Zack leaned against the bathroom sink and saw a stranger looking back at him. He no longer saw the ambitious, spirited youth he had been two years before. A frightened, nearly broken man stood before the mirror now. He took note of the tiny scars he’d earned during his time with Rob. The last remnant of his most recent bruise still lingered on his cheek. That was for burning the bread at dinner several nights ago.
Zack sighed, running a hand through his long, mused hair. He never dreamed his life would be like this. When he met Rob, he’d had such high hopes and grand dreams of how he would live his life. At the age of nineteen, Zack was already a successful artist. His paintings selling for hundreds of dollars each.
Then he met Rob Howell and his world changed. Zack fell for Rob’s boyish charms and good looks immediately. Being raised by an alcoholic father and ignored most of his life, Zack lavished in the attention Rob gave him. It wasn’t long before Zack fell in love with Rob.
Zack glanced at his watch and knew his time was running short. He grabbed the few things from the bathroom counter and placed them in his suitcase. The suitcase that would hold his most prized possessions.
With trembling hands, Zack placed his favorite brushes on top of his clothes before closing the lid and zipping it closed as he was trying to close this part of his life. He would be starting new. A new city. A new life…without Rob.
His heart was pounding hard in his chest as he picked up the suitcase in one hand and a bus ticket in the other. His legs were shaking but he forced himself to walk toward the door. This was it. Time to leave. Time to move on. Only when he reached his destination would he contact his best friend, Maria.
Before Zack could reach the door, it opened. Zack’s heart stopped, his body froze where he stood. Terror ripped through him paralyzing him. This couldn’t be happening, he thought. It’s too early.
Rob walked in smiling, a bag of groceries in one hand and a fresh bouquet of flowers in the other. He stopped just inside the door and his smile fell.
“Zack? What’s going on?” His eyes went to the suitcase in Zack’s hand.
Zack opened his mouth, but words failed him.
“Where are you going Zack?” Rob’s voice was low and calm.
Zack knew that tone. Rob was angry. The gray of Rob’s eyes went flat and cold. He knew exactly what Zack was planning.
Zack stepped back on insctinct. “Rob,” he whimpered, the guilt of trying to leave consuming him.
Rob calmly walked into the kitchen and laid the bag and flowers on the counter. Zack knew he should just walk out the door now, but he couldn’t get his body to cooperate with his common sense.
“Were you trying to leave me?” Rob was surprisingly quiet as he walked toward Zack.