CHAPTER 65 - I SAID I WAS HERE TO FIX HER
“She’s making progress, slowly but steadily.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. Thank God. For once Mister G is doing His job. If the 79 days I’ve spent in prison have been worth it, it was all to hear this news. Silvia is nearly there, close to waking up. It could seriously be a matter of days now. It sucks that I won’t be there when she does, but, like I said, I sent a good enough replacement. “Thank you, Ryan.”
He scoffed. “How come, no nicknames?”
I rolled my eyes, ignoring the line of other inmates behind me, all waiting to use the phone. “I really am thankful.”
“I’m here for her, Jake, not for you.” Ryan pointed out, bitter. I didn’t miss the resentment right there. Of course he blames me for Silvia’s predicament, and he’s right, it is indeed my fault, so I didn’t even bother getting offended.
“Still, you keep me informed.” I call his phone every single day. One call I have a day, I use it to call my girlfriend’s ex, can you believe it?
He heaved a deep sigh. “Colin says you might be out sooner than expected.”
“Hardly. The lawyer’s fighting to cut off the jail time and make it probation, but it’s more likely that I’ll do the full 12 months.” I sighed, tired, my head dropping against the wall. It’s been only two months and a half, more or less, there’s still a lot to go. “Hopefully she’ll be awake by then. Will you look after her?”
“The same way as you entrusted me your girlfriend once, I entrust you mine now, Ryan. Look after her while I can’t.”
“Why me? Why not your best friend or your sister? Even Tess is-”
“You love her.” I cut him off, which caused him to choke on air. “More specifically, you love her like I do. You’re the only one that can replace me, Ryan, because you’re the only one that knows how it feels like to love her.”
He remained silent for a long minute, while behind me the other inmates were annoyed, but didn’t dare say anything. 2 months and a half in this shithole, you think I wouldn’t assert my authority? Told you, jail is like playground, either you become the bully or you get bullied. Truth be told, this is nothing like Rikers. I mean, it’s max security versus minimum security, so it’s not that hard here. In Rikers I had lunch amongst murderers and mob bosses, here the most I’ve seen are burglars and white collars. It’s fairly tranquil if you ignore the occasional fistfights amongst inmates.
“I could take much better care of her than you ever could, you know.” Ryan finally spoke, as sour as an aunty acid. “I mean, I would have loved her and cherished her until the rest of my days. I would have married her, we’d have lived together one of those cliché lives you so hate.”
I sighed, rubbing the bridge of my nose, my migraine restarting to mount. These headaches keep on coming, each worse than the other, and I think it has a lot to do with my past injuries, but also with the fact that I don’t even sleep anymore, I just think. “Is there a point to this rant, Ryan? Or are you just gonna rub in my face that you were the perfect boyfriend while I was the scumbag that nearly got her killed?”
“I’m just saying, I’ve never hated anyone like I hate you, Jake, let’s be honest.”
I scoffed. “Well, the feeling is mutual, buddy, but meanwhile-”
“I hate you, and I hate myself for basically throwing her into your arms. I thought you were her only chance at happiness. But now I realize, I made a huge mistake. Maybe I couldn’t have given her what she needed, but at the very least I wouldn’t have gotten her killed.”
“I never wanted to endanger her. It was her to follow me, I-”
“Just shut up for once, will you?” Ryan snapped, probably for the first time in his life seriously angry. “She followed you because she loves you. She sacrificed for you because she loves you more than she’s ever loved herself. But have you ever even considered that? Have you ever even stopped to think just how much she’s given you?”
“You think I haven’t? I think about it every single fucking day. I know I-”
“You don’t deserve her, Jake.” Ryan cut me off. “You don’t deserve Silvia, you don’t deserve all that she’s done for you.” He spat. “This is not about me holding a grudge, this is about you fucking up her life along with yours. I came on your call not because of you, I came because I knew she needed someone she could rely on, someone that, clearly, cannot be you, Jake.”
I gnashed my teeth, my jaw clenching, and the scumbags behind me took a step back when I punched the wall. “Are you done ranting?! You think I don’t know what I’ve done? You think I don’t know what a shitty boyfriend I’ve been? You think I don’t bathe in guilt every single fucking day because of what I did to her?” I spat.
“I know what I did, and I own it. I know I don’t deserve her, God knows she’d be better off without me, but nevertheless, we cannot fight this. Hell, I tried. I did try, but it’s just stronger than us. I can’t give her a half of what she’d deserve, I know that. Sure, I could provide for her wealth, I could buy her the moon, but she wouldn’t want it,” for a moment I smiled, thinking of my feisty angel with horns, “hell, she’d probably spit into my face that I’m a self centered chauvinist if I think she needs me to provide for her. But I can’t give her the rest.
All I can give her is my corrupted heart and my uttermost devotion, and that, she’s always owned. So you can stop it with your whiny rant, Ryan, because there’s nothing you can say that I haven’t already told myself, there’s no insult you can throw my way, that I haven’t already spat on my own. I’m a crappy human being that took an already broken soul, and broke it further, there’s nothing you can say that can hurt me more than how much knowing that does.”
“That won’t stop you from screwing up her life all over again the moment she wakes up, though.” Ryan hissed. “Ask yourself this, Jake, will loving her be enough a second time when it wasn’t a first? And can you live with yourself, knowing that you’re chaining to you someone you’ve torn apart? After all you did to her, can you seriously work up the courage to still claim her heart?”
He’s right, isn’t he? My place is not here. I don’t belong with her, or rather, maybe I do, but I shouldn’t. Then why am I here? Why, the very first moment I was released after 5 months of jail, did I come here of all places? Why did I first of all rush to the hospital, if I know that she’s much better off without me?
Well, I’ve never been much of a sensible guy, you should know that by now.
Taking a deep breath, actually feeling my knees quiver like jelly, I opened the door to her room. I haven’t seen her in months, I felt like I was running out of air, I was like a fish out of water gasping to breathe. Predictably, Ryan was there, sitting at her bedside. As much predictably, he didn’t like the sight of me. And who can blame him? After that phone call he quit answering me, so I had to overstep him and simply get a nurse to tell me what was going on, how was Silvia doing. The sight I didn’t like was of her ex comfortably chatting with her father.
Basically I’m the third wheel now, the scumbag they both ganged up on to keep away from her. I can’t blame them, I seriously can’t, but ... I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t even try to fight my way back to her.
The moment he saw me, Ryan leaped to his feet. I’ll admit I never thought I could see him that angry. I thought he was a saint that could never be riled up. “So it’s true, you’re out.” He spat. “And here I thought the American judicial system worked.”
“Well, you know, when you can pay your way out, it’s really not that hard to bypass the laws.” I scoffed. I actually have no idea how could Byron pull it off, unless my uncle pulled some strings. Perks of being rich.
Ryan shot daggers at me. “Either way, you’re not welcome here.” He stated, taking a few steps towards me. Who would have imagined, I really do tickle his worst side.
“And who’s gonna throw me out, you?”
“Don’t tempt me, Jake. I’ve got even too many reasons to punch you.”
I shrugged. “Like I told you before, don’t warn me, don’t talk, do what you must. Just punch me if you wanna.” I took a step closer. “You think I’m gonna step back? I’ve spent the past 5 months amongst the scum of the city, you think some pretty little boy like you can scare me?” I went to stand a mere inch away from him, enough to see his nostrils flaring. Wow, he was seriously furious.
“With all you’ve done, you still find the courage to scoff. I seriously don’t understand how can you wake up every morning and not spit into your reflection.” He barked.
“I actually do spit into my reflection every morning, but still, here I am, and you still haven’t punched me.”
Ryan gritted his teeth, his blue eyes reverberating with a type of hatred I’ve never seen before. He looked like he seriously wanted to skin me alive. I guess I should be proud of myself, I finally tipped him over the edge. He even raised his arm, ready to finally punch me after all this time. And yet ... “You’re not worth the drama.” He scoffed, lowering his arm, and stepped back from me. “Just go.”
I didn’t move an inch. It’s not like I’ll let some pretty boy tell me what to do. Not after all I’ve done to get here. All the while Silvia’s father didn’t even bother, hell, he didn’t even look at me, his eyes were fixated on his daughter, and only when I heard a sniffle did I notice that he was holding also another woman’s hand. His wife. Silvia’s mother.
I wonder how do they find the strength to sit at her bedside all the time. I wonder how haven’t they given up on hope already, but then, neither have I. Until that freaking machine beeps, there’s hope. It’s been almost 2 years now, though. She lost 2 years of her life because of me. No wonder they all hate me, hell, I hate myself. Yet I still can’t keep away. More than just a masochist, I must be a sadist.
“Jake, go!” Ryan barked, his fists clenching and unclenching. “You can’t seriously think you’d be welcome here after all you’ve done. And if I recall right, there’s a restraining order still in place, so if you don’t leave right now, I can call the police. You don’t wanna go back to jail the same day you left it, do you?”
“Would you look at that, Sir Douche finally grew some balls.” I scoffed, glaring. “You can threaten me all you want, Ryan, but you’ll have to drag me out of here with your own pretty hands if you want me to leave.”
His eyes narrowed. “Don’t tempt me.”
All talk, no action. I took a step closer to him, staring straight into his eyes. “I am tempting you. Now what are you gonna do about it?”
We stood there, staring at each other, well, more like shooting daggers at each other, barely one or two inches away, but neither of us raised a hand. I was waiting for him to throw the first punch actually, but for a mere matter of common sense: this was my second conviction, I get convicted a third time, there won’t be saint nor devil that can help me, I’ll simply rot in prison. And maybe I would want that, but only if ... only if, worst case scenario, that goddamn machine stops beeping.
The moment he’d punch me, though, we could finally have the showdown we’ve been avoiding for years. When I finally saw him narrowing his eyes and raising his fist, I’ll admit I felt relieved and inwardly cheered, but before he could actually punch me, we both got knocked over our heads.
“You gotta be the stupidest dipshits on Earth, I swear.” Tess hissed, furious, her hands still up in the air, while both Ryan and I rubbed our injured scalps. “You seriously think now is the time for testosterone?!” She barked, looking in between us, then she turned to Ryan, tears welling up in her eyes yet her voice was ever so booming. “You, where were you when she really needed you? Where were you when she cried her heart out for you?” Tess spat, then turned back to me. “And you ... ugh, don’t even get me started. You’ve put her through so much, I don’t even know why do I still bother talking to you.”
Tess took a step back, shooting daggers, as furious as I’ve never seen her. “Now either you both leave her the fuck alone, or I’ll have these gentlemen throw your dumb asses out.” There I noticed the ominous security guards standing behind her. They looked like giants other than men.
“I’m not going anywhere.” I spat. “I’ve waited over 5 months to get here, it’s not going to be some gorilla to keep me from seeing my girlfriend.”
“She’s not your girlfriend.” Tess hissed, her gaze freezing. “She dumped you when you cheated on her, remember?! It’s the very first thing that kicked off this whole trouble. You cheat on her, she dumps your sorry ass, you cower back to your stupid fights, you nearly get killed, she comes to rescue you, and as a lovely thank you, you nearly kill her. Did I sum it all up?!” Tess barked, raising her voice, such a rage and hatred in her voice that I never thought I would witness.
“I didn’t ...” I took a step back, swallowing the lump in my throat, “I ... I didn’t ... I ...”
“You did. It’s the very reason why you went to prison.” Tess hissed, her gaze incinerating. “Now do me a favor and get the hell out of here.”
“No. If there’s one thing Ryan is right about, is that you don’t deserve her. You don’t deserve to be loved as much as she loves you, you didn’t deserve a half of what she did for you, Jake, and you know it.”
“No buts. She put her own life in danger for you. She spent months barely sleeping because of you. You debilitated her, you worn her out, physically, psychologically, and emotionally, and I hate myself for letting you. I should have never pushed her into your arms, I should have never nagged her, I should have simply agreed with her when she said she was going for the safer choice.”
“Tess, I-” I felt weak to my bones. Having her rub in my face all the things I’ve done, all that’s brought us here, all the shit I’ve put Silvia through ... it felt like being stabbed right through my ribs, over and over again. And I can’t say I don’t deserve it.
“Your nightmares weakened her bones, did she ever tell you that? As awful as it sounds, it’s better that she aborted, because upon giving birth, she’d have never made it, because you’d put her body through too much. You didn’t only shatter her heart, Jake, you compromised her health, you tainted her soul. Simply, you broke her while claiming you loved her, you destroyed her when you should have saved her.” Tess hissed, slapping my chest, tears streaming her cheeks. “And I hate you for this, I hate, hate, hate you, Jake!! I don’t care what you say, all the apologies you spit out, I’ll spend my every living moment to make sure you do not come anywhere near my best friend again. Never, never again. Now get the hell out of here.”
I remained there, speechless, dumbfounded, shattered to my core, while all eyes were fixated on me. I could barely breathe. I couldn’t refute anything of what she said, because it was all true. I said I was here to fix her, instead I destroyed her.