It wouldn’t have bothered Drew so much if Alena hadn’t been just a little bit right.
Because the thing was, the circumstances of the breakup weren’t fair to Darlene. It was like Will said at the feast—Drew had blindsided her with it. And Drew agreed that that gave Darlene the right to be upset. She would’ve had that right even if the breakup had more foreshadowing, because being upset after a breakup was a normal human thing. Drew had been upset afterwards, even though he’d initiated the breakup, because humans were complicated and the situation was even more complicated. But he resented the idea that Darlene had sacrificed everything (what exactly had she sacrificed?) and gained nothing (they’d dated for a while and Drew thought he was a good boyfriend, that had to count for something) and he had ended things because he was intimidated (not even close).
“No offense, Magdalena—” he started. He actually intended a solid amount of offense, but he was trying not to be mean about it). But before he got the chance to tell her that she didn’t know what she was talking about when it came to the reasons for the breakup, and that she maybe shouldn’t stick her beak where it didn’t belong, two things happened. First, it occurred to Drew that maybe Darlene had put Magdalena up to this. He couldn’t decide whether that would make things better or worse. Darlene and Magdalena were in the same house, and even if Darlene hadn’t wanted to gossip about the breakup, Kit existed to do it for her. So maybe they’d gotten to talking and Darlene had suggested, or Magdalena had offered, and this was the plan. It was honestly less far-fetched than Amelia Knight owling Dad.
He was about to change gears to ask about this when the second thing happened: Magdalena interrupted. And her next words halted him. Drew didn’t know Magdalena’s sister from Nimue, but an unhappy marriage and no family was not the future he wanted for Darlene. He wanted her to be happy and have a good life and find someone who would take care of her. He just wasn’t sure he could be that person for Darlene.
He was approximately one thousand percent sure that Connor Farnon was not that person, though. The thought made his blood feel like Fiendfyre. But what was he supposed to do about it? If Drew accepted he had a responsibility here, was what Magdalena was saying really the only right thing to do?
“It wasn’t contemptible,” Drew said wearily. He put his elbows on the table, buried his face in his hands, and sighed. What he wouldn’t give for a practice dummy to hex the crap out of right about now. “Okay, no, I don’t think I’d be worse for Darlene than Connor. There are literal trolls who would be better for Darlene than Connor. But there’s gotta be other, good purebloods who wouldn’t care about her dating me. I mean, I’m not not pureblooded.” This was a stretch but he went with it anyway. “It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Darlene, I want her to be happy. This is about me, not her. I broke up with her ‘cause,” he paused. What the hell. Everyone would know soon enough, he hoped. What did it matter if Magdalena knew a little early? “I want to date someone else more. And I’m not gonna do that when I’m dating Darlene. So we had to break up.”