Conrad would have leveled with her, caved and given in. Manfred couldn't do it, it was just dragging a dead horse behind him. "No Natalie. I don't want you to be anything but yourself. I want you to know what you're worth, not just what someone is willing to take of you." He pushed her hands away. His younger self was berating this more than he needed too, he was being too hard on her. He knew these processes were slow, but Manfred wasn't very patient.
"Does that mean you've been pretending with me all this time since? Making me believe that you had grown when really you just couldn't let me go?" He backed away.
"I can't be your friend anymore if this is what it means."