Mending and Refusal
Leah’s POV :
I know there’s something different about today as soon as I open my eyes. The air smells different, the weather feels different. I’m snuggled to Axel’s side, his one arm going behind my head at a pillow and another over his eyes while I hold onto him, snuggling closer to gain some warmth from his body heat.
His shifts, waking up slightly and frowns, looking around the surroundings before his gaze lands on me and I can practically see the events of yesterday playing in his head through his eyes before he sighs.
I turn my attention back towards the sky where the sun is playing hide and seek with the clouds, passing barely any warmth to the Earth. The air still holds the faint smell of smoke from the firecrackers that were burst last night and everything just feels like a new year.
“Are you cold?” Is the first thing Axel asks me and just as the words pass his lips, he turns on his side facing me and pulls me closer.
I chuckle and accept the warmth he is providing. His other hand comes around to hold me by waist. “I wasn’t actually feeling it unless you asked.”
“Hmmm.” He hums and I look up to see his eyes closed and a plain, simple, peaceful look on his face.
“You’re still sleepy.” I comment.
He breaths in and sighs out, cracking one eye open before closing it again. “No, but winter makes me lazy. I don’t wanna get up.”
“Too bad mister, you’ll have to get up and drive me back home. I don’t know my way back and I definitely can’t walk down the cliff wearing heels in the morning, that too, in these clothes.” I say and push his hair out of his eyes which again, ends up falling on his forehead.
He opens both his eyes this time and pushes me just a few inches back to look at me clearly. Then he sighs. “Right, we’ve got to get back. We spent the whole night here.”
I nod. “We did. And I didn’t get home last night, I could only imagine what my parents would be like when I get back.” I say and sit back up, removing the blankets and searching for my phone. Where did it go? And why did no one called me? I’m sure my phone wasn’t on silent.
Axel groans and get up stretching beside me, also covering my now exposed legs with the blanket. “I’m sorry, that wasn’t the part of my plan. I thought we’d get back after the fireworks. What are you looking for, anyway?”
“My phone. And it wasn’t your fault so don’t apologize. We both fell asleep.” I say. “I must have dropped it in the front because I remember having it till last night.”
He nods and gets up, jumping off the back of the trek and helps me down. “I just don’t want to get you in trouble with your parents.” He says, folding the blankets and putting them back inside the bag he brought last night.
I shrug and fold my arms around me to spread some warmth over my exposed legs through magic. “Too late.”
He chuckles and takes my hand, bringing up to the front and helping me in the passenger seat. It’s then I notice he hadn’t packed one blanket and he wraps it around my legs. He runs towards the driver’s side and gets in, throwing the blanket bag in the little space in the back and starts driving off towards the city.
I look around and find my phone on the floor of the car. I must have dropped it last night in my excitement. I pick it up and open my phone to see fourteen missed calls and fifty three text messages, most of them from Tracy threatening me to tell her where I was or else she’ll kill me when she finds me.
There were three from Kevin, one asking me where I was, other asking about the show I gave at the party and the last one saying to call him if I need him. Grant’s messages were similar to Kevin’s just more in number and more frantic to know if I was fine. Maggie left one saying she saw me leaving so she’s hoping that wherever I went, I was safe.
The missed calls ranged from one from each of my friends and my parents and the rest from Grant. I know they were all thinking that I’d at least answer Grant’s phone if I was ignoring them but the truth was that I simply forgot about my phone last night.
I sigh and look around the road as Axel drives. I don’t reply to anyone seeing as it’s only a little over five in the morning and I don’t want to wake them up if they were sleeping. I already gave them enough scare by disappearing on them last night. It doesn’t take us long before we are parked on the curb just outside the gates of my place.
I get out with my phone in hand, leaving the blanket on the seat and walk towards the front of his truck. He has hopped out too and stands in front of me, his hands in the pockets of his grey hoodie. “Um, Axel?” I say when the silence between us threatens to stretch for long.
“Hmm,” He hums and kicks a stone on the curb before looking at me.
I lean back on the front of the truck to look at him, contemplating if I should say what I want to or not. I must be staring for too long for he speaks before I do. “You were saying something?”
“I have a question.” I say instead of what I originally wanted.
“And that is....?” He presses.
“Will you go back to being Mr. Scowls again now, after this?” I rush out before I could change my mind and leave it hanging again.
He gives me a swift glance and an amused smile dances on his lips and tilts his head to a side, accessing me. “Why, I thought you were in love with Mr. Scowls? Creative name, by the way.” He teases.
This time, I scowl, standing straight and hit his arm. “Answer me.”
He sighs and doesn’t say anything for a while. Then, he takes a step towards me, entering my personal space in a single long stride. Tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear, he says softly, “I don’t know. I guess you’ll just have to see for yourself.”
I can just hold my breath and nod as our eyes meet. He holds both the side of my face in his big hands lightly and presses a soft kiss on my forehead. “You should go inside before you get in anymore trouble. I’ll see you later.”
I nod again and he steps back. “Only if I’m not grounded.” I joke as I attempt to ease the tension that always seems to surround us.
He chuckles returning back to the driver’s side as he opens the door and gets ready to get in. “I’m sure you’ll still find a way to the cafe. That’s the Snob Princess I know.”
For some reason, this time his nick name for me doesn’t send a pang of hurt across my heart. Maybe because I know he’s joking about the whole snob part. I shrug and open push open the gates to my house. “Maybe you I’m not the Snob Princess you think I am. Maybe you don’t know me.”
“I’ll know you.” He says to my retreating figure as if he’s sure of it and I let out a laugh as I walk down my driveway. I hear the engine rumble outside the gates and I know within seconds, he’s gone.
I sighs as I climb up the porch steps, taking out the extra key from under the cushion on the porch swing and open the door. I kick open my heels and take them in my hand to not make any sound as I softly close the front door. I tip toe my way towards the stairs but a glimpse in the family room has me stopping in my tracks.
Tracy and Maggie were sleeping, leaning on each other on the couch while Grant on the recliner, elbows resting on knees and head in his hands. I almost though he was sleeping too when the sound of me entering the living room startles him and he looks up at me with wide eyes.
“Leah...” He says in a soft whisper and immediately, he is in front of me, his hair disheveled and his eyes slightly red from lack of sleep. He is still dressed in the same clothes he was in when he left with Dexter for a party. “Oh, thank God you’re alright. You scared me so much.” He jumbles out and leaves a few pecks on my forehead before engulfing me in a hug. I hug him back tightly.
“Leah?” I hear Mom’s voice from behind Grant and pull away to see her and Dad in their night suit but in the same disheveled appearance Grant was in. “Oh God!” She exclaims and runs to me, bringing me into her comforting arms. “You’re fine, baby. I thought something happened to you.” She says kissing my temple. I feel Dad’s hand patting my back and a kiss on the back of my head.
“Where were you?” He asks.
Maggie and Tracy are waking up but they stay quite as my family questions me, though their curious and worried eyes are trained on me for the answer.
I gulp, suddenly my throat feels dry and pull away from Mom to see her wiping a stray tear. My head bows down in guilt. “I’m sorry.” I the first thing I manage to say.
“Where did you go after the party, Leah? Your friends looked for you after the party but you were nowhere to be found. They thought you were back home but you weren’t and we all were scared that you disappeared or something happened.” Mom says frantically and her eyes search mine for a truthful answer.
My first instinct to lie to them dissolves because of the weight of my guilt. “I was with Axel.” I mumble.
Mom frowns. “Axel?”
“The Coffee place guy? Emilia’s cousin that came around on Christmas Eve?” Grant asks.
I nod and continue. “I.... wasn’t feeling very well at the party but I didn’t want the others to leave just to drive me home. So I walked around for a little bit but ended up at the Cafe.” I purposefully leave out the part of where Axel drove me to the cliff for I don’t feel like sharing that part of the night. It seems....... personal?
“You were with a guy for the whole night?” Dad asks and he’s frowning, which is not a good, confused frown. More of a how can I kill without being caught frown.
I sigh. “We just talked, Dad. And I didn’t even realize when I fell asleep. I asked him to drive me back as soon as I woke up.” I tell him the truth, just not the ‘where’ part.
Mom’s eyes are angry and she places her hands on her hips giving me a ‘you are in trouble’ look. ” You scared us by disappearing on us last night and you didn’t even pick our calls. And now you tell us that you were with a boy. You are not getting off the hook so easily this time, young lady. You’re grounded for a week. That means no more cafe trips for the whole week.”
My eyes widen at the punishment. I knew I saw it coming but still, one can hope. “What? Mom, no! Take away my phone and laptop, or something. Not the cafe, please.”
“You can keep your devices, honey. No cafe, that’s all.” Mom says in a passive voice and I know I can’t change her mind.
“I think it’s fair punishment as you did spend a night there with that boy.” Dad pipes, nodding.
I turn to face him. Traitor. “But dad -”
“Leah, go to your room.” Grant says cutting off my argument. I turn to look at him and he gives me a look I know all too well. I suppress a grin and nod, feigning sadness and trail slowly back towards the staircase. Tracy and Maggie follow.
I enter my room and slump on my bed, letting out a sigh. Now is when I feel my back hurting because of sleeping on just a mattress less blanket last night. Maggie plops beside me.
“I’ll tell Kevin you’re back home.” Tracy says and disappears into the washroom. I turn to look at Maggie. She gives me a guilty smile.
“I’m sorry, Leah. I would have said you’re at my place if I knew beforehand but your parents already knew that we were sleeping over here. Also, Tracy was frantic. And now you’re grounded.”
I smile at her. “Don’t worry, Mags. You didn’t know. And as long as I have Grant, I’ll be fine.” I send a wink her way and she seems to understand and lets out a chuckle.
“God, I’m so tired. We didn’t sleep until three in the morning because of you.” She groans.
I bite my lip, the guilt returning. “I’m sorry about that.” She waves off my apology.
Tracy comes back from the bathroom and plops in the middle of Maggie and me. “So....?” She starts. “What did you do with that hottie all night?” She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively.
My eyes widen. “God, no, Trace. As I said before. We talked.”
“Uh huh.” She says clearly not believing me. “Do you like him?”
Her words make me tense and stiffen. Instead of feeling giddy or embarrassed about the question, I felt dirty and guilty. Why? I can’t explain exactly but thoughts of me and Sean being together started swirling in my mind. “I don’t.” I say coldly. “I have known him for three weeks, max. I can’t possibly like him in such a short time, now can I? Not to forget what happened barely three months ago.” I scoff. I know I’m still in refusal of everything that happened, I’m refusing to move on, even though I want to. I want to lose this feeling of hurt and uncontrollable pain every time a conversation leads to Sean.
My words tense the air in my room and I could feel the two girls shifting uncomfortably on the bed. Not wanting to discuss anything further, I get up and walk into my closet, picking out a pair of sweats and tee and vanish in the bathroom to change.
It’s the first time since yesterday night that I get to see the mess I am. My hair doesn’t look much different from the messy look I gave it last night but my lipstick is no longer on my pale, pink lips and my eyes are tired. I myself see a defeated version of myself in the mirror. The only addition to my dress up is Axel’s maroon hoodie and I wonder how no one commented on it. Probably, they thought it was Grant’s. I sigh and wash my face and tie my hair up in a bun before proceeding to change in my night wear.
When I exit the bathroom, the other two have also changed into my clothes and they make room for me on the bed when they see me. I join them under the comforter.
“I saw what happened at the party.” Maggie says after a few minutes of silence, addressing my grand show at Yana’s.
I shift uncomfortably on the bed, not replying to her.
“It’s all over the internet. Probably the whole school will have seen it by the time school reopens.” Tracy tells me.
“In three days.” Maggie adds, reminding me my bad days were about to start again. So much for a new year.
“I didn’t know what I was thinking.” I manage to choke out without breaking down.
Both the girls turn to look at me and Tracy climbs over me to fall on the other side of me, pushing me in the middle when they both cuddle me from the side. “We didn’t ask for an explanation, Leah. We know.” Maggie says and her words break the damn and I’m sobbing.
“We will always be by your side, no matter what. Because we know you.” Tracy consoles me, wiping my tears.
“I love you guys.” I say and they snuggle closer. Before we know, we are fast asleep.
When I wake up sometime around evening, the first thing I know is that I’m craving for coffee. And not just any coffee but Axel’s coffee. Next, I realize that Tracy and Maggie aren’t on my bed anymore and I wonder if they left already. I sit up and groan when I realize that I’m grounded and sighing with defeated, I get up to shower. Dressed in simple jeans and hoodie, I march downstairs.
Dad is not home which means either he’s shooting for the new season of his show or he’s at the restaurant. Seeing as it’s the first day of a brand new year, my bet is on restaurant. Mom is flipping through her design file. She smiles when she sees me.
“Hey honey. Sleep well?” She asks.
I nod. “Where’s Grant?”
Mom sighs. “He’s out with his friends. They’re having a party since he’s leaving for college tomorrow. I swear that boy is never home these days.”
Seeing that Mom is in a good mood, I take a chance and ask her what I want to. “Uh, mom?” She raises her brow her me, urging me to continue. “I’m craving some coffee. Can I go to the cafe?” I ask nervously.
“I can make some good coffee too, honey.” She says, not at all showing any signs that she’ll let me off the hook.
I sigh. “Mom, please. Home made coffee is different from that of a cafe’s.” I argue.
“You’re grounded.” She reminds.
“I know.” I plop down on the couch beside her and she wraps and arm around my shoulder, bringing my head to her shoulder and weaving her fingers through my hair. “But -” I stop not really knowing what to say.
“I miss you.” Mom says suddenly after a moment of silence.
I jerk up and meet her eyes. “What?”
She smiles sadly at me and removes her gaze back on the file that rests open on the coffee table in front of us. “I miss you, baby. I remember how we both used to spend quality time together, going shopping or just sitting around and gossiping. All my friends were jealous that my teen daughter actually wants to spend time with me and enjoys my company when their kids were ‘stay away’ signs outside their bedroom door. And now, for past few months, you’ve grown so distant.” She meets my eyes, unshed tears shining in her eyes making me swallow hard.
“I don’t know what happened, honey. I don’t know why you drifted away from me, from us but I miss you. And I can’t help but feel that my old daughter is lost somewhere behind this new, distant you.”
I engulf her in a hug, hiding my face in her chest and sob while her hands wrap around me in a warm, motherly embrace. “I’m sorry, Mom. I didn’t want to hurt you and dad.” I sob out.
“Shhh.” She whispers soothingly. “Don’t cry, honey. I’m not mad at you and neither is your dad. He just misses you, like I do. Grant and you - neither of you are home these days and we just miss spending time with our kids.”
“I’m sorry.” Is the only thing I keep repeating for a few more times and Mom holds me, consoling me.
We stay like that for a while before I pull away. She smiles at me and wipes my cheeks, kissing my forehead. “I love you, my daughter.”
I smile back and nod. Suddenly feeling the hollowness of missing her, I do what I feel like without thinking twice. “Do you want to hang out? We can watch movies or something.” I ask.
Mom’s eyes suddenly shine with happiness and she nods eagerly. “We can gush about hot guys!” She exclaims excitedly. I grin and nod. “Wait here, I’ll bring hot chocolate and popcorn. You can chose movies.” She says and rushes towards the kitchen.
I sigh and get up to chose a few chick flicks that Mom and I like alike. Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum were our top two hotties to gush about. Meanwhile, I lose myself in my thoughts. Mom comes back soon with two cups of delicious hot chocolates and a large bowl of popcorn and makes herself comfortable next to me as I play The Proposal.
“I love you too.” I say softly, resting my head on her shoulder as the movie starts and I could feel her smile over my head but she doesn’t say anything.
Sure I was missing and craving Axel’s coffee but right here with Mom, it’s as betters as it gets. It all I can ask for at the moment.
Double update cause I most likely won't be able to update tomorrow or next week so here's extra content for you to enjoy. If I can somehow makeup time by next Friday, I'll give you Chapter 20 but I make no promises.
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