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“You can’t just hide here forever Eleanor!”

“And you can’t control my life any more! I’m not some scared scarecrow who’s too weak to stand up for themselves. I can handle myself and my life, thank you very much.”

Her blood boiled, how dare he come at her like this. How dare he. He didn’t understand the absolute turmoil that had been her life the past few years- sure he had maybe a tiny idea of what she’d gone through, but no. He couldn’t fathom the pain, the hurt, the loneliness she’d suffered at the expense of her heart over the past years spent in DC. He couldn’t fathom because he was perfectly happy in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma with his high school sweetheart and perfect button-nosed kids.

How dare he.

George sighed as his hands rubbed his face forcefully from his spot at her old bedroom’s threshold. His eyes looked weary and cautious—good, she thought, he better back off.

Ellie was sure he’d leave, he’d finally get the hint after half an hour of bickering that had escalating into shouting—surely disturbing her mother down the hall. Ellie shockingly couldn’t find it in herself to care. She’d come to grips with her reality- barely. She feared Nick had reached out to George, but this “conversation” just about sealed the deal. The rage that burned within her at the thought of her own flesh and blood plotting against her started to eat her alive.

Yet he didn’t leave. Instead he tried once more, voice softer almost pleading, but Ellie felt the ringing in her ears grow even louder with every word, “Ellie. Hear me out- hear him out. You can’t just run away from him forever.”

Ellie shot off her seat at the edge of the bed causing George to jump back in surprise. Her index finger shook as she pointed it at his chest, the fury she thought she’d packed away for good slowly pouring out. A tiny voice in her head tried to remind herself she wasn’t mad at George, she was mad at Nick. But he wasn’t here, yet, and so George was the next best thing. “You.” Her voice so low it was lethal and George backed up another step into the hall as she advanced, “Do not get to tell me what I can and can’t do. I do not have to hear him out. Because guess what, George?” Her head cocked to the side and Ellie felt the crazy look in her eye and couldn’t stop it, “I did hear him out. And you wanna know what he said?”

George looked ready to flee, seeing the side of her she usually had tucked away, the emotional, fiery side that had only made its appearance once or twice before.

Ellie didn’t wait for his answer as she continued to advance on him down the hall, slowly making their way to the kitchen. “He said, and I quote, ‘I feel nothing…she is absolutely not weighing on me…never has and never will.'”

They’d officially made it into the main area with Barbara as an unwilling audience member hovering at the half-open front door, like she wanted to bolt.

Ellie wasn’t done though, “So yeah George, I heard him out. I hear him loud and fucking clear. It’s not running away at this point, it’s finding a better life. Something I won’t regret years down the line. I’ve made the mistake of following my heart before, look how that worked out—“ Ellie spat at him, “My heart doesn’t understand what is best. It never has and never will.”

George gulped yet she didn’t stop, “You think I can’t stay away forever?” Ellie tilted her head, feigning real consideration into the possibility, but immediately straightened, narrowing her eyes like a predator locked in—blind to the door swinging further open to reveal their new guest— voice deadly, “Watch me.”