I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 75

CHAPTER 75 - YOU’RE LYING

JAKE

She stared at me expectantly, pen in hand, as serious as ever. Her gaze was so intense, it felt as if she were truly daring me to lie. The Silvia I know, she’d spot a lie in the blink of an eye, because she knows me. But this one ... this particular, more open, more cheerful, more chatty Silvia, she doesn’t know anything about me. Not a single thing aside from my name. So maybe ...

“So?” Silvia nudged, impatient.

I took a deep breath, to keep control over my emotions, and leaned back against my seat. “If we’re gonna do this, I’m gonna need more than coffee.” I grumbled, flagging down the waitress.

“Um ... it’s a café, I doubt they have any alcohol ...” Silvia frowned.

“I couldn’t drink anyways.” I pointed out without thinking, focused on recalling any beverage that is strong enough for me to endure this conversation, but technically not alcoholic. Ugh, God, these two years are gonna be Hell.

“What do you mean?” Silvia asked, because of course, she never misses a beat, my clever love.

“So, what do you wanna know?” I ignored her question once I’d ordered. I couldn’t resist to a chocolate chip cupcake. I think I’ve started replacing alcohol with pastries. I’ve eaten so many these months that, hadn’t I found a way to work out without going to my gym, I’d have already started losing the six-pack you girls love so much.

Well, okay, maybe I’ve replaced alcohol with food. I’ve jumped from one addiction to the other. Don’t judge me, you know it’s a hellish life.

“Why can’t you drink alcohol?” Silvia insisted, eyeing me closely.

I wanna say I’m a big badass man, her gaze didn’t intimidate me, but ... who am I kidding? I melted when we were nothing, you think I wouldn’t melt under her gaze after what we had? God, it’s so awful. Sitting here, talking to her like an unfeeling robot, while all I’d want is to shout loud and clear that if she feels a connection between us, if she feels she needs to remember me, there’s a reason. I am her freaking soul mate. Kindred spirit, one in a million, whatever you wanna call it. I’m the Rochester to her Jane Eyre, the Darcy to her Elizabeth Bennet, the Matthew to her Mary ... wait, no, that doesn’t count. Damnit, ever since Serene had me watch it, I’ve started liking Downton Abbey.

Basically I’m a whiny brokenhearted wimp that binge-watches period dramas on Netflix in order to ignore the need to either have sex or go to the nearest store and buy the whole fucking alcohol aisle.

The silver lining is, heartbreak eats out all the grief my system can endure, so everything else just ... fades. Had I known that it only took a broken heart to relieve me from my tremendous past, I’d have tried falling in love long ago. But then, I doubt it would have really worked. It only took the right girl, you see.

This woman ... being with her made me happy, therefore I began healing. Being without her makes me hopeless, which chews up every ounce of grief left in me. One way or the other, she does me good.

“Jake?”

Spacing out again. Damn Natalie. “Yeah, I ... what?”

“Why can’t you drink alcohol?”

“That’s a personal matter that doesn’t concern you.” I stated, as flatly as I could.

“I’m here to get to know you, or rather, remember you, so everything counts.” She pointed out, wiggling her eyebrows.

“Not this one.”

“Jake.” She called in that stern tone she always used whenever she got pissed at me, which happened pretty often, obviously.

“Fine ...” Wimp. Wimp. Wimp. My mind chanted. “It’s ... judge’s orders.”

“What?” She blinked her eyes.

“Come on, you’ve been told how dangerous I am, what I’ve done. Don’t you think such actions would lead to consequences?”

“I know you’ve been in jail ...” she bit the corner of her bottom lip, the way she does when she’s deep in thought, and I consequently averted my gaze, because there’s only so much my lovesick heart can take without exploding, and because I haven’t been able to feel anything of her in so long, that I was basically chaining myself to the chair and biting my tongue every time she spoke or smile or, well, breathed. “I didn’t know jail could force you not to drink alcohol.”

I shrugged. “They can put abstinence from alcohol as a condition of your release if in the past alcohol was part of the problem that led to your crimes.” It never was. Told you, I’m worse when sober. But my lawyer thought it was best not to add that detail, so officially, when I nearly killed Dave Murray, I was “intoxicated, therefore not entirely able to reason.” Bullshit, all bullshit.

“And was it?” Silvia questioned, wiggling her eyebrows.

I took a sip of my drink when it finally arrived, but already craving the cupcake. Man, I’m seriously becoming a chocolate junkie. “Depends on which crime are you referring to.” Oh, there you go, a tiny gasp. I can either scare her into giving up, or tell her so many lies that she’ll never be able to piece together the truth. Or maybe both.

“Alright ...” Silvia sighed, deleting something on her notebook, “we’ll talk about that another time ... let’s start from the basics. Name, age, job ... you know, the usual.”

“Oh, come on ... I can give you my ID for that.”

“Just start talking, Jacob.”

I frowned. “It’s Jake.” I scoffed. “Jake. Just Jake. It’s not an abbreviation, it’s my name, my full name.” She let herself chuckle the slightest, which was a bad, bad thing for my poor lovesick heart, so I diverted my thoughts to sharks. I don’t know, sharks are the first animals that came to my mind. Probably because I watched a documentary last night.

“Okay ... Just Jake,” she laughed, and there I went again, thinking of those giant beasts in the ocean ... “do you have a last name?”

“Claus.”

She sent me a dirty look. “Like Santa Claus?”

“Yeah, it’s a name, didn’t you know?” Predictably, she scowled. Man, I’d forgotten how fun it is to make her mad. Hell, I’d almost forgotten how it feels like to be sitting in front of her, talking to her, actually having a conversation other than me having a monologue with her comatose frame.

“Jake Claus. And I should believe that?” Silvia scoffed. “Do you think I was born yesterday?”

I barely caught myself enough not to smile, like the imbecile I am. “Well, technically ... yes.”

“What?”

I bit my lips, knowing I’d let slip too much. “Never mind.”

“Tell me.” She basically ordered, letting slip that bossy side of her that I’ve always loved. If there’s one woman, scratch that, if there’s one being in this world I’ve ever loved taking orders from, that’s my Angel with Horns. Only when I saw my friends with their wives did I realize how I looked from the outside when dealing with my girlfriend.

Every time I see these perfectly confident men become innocent little boys whenever their wives confront them, and it’s awkward, but then I look closer, and I see it. It’s not fear, it’s admiration. It’s love, unconditional love. At first I scoffed whenever I saw Lukas and Lucas (I know, different names just because of a letter, so original, right?), and even my cousin’s boyfriend look all meek and flustered when their respective partners confronted them. But then I realized ... that isn’t the look of a man that’s lost his balls upon falling in love, that’s the look of a man that basically worships the ground his other half walks on.

I know how that feels. I know so perfectly how that feels. To stay there, staring at her, losing yourself as you internally swoon every time she speaks, or smiles, or even yells and barks. I know how it feels, to sit there and love her every moment of every day, even when she’s pissed at you and she’s spent the past thirty minutes lecturing you on an issue you forget the moment you start staring at her in awe.

Like I was doing now, I bet. In fact Silvia lightly kicked my foot, calling me back to the present. Man, I’m so fucking smitten. And even after so long, it’s like day 1 all over again. “It was ... your birthday, yesterday.” I admitted, because I’m such a wimp. “I mean, your quasi-birthday.”

“I don’t understand.” She furrowed her brows, looking at me funny. “I’ve been told I was born on April 23rd, today it’s 13th.”

Now I had to dig up that corny shit we made up. I sighed, clasping my cup. “You hate your birthday. You hate celebrating because your birthday triggers ... heavy memories. So we came up with a ... quasi-birthday. A day when we would celebrate your birth like the actual one. And ... it was yesterday, yeah. So ... technically, for us, you turned 27 yesterday.”

“For us?” She repeated, staring at me with those beautiful hazel eyes of hers, melting every corner of my being. The truth is, however, I was enjoying it. Understand me, guys, it’s been so long since the last time I could even only look into her eyes, anything, any type of contact makes me all giddy inside.

“You and I.” I cleared my throat, averting my gaze. So much for not letting her know anything about us.

“Why ... why yesterday in particular?”

I bit my lips, remembering the conversation we had about this. It was basically the Mushiness Olympics. Too much even for us, I swear. But you know, we’d just made love, so we were still inebriated by the whole ... we’re so disgustingly smitten that we can’t even have sex, but we make love kind of thing. “It’s precisely halfway between your actual birthday, on 23rd, and ... mine, on the 3rd.” There you go, I said it. Ugh, why can’t I just keep my mouth shut?

“Oh.” Silvia blinked her eyes, marveled. She perused me for a long, long moment, and I was pretty sure I knew what she was thinking about. I didn’t need her to voice it, I just ... knew. “Seems like you and I-”

“Watson.” I blurted out, cutting her off, “my name is Jake Alexander Watson.” Silvia blinked her eyes at my response, so I added, before she could realize what I’d done: “Yes, Watson as in Watson Holdings ...”

“You said you work for the big boss ...” Silvia commented as she wrote down something. Phew, crisis averted. “You never said you are the big boss ...”

“Technically, my uncle is, but ... yeah, I will be. In approximately a hundred years, when his mortal spires will turn into dust. But you never know, he may keep working even then.” I sassed.

“Funny.” Silvia said dryly. “So ... go on. How old are you?”

“How old do you think I am?” I smirked.

She rolled her eyes. “Judging by your attitude? Probably 13.”

I bit my lips not to smile. I remember the last time she said I was 13. Good old memories, the day my Angel with Horns barged into my life to make it better. And I barged into hers to destroy it. “I’m 32.”

Silvia wrote the number on her notebook, next to my name, and I would have sworn she’d circled something three times, but I couldn’t quite see what she’d written. “Okay ... any siblings?”

“You know, you could just check my profile online for this. It would save us both a lot of time.” I pointed out, just to irk her.

She rolled her eyes, predictably. “Face to face is better.”

“Eye candy, I see.” I winked.

“God, have you always been such a jerk?” she scoffed, flagging down the waitress.

“Proudly.” I sat back, and enjoyed my third cupcake while she ordered another cup of tea.

“And I loved you?” I nearly choked on the cupcake. Hell, I nearly fell off the chair when she said that, but she didn’t even blink. “I mean, I’ve loved you, haven’t I?” Silvia inquired, leaving the notebook to inch closer. Good thing there was a table between us, because her gaze was so adorably yet sexily confused that I could barely not swoon. “You and I have shared something really deep, I’m pretty sure about that. So I guess I really loved you.”

Keep using the past tense, please, it’s not like you’re stabbing me right through my ribs or something. Nah, it doesn’t hurt, not one bit. “We were together for a while. That’s all.” I forced myself to say.

“Jake ... come on.”

“What? We’ve been together for like, 8 months. That’s not much of a long relationship, don’t you think?”

“Duration has nothing to do with feelings, that’s not how it works.” She pointed out. “Stop trying to debase whatever we had. It was clearly important.”

“Then tell me, how come it’s been months, yet you don’t remember a single detail about us?” Okay, maybe ... my tone was more accusatory than I intended it to be. But it was all for the sake of the greater good.

She gasped, taken off guard. “That’s ... that has nothing to do with ...” Strike one. I definitely hit the bull’s eye. “I ... it’s complicated ...”

“Is it?” I scoffed. “I mean, the fact that you can’t remember anything of me should tell you something. Had I been so important, you’d have remembered me right off the bat. Hell, even only hearing my voice should have worked. But nothing. And why?”

“Jake ...”

“Because it was never important.” God, you have no idea how much it cost me to say that. “We’ve been together, yes. Was it nice? Yes. Was it unforgettable? Meh ...” Silvia shot daggers at me, but I knew the seed of doubt had been planted, and she was reconsidering everything, so I stepped on gas. “Boyfriends come and go, nothing is ever meant to last, and we of all couples certainly weren’t.”

“But-”

“Think about this, Silvia,” I insisted, leaning in, even daring to look straight into her eyes, “why is it so hard for you to remember me? Why aren’t small details like my voice, my eyes, or even my motorcycle - which you’ve always hated, by the way -, why aren’t small details enough to set memories into motion? Why do you have to try so hard to remember me?”

“Because I want to, and-”

“No ... you’re trying so hard because you can’t remember me.” I corrected. “There’s nothing inside you that clings onto the memory of me. Because, deep down, you know I wasn’t worth it.”

“Jake, no, I-”

“It’s the truth, and you know it.” God, I hate myself so much for this. But it’s the only way, it’s the last shot I have not to risk fucking up her life again. “We’re just wasting time here. Time you could spend on remembering people that actually matter. Like ... your best friend, or Ryan. Of all the people you should remember, I’m the last one you’d ever wish to.”

“You’re wrong.” She sighed. “I told you, your memory is the only one that craves to be recollected. That must mean something.”

“It doesn’t. It’s just a trick your mind is playing, to keep you from the memories that do matter, but that may hurt you.” Jesus, I seriously wish I wouldn’t have to do this, but she gives me no choice. “Tell me, what did doctors say?”

“What ...”

“What did doctors say about your amnesia?”

“Uh ...” she seemed lost, that was a great sign, “they said it’s so heavy because there’s ... some trauma, or probably multiple traumas. My brain basically hides memories from me because it’s trying to protect me from the memory, the one of the traumas.”

“Exactly. So maybe you think you should remember what your mind tells you to, but instead you should work on the memory your mind hides.” I’m an asshole, a gigantic, stupid asshole. But I see no other way. It’s either this, or she backs me against a corner, and I know myself, there’s only so much I can resist to her. I would spill the beans in one breath if she pushed me too hard. Told you, if there’s one weak chord I have, there’s Silvia Banchi. Well, she and Serene.

And probably the daughter Olivia and I had.

Oh. Right, I forgot to tell you, remember the one time Olivia and I got together? Yeah, it turns out that my pull-out game wasn’t that strong, so ... well, I’m a daddy.

Nah, I’m just pulling your leg. You should have seen your face. Sorry, the moment was too intense, author told me-that is, I decided to defuse it.

“That is ...” Silvia furrowed her brows, baffled, “no, it’s ... no. That is ... it’s not how it works, I ... I’m supposed to remember everything.” She said that, but she definitely looked like a woman that was revaluating her entire plan.

“Maybe. But I think that focusing on the big memories would help more.” The thing about amnesia, is that she doesn’t know shit about her past nor herself, so ... it’s kinda easier to manipulate her ideas, Inception style.

“Yes, that’s what I’m doing, I-”

“You’re wasting your time here with me.” I swallowed the lump in my throat. “You should work on your memories about Ryan, instead.” Yes, because Ryan was the important boyfriend, definitely. God, I hate myself.

“Ugh, what does Ryan have to do with-”

“Important memories, Silvia. Important memories. Someone that loves you like Ryan is ... way more important than someone like me, with whom you’ve barely spent 8 months.”

“Are you saying you’ve never loved me?”

Damnit. I hadn’t seen that one coming. Had she shoved a knife into my chest, it’d have been easier. I swallowed inaudibly, trying to hold her gaze as much as possible, while I basically killed myself to let out the one answer that would end all of this in one single moment: “No.”

SILVIA

No? What does he mean, no? It can’t ... no, I mean ... no? “You mean no, that’s not what you’re saying?” Was I too hopeful? I mean, I shouldn’t be, I have no right to be. Judging by what he’s been telling me, I was wrong since the beginning. And yet ...

Why do I feel compelled to remember him if he’s not important? It can’t be what he says, that my mind is tricking me into remembering irrelevant stuff to hide the big monsters. No. I refuse to believe that. I mean, it’s absurd. It would mean my own brain is working against me, which it’s basically what amnesia feels like, but ... ugh! It’s everything so confusing!

“I mean ... no, I’ve never loved you.” Jake stated flatly, as if the words meant absolutely nothing to him, yet ... he’d had to basically carve them out of his throat.

“I ... I don’t believe you.” I voiced my thoughts. For some reason my heart ached. It stopped hurting the moment I started talking to him, yet now his words, that dead cold negation, it started hurting all over again. Was I any less convinced there’s something I’m missing, I would start thinking that I made it all up on my own. And I might have. I might have just ... romanticized it all.

“It’s true.”

“Then why are you talking in monosyllables now?” I scoffed. It can’t be true. One moment we agree that we’ve been something really important, because he didn’t even want me to remember him, yet he knew I would. He knew I would because he knows he matters much more than everyone else, or at least he did, in my ... past life.

“I’m not.”

“You just did, Jake.” First he claims he doesn’t want me to remember him, then he claims I want to remember him only because he doesn’t really matter so it’s easy to remember him ... I mean, sorry, but that’s bullshit. It’s got to be bullshit.

Jake took a deep breath, and his hazel-green eyes stared straight into my hazels. His voice was sharp and cold, like an unfeeling robot: “I was just trying not to hurt your feelings.”

“Oh, really?”

“Silvia.” Jake called, his voice stark and so terribly chilly. “I have never once in my life, not one single moment, loved you. Is that clear now?”

“No, I ... you ... you’re trying to push me away.” I don’t even know why did tears prickle behind my eyes. Why does it feel so awful? Why did it hurt so much? His words were like daggers piercing through my skin, and the way he said, it was as if he knew he would hurt me so bad, and he did it purposely. The question is, why?

“I’ve been trying to push you away since you dragged me to this damn café.” Jake spat. “I’ve been trying, since the first moment, to convince you to give it up. Good God, woman, why do you think I walked out on you?”

“You-”

“I couldn’t care less!”

“No ...” I was having troubles to breathe, and I had no idea what caused it. It’s as if my heart ached the way it should have, yet I didn’t know it. It was as if my brain pulled me onto one route, while my heart fought with all its might to stay rooted right there, to keep pushing. Because Jake Watson was lying. He ought to. It ought to be a lie.

“I came because I felt guilty. Your accident was due to me, your condition, I caused it. So I felt guilty.” He barked, as chilly as thin ice. “That doesn’t mean I’ve ever loved you. Guilt is one thing, love is a whole other. I should know.”

“But-”

Jake leaped to his feet, and threw some bills onto the table. “I’ve tried to be careful, I’ve tried to be kind, to play your game, in consideration of your predicament. But you’re the most stubborn woman I’ve ever met.”

“I know what you’re doing.” I croaked out, my voice breaking. “Y-You already did this, and-”

“And why did I, you think?”

“You don’t want me to remember you. You-”

“Because you’ve been nothing but a huge pain in the ass!” Jake barked, loud enough for a few heads to turn. “Jesus Fucking Christ, what else should I do to make you understand?! I want nothing to do with you.” Then, he stormed off.

I felt so weak, so fragile. Tears pooled in my eyes, I felt numb. That chord beneath my ribs? He’d torn it so forcefully this time, that it more than broke, it was shred into smithereens. And my heart started bleeding, bleeding so copiously that it felt physical. Enough for my head to start spinning, my vision to blurry.

When I felt something liquid drip down my nose, I reached for it, and was startled to see blood. What ... I could barely hold my head. I realized I’d fallen off the chair only when I heard someone gasping. Then everything went dark.

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