Shut. Down.

“George?” Connie uttered the forgotten name as soon as she opened the door. Her ex did not cross her mind in almost four years. He looked leaner, more fit than the last time she saw him. His chubby face was now replaced by a chiseled jawline, but she still recognized his same, soft brown eyes. He wore a sparkling golden crown and an outfit that seemed to consist solely of leather straps covering his body. “What do you want?” she asked.

George chuckled, then sighed.

“It’s good to finally be home,” he said. “You won’t believe where I’ve been,” he took a step forward, but Connie stood in his way. She pulled the door tighter to herself to make the point clear.

“It’s been six years,” Connie said. “This isn’t your home anymore.”

“It wasn’t my fault!” George said. “I’ve been trying to get back to you for six years; look at how I’m dressed!” he said. Connie tilted her head at him.

“You’ve been trying to get back to me for six years?” she asked. “From where? Somewhere they didn’t have phones either?”

“YES!” George said. “I got sucked into a magical, medieval world. I had to fulfill a prophecy before I could get back to you,” he stood up straighter. “I killed a dragon for you,” he said. Connie relaxed slightly, but did not move.

“I suppose you can prove it?” she asked.

“I had to give up all my magic to return,” George sighed. At the same time, he reached under his leather cloak, then pulled out a golden rose with a black stem. The petals resembled jagged scales more than velvet. “But, I was able to bring back one magic item, just for you,” he said.

“It’s called a Dragonbreath rose,” George held up the rose, then leaned forward and blew a gentle breath on it. Immediately a small flame ignited atop the rose.  

“It’s beautiful,” Connie smiled. George leaned forward to offer her the rose, but she did not accept it.

“Whatever you went through, I”m glad you’re safe,” Connie said. “But, it’s been six years. I’ve moved on; I’m with someone. As sweet as the rose is; I don’t have anything for you.”

“Sweet?” George asked. “You’re glad I’m safe?” his voice took on a familiar, bitter tone. The moment she heard it, Connie was thankful for his six-year absence.

“I WENT TO ANOTHER EARTH!” he shouted. He threw the rose down on the porch in anger; the flame died. “What the hell did you want me to do? I got back here as fast as I could!” The first year after his disappearance was difficult for Connie. But, once the second year started she realized that she could actually reflect on the relationship instead of spending all her energy worrying about him. Looking back on their time together, she realized it wasn’t a good relationship for her. He was borderline abusive at the time and she had no doubts that if they continued he would cross that line. She realized there had been many times where his conviction was so strong she doubted her own knowledge.

But, now she’d spent three years in a proper, loving relationship. She built up enough confidence in herself that she could easily see through his gaslighting attempts.

“You got back here as fast as you could?” Connie asked. “And it took you six years?” she added with a smug smirk. “I get the feeling you didn’t try all that hard.”

“What’s that?” George asked. He lowered his tone but spoke louder. He took a step forward. “I was trapped on another Earth. How easy do you think it is to get back here?” Connie shrugged. She lifted her hand to show him a solid black card, then winked at him.

“You know, not long after you disappeared, Sharp Development showed up and opened the AlterNet to us. Traversing is as easy as…,” She threw the card down next to him. Once the black card touched the floor it opened a large black portal.

“I opened that so it won’t take you six years to get there when I say, ‘Go to Hell’,” Connie slammed the door shut.

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