I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 33

TESS

“Well, hey! Good morning!” I greeted chirpily the moment I reached her desk, but as usual, I received merely a grunt in response.

It’s been like this since four weeks now. Not that before she was this ray of sunshine, especially with Jake gone and all, but ... ever since Ryan broke up with her, my Sissy has been down the gutter, and I hate it. Ugh, I wanna kick that sorry ass so hard. Stupid moron.

He wanted to do the right thing, alright, be chivalrous and crap like that, but for the love of all things holy, who the hell is so stupid to leave a girl right when she needs him the most?! With Jake gone and her fragile state lately, how could that moron think it was a good idea to break up with her right fucking now?! God knows I’ve wanted them to split ever since they got together, but fuck, not like this!

Sissy is hurting, hurting real bad, and I have no idea what to do. The one man that could heal her broken heart has gone MIA and won’t answer my calls. Ugh, men!

“Oh, good morning to you, too, Tess. How are you?” I mimicked her, sitting beside her on the desk. I feigned a shy grin, hand over my heart. “Oh, why, I’m fine. Thank you for asking, Sissy.”

No response. Damnit. The moment I get my hands on Ryan and Jake, I kill them both. Stupid assholes. So much for dear love.

I sighed. “There’s a new deputy chief coming today.” I mentioned, knowing that by now I do monologues with her. Sissy barely answers, when she does, it’s either to bark that she’s fine or to grunt or huff or say yes and no. Basically I do all the job.

I’ve tried on her every cure I know for broken hearts, but nothing ever worked. I know she cries over that dumbass, because I’ve seen her with bloodshot eyes a few times, but she’s locked herself up into this stubborn silence, I really don’t know how to help her.

I wish Jake would come back. At least he’s got one chance. Hell, he’s got healing powers I can only dream of, apparently. There’s something about Jake Watson that moves mountains within my Sissy’s heart.

But no ... the jerk still won’t come back. It’s been two months, damnit. Serene is desperate. She can’t forgive herself for doing this to him, says it’s all her fault, that her brother left because she betrayed him ... I think it’s only half true.

Jake probably felt betrayed by both his sister and his best friend, but I doubt that’s all there is to it. I don’t know, this whole trouble smells fishy ... I just wish it’ll all be over soon. For the sake of Serene mostly, but also Sissy, given her delicate moment.

And Colin’s no good either. He’s been wallowing in his pity party ever since. Of course he feels damn guilty. He’s lied to his best friend for so long, of fucking course guilt is gnawing at him. Especially now that Jake is gone.

Sigh. I wish I knew what to do to help them ... but to be honest, I’m also kinda busy with my own situation. I focus on Sissy because she’s my sister from another mister, but I have my handfuls with Trey.

Ugh ...Trey. I don’t even know what do I see in him. He’s a jackass for crying out loud. So immature, so self centered, so selfish. Yet ... I feel so drawn to him, I don’t even reason anymore. Every time I say it’s over, next day he shows up at my place with wine and chocolate, wearing a sorry face, and I budge. What the hell is wrong with me?

***

“What’s up with your friend there? She’s been in a mood all month.”

I scoffed, taking the papers from her hands. “None of your business, Hillary.”

She smirked. “Let me guess, Jake dumped her sorry ass?” I can’t punch her during office hours, can I? “Of course he would. I bet that’s why he’s on vacation. He needed a break from that sad hoe.”

I gritted my teeth, trying to keep my cool. Was it anyone else, I would punch the teeth out of her, but it’s Hillary. She’d be capable of having me arrested for a tiny slap on her stupid face. She nearly did that a couple of years ago. To think she’s even quite the fighter.

“Where’s Jake anyways? When will he come back?” Hillary wondered. She managed to sound even more whiny than I expected. In the end, you know what, I think she is really crushed. I mean, I thought it was just because he’s so hot and so rich, but Hillary probably really has a huge crush on Jake. Possibly even more than a crush.

“When you quit being such a pain in the ass.” I spat, standing. “Now move it. I’m all alone here, and I’ve got tons of things to do.” First thing I’ll ask Jake if and when he comes back is a pay rise. I’m filling in for both him and Trevor who left two weeks ago. HR will send a new deputy within today but it’ll never be soon enough.

Sigh. Now I understand why Jake is always so grumpy. He’s got so much work every day that I wonder how come he still finds time and energy for hook-ups at night.

I followed Hillary out of Jake’s office, which I’ve taken for the time being, since I’m covering up for him. By the way, the idiot didn’t tell anyone he’d leave. Certainly he didn’t tell his uncle. So picture me having to come up with excuse after excuse to justify why his nephew can never come to the phone. If you think Jake Watson is a hard man to deal with, you haven’t met Keith Watson. He’s like, a four times harsher Jake.

It was lunch time, though. Finally I could breathe fresh air. And try cheering up my poor Sissy. As I walked up to her desk, however, I didn’t find her. Everything was shut and her things were gone. There was only a post-it with a message for me: I need to be alone. Sorry.

That’s the fourth time in a week that she does this. She keeps on ditching me. I’m starting to seriously worry. It’s been a month since the breakup, and she hasn’t improved, if anything, she’s only getting worse and worse.

I think we all made a mistake here. We underestimated her feelings for Ryan. I thought, and apparently he himself thought it, that he was a decoy, something to distract her from her feelings for Jake, but ... maybe he was and wasn’t. She really did love him, I guess. And without Jake there to soften the blow, this breakup is seriously tearing her apart.

Heaving a deep sigh, I hiked my purse over my shoulder, and headed to the elevator. Might as well get some lunch for myself before work drowns me again.

The elevator was busy, though. I saw it was reaching our floor, clear sign somebody was coming up. I frowned, but secretly hoped it was Jake finally coming back. I’ll strangle him for having abandoned us like this, but first he’ll have to work his magic to make my Sissy feel better.

However, my hopes were disappointed. When the elevator doors opened, I didn’t find Jake. It wasn’t a bad sight, though. There was a tall guy in his late 20s, light brown hair, glasses on his nose, not very muscled, but not puny either. A halfway between Jake and Trevor. Kinda cute. I mean, not the handsome type I’m used to, but cute.

He’d been too busy reading a book – yes, a book! Not checking his smartphone, as all normal people would do, but reading a book in the elevator! – so he didn’t see me. He got out that he was still reading, and I had to repeat myself three times before he finally heard me, as taken as he was by the book: “May I help you?”

Blinking his eyes, the guy looked up from the book. He observed me for a long moment, then closed the book after having carefully placed the bookmark. Bookworms ...

He fixed the glasses on his nose with his middle finger, and that gave me the chance to spot his light brown eyes that matched his hair. “Uh ... yes, thank you. I am looking for a ...” he looked down at his book, where only now I saw a small piece of paper, “Jake Watson?”

“You’re two months late.” I grumbled.

The guy blinked his eyes, confused. “I beg your pardon?”

I sighed. I’m hungry. I don’t need to deal with this now. “What do you need Jake Watson for?” I asked. “He’s on vacation at the moment.” That’s one way to put it.

“Oh, um ...” he fixed his glasses again, which I guess is a tic of his. “I-uh ... I’m David Porter.” He took out a letter from his book. “The new ... deputy chief editor.”

“Oh.” Now I understand. “I was expecting you by 2 pm.” I thought I’d have at least time to eat something.

And there’s the third time he fixed his glasses. “Yes, sorry. The train arrived earlier, so I thought I would use this hour to get acquainted with the new office.”

“I see. “Well, I’m Tess Doherty. I’m Mr. Watson’s assistant, but right now I’m filling in for him until he comes back.” Which will hopefully be soon. If his uncle finds out he’s gone, Jake is so dead meat.

“Ok.” David Porter said with a small smile. “Then ... can you show me around, please, Ms. Doherty? I’ve accepted the job in a rush, so I haven’t had time to prepare just yet.”

“Of course.” There goes my lunch. I invited the guy to follow me, so that I’d give him a tour of the office while I explained what we do and how we do it, but he stopped me quite soon with a chuckle.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Doherty, I have worked in a publishing house before ... I don’t mean to sound rude, but I think you misunderstood me. I meant, please show me where is what, and tell me about the loose ends, the works that are currently on.”

Man, that’s the longest sentence I’ve heard basically to say you got me wrong, I asked a whole other thing. Wow. This guy must be one hell of a prissy pants.

Offering him a polite smile, I nodded. “Of course. Follow me to Mr. Watson’s office, please.” We went in, and I sat at Jake’s desk, while the guy sat opposite to me. “Sorry about the mess, Mr. Porter, but-”

“Please ... call me David.” He smiled coyly.

“David, of course. And you can call me Tess.” A little less pompous, good. I hate when people call me Ms. Doherty, it makes me feel older than I am.

I went on explaining ever project we have going on and all, but the guy barely ever looked at me. His eyes wandered all over the office, stopped once or twice at the punching bag hung beside the window, but mostly he sent longing looks to his book. I should feel offended.

This is the first time a guy prefers a book to me. I mean, the guy’s never once glanced at my shirt, and believe me, my boobs were kinda popping out. Either he’s gay or I’m losing my touch. I’ll go with the first, because, I mean, bitch, I’m fabulous.

***

SILVIA

“I’m fine, dad, really.” I drawled out, tired.

"Ma non sembra.”

“Yet I am.”

“Parli inglese, bimba.”

I closed my eyes, “I just ... I’m used to it, dad, that’s all.”

“No, bimba ... tu parli inglese con me per non farmi capire.”

“Dad, your English is perfect. You understand me, don’t you?”

“I understand everything, Silvia. But one thing is to understand the meaning, the other it so understand the emotions behind the words. It’s easier with your mother tongue. You should know that.”

My eyes filled with tears, my throat clogged up, but I tried my best to hide it. “It’s not that. I just ... it’s ... I’m too tired for code switching.”

“But you’re doing it now.”

“Dad ...” I sighed. “I’m tired okay? Just ... tired. I’ve been working a lot lately.” At least that’s true.

“Is that why you keep skipping our calls?” Of course he would notice that. I keep saying I’m too busy to talk, but it’s been a month now, it was bound to get suspicious.

“No, I ...” I bit my lips when the first two tears fell. I’m so weak lately, it angers me. I’m not this. I’m not a feeble girl that wallows in her pity party because her boyfriend dumped her. I’m not. And I don’t want to be. “Can we talk about this later? I ... I have to get back to work.”

My father sighed, and I think he perceived the tears in my voice, but said nothing about it. “Va bene, bimba. Parliamo stasera.” He sighed again. “Ti voglio bene.”

“Yeah, I ...” because my voice broke, I swallowed, “bye, dad.”

After having hung up, I closed my eyes, and finally let go of the tears. I crawled to the floor, and cried. I stupidly cried. I cried over a guy. Some guy that dumped me with an as much stupid excuse. And I thought we were going somewhere.

I thought we were working it out. I know I’ve been aloof, I know it was hard, I know the last month was complicated, but ... I thought Ryan was tougher than that. I thought he was more determined to stay. I thought ... I thought he meant it when he said he wouldn’t leave.

He always said I was his future. He always said he saw me in his future. He saw us, together, in the long run. He made promises. Yet he didn’t keep any. He just ... gave up. Like a flimsy coward.

Why am I even surprised? Isn’t that what people do? Give up when it’s too hard. I guess I should start making the vetting harder. Already a couple of people made it yet they weren’t apt for it. To be in my life, that is.

I braced myself as I cried. It was freezing cold on the rooftop, but this is the one place I feel somewhat better. It’s lonely, nobody comes here, and definitely not in Winter. It was Valentine’s Day, you know. Ryan dumped me a week before Valentine’s Day.

I’ve always hated that ludicrous senseless feast. It’s nothing but another consumerist chance to buy things that’ll be thrown away the next day. Yet when I saw all those happy couples exchanging gifts, when I heard all my co-workers talk about it, read their cards, show off their gifts the next day, talk about how they spent it, I felt a harsh punch to my gut.

He could have chosen a better time of the year to be a coward, I thought. He could have given up earlier. He could have just ... stepped back before it got too much. He could have done it before Christmas. At least I’d have ... hold onto Jake.

But then, Jake left, too. So I guess it’ really the same. The week before Valentine’s Day was just as good as any. What would have changed?

I just ... don’t understand. I know it was hard, I know I gave him hell lately, but ... I thought he would be there. He promised he would be there. He promised he would never leave. And I believed him.

Like the stupid needy girl I am, I believed Ryan when he said he would never leave. I believed him when he promised we would more than hold water, we would last for ages. I let my stupid heart be wooed by such empty promises. And now here I am, sitting on a rooftop, crying my heart out because that jerk dumped me.

God, I should have learned. I should have learned so long ago. I always knew pretty faces were no good. And the nicer they seem, the worse they are.

I suppose I should revaluate the bad boy type now, but he’s no better. Who leaves for two months without uttering a sole word? Not even to the one girl he claims to love so unconditionally. Who claims to be there to fix you, yet runs away right when you’d begun lowering your guard, letting him.

What was it that he said? There’s nothing you could say, that’ll make me run away. Right. So true, huh?

I suppose it figures. I had been ... even too lucky. Having not one, but 2 guys love me so strongly. It was bound to end. After all it’s me. In the end everybody gives up. It’s just ... easier.

I don’t blame them, really. They did what was best for them. I just ... I just wish it wouldn’t hurt this bad. I just ... I just wish I wouldn’t miss Ryan like this. I just wish the thought of him didn’t carve a hole in my chest every day. I just wish I didn’t cry myself to sleep every night. I just wish I could find the strength to move on, because it’s been a whole month, yet I’m still here, crying because I miss Ryan, and it hurts, and I can’t take this anymore.

I just wish I didn’t secretly wish for Jake to come back and stop this. Why would he? Why would I believe he can stop this? Why would I believe he could do something to relieve my heart?

I just wish I could ... erase everything, and start over. But the thing with memory, it’s that you can’t. It’s what makes us human. No matter how hard we try to be dehumanize ourselves nowadays, we still are, indeed, human. And humans bleed. Emotionally, not just physically.

I don’t wanna be that girl, though. I don’t wanna be that girl that cries over a broken heart. There are worse tragedies in life than being dumped by your boyfriend. I don’t wanna be that girl. But I am.

I am that girl, because I’ve been crying for a month, and I even barely resist the urge to call Ryan, beg him to come back. I am that girl, because I’m weaker than ever, and I keep calling Jake.

How stupid and pathetic is that? I call the one guy whose heart I’ve broken so many times. I call him to come fix mine. It’s pathetic, stupid and even selfish. And even more pathetic is the fact that I cry more when he doesn’t answer.

I suppose he’s right not to. I mean, was I in his shoes, I’d have broken off every contact long ago. After all I’ve done to him, all the times I’ve hurt him, of course he’s right to be aloof.

I just wish I could stop this. I wish I could stop my hand from dialing Jake’s contact when I’m in need of relief. I wish I could stop my mouth from calling out Ryan’s name as I cry and cry and cry through the night. I just wish I could stop all this pain, because it’s not true.

It’s not true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What doesn’t kill you, maims you, weakens you, so that even a heartbreak is nearly lethal. Even a goddamn heartbreak can bring you to your knees, until you sit there, empty and hopeless, crying over a stupid coward that didn’t even have the guts to stay when he promised he would.

Serves me right for still believing in people.

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