I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 42

JAKE

“You alright?”

I closed my eyes, tired of hearing the same goddamn question over and over again. “Yes, yes, I’m alright. Same as the other five times you asked.” It’s fine. It really is. I just ... better know now than later, right?

Better be sure now than wait to tell her the whole story. I shouldn’t even bother. She sees me the exact same way as I see myself, what’s the surprise in that? I can’t even blame her. I am a murderer, I have done awful shit in my life, so what do I have to complain?

“You say it, but I can’t believe you. Not when you answer like that.”

I rolled my eyes, turning back to her. “Liv, no offense, but can you just shut the fuck up for once?” I snapped. “I don’t need you babysitting me all the damn time. I’m a grown ass man.” A grown ass man that’s trying his hardest not to break down mentally for some stupid shit his girlfriend said.

Why do I even care this much? I know what I am, just because Silvia said it out loud, too, doesn’t mean it’s any different. If anything, it means that she sees me for what I really am. That should be positive, right? She isn’t blinded by looks or crap like that, she sees me for what I am. The real question is, can she live with that? Can she love and live beside a man that’s done such horrible things?

I always thought the answer would be no, and it turns out that, as it basically always happens, I’m right. It should be fine, she’s entitled to her opinion, especially when it’s the right one, I just ... it just hurts. I may be a grown ass man, but if there’s one opinion I care for the most, that’s hers. Seeing myself with her eyes, it makes me feel even worse than I usually do.

God, I knew it might end someday, and I knew it would be my fault, but this was the fastest relationship ever. How long did we last? Like ... 18 hours?

Olivia stared at me intently, clearly offended at the tone I used with her, but right now I couldn’t be bothered to care. After that ... what should I call it, fight? After that small fight Silvia and I had, I sent her away despite her protests, claiming I needed time to myself, but not even 5 minutes later Olivia barged in with her smile and cake and all that crap. I’ve never been so displeased to see her.

“Didn’t you have a job interview or something?” I wondered, snappy. I was still sitting on the floor of the balcony, trying to breathe fresh hair other than wallow in my misery, but it didn’t really work.

“As I was telling you, I went this morning.” Olivia said, sitting beside me. “And they said I wasn’t qualified enough.”

I frowned. “What qualifications do they need for a babysitter?”

She shrugged. “They said they preferred someone with a degree in nursing, in case the child got sick or hurt.”

“You gotta be kidding me ... seriously? Now even babysitters ought to be college graduates? People are really freaking out here.”

Olivia chuckled, hooking her arm to mine as she left her head on my shoulder. “It’s alright, I’ll get something different. Besides, we haven’t gotten the chance to be roomies yet ... do you want me to go before I get to know if you actually wake up that gorgeous in the morning?”

I half smiled, feeling lighter for a moment. “You’ve seen me in the morning, Liv. I am what I am.” I smirked. “I don’t use products, I don’t have any secret, I’m just as awesomely breathtaking, as blindingly hot as you see me.”

She laughed, and I guess it was a nice sight. The thing about Olivia, it’s that I always feel transported to a time when my life was just a tiny bit less complicated. A time when I wasn’t a murderer. It’s nice. Especially at a time like this, when the world has just crumbled onto my shoulders. Again.

“Funny, because I’ve seen an interesting set of shampoos and hair products in the bathroom ...” Olivia laughed.

I shrugged. “Okay, you caught me. I’m perfect ... but my hair needs work.”

“Right ... and the rest?” She eyed my chest.

I chuckled. “Say, are you checking me out, Liv?”

She smiled, placing her hand on my chest. “I’ve woken up to these wonders for over two months. Yet you’re still breathtaking.”

I grinned. “Mother Nature loves me.” And the fact that, one, I work out daily, two, that I’ve been fighting ever since I was 14, might also help, I guess. Don’t be so surprised, girls, your boobs may be a work of Mother Nature, but a guy’s abs, even mine, need constant care. I’m just a little luckier in the maintenance.

“Indeed ...” Olivia laughed, and I smiled.

For some reason things with her are always easier. Silvia and I barely get to dating for 18 hours, and we break up. Olivia and I see each other after over 10 years, and it’s like we never separated. If only I could convince my heart to follow the easier path ... maybe right now I wouldn’t feel a fiery blade piercing through my ribs.

Olivia wrapped her arms around my torso, and placed a small kiss on my chest, smiling tenderly. “I can’t even begin to say how relieved I am that you’re okay.”

“You of all people should know I have a tough skin.”

“You’ve always been so reckless ... it’s scary. It was scary then, it’s scary now.”

I looked down at her. “You were scared back in the day?”

“Of course. Every time you came back with a bruise ... I never said anything because I knew you were going through a ... tough period.” My mother had just died when Olivia and I started seeing each other in a ... non-friendly way.

I slipped my arm around her to pull her closer, and I kissed her temple, admitting: “I’ve never thanked you for what you did for me, Liv, but I’m grateful.”

“No need ... it was a chaotic period in your life. You needed all the comfort possible, and who better than your girlfriend?”

I half smiled. ”Girlfriend, huh? I recall pretty well we didn’t really define our relationship.”

She grinned. “Oh, please. You were my boyfriend for over a year ... you just didn’t know it.”

“I see ... so you stalked me, huh, Ms. Coleridge?”

She wrinkled her nose, looking pretty cute. “Maybe a little ... truth is, I had a crush on you waaaay before you noticed me. I just didn’t know how to attract your attention, you being the oh, so frightening bad boy and all that.” She laughed, and I did with her, reminiscing our good old days.

“Well, being attacked by bullies right next to my house was a pretty good move, I’ll give you that. You thought I would fall for the knight in shining armor trick?”

“Nah, you’ve never been the type of guy that would fall for a damsel in distress.” Indeed I’m not. I could only fall for a demon like me, I always thought, until an angel with horns crossed my path ...

I’m not stupid, I know Silvia didn’t mean to hurt me, but the fact is, she never does. I know exactly what it’s like when words just tumble out of your mouth without you realizing. I’ve hurt a lot of people because of that filter between brain and mouth that I don’t seem to have. But the thing is, words can’t be withdrawn. You can’t unsay something, especially not something as huge as that.

I can barely live with myself for what I’ve done, but I’ve survived in this ski despite everything. What about my girlfriend, though? If she can’t, then there’s no point in even trying, don’t you think?

***

SILVIA

I paced my apartment back and forth, biting my nails. I shouldn’t have even left. Why did I leave? There just goes to confirm him I meant what I said, but I didn’t!

I know you’re probably taking his defenses already, and you’d be right to, because what I did was unforgivable. Just one thing I ought to beware of, and I said exactly that. Damnit, I’m so fucking stupid.

I eyed my phone when I froze in my steps. Maybe I should call him. This is not one of those flimsy fights couples have, one of those even Ryan and I had. Those can be settled within five minutes. This ... this is a whole different animal. Goddamit, I just called my boyfriend a murderer!

Right, technically speaking he’s not my boyfriend ... yet. But still. Always this stupid mouth of mine, always screwing up everything. Now I don’t know how to fix it. Jake was genuinely hurt. Hell, he didn’t even want to see me. He said he needed time ... maybe that’s what I should give him.

Maybe I should wait a day or two, then go back to the hospital, and we can talk it out. We need to talk it out. Otherwise there’s no point in even trying to make this work.

It’s odd. Other times I’d have already fled. I’d have thought it was too complicated for me, I’d have locked behind the excuse that I have my issues, therefore I need simplicity in my life, and Jake ... well, Jake, let me tell you, he’s all but simple. There are unnumbered shades to his character, and the fact that he’s so unpredictable scares the living daylights out of me, yet ... I must make an effort. I must.

I suppose Ryan did me good in this sense. I know you may think I wasted time with him, I know all of you there are Jake’s fangirls, but ... Ryan is a great guy, you know. Ryan, before brutally breaking my heart with the excuse of doing it for my own good, he gave me way more than I imagined. I suppose that’s why I still miss him.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the ... boyfriend. I miss our friendship. I suppose the fact that we never had sex helped, but the truth is, Ryan has always been a great friend for me. I wish I could have confided more to him. To be honest, if I could go back in time, I’d do things differently.

No ... I wouldn’t make things work with Ryan. I would ... not date him. I wouldn’t date him because it ruined our friendship. I fell in love with him while my heart was clogged with the repressed emotions Jake caused me, therefore I couldn’t really love him properly.

But the thing is, I never lied about that. I didn’t love Jake back then. I love them both, but the process has been different.

I fell for Ryan quickly, swiftly, inadvertently, accidentally. I fell for Jake slowly, leisurely, unconsciously but ... inevitably. It’s silly, I know, I don’t even believe in fate, but ... that whole non-romantic soul mates thing? Bullshit.

Come on ... Jake and I could never be just friends, I see it now. That whole non-romantic soul mates bullshit, I just convinced myself of it. Because with Ryan I felt good, and I didn’t want to pick the hard route. For once I wanted to live things simply, just ... be with a guy that loved me and that I loved back, be happy and carefree together, trying to pretend that I wasn’t internally breaking down day by day.

I’ve spent my life repressing myself. I thought it was the only way to keep going, but when I found Ryan, I realized that maybe there could be a carefree side of me that I’d never known. I suppose that’s why I clung onto our relationship. I wouldn’t do the same now. Because I know I hurt both Ryan and Jake deeply, I hurt myself, and I merely delayed something that would have happened nevertheless.

I’ve never believed in fate or predestination and all that, but ... that night, on Jake’s birthday, I should have known. I just lied to myself.

Maybe you’re right, but what do I do when she’s my one but I’m not hers? It’s what Jake asked. And the truth is, when I answered, prove her wrong, it was actually spontaneous. It was one of the very few spontaneous acts in my entire life.

I wanted him to prove me wrong. I wanted Jake to prove me I was making a huge mistake by not choosing him. I just ... didn’t want to realize it.

I sighed, dropping against the couch. God, it took us so long to get here, yet I’ve already sabotaged us in the blink of an eye. What the hell is wrong with me? Of all people I should know how much damage words can do. Of all people I should know how heavy can the burden of a troubled past be.

I should have been the one person to understand him, stay by his side, like he did, yet I once again ran my stupid mouth wild and made a mess. After all Jake did for me, this was so low, I should spit myself in the face.

I mean, what do I know? He said four words, but how do I know there’s not more behind those? I killed my mom. Jake said. He called himself a murderer. Of all people I should know how much can sense of guilt gnaw at you, shredding your soul to smithereens.

I knocked my head against the back of the couch, closing my eyes for a moment. If this is what pushes him over the edge, if this is what shatters him once and for all, I’ll never forgive myself.

***

I’m a coward. On top of being a selfish, unthinking, ruthless bitch, I’m also a coward. Because not only I didn’t call him, but I also waited not one, but five days before working up the courage to go back to the hospital. And it was too late, because I found out Jake had been dismissed just an hour before my arrival.

I don’t think he’s in the conditions to be dismissed, but knowing him, he probably sweet-talked the doctor into agreeing. I suppose that the fact that his surgeon was a woman helped. That guy could turn on a lesbian, let me tell you.

As stupid as I am, I delayed going to his place. I should have gone to his penthouse first thing, once I’d learned that he’d left the hospital, but I’m a stupid coward, so I delayed 2 days more. That makes 7 entire days, a whole week. I made a huge mess, yet I let a whole week pass. I’m so stupid, so goddamn stupid.

However, I’ve decided to woman the fuck up, and finally face the issue. So I was at Jake’s door, breathing heavily, trying to gather the courage to knock. I spent 20 minutes behind that door, until, finally, I decided to do it. I knocked, but nobody answered. I knocked twice more, but I still didn’t get an answer.

My stomach revolted, making up the worst scenarios. Technically speaking, we haven’t broken up, but we haven’t even started dating officially. Technically speaking, Jake and I have never been a couple. And after what I did, after I let a whole week pass, how can I know he hasn’t ...

He wouldn’t move on. I know he wouldn’t. It’s possibly the one thing in my life that I am utterly sure of: Jake loves me. I know he does, so he wouldn’t move on from me ... not that quickly anyways. But love and lust aren’t always paired, are they?

He’s a very sexual man, for his own admission. It’s been a week since he last heard of me, and he didn’t try to reach out either. Admittedly, he hasn’t had sex in a few weeks. How can I know he’s not in there with some ... booty call of his?

Serves me right for deciding to come at night. Damnit, had it been day, it would have been easier ... I think. Knowing him, probably not. It would have been just the same. Sigh.

Okay ... I can’t jump to conclusions. I did that with Ryan, and it turned out I was totally wrong. Jake is trustworthy ... unpredictable, but trustworthy. So I don’t have reason to believe that if right now, right this moment, I enter his place, I’ll find him in bed with some other girl ... right?

God, what is wrong with me? I’ve never been jealous for a type, yet first I was jealous of Serene, now I insult him by thinking he’s cheating already. Can I be more stupid? Sure, he’s got quite the reputation, but that doesn’t mean anything, does it?

I knocked once more, and finally I heard some ruckus inside. I held my breaths, trying to remember every line of the speech I had prepared, but my heart thumped too loudly.

When, finally, Jake appeared at the door, and I felt the compelling urge to just give up every restraint and simply throw myself into his arms, I realized just how much I missed him. Just how much I love him.

“Hey ...” I greeted, nervous. His cold gaze didn’t announce anything good.

“Hey.”

“I-uh ... I thought I’d drop by, see how are you ... I didn’t know you’d been dismissed from the hospital.”

He shrugged. His shoulder was no longer bandaged, and he wore no plaster over his leg. Actually, now that I noticed, Jake was standing with the help of crutches, while the bandage around his head was still there, just a little smaller.

“You shouldn’t stand so much, your bones need to rest, and-”

“Cut to the chase, Silvia. Why are you here?”

I closed my eyes, sighing. I deserve such treatment, don’t I? “I’m here for the most obvious reasons ... apologize.” I took a step closer, standing on the threshold. “I was the most stupid, most selfish idiot ever. I had no right to talk to you like that. I don’t know what happened in your life, what’s the story behind ... behind what you did. I know nothing, therefore I owe no rights of any sort. I shouldn’t have been so blunt, I should have thought before running my stupid mouth. I never thought for one second that you’re a murderer. I was just frustrated because you were pushing me, so I snapped. Of course, that is no way in Hell an excuse. I’m sorry. I know sorry’s not gonna cut it, but please, please, please, forgive me.” There, I blurted it all out in one breath.

Jake remained there, unmoving. My heart ran rampant as in my head every scenario of him actually throwing me out and claiming he doesn’t want anything to see with me anymore happened. He’d have every right to.

In the end, Jake sighed, his hands half clenching around the crutches. “There’s no need for forgiveness, Silvia.” Damnit. It’s always bad when he calls me by my name. “I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. I know you didn’t mean it, but you thought those words, and that’s enough for me.”

“No!” I screamed, my heart picking up a faster pace as I became desperate. “No, I didn’t mean it! I told you before, I say things you shouldn’t even pay attention to! I would never think of you that way.”

“But the thing is, I am what you called me. The question is, can you live with that?” Jake inquired, eyebrow arched, as he took a fatigued step closer to me. “Can you share your life with a man that is guilty of such a crime?”

I swallowed, ready to answer. I knew he’d ask me that, therefore I prepared an answer. “Yes.” Loud and clear. His surprised face told me he didn’t expect that reply. “I don’t know the details, I hope you’ll tell me soon, but I am utterly sure there was a reason if you did it.”

“What if there wasn’t? What if I just killed my mom for the sake of it?”

“You didn’t.”

“How can you be so sure?”

I took a deep breath, slowly encircling his torso. “Because I love you. And like I told you, even if you don’t want to admit it, Jake, you’re a good man. If you did such a thing, you had to. There’s no other explanation.”

He was tense. “So you don’t despise me?”

“No, I’m only sorry if you felt judged.”

Jake cracked a small smile, and slowly I started feeling his hand over my back. I took the chance to snuggle a little closer into him, closing the door with my foot. Hopefully we weathered the storm.

“You know ... this whole ordeal is gonna cost you at least 2 months of unbridled sex.” Jake laughed.

I rolled my eyes, though secretly smiling. “Always that smart mouth.”

“Hey, in my defense, me and Little Bond here are dying.”

I chuckled, squeezing against him. I felt relieved. And silly, because this whole trouble might have been solved a week ago, hadn’t I been such a chicken. Stupid feelings, they’ve weakened me, this could have been a lot more easy breezy.

We slowly headed to the sofa, where we sat together, all snuggled against each other. I smiled when I realized he’d been watching cartoons. I left my head on his shoulder, trying to wrap my head around the fact that barely 5 minutes ago I was dramatically hoping that our relationship wouldn’t be over so soon, yet now we were all snuggled up to each other. We really are an uncommon couple.

“We’ve never gone on a date.” I heard myself say.

Jake chuckled, kissing my temple. “All in due time. I’d rather heal first.”

“Why?” I laughed. “Because then you can easily make a move on me and succeed?”

“No ... because I want our first date to be memorable, a story we’ll tell our children, and me hopping from one way to another with the crutches doesn’t sound very interesting.”

Cute thought. But my mind got stuck on one very important word ... “Children?” Our children?

Jake laughed, pulling me closer into him. “Oops ... ignore that. I just have these lapses now and then ... nothing to concern you with.”

I arched an eyebrow at him, hand over his chest. “Uh ... excuse me, but if you think of having children with me, I should know.”

“Well, I also think of marrying you, but ... I wasn’t gonna say that until we’d date for 2 years at least. I know how much of a paranoid cookie you are, baby.”

“Well, I mean ...” I raised my head to look at him, frowning, “we just got back together and you’re already talking about marriage and children. It’s a little bit insane, don’t you think?”

He shrugged. “To be honest, I’ve started this relationship way long before you, so I guess it’s fair.”

“Right ...” Sigh. I’d rather not even answer to that. “Are we good, though?” I asked, needing to know if this was just one of our absurd moments or what.

Jake smiled, kissing my temple again. “All I needed to know, was that you won’t run away as soon as you hear my story. That one statement counted as a thousand apologies.”

“So you’re ... fine?”

He chuckled. “I keep telling you, baby, I’m a tough nut, I don’t easily crack.”

“Yeah, but ...”

“As my weakest spot, you have a power over me, yes. But you see,” he smiled, nuzzling my nose sweetly, as if he’d regained peace of mind after so long, “if one word from you can kill me, one word from you can bring me back to life.”

I don’t know how reassuring that sounds, but ... “it’s the same for me.”

Jake smiled, I smiled, we both smiled. Silly as can be, carefree after solving a huge issue in the least expected time. Hopefully this whole trouble won’t come back to bite us.

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