46 | Letting Go and Moving On
Waking up with a smile on my face seems so natural, it has become a norm for the past four months.
And this morning is not so different. I never fails to surprise my lazy ass when I throw away the covers immediately, almost as soon as I open my eyes. After dancing and prancing around my room a little in just an oversized tee and boy shorts over my underwear, I escape into my closet to pick up an outfit for today, that too, only because Kevin was laughing and when I turned to face him, he was recording my amazing performance on his phone, hysterically muttering and I quote “Tracy will love this.”
I just flipped my hair and showed him a finger. Of course Trace will love this, I’m an amazing dancer.
After laying down a jeans and my favorite plaid shirt - favorite because it was Axel and I’s first couple item and today, I am hoping to match - I skip to my bathroom and take a quick shower, only exiting after brushing my teeth, applying the slight make-up I’ve become used to, totally given up on pretend life and brushing my hair messily, letting it fall onto my back.
When I’m ready, I grin seeing my reflection in the mirror and grab my wallet and phone, skipping downstairs.
“Morning.” Dad smiles as I enter the dining area attached to the kitchen.
“Good morning!” I sing and join Mom and Grant on the table for breakfast.
My brother scoffs from beside me. “I don’t think I’ll ever not be scared of this creepy grin she always wears these days.” He mutters to Mom who chuckles and slaps his arm.
“You’re just jealous of me.” I say, smiling sarcastically.
“Sure.” He drawls and I stick my tongue out at him.
“Everyone can grow up but these two can’t.” Dad says, laughing, making Grant and I scowl and passes us stacks of pancakes on a plate. “Okay, kids. Hurry and eat up.”
We just shrug and dig in, finishing everything up under minutes. “Okay now, people, I’ve got a wife to bring to the hospital for her weekly check up so I’ll take my leave.” He says and turns to me. “Don’t cause trouble, kid.”
I scoff and let out a growl when he goes as far as ruffling my messily styled hair. “You’re a kid.”
“Tsk.” he shakes his head and turns around, walking out. “Poor Axel.” I hear him mutter before he leaves.
Even though there’s a mock scowl on my face, my lips are itching to be let out and form a wide, creepy smile that has made a permanent home on my face ever since Axel and I worked things out. Many things have happened since then, the biggest shocker of them all, no doubt, being Grant’s marriage.
That night up at the cliff, I had told Axel everything about myself, Grant and his secrets that were no longer secrets and Tracy and Kevin’s humorously cute relationship. He had continued to tell me about his childhood, his dreams, his thoughts and simply putting it, we had let each other in, making us start of stronger this time.
We had decided to tread slowly this time but all that flew out of the window when I visited him the very next day after that night up on the cliff. He had grabbed me as soon I was close enough and withing seconds, we were heavily making out, probably scarring poor Emilia for life. And since then, well, things haven’t been exactly baby steps.
Grant had been at home for the spring break when I was out with my friends and he had brought Waverly and Mrs. Bells home to meet my parents. After the shock of hearing about the granddaughter they never knew faded away, Dad had slapped Grant hard for keeping something this big from him for so long and then broken down crying for Neveah, muttering he never got to hold her.
Mom, the ever so emotional had joined in the crying fest and so had Maggie’s mom. Even Waverly slipped a few tears along with Grant.
After that, there’s was a gradual moment of acceptance and Dad had hugged Grant saying that he was proud of the man my brother had become at such a young age and even though he was mad about Grant keeping the secret, he was happy to accept Waverly as family.
Mrs. Bells hadn’t accepted that sweet acceptance and had broken down again. It was followed by Mom comforting her and now they’re best friends.
Kevin had informed us about the incident seeing as Grant had already left for college a day before we returned but I had called him later, after mending things with Axel and we had talked the whole night, sharing our stories.
Waverly’s visit to our place had become a usual thing since then and the doctors said that her health was continuously improving by being surrounded by the one’s who loved her and we were all too glad to be of some help.
Grant’s finals had ended just a week before my graduation and he was home, annoying me like usual. He was being cryptic and I knew he was planning something big but I didn’t know what. After the graduation ceremony, Axel, Tracy, Maggie and Kevin’s parents drove to our place and it was while dinner when Grant had proposed to Waves in front of all of us and asked her to marry him.
It was the most emotional event ever and we were all in tears hearing Grant’s words and his promises to always cherish and love the girl like he has been doing for the past four years and even more if it was possible. Even Axel was sniffing behind me as I held onto him, silently hoping that he and I will have something like that one day and surprisingly, that thought of spending an eternity with him didn’t bother me in the slightest, further proving to my belief that I was insanely in love with this man.
The two lovers had gotten married in a romantic June wedding, a few days after Derek’s and I got to be a bridesmaid in both the weddings.
As for Axel, I had brought him home days before the senior prom and when I though that my Dad would bring out his gun to threatened my boyfriend, he had surprised me by taking Axel in a fatherly embrace and Mom gushed all night about how gentlemanly he was, how hot he was, how considerate he was and other similar things.
The protective Dad role had come out when Axel had come to pick me up for prom but soon, he had burst out laughing seeing the look on my boyfriend’s face and let us leave without much time wasted but not before Mom took a million pictures, obviously.
My older brother got to do his own share of threatening my boyfriend when Axel showed up at my school for my graduation but Axel played along, immediately catching up that it was just a joke and since then, the two have been best friends, much to Dexter’s displeasure who never fails to make my boyfriend jealous by just throwing his arm around my shoulder. It’s funny, really.
My boyfriend Axel. It feels so good to address him life that. Nothing has felt more better. I can probably call him that for all my life and only trade it, for maybe, calling him my husband someday.
I grin giddily at the thought and look up to see my parents looking at me weirdly.
“I’m taking from that creepy smile that you’re visiting Axel?” Mom asks, an amused smile playing on her lips.
Dad scoffs. “Does she ever go anywhere else?”
I chuckle at my jealous Dad. “Aww, daddy boo. I love you the most.”
He cocks a brow. “More than that boyfriend of yours?”
I nod, sure of it. “Definitely. Did you have any doubts?” His lips twitch into a smile.
“Don’t tell Grant and Axel that.” Mom suggests jokingly.
I shudder mockingly. “Wouldn’t dream about that.” After sharing a laugh with my parents, I get up and exit my house, on the familiar path that would lead to my favorite place on earth.
It’s almost the end of summer and the sun shines brightly over my head, almost burning my hair. It’s a good day, good weather but not my favorite. Summer isn’t my favorite except for the holidays, of course. This whole summer, however could be my favorite. Axel and I had been attached to hip all these ten weeks. I received my acceptance letter from Harvard and Chicago University but since the former had always been my dream school, I didn’t even have to think twice before replying back.
Axel was sad about me going so far away but he had been extremely supportive, taking active part in all the preparations I needed to do for my first year at college. His exact words were, “I don’t want to be away from you for a single moment, Berry, but I don’t want to stop you from living your life and dreams either. I won’t be that selfish asshole. You’ve gotta stand up on your own feet so you could leave my stupid ass if I’m being an asshole. So that you never have to depend on anyone ever, even me.”
This sweet, amazing man I have had a chance to love and who loves me back is just the best thing that has ever happened to me. And everything he says just makes me fall harder for him.
“I’ll call you Berry whenever I fall in love with you all over again.” He had told me once on another one of our dates up on the cliff. “Because that was what I called you for the first time I realized that I was in love with you, the first time I kissed you.”
“Are you recreating Mr. Darcy and Mrs. Darcy here, Axel?” I had asked amused.
“Our own version of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy in form of Berry or Mr. and Miss. Scowls, hopefully Mrs. Scowls someday.” He had nodded and pecked my lips softly. “Even if we can’t exactly be those classic, romantic couples like Jack and Rose or Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, we’ll be our own version of them.”
I had grinned and kissed him softly. “I’d like that.”
“I love you.” He had whispered into my ear that night and I had replied back by own sincere promise of loving him.
“I love you.”
He and chuckled and joked, “Maybe ‘I love you’ will be our always.” making me double over in laughter.
Since then, we had been creating our own variations of several fictional couples and falling in love with each other even more every time we did that. I for a fact know that whenever he calls me one of his special nicknames, he is indirectly professing his love to me and I reply back with my own gestures. This things that we have, it’s just amazing and I love every bit of it.
When I finally get to the cafe, Axel is standing at the front door, locking it. As I reach closer to him, he turns around and smiles my favorite smile at me. “Hey.”
I smile back wider noticing that we’re matching. “Hey you.”
He raised his arms and I straight walk into them, wrapping my arms around him, breathing in his scent as he wounds his arms around my shoulder, pulling me closer. I pull back just enough to plant a quick on his lips and then completely. He takes my hand in his, entwining our fingers and we start our walk down to the cafe where we usually just sit and talk if we’re not in the cafe or at the cliff.
“You’re not opening today?” I ask.
He sighs. “Julie and Emilia are off the Grandma’s; her condition is serious. So I have permission to close early if I want to.”
“Or not open at all.” I complete.
He chuckles. “Yeah. Julie is aware there won’t be any customers except a few passerby’s and I won’t get any work done as you’d obviously visit me.”
I wince slightly. “I distract you, don’t I? What must Julie think of me?” I begin to worry.
Axel lets out a small laugh and kisses my hand that is wound with his. “She loves you. And she’s aware of the minimum customers that come in. She even once pointed out that the most money we’ve made this year from the cafe is because of you regular visits.”
I giggle at that. “I’m amazing, aren’t I?”
“Or you are just obsessed with me.” He shrugs casually.
I slap his chest with my free hand. “It’s not exactly a lie.”
“I know.” He grins cockily. “But just so you know, I’m obsessed with you, too.”
I bite the inside of my cheeks to stop my creepy smile from showing. “I know.”
Then we walk in silence around the park for a while before taking a seat on the same bench that we’ve practically marked as ours. I still remember the day when Axel had jokingly started to carve out an arrow heart with our initials in it, hence, naming this bench ours.
We talk about random things, including a few pecks in our conversation but mostly, it’s our silence that talks. I rest my head on his shoulder, our joined hands in his lap as we quietly take in the surroundings and feel the beauty of the nature like I had done the first time.
“I want coffee.” I whine two hours later, pouting.
“You’re such a baby.” He teases as he gets up and pulls me along. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re more obsessed with my coffees that you are with me.” He remarks as we make our way out of the park’s entrance and back on our way to the cafe.
“Then you don’t know any better.” I shrug nonchalantly.
He places a hand on his chest in mock hurt. “You hurt me, Snob Princess.”
I snort at that old name, almost left forgotten. “Whatever, Mr. Scowls.”
He just chuckles and shakes his head, leading us back to the cafe. “After you, Miss Scowls.” He mockingly bows down after opening the door to the cafe.
I flip my hair back in mock arrogance and strut inside in a sophisticated, model like manner eliciting a laugh from him. He straight walks towards the counter where the coffee machines are and starts working. “You bag is there, hanging on that hook near your booth.” He calls. “You left it in the truck - uh - that night.” He says, referring to the that night.
My cheeks tinge pink as I fight the blush and nod robotically, turning on my heels and walking to my booth, grabbing my laptop bag that I thought I lost. I sit down, starting it and entering the password and opening it to see my word document that I had been writing that day before Axel distracted me in the best way possible and I had to leave it at whatever I had come up with.
I start writing further, continuing where I left when I hear Axel’s footsteps behind me. Instead of hiding as I would have normally done, as I did that day when he - uh - distracted me, I just smiled and shrugged.
“What are you writing about?” He asks, passing me a cup and sitting across from me, having one of his own cup.
“Just something.” I shrug and push the laptop aside.
He raises a brow and nods towards the laptop where the saved document is still on view as if asking ‘May I?’ and I nod. He pulls the device closer to him as I pull by aromatic coffee cup and smile softly at today’s art. It’s my face, a lot improved than the last time and the words “I love you” written beside it.
I take a sip and look up at Axel who is reading what I had written intently. He meets my eyes and I can’t point emotions in them. “What is it?” He simply asks.
Instead of being scared of what he thinks about it, I smile. “Something I needed to do.” I look away, out of the window and sigh. “It’s my way of saying things I never got to say. And I had to get it out of my system. I see it as the last hammer on the nail. It’s me completely, hundred perctently moving on.”
He nods in understanding and sips on his coffee. “So, are you going to give these to him?”
I meet his eyes and nod. “I wasn’t so sure about it earlier when I started writing. But I am now. Back then, it was something I was holding onto. Now, I wanna let go.”
“That’s a good thing, right?” He asks.
“Of course.” I smile. “I’m leaving for college soon and it’s just a parting gift from me, well it’s not the most ideal gift that he’ll love, but eh, do I care? Nope. I’ll just give it away, among other things that are clogging my closet before starting a new life.”
Axel nods in understanding but doesn’t say anything, looking out of the window. “I new life with you.” I add and I witness the ghost of a smile itching to surface on his lips.
“You’re going away soon.” He reminds.
I nod, smile wavering slightly. “We still have a week.”
“Just a week.” He says and sighs. “And you won’t be there for my birthday either.”
I smile guiltily. “It’s the orientation week, Axel. And it’s compulsory for the freshmen to attend.”
“I know that.” He says and sighs, running a hand through his dark hair. “Just when things were starting to get better.” He mutters under his breath but I hear it.
“I’m not leaving you, Axel.” I say in a strong voice. “I’m leaving for Uni.”
“For five years.” He adds the detail.
“You’re graduating next year.” I remind him, turning the route of the conversation. “What are your plans after that?”
He shrugs. “I’m not sure. I got an offer to intern at this art gallery over the next town. If things go well, I’ll have a permanent place by the time I graduate. Julie suggested on closing down the cafe, since there won’t be anyone to look after it.”
I let out a gasp. “So you won’t be making any more coffees for me?”
He chuckles slightly. “I’ll always make coffee for you.”
In that moment, I know we’ll be okay, whatever may come.