Stuck With Me by Melissa Brown

Prologue





“It’s over, Dev.”

I blinked as I stared at my girlfriend, my mouth agape and my heart on my sleeve. Trupti dropped a bomb I never saw coming, a bomb that would destroy my life, obliterate the past six years I’d spent loving her, worshipping her, thinking she’d hung the damn moon. My breath caught, and the small box I held underneath the table suddenly felt large and foreign in my gripping hand as her words sank in.

It’s over. It’s over. It’s fucking over.

My brow furrowed and I swallowed hard, trying to keep myself steady as the world crashed down around me. “What are you talking about?”

Trupti looked down at the table. The table I’d reserved for us at her favorite restaurant weeks ago, where I had planned to propose in just a few minutes. I’d planned my speech. I knew exactly what to say… how she was my first love, my only love, how I wanted to buy that house we saw on Longbourn Avenue, how I wanted to fly her grandparents and my nani in from India to attend our wedding. Hell, if she wanted to, I’d fly both our families to India to get married—whatever she wanted, I would do it. No questions asked. Because Trupti owned my heart. Utterly and completely.

I had so much I was going to say to her in my proposal, so much of my heart I was planning to place in her cold, heartless hands. And now I was left spinning. The room felt hot, and my collar was shrinking around my neck, suffocating me.

She ran a hand through her silky black hair, still not looking me in the eye. Just last week, I was running my hands through her hair as her head rested on my lap while I watched football on a lazy Saturday afternoon. How on earth did things change so drastically in just a matter of days?

She shrugged. “Look, I’m sorry…I just…this isn’t what I want.”

“Not what you want? We’ve been together for six years… We’ve planned our future, we’ve looked at houses—”

She shook her head, rolling her eyes. “You’ve planned, you’ve looked… You just never noticed I wasn’t looking too. I wasn’t planning anything, Dev.”

“That’s not true,” I shook my head, squeezing the ring box in my trembling hands. My leg bobbed underneath the table as I repeated myself, my tone more emphatic than before. “That’s not true.”

“I’m sorry, I—”

“Tell me why.”

I swallowed hard, preparing for the worst. The thought of another guy’s hands on her body made rage surge through me. Trupti was my first love, my only, my everything. How could she do this? She sat in silence, avoiding my demands.

“C’mon. I want to hear you say it.”

“Don’t make this harder than it has to be. Can’t we just move on? And be friends or something? I mean, I still want you in my life, Dev.”

“Just. Say. It. Put me out of my fucking misery.”

“Fine.” She threw her hands up into the air, exasperated. “I want more.”

I paused for a beat, not expecting that answer. Not at all. I’d given her everything. How could she possibly want more?

“More what?” I asked, genuinely puzzled.

“Just more...” She glanced around the room, “Everything. More heat, more spark, more adventure…everything.”

In other words, you’re not enough, Dev. Punch in the motherfucking gut.

“Heat? Spark? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Keep your voice down.”

I slammed my hand on the white linen tablecloth. The table vibrated against my palm, and I could feel dozens of eyes on me, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything anymore.

Everything is shit. May as well go out with a bang.

“So, for six years I was enough for you. But now….what? You’ve had some kind of awakening or whatever? And I’m not enough for you anymore? Trips to the Bahamas, paying off your student loans, that emerald necklace around your greedy little neck.” I leaned in close, lowering my voice. “Making you come so hard you passed out.”

“That was one time,” she hissed. “And I’d had way too much to drink. It was the alcohol, not you. Don’t flatter yourself.” She was trying to insult me with a forked tongue, but I knew better. She shifted in her seat, finally looking as uncomfortable as I felt. Trupti hated confrontation.

Mission accomplished. How do you like it, Trup?

“I missed business trips to take care of you. I flew us to India so you could meet my nani. Where did you think this was going, Trupti?”