What If

“You set?” His too-blue eyes watched her, then looked away before she could catch his gaze. Before she could see.

She had nodded, but then her eyes were searching his face. Why won’t you look at me? What the fuck is going on?

“Don’t look set,” he snaps gruffly.

“I’m fucking set,” she hissed back.

He grunted, shrugging, and stepped back.

She turned to go. “What if I’m not good enough?” She had already begun walking, but now she was looking back over her shoulder at him. “What if I fuck it up?” she asked, terror plain on her face, if only for one split second.

He wanted, desperately, to go to her. To cup her face in his hands and kiss her, quiet her, comfort her. It was a raw, awful feeling, and he hoped the sneer covered it. His hands clenched in his pockets, and his jaw tensed. “Then you do what needs doing.” The cigarette at his lips clouded his face in bluegrey smoke, and he turned, walking away. Now wasn’t the time for coddling. Even so, he could not stop himself from looking back, from watching her go.

He looked back, and felt both triumphant and hollow to see that she did not.

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