"Really?" My tone was relaxed yet I was quaking with fear on the inside. With only a few minutes in his presence, old feelings that I deemed long ago buried has resurfaced. Despite Ramsey's treatment of me when we started our senior year, it might kill me too if he jumped from that roof. Damn! A decade without seeing him, training myself to barely think of him, and he still had a hold on me. "Why would you do something so extreme?"
"Because if my life were an article that I was reading, I would delete it without finishing it. I detest what my life has become."
"So make it better."
"That is so much easier said than accomplished. I don't know where to start...how to start."
"Seek help from someone." I pointed towards myself. "I'm here. You can talk to me. Leaping from a roof... that's the worst option you could choose. The only thing that will change if you exit this good the wrong way is that you'll be dead leaving loved ones to mourn. Is that what you want?"
When he began studying me, I wished that I could read his thoughts. "Wouldn't you rather push me than help me, Jacqueline?"
"No, I wouldn't fair well in prison, as I look about as threatening as a puppy." I realized that making him laugh wasn't such a good idea, when he started swaying back and forth. Moving closer to him, I reached up and wrapped my hands around his waist in an effort to keep him steady. Once Ramsey seemed to have his balance back, I released him. "What led up to this?" I indicated his position on the ledge.
He sighed. "You really want to know?" It occurred to me that his words weren't slurred although there was very little alcohol left in the bottle.
"If you don't mind."
He shook his head. "No." His expression pensive, I figured he was gathering his words. "My life? I've never really lived it for myself. Meaning, I've been living the life my parents wanted me to. They wanted me to go to law school and become a defense attorney like them. Although being a lawyer was never my dream, I kept my mouth shut and went along with their plans. I hate my job. I hate most of my clients, because I knew that 90% of them have been guilty, but I had to defend them to the best of my ability even though it made me sick to my stomach knowing I was helping to put out those bastards back on the street. And unfortunately, I was damn good at it too."
"Then not only did my parents want me to be a lawyer, they wanted me to marry another lawyer or a doctor, preferably one of their choosing. You know that when we... things ended between us, I lunged myself at any available girl trying to get back that feeling I had then lost with you. I even went out Grace Matthews, one of the most sought after girls in our class thinking it was the best idea. Well, it wasn't the best idea at all. I tried everything I could think of but nothing worked. During my university years, I realized I could never get it back, that feeling so I gave up entirely. A few years passed, my parents introduced me to one of their friends' daughter, apparently she was a few years younger than I who was an intern at a prestigious hospital. We courted and married a year later. I loved her about as much as I could love any woman that wasn't you. There weren't any romantic feelings on my part yet I pretended there was. During sex, I would fantasize about someone else and I felt very guilty about that, but it was the only way I could respond to her touch." Pausing, Ramsey looked towards me. "Most of my fantasies involved you." My jaw dropped at the unexpected revelation. "I never forgot about you, Jac. Although because of my stupidity and cowardice our romance was over in the blink of an eye, I never forgot. I couldn't."