In Your Arms

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Chapter 8- Noah

“It’s a beautiful night,” she said gazing up at the late-night sky. I couldn’t stop looking at her. Her hair swayed in the night wind with every step that she took. She turns her face towards me just looking. That was my cue to look forward towards the long dock ahead of us.

“Uh, yeah it is,” I say awkwardly. Then the silence came around us again. Once we reach one of the exits from the dock to the street, she turns without saying a word, and I follow. We keep walking until she stops by a blue car.

“Well, uh, this is me.” My eyes widen in surprise. I thought I would have more time with her, but as luck would have it she’ll be gone a lot sooner.

“Oh wow, great.” She looks at me inquisitively.

“You okay?” She starts digging in her pockets for her keys but doesn’t break eye contact.

“Huh?” I stick my hands in my front pockets, she’s still looking at me. “Oh yeah, I’m fine. I hope you get home safe.” I tap on the hood of the car and walk backwards, to the dock, still watching her. Then, I turn around walking away from her.

“Noah!” Once I hear her soft voice, I turn around right away. She looks nervous.

“Yeah?”

“Do you need a ride o-or something?” I smile, a big smile.

“Thought you’d never ask.” I jog back to her and she unlocks the car. Me getting in the passenger side and her the driver’s side. She turns the ignition but before she starts driving, she looks towards me, clearing her throat.

“So, this is just a one-time thing. I just wanted to do something that settled us with this morning.” I smile in amusement. Instead of saying anything, I nod. “Alright, so where do you live?”

“I live in the same neighborhood as you,” I look over to her smirking. She looks away and starts to drive.

She was such a mystery to me. A beautiful mystery. She just turns up randomly. Has a panic attack, has no idea who I am. Then she works in the place I work. There has to be more of an explanation than coincidence. I glance over at her. I need to know her. See why she looks so broken. Every time I saw her alone today, she’s was on edge. Even now, her shoulders are so stiff.

Her eyes shift over to mine. I look in front of me at the open road.

“Why do you keep looking at me?” I hear her ask me. I look at her once again.

“What do you mean?” I cross my arms in amusement. I keep my eyes on her, watching her getting more and more uncomfortable.

“You just keep looking at me, why?” She kept her eyes on the road. She was so straight forward and yet hesitant with her question. I chuckle and look down in embarrassment.

“That obvious huh?”

“Well to anyone who has eyes, yeah.” She smirks and slows the car down a street I recognized as my sisters. “I remember this street from this morning, let me know which house.” I look out the window and I see the familiar white mailbox and driveway entrance two houses down. I point in the direction of the where I was looking, and she pulls the car over to a stop.

“Well, thank you for the ride.“I say as I open my door and start exiting. Once I’m out I look into the car. Haven stares at me curiously, unsure of my next move. “I think you are absolutely beautiful. I don’t think any guy would be able to keep his eyes off you.” Her eyes widen. I can’t tell if she’s afraid or flattered, but I just smile at her. With that, I close the door and walk up the driveway to Ava’s house. I know Haven isn’t going to be easy to get to know but my broken spirit wants to know hers.

Instead of walking through the house, I open one of the garage doors with a key that Drew gave to me and walk through to my apartment. The day finally was dawning on me. I have no idea how Drew does this all day, every day. Five months of being able to do as I please when I please to now having to work everyday. This is going to take some adjusting.

I head to the bathroom and I jump into the shower. The hot water hit my body allowing me to feel relaxed. That’s when the memories came flooding my head again. I don’t want them to get through. I don’t want to remember her. Her green eyes. Her long brown hair. Her soft freckled skin.

I put my face in the water.

I want everything about her to leave my mind. I don’t want to be reminded of the person who tore my heart out of my chest. The person who I was willing to give everything for- correction- I did give everything to her.

I shut the water off. I can’t handle this now; I want to just escape as much as I can. I grab my towel, wrapping it around myself, and I head into the bedroom. I throw on a pair of boxers and ruffle my hair with the towel. I then toss the towel on a bench in front of the bed and plop on the bed.

I close my eyes and see her face again. I couldn’t stop the memory anymore.

* * * * * * * *

“Noah, what are you doing?” I feel my heart racing, the nerves are shooting all over my body.

Olivia looked so beautiful sleeping in my crisp white t-shirt. Her green eyes were extra light, as the sun hit her face. I had tossed yellow rose petals all over the room and bed as she was sleeping, knowing those are her favorite. Her hair is in a side braid, so the top of her head has slight bedhead, but it doesn’t matter to me. She is stunning to me regardless.

“Noah?” She sits up slightly, looking around the room. She brushes her hand against the rose petals surrounding her. That was when I bend on my right knee, opening the white box with the teardrop ring that I spent hours searching for with Ava. She turns her head to me shocked. “Oh, my goodness.” Her hand flies up to her mouth.

“Olivia Weston, you are the most special person in my life. My best friend. My soul mate. I knew from the moment I asked you to be my girlfriend I was going to ask you to be my wife shortly after. I ask you, Liv, be my wife. Spend the the rest of this lifetime with me.” Tears swell in her eye, as I wait for her response. I just want to lean over and kiss her already, but I just watch as her green eyes spilling tears.

“Oh Noah,” she finally says while cupping my face. “of course, I’ll marry you!” She pulls me up towards her, our lips meeting one another. We kiss passionately. Somehow, when we pull away, I find myself on the bed on top of her. I take the ring, that I’m still clutching in my hand, out of the box and grab her left hand. I slide the ring on her finger, and she gazes at it.

Her eyes are dancing. Her smile is so big. This moment turned out to be better than anything I have imagined in the past month of planning. I knew Olivia wanted this moment to be private, and I’m honestly glad that was the case, because it’s just us. Me and Liv. I tuck a piece of loose hair behind her ear. She’s staring at the ring on her hand.

“You like it?” I ask, as I watch her, watching her ring. The sun filled the room, giving Olivia this beautiful glow and giving the ring a beautiful shine. Without looking at me, she smiles.

“No,” She finally looks at me and her smile grows bigger, “I love it and I love you.”

* * * * * * * *

It hurts, remembering her.

Being away made everything easy to forget. All of the memories were easy to suppress. Heck, the whole time in New York, I was drunk and sleeping with girls. I felt lost, but that’s easy to hide with distractions. I’m home now. No distractions around. Every where I go, Olivia is there.

I want to be home, but I underestimated the amount of pain that I would feel. No one understands loss, until you lose something close to you. I believed I had known loss. I thought I knew what pain was. But, little did I know, I had no clue how hurt a person can be.

I hear a knock on the basement door entrance.

I get off of my bed and head to open the door. There was my sister in her matching satin black and white striped pajamas set, holding two white mugs of what looked like hot chocolate or coffee; knowing Ava it was hot chocolate.

“Hey, what’s this?” I smile and grab the two cups turning around taking it to the living room, while setting it on the coffee table.

“Just wanted to bring you something warm, wanted to hear about your day.” She takes a seat on, while grabbing one of the mugs, sipping it.

“Hot chocolate?” I ask, grabbing my mug. She smiles wide showing her single dimple.

“Yeah, you caught me. Some things don’t die in adulthood, I guess. Or I refuse to let it die I should say,” Ava smiles, shrugging her shoulders innocently. I lift my mug in the air, to prepare for a toast.

“To bettering old age.” She repeats the phrase, and we clink our glasses. We both take a sip of the warm beverage. I feel the heat spreading throughout my body. “Man, that is good,” I mutter setting the mug down on the small round table.

“Noah?” Ava says my name and I know this is’t a friendly, ‘dropping you off hot chocolate, just because’ visit. She’s getting down for business.

“Yeah?” I sit back into the couch and cross my arms over my chest.

“How are you doing? Really?” I look over at her and she has sad eyes. Not pity, but as though Ava and I are sharing the same pain. I let out a rough breath.

“I guess I should be better prepared for these questions.”

“I mean, I don’t mean to intrude, but you were gone for 5 months, and I want a peak inside that head of yours Noah Adams.”

“I know, I know Ave,” I look down at the floor. “You know I thought I’d feel better after being away, but honestly, I’m not sure how I feel. A lot of memories are resurfacing and feelings. But, really I’m numb right now.” She places her hand on my arm. “No, no, Ave, I’ll be fine. I promise.”

She sighs and takes her hand away. “I know, Noah. I’m just happy you’re back. I missed my brother.”

“I missed you too. You have been so great to me since I came back too. I can’t thank you enough for making room for me in your home with Drew. I kind of feel bad.”

“Oh stop, I wouldn’t want you anywhere else. But Noah?” I look at her sparkly blue eyes with my curious ones. I see something is troubling her. “There’s something I have to tell you.” She moves her hand and brings both of them to her knees, grazing them back and forth. I remember as kids she’d do this when she had a secret or was deeply bothered.

“Ave, what’s the matter?”

She closes her eyes and takes in a breath. “Well, Noah, it’s about your situation with Olivia.” Just hearing her name brings pain at the sound, but I try to hide it away from Ava seeing. I nod, gesturing her to go on. “Noah... Olivia...”

“For the love of God Ava, spit it out.” I feel frozen, yet anxious about what she’s about to tell me.

“Olivia and Kyle... they’re engaged.” Ava looks at me waiting for my reaction. I just sit back. I’m not sure if I even heard Ava right. I’m in pure confusion of the whole situation. How can this have happened? Before I left, Olivia and I were literally planning our wedding, planning on where to buy a house, planning our life. We would’ve been married by now. That feeling of looking forward to my wedding day and hearing Olivia’s last name go from Weston to Adams. That feeling is foreign to me now, replaced by sadness and bitterness. “Noah, I know this is probably a lot, but I had to tell you. It’s not going to be long until you cross either of their paths.”

Finally Ava’s words register and I just look at her. Once again I have no idea how to respond. If I were alone, I’d be punching the walls, slamming doors, yelling at the top of my lungs, but I don’t do any of that. Instead I stand up, placing my hands on my hips.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m shocked, really.” I rake my hand through my hair. She looks at me skeptically, but doesn’t say anything. “I came here to start fresh, surrounded by the people I love and that is exactly what I’m going to do. I know what I signed up for when I decided to come back.” She looks down which makes me crouch down in front of her.

“I’m sorry she broke you big brother,” I hear her voice crack a bit. I stay quiet. Ava looks up to me and there are tears filling her eyes, just a blink away from escaping. “If it’s any constellation Noah, they broke me too.” I pull Ava into my arms just as her tears begin to stroll down her face, one by one.

The thing about Ava and me, we’ve always been close. Our family raised us as if we were twins. We weren’t exactly alike but that was why we enjoyed one another’s company. Everyone knew how close Ava and I were. Nobody even dared to mess with her. We even had the same friend group. It was Kyle, Olivia, Ava and me. I met Kyle in middle school, he always came over to hang out and play football and Ava was always hanging with us. Then high school came along. Kyle and me being freshman and Ava still being in 8th grade, she befriended Olivia, the shy freckle faced girl who always had her nose in a book. That is until they came to the high school and gained a newfound confidence. When Ava kept coming around with Olivia, we just all integrated into this friend group. It was no secret that I had a crush on Olivia though. When I felt comfortable enough, I would flirt nonchalantly. When it came to Kyle though, he never made it seem like he was interested in Ava or Olivia. He was just the goofy friend.

Thinking back to everything that’s been lost, I find comfort knowing that I will always have Ava. It wasn’t just me who lost something, Ava lost two important people in her life as well. I know she is the only person that truly understands my pain, but my hurt just runs a lot deeper.

I take a deep breath, letting Ava go, but staying eye level with her. “I’ll be okay, Ave. We will be ok. Don’t worry.” She sniffles, wiping her eyes while nodding. I decide to get up grabbing both mugs from the coffee table. Ava also gets up. “I’ll stick these in the fridge.” She quickly grabs one of the mugs.

“I still want mine,” she says smelling the not-so-hot chocolate. I grin, shaking my head in disbelief at how a full grown adult can still go crazy over hot chocolate. She looks at me questioning my small smile. “Don’t judge Noah, you know what chocolate does to me.” We both laugh. I open the door, that revealed the small flight of stairs that led to the rest of Ava’s house. Ava leans in for a small goodnight hug.

“Love you sis,” I say as she starts to walk up the stairs. She says ‘love you’ back, and with that I close the door and drag my feet over to my bedroom. Every emotion I held back from Ava seeing, was resurfacing itself. I don’t give in. Plopping on the bed, the words of my sister are replaying over and over.

‘Olivia and Kyle are engaged.’

I feel a pain grow in my chest. I feel hot tears dying to come out, a headache has also made an appearance. The anger is so close to exploding out of me, but somehow, I push it away. All the emotions I left behind are flooding back. Instead of giving into what my conscious is dying to trap me into, I close my eyes, pushing away any emotion I have and force myself to sleep. It doesn’t come right away. It takes a while actually, but I keep my eyes closed, avoiding all images of Olivia at all costs. I try to think of my day. New York. My mom. The bar. Eventually, my mind settles on one thing.

Haven.

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