“Come in,” I said, and took a step back, giving her plenty of space as she walked past me.
She stopped inside, taking a few seconds to look around. Some of the furniture she probably recognized. The end table. The lamp on the entryway table. She had taken nothing with her when she left except for a few suitcases full of clothes and a couple of paintings her grandmother had given us.
I still ate off our wedding dishes, for fuck’s sake. A gift from my brother Niels; my family hadn’t let me return them. Maybe that was something I should change.
“You guys took off before the tour ended,” she said, turning to face me.
I nodded, sliding my hands into the pockets of my track pants. “Yeah, we left sort of on impulse.”
“Was it because Cam and I were there?”
Shrugging, I said, “That was part of it. Really, though, the tour wasn’t our thing, in the end.”
Silence ticked between us, and her eyes scanned the walls and the living room just beyond, the kitchen, and it was then that I realized my mistake.
I coughed out a quiet laugh. I was too fucking tired for this.
“Pippa is . . .” I started, and then realized I didn’t have to explain a thing. “She doesn’t live here.”
“We were just—it was just us having fun.” I ran one hand through my hair and watched as she scanned the room again.
“Why would you make that up?” she asked, looking back to me. “You looked like a couple, acted like . . .”
“We were together,” I said with a tiny twinge of discomfort.
“I just . . .” I trailed off, deciding it wasn’t worth getting into. “Becky—sorry—but is there a reason you’re here?”
She opened her mouth to say something and then closed it again, shaking her head with a small laugh. “I wanted to say goodbye,” she finally said.
“You came over here because you didn’t get a proper goodbye?”
Becky grimaced, clearly catching the irony there. “Well, and . . . we didn’t really get any time to talk. Just the two of us. Cam is really encouraging me to try to communicate better. Do you have maybe twenty minutes? I just . . .” She turned and walked farther into the room, pushing her hands into her hair before facing me again. “There are so many things I want to say.”
I’m sure the loaded silence that followed wasn’t what she’d expected. I almost wanted to laugh. If someone would have asked me five years ago—maybe even only two—whether I had anything to say to my ex-wife, I could have written a dissertation.
And, in truth, I’d certainly had a lot to say that night at the vineyard with Pippa, shouting up to the sky while the sprinklers soaked us from every direction. But now I felt strangely empty. Not angry, not even sad. I’d left those parts of me at the winery, and only Pippa knew about them anymore.
“If you want to talk . . .” I trailed off and then amended for clarity, “I mean, if it will make you feel better to talk . . .”
She took a step closer. “Yeah, I think I can explain now.”
I couldn’t stop the short laugh that burst from me. “Becks, I don’t need you to explain anything to me now.”
Shock moved across her face and she shook her head as if she’d misunderstood. “I don’t feel like we ever really discussed it,” she explained. “I’ve never acknowledged how shitty it was to leave you the way I did.”
I pulled back a little, realizing even now how self-absorbed she was. “And you think six years after we split up is a good time to hash it out?”
She stuttered out a few sounds of protest.
I lifted my shoulders in a helpless gesture. “I mean . . . if you want to get it off your chest, I’ll listen.” I smiled at her, not unkindly. “I’m not saying this because I’m bitter or because I want to hurt you, but because it’s the truth. There isn’t anything you need to explain to me, Becks. This isn’t something I live with every day anymore.”
She moved to the couch, tucking her feet up under her and staring at her hands. It was odd to gaze at a profile that had once been so precious to me and now just looked . . . familiar.
“This isn’t really going like I expected,” she admitted.
I came around the couch, sitting beside her. “I’m not sure what you want me to say,” I admitted quietly. “How did you expect this to go?”
She turned her face up to me. “I guess I felt like I owed you something, and that it would be a relief to you to hear me say it. I’m glad you don’t need it,” she said quickly, “but I didn’t really realize I needed it until I saw you at the tour.”
Nodding, I said, “Well, what is it you needed to say?”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry,” she said, holding my eyes for a few seconds before blinking back down at her hands. “The way I left was terrible. And I wanted you to know it wasn’t really about you.”
I laughed a little, dryly. “I think that was partly the problem.”
“No,” she said, looking back up, “I mean that you hadn’t done anything wrong. I didn’t stop loving you. I just felt like we were too young.”