I stumbled into Duke's apartment complex and loudly banged on his door. After a few moments of hesitation and paranoia, Duke opened the door with his eyes barely open and nothing but pants on. I sighed with relief and threw myself at him in a warm embrace.

'Quinn, baby, what's the matter?' he asked.

'Please just hold me,' I whispered.

Duke pulled me into his apartment, closed the door behind me and held me in his arms. He was gently rubbing my back up and down and was patting my head. I had eventually calmed down and Duke pulled me down onto his lap as he sat on the sofa.

'What's the matter, my beautiful?'

'I'm sorry, it's all my fault,' I replied.

'What's your fault? I'm the one who's supposed to be sorry! I should have told you straight away.'

'No, Duke, please let me talk,' I said desperately.

I rolled myself off him and sat down next to him, trying to build up the courage to tell him the truth about the beach, about Roman kissing me, about what happened just before I came here...

'Quinny, what's up?' Duke asked me calmly.

'I... I just had sex with Roman,' I finally managed to say.

Duke's eyes looked like they had immediately watered up and he shot straight back up. After a few awkward moments of silence, he finally spoke.

'Anything else?'

I looked at him with tears in my eyes and nodded my head. I reached out to him for comofrt but he gently brushed my advances away.

'Please tell me, Quinn.'

'That night that you had to cancel our date because of work, Roman and I went to the beach and I don't really know what happened but I kind of sucked him off,' I said, 'that was before we were going out and-'

'Did you do anything else?'

I shook my head.

'So I was your first?' he asked me.

'Yes, Duke,' I whispered.

He ran his hands up his face and through his hair and sighed. He looked at me with an undecipherable look on his face and then sighed once again.

'So all this time you've been angry at me, you have been doing all this?'

'Duke, please, that's-'

'Do you have feelings for him?'

I hesitated because I knew I liked Roman. After giving it some thought, I shook my head.

'What about me? Do you have feelings for me?' he asked me.

'Of course I do, you know I do, Duke!' I attempted once again to reach out for his comfort but he gently brushed me off once again.

'I don't know,' he mumbled.

I hesitated as tears rolled down my eyes. In desperation, I cried out the three words that could possibly salvage this relationship:

'I love you.'

Duke looked at me and his own eyes had began to water.

'I love you, Duke. Please forgive me. I love you.'

A single tear rolled down his face and I reached out with my hand and he allowed me to wipe it off with my thumb. I slowly and gradually got closer to him until my face was right next to his. He closed his eyes and he sighed deeply.

'I'm sorry,' I whispered once again.

'So am I,' he replied.

With tears rolling down my eyes, I closed them and gently kissed him on his cheek. I looked down at him and another tear roll down his face; this time I let it fall to the ground. After several moments of silence, Duke got up from the sofa and disappeared into his bedroom. He reappeared later with a bag in his hand.

'I have to get out of here for a moment,' he explained.

'Why don't I leave?' I asked.

'I don't want you going home, Quinn, please,' he said, but we both knew what he really meant.

'I'll be here. When will you be back?'

'Soon,' he said.

Without a kiss or a wave or a goodbye, Duke opened the door and disappeared into the corridor after shutting the door with a decisive thud.

I looked around Duke's apartment feeling more alone than ever when something caught my eye. A box. A wrapped box. A present. It was a present. I curiously walked over to it and saw a card attached to it with my name on the front. I opened it and it simply said 'I'm sorry. I love you.'

Tears began streaming down my face as my mind tossed between opening the present and leaving it. Sobbing loudly, I tore open the wrapping paper and found a box that was quite light. I took the lid off and sobbed even more when I saw the white shirt that he had bought from my store in the box neatly folded.

I pushed the present away and ran to his bed. I leaped onto it, crying the most I had ever cried in my life since my grandfather's funeral. I held his pillow to me, the sweet scent of Duke Erving rubbing off on me. I closed my stinging eyes, tears still rolling down my cheeks, and whispered, imagining that he was there:

'I'm sorry. I love you.'



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