When he could no longer put it off and told his family and friends of the divorce, the most common question he had been asked was the question of why, as if the demand for a reason would shake some sense into him and make him realize that the reason was stupid and that he was making a huge mistake. And maybe he had made a mistake. Maybe he had just given up when he should have continued fighting, when he should have continued working and trying to fix whatever was bothering her. But did it matter at this point? No, it didn’t. By the time he had started questioning himself, they had already spoken through their lawyers, and he had already given her the house and alimony in return for 70% of their total wealth – stocks, bonds, titles, all included.
And though he was angry and hurt and frustrated, there were moments when he couldn’t deny how strange he felt, knowing that she wouldn’t be waiting for him at home, knowing that he wouldn’t have her warmth during the cool nights But there was nothing he could do but endure through it. He had chosen to break up with her. That night after that uncomfortable and forced date, when he had had to leave the table to take an important phone call after being held back for half an hour due to a meeting, she had told him that she had had enough and that she couldn’t take it anymore. And even though he knew why, he acted as if he were oblivious.
The argument that had followed was perhaps the worst he had ever experienced with anyone in his entire life. Though neither were the type to lash out physically, that night, several plates had been broken, along with the vase that had been a wedding present from his mother. When the vase became nothing more than several shards of empty dreams, everything finally imploded. He left that night; if he hadn’t walked out on his own two feet, he knew that she would kick him out, and his insufferable pride refused to allow him to be chased out of his own house and home. And though it wasn’t the first time they had argued and he had left, it was the first time that he had left and never come back without his lawyer by his side.
It wasn’t that he didn’t love her. Even if years had passed and he wasn’t head over heels, he still loved her. He still cared for her. But the one thing he couldn’t do was understand her. He couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see that he was working such long hours for her. He didn’t like working 70 hours a week, he hated the impossible length of his work day and the mountains of tedious work he had to do, but he did it for her. He did it for her. Why couldn’t she see that he exhausted himself so that she could live the life she deserved? Why couldn’t she just get off his back when he came back home? Why was she always so angry all of the time, no matter what it was that he did?
Lelouch didn’t know it – would never know it – but he had missed the answer by a hair. The moment he left the house that night, he had destroyed any chance of ever finding out the answer. If he had stayed, if he had swallowed his pride and had come back home later in the dead of the night or even the next morning, he would have realized why as he saw her tears. And then he would have understood what was so wrong. He would have helped clean up the casualties of their war, and they would have sat down in their kitchen, distant but unarmed. He would have apologized and promised to spend less time in the office and more time at home with her. He would have been reminded of how one-dimensional his thinking had been, and she would have accepted his apology. And though everything would be awkward for the following few weeks, they would have at least been together. They would have at least kept fighting for each other instead of against. They would have at least been allowed to admit to themselves that they still cared.
But the truth of the matter was, he hadn’t gone back that night or the morning after, and their marriage – or at least what had remained – had quickly deteriorated into a hasty divorce that condemned him to fight against his feelings, forcing him to forget the way he had felt as he watched her walk down the aisle towards him and every moment after when she had made his heart flutter, making him delete her phone number even when he had long memorized it, forcing him to deny of the kiss he had nearly stolen on that day he had finally moved out and found her asleep in the bed they had once shared, and erasing the memory of her sleeping on the left side of the bed even after four months had passed since that night with the broken vase.
Maybe he had made a mistake. Maybe he had been wrong to give up on her. Maybe waking up next to her one morning after a night of reckless drinking was proof that he had gambled on the wrong horse, seeing as how he had sought her out in his uninhibited state. But did it matter anymore? He had paid the alimony and the lawyer and for all of those bottles of wine he had drunk afterwards. It no longer mattered whether or not he had been wrong to leave her. All that mattered was that she was no longer a living, breathing person to him, that she was as good as dead in his eyes.
Or so Lelouch told himself as he quietly slipped out of the home they had once made together and into the lonely gray world he had carved out of his heartbreak.