kitchen island.
“Sorry, love, I was in another world. What’d you say?”
Michelle crossed over to the dining table and sat down in the chair to Alex’s left. “I need you to make me a promise.”
Alex reached out and picked up Michelle’s hand, lacing his fingers into hers and kissing the back of her hand gently. “Of course, Chell, anything you want.”
“I want you to promise me that you’ll break up with me before you cheat on me.”
The smiled disappeared off Alex’s face, and he let their joined hands fall back to the table. “Do you think I’m cheating on you? Cause I’m not. What made you think that, how can I convince you it’s not true? I love you.”
Michelle gave him a soft smile. “No. I know you love me, and I know you’re not cheating on me right now.” Michelle reached out with the hand that wasn’t being held and brushed a piece of his bangs away from his forehead. “But I know what you’re like, Alex.”
“What do you mean?
“You start your new job in two days. You’ll meet the new girls, you’ll make new friends. You’ll go out on a business trip for a couple of days, and not have to come home to me for a couple of nights. Grass will begin to look greener on the other side. It’s happened before.”
Alex couldn’t say anything. She wasn’t wrong, and it sounded a little harsh laid out in front of him like that. But she wasn’t wrong, and he didn’t know how to respond.
“Now—I know you broke up with Charlotte to go out with me—that you two were on the rocks since we started working together—but can you tell me honestly that you two were complete done, you both had verbally understood that your relationship was over the first time we hooked up?” Alex’s silence said it all. “So—please. If you’re going to move on to the next girl—I understand, I just want you to end it with me first. I won’t even be mad, I just want to know where we stand as we stand. Even if it’s just a quick phone call as you walk to her bedroom. I’d hope you’d have a little more respect for me than that, but I’d prefer that phone call to being cheated on, by a hundredfold.”
“I’d never call you on the way to another girl’s room. That’s really low. I love you too much for that.” Alex protested. He’d done some pretty shitty things before—but he was pretty sure that would be too shitty even for him.
“Alex. Please. Just promise me that if you are tempted to cheat on me, you’ll break up with me first.”
He could see on her face that she was sure those were the only two options, that with him taking this new job, they were coming to the end of their relationship. He wanted to pull her up into his arms and assure her he’d never cheat on her. He wanted to scoop her off her feet and take her to bed and show her just how green he thought his grass was. He wanted to kiss her softly and tell her that things were different this time that the way he felt about her was so different from what he felt about those other girls.
But none of those would reassure her, and she’d be asking him to make this promise again tomorrow. And even though right now he felt like he’d never love anyone like he loved her, even though he felt like she and him were end game, hadn’t he felt like that before? Would his love for Michelle fade? He hoped not—but he couldn’t say it with any certainty.
So, he brought up his other hand, wrapped it carefully around Michelle’s hand that he was still holding, so that her smaller hand disappeared completely between his bigger ones. “For what it’s worth, I am still one hundred percent in this relationship. I love you—and a new job or not, I have no intention of leaving you for anyone else.”
“Alex, I—“ Michelle started, but Alex lifted al of their hands to her lips in a makeshift “shh” gesture, so she knew he wasn’t finished.
“That being said since this is clearly weighing on your mind and my past record isn’t the cleanest it could be—I swear on anything and everything that I find holy that I will never cheat on you.” He brought his hands from her mouth, kissing her thumb gently. “Do you accept that promise?”
“I do.” Relief flooded onto her face, and it broke his heart a little to know she was that concerned about it.
“Can you make me a counter promise, though?” He asked. She gave him a quizzical look, so Alex continued. “If I promise to be open about feelings that I may or may not,’ he put a little extra emphasis on the word ‘not’ just for flair, “be developing for my new co-workers, do you promise to not walk around here like our relationship is on its last legs?”
“Yeah. I think I can handle that.” She smiled and pulled their joined hands towards her so that she could kiss the back of his hand. “We’ve got to be honest with each other. If we’re going to make this relationship work or end it without wanting to key each other’s car, we’ve got to be honest with each other, okay?” He nodded, and she kissed the back of his hand again.
“So, can I be honest with you about what I’m thinking right now?” He asked a sly little grin on his lips.
“Of course,” she murmured, her lips still pressed against his hand, which sent a shiver down his spine.
“I’m thinking I would love to scoop you up, take you to bed and show you just how much I still love you. Honestly.”
He felt her smile against his skin before dropping her hands to the table with a mock indifferent look on her face. “Well, I, honestly, don’t know what’s stopping you.”
His sly smiled was gone, now replaced with a full-on grin. He stood and scooped her out of her chair, and she let out a laugh that gave him a warm bubble in his chest. As he carried her back to their bedroom, he prayed silently to a good that he didn’t know whether or not he existed, to please, please, make this one stick.