In Your Arms

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Chapter 20- Noah

It’s been a great night so far. We all migrated on Ava’s balcony. It’s a cozy space, with outdoor couches surrounding an outdoor electric fireplace tabletop. Twinkle lights wrap around the entire balcony. My grandparents had left earlier, as they usually like to stick to their schedules. It’s Autumn, Ava, Drew, Mama, and my sweet Haven. We’re sitting on one of the love seats, snuggled together. Drew and Ava the same and mama and Autumn are on the two-seater sofa.

“Haven, I can’t believe Noah got you workin’ at that bar,” mama says, smiling. Autumn feigns offense.

“Carmela, I work at the bar,” Autumn says, sipping her beer. We all smile. I look over at Haven, who has been nonstop laughing.

“Oh Autumn, you know what I mean. You’re meant for a crowd like that, I just don’t see sweet Haven here dealin’ with drunks and skeezeballs.” Mama shrugs. We all bust out laughing at mama’s use of ‘skeezeballs’.

“Oh mama, please don’t ever use that word again,” Ava says, pretending to make herself throw up. Mama rolls her eyes. When we all calm down from laughing Haven speaks.

“Oh, it’s honestly not too bad. I have a good boss,” she nods her head towards Drew, who nods in acknowledgment of her compliment.

“Don’t flatter him too much or he’ll never be home,” Ava says playfully swatting Drews arm that is wrapped around her.

“Well, I guess I’m just askin’ is there something else you’d rather do?”

Haven ponders on my mom’s question, not answering right away. Before it got a little awkward Haven smiles.

“Actually yeah, I have a degree that I never got to use,” we all look at her curiously. She continues, “Funny enough it’s in interior design.”

“Oh wow, that is amazin’. You should use it honey. The lord knows we all need a fresh look once in a while.”

“Yeah Haven, that’s awesome. You should use it for sure,” Ava says, encouragingly. I smile down at Haven in my arms, watching her as she’s growing more excited about the possibilities opening up for her. I squeeze her arm gently and she looks up to me and smiles.

“Well, this has been such an amazing night, but I have to get home.” Everyone gets up, saying goodbye to my mom. My mom goes and hugs everyone, saving Haven for last. She tells her to think about tonight’s conversation and if she needs anything never to hesitate to call her. I also kiss Haven on the cheek, as I’m the one taking my mom home, since Drew took the grandparents’ home.

************

The car ride to mama’s house is quick. We didn’t speak much, just that she likes Haven a lot and hopes that she thinks about using her degree. I agree with her. Haven deserves everything she wants. She shouldn’t settle for a waitress job, if she can amount to so much more. Same goes for Autumn. They have so much potential and can do so much more than the bar. I say goodnight to mama and walk her inside. When I head back to the truck and drive out, I see a car t the end of the driveway. I see the figure of a girl leaning against a car that’s parked. I step out to see if the girl is in trouble. Once I do, my eyes adjust to my bright headlights and I see her.

My mouth goes dry.

I look around to make sure I’m not dreaming. She has hoodie and sweatpants on. Her freckles were unnoticeable in the night. There are no streetlights, only my car illuminates the street along with the moonlight. My heart thumps in my chest. Emotions I had not felt in weeks, all race to come to the surface. The anger, the fear, the sadness. Yet, I manage to keep it all at surface level, not breaking my confused state. She steps forward.

“What’re you doing here Olivia?” I ask harshly, before she can say anything. I shake my head in disbelief. She looks down picking her nails, a gesture I was all too familiar with when she was in confrontation of any kind. She looks up at me.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you too,” she says, nonchalantly, another tactic I know she does for diversion. I shake my head.

I ask her again, “what do you want?” She looks up at me sadly.

“Noah, we have to talk about this,” she steps forward, leaving a foot of space between us. I shake my head, placing my hands on my hips, smiling, even though I was nowhere near happy.

“So, you decide to bombard me at my mother’s house?”

“I had no other choice, Noah! You weren’t going to initiate anything. We were going to get married; we need to speak about this.”

I feel the anger bubbling inside of me. The bottle is unwinding, and my emotions are slowly spilling out. Still, I try to contain myself.

“Yes, Olivia. You’re right. You cheat and I have to initiate a conversation with you. That makes sense,” she flinches at my sarcastic words, but I don’t care. “Oh, that hurt your feelings? Try being the one that was lied to for MONTHS.” She takes a step back at my outburst.

“Noah, I didn’t come here to fight.”

“Why did you come then? What did you expect?” She puts her hand on her head, looking around desperately.

“I don’t know ok! I just saw you that day in Savannah and I can’t stop thinking about you and me. Seeing you with that girl, I just- we just need to talk this out Noah.” I shake my head stepping close bringing us 1 foot close again.

“Ok, what do you have to say then?” I cross my arms and stare at her.

“Noah, I’m sorry ok!”

“Sorry for what Liv? SORRY FOR WHAT!” I no longer have control of my pandora’s box. It’s wide open. I continue to shout, “Sorry that you fucked my best friend? Sorry that your fucking marrying him, instead of me? WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR?” I can see the tears pooling in her eyes, but my vision goes blurry. I can tell that tears have come out of my eyes too. I can feel myself calming down with each emotion I release. The sadness is now overpowering me. “You fu- you ruined this. I did nothing. I don’t care what you have to say, what you do. I just ca-” I take a breath, wiping my face with my sleeve. “We are never getting anything that we had back. Not with you. Not with Kyle. You guys deserve one another, but you do not deserve me in your life. And as for ′that girl’, you can just stop worrying about who I spend my time with because you ruined this. You will always live with that truth. Always.”

Olivia’s tears kept flowing out of her eyes, each word that I said was a new set of tears. She was sobbing and I hate to admit it, but I felt nothing for her. I start to walk backwards, and she grabs my arm. I look at her, stunned by her movement.

“Noah, please, let me just say this,” I stay quiet, yanking my arm away. She takes a breath. “I’m sorry,” she continues to cry. “I didn’t mean to fall for him,” I laugh, shaking my head, but she continues, “It just happened. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you, Noah. I do. I still do. I hate knowing that you moved on, that we didn’t get married and follow through with our plans. I hate that I lost your family, especially Ava. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about Kyle, I’m sorry for all of it.” I back away smiling, with my hands in my sweater.

“None of that means anything to me, Olivia. The truth is you’re not that sorry. You cheated. You lied. On top of that you said yes to marrying him, just like you did me. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too. You made your bed, now lie in it. Grow up, this isn’t high school anymore. I’m not pining after you, I don’t love you anymore. So, move on, because I already have.”

“You don’t mean that Noah,” she says looking at me desperately, wounded by my words. I back away again,

“Go back home to Kyle,” my words come out cold. Once I finish speaking, I turn around and walk to my truck. She shouts at me as hop in; I ignore her.

“You don’t fucking mean that! You love me! You still love me! Don’t you dare leave, Noah! Don’t fucking leave!” As I turn to the direction of Ava’s she slaps my window, repeating ‘you still love me’. I ignore her and drive off to Ava’s, watching her in my rearview mirror sob and eventually go to her car. I take a turn and just like that she’s gone.

Once I was five minutes into driving, I pull over and hit the wheel over and over again. I hate being thrown off guard and bombarded. I wasn’t prepared emotionally or mentally to deal with the situation with Olivia. It’s Thanksgiving Day, who the hell does this on a holiday, in front of my mother’s house. I can’t believe this happened. My mind goes to the events that just happened. She had the audacity to say she still loves me and loves Kyle. Everything I had done for her growing up and all the support I offered her, she took it all for granted. Yet, after her infidelity, she still expected me to treat her that way. She has a fiancé now. She can look to him for that treatment. I start heading to Ava’s again, needing to be with Haven.

Haven, who Olivia is supposedly jealous of. How can you still care about my actions when you ruined that right to care? Olivia is entertaining a whole other person and selfishly expects me to continue to pine after her like we were still in high school. Although seeing Olivia that way, I’m glad to not have to feel like I need to have a discussion with her.

I arrive out of Ava’s, moving so fast, everything being a blur. I felt desperate to see Haven, make sure she was real. I need to hug her and kiss her. Tell that I’ve fallen in love with her. I run out of the garage and up the steps, shouting Haven’s name. I see my sister coming out of the kitchen with her dish gloves on, looking concerned.

“Where’s Haven?” I ask desperately. My mouth feels dry. I look around not seeing her inside the house.

“She’s on the balcony, is everything ok?” Ava asks hesitantly. I mutter yeah and run over to the balcony, seeing Haven sitting by the fire outside by herself. She looks at me, smiling. Before she can react to anything else, I kneel down and kiss her with the need of her lips on mine. After a few seconds of kissing, I back away from her and look at her beautiful face glistening due to the fire light. She giggles and looks at me confused.

“You ok?” She asks, softly. I nod my head and kiss her again. I then cup her face; I look her in her eyes.

“I love you, Haven.” Her smile drops, and she grabs my hands on her face looking from one side of my face to the other, searching for a trace of deception. There is none.

“Noah...” I shake my head and she grows silent searching my face ag.

“I love you Haven,” I state again. “I do. I’m crazy about you. I think your kind, you’re caring, you’re funny. Gosh, I don’t even know what to say, Haven I just love you. I thought all this time someone else was meant to be my soulmate, but in a way everything I went through, was so I could meet you. It’s not too hard or easy. You Haven, are my soulmate.” Tears pool in her eyes. She smiles and laughs, looking down nervously. I stay cupping her face. Her eyes meet mine again.

“I love you too, Noah.”

I smile and we kiss again.

She is my soulmate.

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