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right where he left her

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David pushes away his plate, no longer hungry, but filled with a gnawing emptiness that seemed to have taken up a permanent residence in the pit of his stomach. He tugged at a loose thread on his sweater, not even really caring that there was a loose thread, as a way to staunchly refuse to look at Stevie.

But, of course, Stevie was Stevie and she was too much like David to let anything go. “I can kick his ass for you if you want,” she said, clearly in an attempt to make him smile.

It didn’t work.

“No that’s not — no,” was all he could say. 

Stevie reached out and put her hand over his, stilling his fidgeting. David wasn’t used to anyone but Patrick touching him and Stevie certainly wasn’t the touchy-feely type, but at that moment none of that mattered. Stevie was David’s friend — his best friend, not that he’d ever tell her that — and right now, he needed her. 

“Tell me what you need and I’ll do it.” It was evident in Stevie’s voice that it was difficult for her to be this open and comforting, but David didn’t remark on it. 

David thought. What did he need? What he wanted to say was Patrick, that he needed Patrick, but that wasn’t right. Well, maybe it was, but. Ugh, this was all so confusing and it was making his head hurt and his anxiety spike.

“What room is she in?” he heard himself say.

“I — what?”

“I know you must have checked her in. What room, Stevie?”

“I, uh, nine,” she said, though she sounded reluctant, knowing as well as David that this wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had.

But, then again, no one had ever accused David Rose of having good judgment.

#

Rachel threw the last of her clothes into the duffle bag on the bed. She didn’t care if they were folded — she hadn’t really paid attention to what she’d packed when she left in the first place — she just needed to get out. 

Get out of this town, get out of his life, get out of her own skin.

Oh, God, was that how Patrick had felt?

She was doing one last survey of the room, making sure no part of her would be left in Schitt’s Creek, when she heard a knock at the door. 

Her first wild thought that it was Patrick but that was highly improbable — they had nothing left to say to each other, not right now. She was tempted to ignore it, but curiosity overtook her. Not to mention that that was the only way out of the room.

Standing on the other side of the door, looking like he wanted to throw up or scream or maybe cry, was David Rose. Stevie from the front desk stood just behind him. 

Shit.

“Um, hi.” David nodded, wrapping his arms across his chest, caving in on himself. He was looking anywhere but at Rachel, which was more than she deserved anyway. “Do you. Do you want to come in?” Another eye contactless nod and Rachel stepped aside to let them in. Stevie looked at her as she passed, her expression full of sadness, though Rachel didn’t know who it was for.

There was a lot of heartbreak to go around.

David sat on the end of Rachel’s bed and stared at her open duffle bag like it was anything but the last dregs of desperation. 

Rachel knew David Rose, of course, just like anyone with access to the internet and tabloids. Until his family had lost their money, David was the guy that everyone talked about. Alexis was popular in her own way, but David was the one that had intrigued Rachel the most. He was an enigma and, once, Rachel might have called him unbreakable.

But, like his father’s empire, David Rose had crumbled.

Rachel stood across from David and Stevie, leaned against the wall as she tried to figure out what to say that wouldn’t make things worse, if that were even possible. Fortunately, Stevie spoke first.

“Let me just say this. No one blames you.”

“I blame her a little bit,” David said, his voice small and flat. From the way Stevie’s mouth quirked up, Rachel assumed David had been attempting to make a joke.

“Okay, David blames you a little bit, but he’s also kind of a bitch.” This earned her a huff and an eye roll from David, which appeared to have been her goal. “I don’t exactly know why we’re here so I’m gonna — David?”

David sighed. “Right. Um.” For the first time, David looked at Rachel and she could see why he’d been avoiding her gaze. She wouldn’t have wanted her partner’s ex to see that she’d been crying, either. “I don’t — I’m not good at this. Um. I haven’t had an easy life…Rachel, right?” She nodded. “Right, okay. I know that sounds impossible to believe, but money can only get you so much. And I — I didn’t know what I’d been missing until I lost everything.”

Rachel wanted to say that she knew the feeling, but that wasn’t really true, was it? Not anymore. So she stayed silent.

“Sorry, that’s not — let me start over. Why did you come here, Rachel?”

Why did you come here, Rachel?

Two men, both of whom she had made incorrect assumptions about, asking the same loaded question. Everyone wanted answers from Rachel, but she didn’t have any.

“It’s just the way it’s always been. Whenever things would start to get more serious, Patrick would pull away. But, um, no matter what, no matter who he — who he dated in between, it always ended the same. I would push and push and he would come back. I just assumed that’s what love was supposed to be.”

Love should feel like…it should be as easy as breathing.

“You said who he dated. What about you?”

Rachel shook her head. She had never dated anyone other than Patrick, she had never felt the need to. Even when he left, she would wait for him to come back. “I was always just waiting right where he left me. I would have waited forever if that’s what it took.”

David nodded. “Yeah. Yeah.”

He would obviously never tell Rachel (and maybe he hadn’t even admitted it to himself) but it was as plain as day on his face that David Rose loved Patrick. That he would wait forever, too.

Except, for David, Patrick would come back. 

“What are you going to do now?” Stevie asked. Rachel noticed that there was a careful physical distance between Stevie and David, though she could see they were connected in other ways. 

“I’m gonna go home,” she said, confident in a way she hadn’t been since Patrick had left. “I think I need to figure out who I am.”

She had been RachelandPatrick for so long, she didn’t know how to go on without the “andPatrick.” And one look at David’s face screwed up in an immeasurable pain, she knew that he didn’t want to be without the “andPatrick,” either.

Except, for David, it was the opposite. He’d had the opportunity to figure himself out and now he needed to figure out who he could be with someone else. And for that to happen, Rachel needed to leave. 

So she moved to pick up her duffle bag, careful to not touch David. She wanted to tell him that it would be okay, that Patrick might need a push, but he would come back.

Easy as breathing.

Or, maybe this time, he wouldn’t need the push. Not for David.

So, Rachel left her engagement ring on the dresser, said a silent  goodbye to David, to Stevie, to Alexis.

To Patrick.

And then she drove out of Schitt’s Creek, leaving Patrick right where she had found him.

Where he belonged.