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She was so excited when she brought him to meet me for the first time, 8 months ago.

I think he’s the one, Dad, she’d said.

I’d always known she’d preferred older men, but I didn’t expect her to bring home a man only 6 years younger than I was.

I fathered her when I was 16, and I raised her on my own. I’ve dedicated these past 23 years of my life to make sure she had anything and everything she needed.

I felt I deserved some self-indulgence, but not like this.

Never like this.

He came over one day. He said she’d sent him over, and that she wanted her two favorite people to bond.

I don’t know what I said or did to make him kiss me, but as soon as it happened, I realized that I was the lowest of the low.

I didn’t fight it.

I didn’t even try.

I’d like to say that what happened next only happened because I was touch-starved and lonely.

But, if that were the case, I still wouldn’t be seeing him 6 months later.

He’d come to my house after telling her he was going to work.

But he proposed to her last week.

This needed to end.

“Listen, Grayson. This… whatever this is, has to stop,” I started after what I intended to be our last time together. “I can’t do this to Cece anymore.”

He looked so… heartbroken in that moment.

He moved closer to me. “But, Robert, I don’t want to stop. What we have is so… beautiful,” he said.

I backed up just as fast.

“Grayson, I don’t think you can love her. Why did you even propose? If I had any courage left, I’d tell her about you. But I can’t do that to her. She’s all I have.”

“But you have me, Robert. Who else do you need?”

I couldn’t believe the words I just heard.

“You listen here, you-“

“It’s true. I never loved her. And I knew that before I asked her out that first time.”

Upon his admission, I could only choke out the word, “Why?”

“You, Robert. It’s always been you, and she was the fastest route.”

He’d gotten out of the bed now, and was stepping closer to me with each word.

“I’d been waiting for that chance for 3 years.”

“I can’t lose you. You’re all I have.”

Everything made sense now. Little things, like looks that lingered too long.

“You- you get away from me!” I warned, inching closer to the wall.

“You don’t love me anymore?

He looked so close to crying.

From his jacket pocket, a small handgun.

All the times I’d groped that jacket, I’d never felt it.

I barely felt the shot that ripped into my chest.

As I felt myself fading, I watched him press the gun to his own temple

A shot.

We really are the lowest of the low. Both of us, leaving you like this.

Forgive me, please.

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