It shouldn’t surprise him really. He hadn’t expected her to stay around once she knew the truth.
He’d hoped. He’d prayed.
But he can’t blame her for walking out.
What reason had he given her to stay?
He could have told her the truth. Told her how he’d dreamed of ruining Sonny’s life from the very moment he’d discovered his existence. He could stopped this at any time—given up as soon as he’d fallen for her.
But he hadn’t. He’d gone ahead and made Carly believe they’d slept together. He’d blackmailed her, he’d kidnapped Courtney, he’d partnered with Faith…he’d lied to Elizabeth at every turn.
He’d never expected anything to happen with her—given the way they’d met. She’d always seemed too suspicious of him—always seemed aloof.
He’d been drawn to her, drawn to the smile she wore, to the sparkle in her eyes, to the infectious laugh.
But he’d reminded himself of his goal in Port Charles and it had worked.
Until he’d danced with that day in Kelly’s and he’d kissed her. He’d then tried to tell himself that he could have both. He could destroy Sonny and still salvage his relationship with Elizabeth.
But he’d come to the conclusion long ago—on the day that they’d made love for the first time—that he would lose her.
He’d just never expected it to hurt so much.
He stands outside Kelly’s and watches her at the counter. This is what his revenge had cost him. His hatred for the brother he’d never known has cost him the only pure and good emotion he’d known.
He loves her. She is the first thing he thinks about when he woke up, his last thought before he falls asleep. She consumes his every waking thought now that the truth is out.
He touches the glass and contemplates going inside. He thinks about sitting at the counter where she will be forced to wait on him. He thinks about trying to talk to her—trying to make her understand.
But he knows better than that. He knew she was too good for him—he’d known it all along.
He listens to that message on his machine over and over again. Hearing her say “I love you” was a bitter victory for him. She’d loved him, but inevitably, he’d destroyed all of that. There was no going back, there was no saving this.
He’d loved her and he’d lost her.
She looks up then and her eyes catch sight of him. He tries to keep the contact but her gaze is angry and cold and no matter how much he deserves it, he can’t take it anymore.
He tears his eyes away and walks away.
She walks quickly to the stairs, anxious to get back to her studio and sleep, trying to forget the memory of Ric looking at her through the window that day.
She falters, her hand gripping the rail and she turns to see him standing a few feet away on the docks. “I have nothing to say to you.”
“Just please listen,” Ric pleads. “Elizabeth, I should have stopped this a long time ago, I should have realized you were more important than some stupid vendetta—”
“But you didn’t,” Elizabeth breaks in coldly. “You didn’t. I told you many times that if you couldn’t be honest with me, that you should walk away. And you didn’t. You led me to believe that you were someone you aren’t.”
“I know and I’m sorry,” Ric tells her. “Just…just please give me another chance—”
“Are you joking?” she says in disbelief. “What planet do you live on that you think I should give you even five seconds of my time?”
“I know I don’t deserve it—”
“You’re right,” Elizabeth cuts in. “You don’t deserve one.” She turns back to the stairs.
“I love you.”
She stops for a moment and closes her eyes. “If you love me, then let me go,” she whispers.
Ric swallows hard. She’s right—he knows she’s right.
“All right,” he says finally. “All right.”
She waits another moment, listens to the sound of the water lapping against the pilings, to the sound of his breathing, to the distant sounds of the cars.
“Goodbye,” she says softly.
She walks up the stairs, and disappears around a corner.
Ric lets out a breath and walks in the opposite direction.