I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 31

SILVIA

Rain couldn’t have started pouring at a worst moment. And just how damn fast can a man be? One moment he was storming out of the restaurant, the other he was gone. His car was still parked there, so he must have walked.

“Did you see a tall blondish guy get out of the restaurant in a rush?” I asked some guys that were right beside the door, smoking.

One of them blinked his eyes at me, as if not understanding what I meant, the second one was more focused on my cleavage, obviously, only the third one, finally, pointed at his back. “If you mean the fury that nearly toppled Joe here, he went that way. But I’d be careful if I were you, he looked livid.”

Yeah, livid is one word for it. “Thanks.” I took off my stupid heels, and ran after Jake under the pouring rain. It was easier without those stupid things hindering me. The guys behind me whistled, probably thinking I was a cliché girl romantically chasing her boyfriend after a fight.

Good thing I’m not womanly enough to wear dresses at every occasion. God bless my tomboy nature for making me wear pants.

I ran for so long that I couldn’t even count the kilometers anymore, I think, but, finally, after asking at least ten people, I was pointed towards the dock. I’ve been living in Boston for over a year and a half now, but I can’t really know it all, so I did what sensible people do. I reached for my pocket, and asked Google Maps. Trouble was that, Boston being a city river city, it’s full of docks, so which was the right one?

***

“You’re a hard man to find, Jake Watson.” I mused as I took careful steps closer. It took me ages to get here, and I must have seriously been out of my mind, because, how could I not think before that I should ask the two people that grew up with him?

Once I knew it was a dock Jake was directed to, I should have first of all thought about asking Serene and Colin, but no, I wasted 2 precious hours wandering around like a fool in search of a tall, blondish guy in his late twenties. You have no idea how many weird looks I got when I asked for that. A couple of guys even had the guts to tell me they were the ones I was looking for.

Jake didn’t even move, well, he didn’t, but his back tensed visibly. Both his hands were on the wooden balustrade, his head hung low, and the closer I got, the easier it was to see how tense his whole body was.

“Jake?” I called, going to stand beside him. I would have wanted to brush his arm or something, but I’m enough familiar with conditioned reflexes not to dare.

He didn’t utter a single word, neither did he move. It’s like he didn’t even hear me, which is odd, considering that this place, may I tell you, was totally deserted. We shouldn’t even be here, actually. It’s the pier behind the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. Colin told me this is one of the places in Boston Jake likes the most. Why, I couldn’t tell. When I asked them if they knew some ‘dock’ Jake would go to, Colin immediately mentioned this one.

Rain was still pouring, but neither of us cared. I was completely soaked from tip to toe, and I’d most certainly come up with one hell of a flu, but more important now was trying to grab my Jake, the Jake I know and care about, and pull him back from the brink of disaster, from the cliff he’d dived in when the monster had prevailed. The question was, how?

As I neared him, I could see small gusts of air forming his breaths, but I wasn’t sure what was his predicament. A thunder in the distance made me shudder, but other than brace myself, I decided I would go for the direct approach, risking it all. I said I know enough about conditioned reflex not to dare, but ... what else could I do?

When I sneaked up behind him, and snaked my arms around his torso from behind, Jake startled, and his first reaction was powerful: he jerked back, fighting the touch, as if to protect himself, but once he realized it was me, he slowly let go, and his muscles relented.

“What are you doing here?” He asked, his voice hoarse and snappy.

“What you would do.” I answered simply, leaving my head against his back.

“Silvia ...”

“Shhh. Shut up and take it.”

Jake didn’t laugh, but he did reach for my hands, and entangled our fingers together, heaving a deep sigh. I could feel his muscles progressively relaxing. It surprised me, but I was glad it worked. It was a wild guess, I mean, I know the effect his hugs have on me, but how could I know it would work on him as well?

We remained silent for so long it almost felt like we’d lost ourselves. Rain was pouring, soaking us both, but neither of us seemed to care. The weird part is that I didn’t even feel cold, or not quite. Of course, there is a biological answer to this, namely ... ugh, whatever, I don’t have time for this.

Jake didn’t relent his grip on me one bit. We could have gone on for hours, remain there until sun rose, but he still gripped my hands tightly, as if holding onto me. After all, isn’t that what I suggest he’d do?

I’ve hold onto him all week, for once it’s me to be helping him instead of the other way round. I was starting to feel sick, due to all the rain we caught, but I wasn’t gonna move until he decided to. Because you see, the thing is, the only chance for either of us to move on, is if we hold onto each other.

***

“Atchoo!”

Tess sent me a wry look at the third time I sneezed. “Sowwy.” I said, my nose clogged, sniffling. I spent more than half an hour on a pier under the pouring rain, of freaking course I got sick. No news there. The real news is, Jake got out of it mostly fine.

Seriously? I spent this past weekend in bed with my boyfriend taking care of me while sending me questioning glances, curious as to why did he have to come pick me up at a pier in the middle of the night, yet Mr. Jackass there barely got a bit of a cough. This is unfair.

I nearly got pneumonia to cheer him up, yet how does he thank me? By leaving me there stranded out of the blue.

He did it. Seriously. We remained there in that odd hug for at least half an hour, yet when rain finally started ceasing, Jake let go abruptly. All he uttered was a hastened ‘thanks’, then he was gone.

I understand he might have needed time or whatever, but seriously?! It was freaking 2 am! I had no other option but to call Ryan. I tried Tess first, but of course, she didn’t pick up. She then said she was ‘engaged in shameful acts’, which translated means she was having another fallback with Trey. She keeps telling she won’t take him back, yet somehow he still manages to sneak into her bed, ugh.

The first thing Ryan said when he got to the pier was: “I won’t ask questions, but I’ll want to know at some point.” Know what? That I stupidly ran after a jackass and he left me stranded? Sure, that’s exactly the kind of thing your boyfriend likes to hear.

Sighing, I adjusted my glasses on my nose. “If I get my hands on Jake Watson, he’s a dead man, I swear.” I grumbled, attacking my salad. He wasn’t at work this morning, otherwise I’d have already broken his baby-making tool.

I’m not saying I claimed he told me what happened to him, nor did I want to push him into opening up if he didn’t feel ready. But after the week we spent together, I deserve a little more trust, don’t I? Or at least I don’t deserve to be left stranded like that, damnit.

I tried stubbornly going back on my own, but it was pitch dark, obviously, and my phone’s battery was at 14%. My chances were, either I bowed my pride and sought help, or I risked freezing in the cold night.

“You won’t see him for a while. He’s taken two weeks off.” Tess informed me, and my eyes bulged out.

“What?”

She shrugged, gloomily playing with her meal, which she barely touched, may I tell you. She’s been like this ever since New Year’s. I feel guilty, because I’ve been so wrapped up in my situation with Jake that I forgot to talk to my best friend, ask her about her own predicament. “All I know is, this morning when I came to work I found his message.” Tess said.

“What message?” I arched an eyebrow when she took out a small piece of paper. The handwriting on it was rash and sharp, but definitely Jake’s.

I’m going on vacation. A week, maybe two. You’re in charge while I’m away. – Jake

“Is that all?” I wondered, confused and mad. How can he just up and leave like that? Without a word to anyone. Both Serene and Colin say he hasn’t answered their calls and texts all weekend, this morning he even blocked their contacts. I haven’t tried to contact him because I’m still too mad, but he hasn’t written to me either.

“Well, along with the note I found the last papers he was working on ... you know, he signed things, left notes and all. He left everything I needed for work, but no more than that. You should have seen Trevor’s face when I told him I was in charge.” She chuckled. “He looked like his head was about to explode.”

As much as I dislike Trevor, that didn’t cheer me up. I studied the note instead. It was written in a rush, clear sign that leaving was a sudden idea. To have left it on Tess’ desk without anyone seeing him, he must have come to the office really early, possibly dawn or even earlier.

What if when he left me at the pier he’d already made up his mind? The real question however here is, where did Jake go? And why?

***

“It’s my fault! All my fault!” Serene kept screaming, tears breaking her voice. “It’s all my fault! I broke his trust! I betrayed him! What do I do?!”

“Serene ...” I sighed. “Calm down ...”

“No! What if he doesn’t come back?! What if he leaves again and I can’t see him?! What if something happens to him and that was the last time I saw him and he was so angry at me?!” She dropped to the floor, crying her heart out while Tess tried to comfort her.

“It’s a trigger moment.” Colin mentioned beside me, his voice barely audible.

“What?” I turned to him, confused.

He sighed, closing his eyes. “This whole situation ... it’s ... it triggers sad memories in her.”

“How so?”

“Jake does this sometimes ... he disappears without a warning, just goes and leaves.” Colin murmured. “It’s ... another one of his coping mechanisms.”

“Huh.”

“He’s done that a few times. Usually he comes back in two or three days, but ... it’s happened that he left for years.”

My eyes widened. “What?!”

Colin leaned against the wall, sighing gloomily. He might be used to these tantrums, but sure as hell I’m not. For God’s sakes, I understand you have your issues and all, but you don’t fucking leave like that at the unexpected! You have people that care about you, and even though you’re a jerk for crying out loud, you gotta think of them! I could understand that, and Jake couldn’t?!

You know how many times I wanted to up and leave throughout the years? How many times I thought I’d sneak away while my parents were asleep? I never did. Because I knew it would destroy them.

I’ve often been accused of being selfish, but even I know how to respect someone’s feelings sometimes. My parents had already lost a daughter, losing another one would have completely shattered them. It was already hard enough for them to let me go, imagine if I’d just ran away without as much of a goodbye.

I understand Jake has his own problems, even if he’s nowhere close to disclosing any secret with me even, but this time he really overdid. Didn’t he think he would break his sister’s heart? Didn’t he think of all the people he’d hurt with his stupid selfish actions? I mean, you wanna live, alright, but for the love of God, at least say something!

He needed a vacation? Alright. Go. But tells us where you go, when will you come back ... tell us something! Ugh. Stupid asshole.

Now Serene was crying her heart out, Colin was wallowing in sense of guilt, and I ... ugh, never mind. When I find that moron he’s gonna have to answer to me, and it won’t be pretty.

***

JAKE

Taking a deep breath, I knocked. Of all the places I thought I’d go, this is the last one I ever considered, but I had no choice.

It took her a while to come to the door, and I’ll admit I held my breaths, but I’m not sure why. I haven’t seen her in a long, long time, and sure as hell I didn’t expect to see her again at all, but ...

“Jake ...” Olivia breathed out the moment she opened the door.

She hasn’t changed a bit. Her chocolate skin, her dark brown eyes, her wild curly hair, her sweet countenance ... all the same, just aged a little. Tears might have pooled those eyes, she might have gained a few pounds, but all in all she was always the same, and I felt thrown back in time.

Olivia barely let me open my mouth, I didn’t even get to say hi that she was already jumping in my arms, teary-eyed. I squeezed her into me, recalling all those times I did when we were kids. All those time I comforted her and cheered her up after having chased away her bullies, all those times when she came to our place all disheveled because she’d barely escaped some kids that chased her from school.

Or all those times I felt blue, and without a word Olivia just snaked her arms around me and embraced me, saying ‘words will never be as powerful as hugs’. I just never knew how true it was.

I missed her. Can’t deny it. I missed Olivia a lot, and, to be honest, the predicament might be awful, but I’m glad I got to see her again.

Half smiling, I snaked my arms around her, and kissed her temple, like I used to do long ago when she was sad. “It’s okay, Liv, I’m here now.”

Maybe Fitz is right, Olivia to me meant much more than I ever wanted to admit. Maybe our relationship was real, and I was just too scared to acknowledge it. Maybe she was ... Silvia before Silvia. And maybe, just ... maybe, she should have stayed so.

Maybe, just ... maybe, had I been less of a jerk back then, things would have gone entirely different, both for me and for her. Had I seen light, I would have spared both of us, but especially her, a lot of pain, but then, isn’t it my unpaid job to always, always self-sabotage my own chances at happiness? To take the worst route and wind up fucking it all up? I’m awfully grand at that.

In the end, I needed this, too. Even though the predicament is awful, I’m glad she called me. It gave me the push to do something I’ve probably wanted for long but never had the guts to. Simply, see her again.

Squeezing Olivia into me, I tried to convey as much as I could, to make her feel safe and not alone. I suppose this is the only answer when a woman is weak in your arms. I wonder how could I forget that. Olivia herself always said she needed nothing more than for me to hold her, and she would be fine.

She’s always been so weak, my little protegé. Of course I felt the need to protect her, she was so fragile. She was ... I don’t know, she was the one chance for me to build up isntead of destroy.

I probably saw in her a way to redeem myself. I know, it’s mushy, but ... I guess she was my chance to be better. I thought ... I thought that helping her, building up a new, self confident Olivia, I could somehow redeem myself, even just a little. I probably thought one good deed coul at least begin to wash away the stain of all the awful ones I ever committed.

I can see it now that I’m older. Olivia was to me my chance at redemption. I wanted her so badly to be the one good thing in my life, yet I wound up making it worse than before. The truth is, Olivia Norton gave me way more than I ever imagined, and what did I give her in return? Nothing. If anything, I only took, until nothing was left.

“Did you pack?” I asked, lips on her curly hair.

She nodded against my chest, without a word.

“Then we should leave now.” I said. I’d rather not have her stay in this wretched house a minute longer. I’d rather not allow her to be hurt one second longer. I know how hard it is to face certain things, especially when you’re on your own.

“Where ... w-where do we go?” Her voice was shaky due to all her tears. I only wish I can stop them now.

I kissed her temple again, rubbing her back. “Wherever you want, Liv. We can go wherever you want.” God knows we both need a long, long vacation. I suppose it’s good to have her with me, that way I can restrain myself. Just like old times, I guess.

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