There was no getting around it. He had to break off the engagement. He couldn’t go through with it. He was miserable. He couldn’t continue like this. All he wanted was Leticia. To hell with the company. It was like a bloody thorn in his side. He had been a fool to give up what he had for it.
He called Camilla and arranged to meet her. Her father was away on business and her mother was visiting a friend so they were alone in the manor. After they hugged, Camilla took him to the drawing-room. She sat on the sofa while he remained standing in front of the fireplace with his hands in his pockets. His expression was tense as he returned her gaze.
“What’s the matter, Darling?” she asked. “You look so serious.”
“I’m afraid that what I’m about to tell you will make you hate me.”
“Oh, Patrick, I could never hate you. I love you so much.”
Sighing heavily, he told her everything–the deal he had made with her father for his company and how he to agree to marry her or the deal was off. “So, you see my engagement to you was to seal the deal.”
Camilla’s face was as white as a ghost’s. “So, when you asked me to marry you, it wasn’t because you loved me but because you wanted my father’s company?”
“All this time I thought you loved me.”
“I care about you, Camilla but I’m-I’m not in love with you. I’m so sorry.”
“Why–why are you telling me this now?”
“I can’t go through with the charade any longer. I’ve put it off this long because I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Is-is there someone else, Patrick?”
“Is another woman the real reason why you want to break our engagement?”
“She’s one of the reasons, yes.”
“Who is she, Patrick?”
“Do-do you still love her?”
“So, you were going to marry me even though you love her?”
“My father’s company meant that much to you?”
“You’re just like my father. The company has always been more important to him than his own family. If you and I had gotten married, it would have been the same thing. I would have become a neglected wife like my mother because running the company would have consumed you like it has consumed him, not leaving room for anything or anyone else. I would have been miserable.”
Patrick dragged his fingers through his hair. “I hadn’t stopped to consider what being married to me would have been like for you.”
“And you would have been thinking about your ex and wishing that it was she lying in the bed next to you instead of me–” her voice broke.
He went over and sat beside her. “Camilla, I’m so sorry. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt you. I don’t blame you if you were to hate me now. I hate myself for what I’ve done to you.” And to Leticia who still loves me.
She looked at him with tear filled eyes and an anguished expression on her face. “I don’t hate you, Patrick. I could never hate you. I love you and it isn’t your fault that you don’t love me too.” She slid the ring off her finger. “This doesn’t belong on my hand anymore.”
He took it and slipped it into the breast pocket of his jacket. “I’m sorry.”
“So am I. Goodbye, Patrick.”
“Goodbye, Camilla.” He rose to his feet and after casting her a sorrowful glance, he walked out of the room.
As soon as he was gone, Camilla dissolved into gut-wrenching tears.