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Bareris found me in Dalaran last night.

He looked very much like his old self — dapper and charming.  He gave me paperwork confirming that he’s dropped the court cases.  I didn’t bother telling him that he was ruled against for failure to appear. And anyway, it basically prevents him from appealing.

Then he asked me out.

Then he kissed me.

(“Of course he did,” said Westel, when I told him this story.)

He told me — again — that he thinks I just forgot how much fun he was, and he wants to remind me.  Wink, wink.

I told him I was committed to Westel.

And Bareris told me I was being silly, and he kissed me again. This time he grabbed my ass, for good measure.

And I shoved him away, and he got mad, and I walked away.

When I finished telling Westel of the exchange, Westel frowned.  “I dunno,” he said to me.  “Do you want me to tell you to go out with him?”

I was horrified.  Why would I want that?  “Because he’s Bareris?” Westel said.  “And you want to?”

“But… I don’t want to go out with him!” I protested.

Westel lofted a brow. “Not at all?” he asked.

I couldn’t blame him for asking.  I didn’t ask Bareris to kiss me… but I had to admit I enjoyed it.  The kiss was good; very good.  Bareris has always known how to kiss.  He says I’ve forgotten how fun he was; I haven’t.  How could I forget a man like Bareris?

But I also remember how much fun he wasn’t.  And… for once, I found myself thinking about more than… just fun.

I thought about Westel.  About how much I love him, and I love being with him.  With someone who respects me and my choices, instead of whining because I’m not the version of me that’s most fun for him.  When I told Bareris I didn’t want him, he told me he was lying to myself.  That he could see it in my eyes.  What kind of ridiculous shit is that?

In the end, Westel’s fun too.  And crazily enough, he still respects me when the fun is done.  Crazily enough, I still respect myself.

The longer I am without Bareris, the more I wonder what I ever saw in him.  How the hell did I go from being strong and confident in myself despite all obstacles, to withering like a delicate flower in Hellfire Peninsula when he looked at me the wrong way?

I don’t like the thought that I was shallow enough to be swayed by his charm and looks alone, nor that I was weak enough to let him take the kind of control he exercised over me.  But sometimes the truth is ugly.  And perhaps facing this bit of history is the first step in not repeating it.

This isn’t the last time I’ll have to deal with Bareris.  This isn’t the last time I’ll write of him either, to be certain (I still have a rather prolonged history to complete).

But I’ve let him hurt me and control me for the last time.  Which I’ve said before, I know… but telling myself that is one thing.  Proving it to myself, as I did last night, is another.

It is an amazingly good thing.