Funny thing was, you couldn’t tell he liked me from the way he acted. Not that he treated me like trash, not at all—the opposite, in fact. But he always acted like himself around me.
Here’s what normally happens when a boy is interested in you: his demeanor changes when he’s around you, he follows you like a lost puppy, he laughs too long at your stupidest jokes, he brags about his accomplishments, most of which are fictionalized. He ceases, in a way, to be himself. He becomes someone else, someone he thinks you will like. The mask comes off when he gets close enough to go for your jugular. I learned this too late.
“You’re so lucky to have me taking care of you.”
“No one else would be patient enough to love someone like you.”
“If you leave me, you’ll live your life alone.”
If I was alone, so be it, I shouted back to the phantom of him in my head. A lifetime alone, my mother says, is infinitely better than a lifetime with the wrong person.
He had hidden his true nature from me to lure me closer. But Sam kept acting like Sam.