lunch with elena
i miss you. please meet me for lunch?

That one single text had sent Ben's entire day spinning. Not because he had any sort of feelings or attachment left for Elena - she'd seen to that, given the way she'd walked out on him - but because he had no idea how to react to her text out of the blue. His first thought was that it had been his father, but there was no way he would have reached out to a girl he likely despised more than he would Evelyn.

So he'd agreed to lunch. He met her at a cheap diner, some place he wouldn't be followed, and sat in a booth, waiting for her as he always did, furiously texting Evelyn. His nerves were shot, mainly because he had no way to prove to Evelyn that he didn't want to be with Elena. That he wouldn't drop her and their young relationship to play in the past.

"Hey you," her voice said, singsong as it had been the day she left.

"Hi," he replied back to her stiffly. He straightened up and tucked his phone in the inner pocket of his jacket.

"You look well. Is that Alan David?" she asked, reaching out to tug on his jacket. She was clearly flirting and Ben knew it, but he stared at her blankly.

"What do you want, Elena?" he asked her, his voice impatient.

She scoffed and flipped through the menu, playing with the ends of her long blonde hair. She reminded him of the girl he'd met the other evening, an acquaintance of Evelyn's who clearly gave no regard to her friend's feelings. "Shouldn't we get something to eat?" she asked, smiling.

"No. I'm not staying to eat. What do you want from me?" he asked her again, folding his hands on the table. "I won't ask again."

"Oh boo, Ben. You're no fun," she giggled. "I was thinking of you. I miss you, silly. I always miss you."

Ben closed his eyes. It was all he'd wanted to hear for two years after she left him. He'd understood at the time - she didn't want to be a part of his life, his world - but then he'd heard about her hooking up with a few other big names on Wall Street. She didn't want to be with him, he'd gathered.

"Is that all?" he asked her when he opened his eyes to look at her again.

"C'mon. Can't we just sit and talk about the old times? I know you miss me," she said, reaching out to take his hand.

He pulled away from her, shaking his head as he laughed bitterly. "I did miss you. I missed you for two years straight until I was sick with it. I don't miss you anymore. I don't miss myself like that anymore," he told her blankly.

She giggled again and rolled her eyes. "So dramatic. What is it? You're still single. Why won't you spare five minutes to eat lunch with me?"

"I'm not single. I'm seeing someone. Someone I care about," he told her. The shocked look on her face gave him a slight sense of satisfaction and he suspected he'd seen a flash of hurt cross her pretty features. "I think we're done here. Don't get in touch with me again. Don't come looking for me or her or anyone. Just stay out of my life. You've done a good job of that for the last six years."

He stood up and pulled his wallet from his back pocket, throwing a fifty dollar bill on the table. "Enjoy your lunch," he said, walking straight out the door as she called his name.