Chapter 20- The Breakup
“What do you mean your moving?” I asked, still in disbelief. This was happening too fast. She’d seemed fine when I’d come in. I moved towards her and she took a step back, placing her kitchen counter between the two of us.
Her hand ran through her hair quickly. “It’s what I said Jax, I’m moving back to California.”
My eyebrows furrowed as I frowned at her. “But why? You love it here. You have your friends, your job....you have me. What’s back there for you?” Sofia hadn’t spoken much about her past but from what I’d gathered she and her parents didn’t see eye to eye. Panic began to settle in my chest. “Is this because of me and what happened with Spencer?”
She shook her head roughly. “No Jax, listen.” She took a deep breath placing her hands flat on the countertop. “It’s not us. I love spending time with you and I think we go well together. It’s just...” she took another deep breath. “I miss my family. I moved here for the wrong reasons and I think I’ve...lost myself.” She looked at me with fear filled eyes.
I moved around the counter and pulled her into my embrace. One hand stroked her hair gently. “You haven’t lost yourself Sof. You are so smart and strong. You’re an amazing baker. There is so much for you here...”
“There’s so much there too Jax,” she mumbled into my shirt. I knew we’d had our issues but for her to just leave like this felt extreme.
“Where is this coming from Sof?” I pulled away and tilted her chin up to look at me. Her eyes followed slowly, brimming with tears. Her lower lip trembled and I ran my finger along it. “Aren’t you happy here?”
She huffed our a breath. “It’s not that Jax. I like my job yes but I want to be the boss. I want to decide what I make, how to decorate, what jobs to accept. Butter Bakery stifles me, I’m not really in control.”
“It’s just a job babe, we can find you a new one.”
“It’s not just that Jax. It’s my family. I have 5 older brothers. Do you know how many nieces and nephews I have? Most of them are used to seeing me only 2-3 times a year. Family means more than that to me. It may have taken me a while to realize it but it does.”
I looked into her eyes for a few moments. I could feel the confusion clouding my face as I tried to process what she was telling me. Unfortunately my mind was just blaring over and over again, she’s leaving you. My body tensed against her slightly but I continued to hold her against me.
“Sofia, I’m sorry I’m trying really hard to process all this. So you are moving back to California permanently.” I stayed quite for a moment until she nodded. “Then where does that leave us?”
She glanced down at the floor, her feet shifting slightly. I let go of her face but I kept her in my embrace. My mind whirled with thoughts of my jealousy towards Spencer, my mistake with Olivia. Had I been driving her away all this time? I know I wasn’t the easiest man to care for, Gionna had made that clear. But Sofia was different.
“Sofia, are you breaking up with me?” I asked sternly. Her eyes never left the floor.
“I don’t want to Jax but I need to go home.”
“Why can’t this be your home?”
“Damnit Jax!” She yelled finally pulling away from me. “You aren’t listening. This isn’t about you and me. This is about my life. I ran here after I left college. I was angry and hurt and wanted to find myself without my parents breathing down my neck telling me who to be. But I haven’t. I’ve been lost and floundering out here for a while and I guess I just realized I can’t do this anymore.”
I felt a knot settle in my chest at her words. She couldn’t do this anymore, she was breaking up with me. “What about everything between us? You just want to toss it away?”
“What’s between us Jax! You don’t even trust me! You made damn sure I knew that after that display with Spencer.” I felt my eyes burning. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be able to hold back. My hands were curled into fists and I felt like I was burning from the inside out.
“Your moving hours away because I don’t trust you near some guy who you’ve had sex with before?! That’s ridiculous Sofia!” I let her go and took a step back. I paced the other side of the island.
“I’m not moving because of that, if you would just listen! I’m not me here Jax!” Her voice echoed through the wide space.
I stopped and took a deep breath. We were talking in circles and getting nowhere. All the earlier euphoria I’d felt at her being home had vanished. Now emotions were swirling through me. It felt like every time I let someone get close to me they left. I raked my hands through my hair before plopping down on a bar stool.
“I’m sorry Sof. It’s just... you’ve dropped this on me really quickly. I didn’t know you were considering moving home. I didn’t know you were unhappy. Were you just keeping all this from me?” I looked up at her, pleading in my eyes.
She sighed and dropped her head in her hands. “I’d had thoughts before. That maybe things weren’t working here. Then when I met you things felt like they were starting to work out. But when things exploded with Spencer and then Olivia....even though I’m happy with you everything still feels...off.” She groaned and lifted her head up to look at me. “I’m not doing a good job of explaining this am I?”
I shrugged. “It’s ok Sof. You’ve made your choice. But now I need to know how we fit into this decision.”
Her arms wrapped around herself as she leaned against the counter. One foot crossed over the other. “We could try to make it work. Visit each other on weekends and holidays...” she trailed off as she bit her lip.
“Sof...” we looked at each other, sadness radiating from both of us. “It won’t work.” She nodded once. “I’m too damaged because of Gionna. Trust is a hard thing for me and with you hundreds of miles away....it won’t end well.”
She nodded again, tears sparkling in her eyes. “You could come with me....”
I laughed humorlessly. “My life is here Sof. My family and friends and my job. I’m content here. I can’t give it all up to follow my girlfriend of less than 2 months.”
“I know,” she sighed, her head dropping to her chest. We sat like that quietly in her kitchen. The silence stretched out awkwardly, both of us lost in our thoughts. Even though she wouldn’t admit it I knew part of her decision had to be because of all the drama that had gone down. My actions had alienated her from her friends.
Swiftly I stood and walked over to her. I pulled her stiff form against me, holding her tightly. “We both seem to need to work on some things before we are ready for a real relationship.” I felt her nodded against my chest as her arms wrapped around me, hugging me tightly to her.
Letting her go was hard but I pride myself away from her. “I’m sorry this didn’t work out.” I kissed her gently on her cheek and headed toward the door. I slipped into my shoes and coat while she stood quietly behind me. “Good luck finding what your looking for Sofia,” I said over my shoulder. I opened the door and stole out into the night. The wind bit at my face but I found myself bypassing my car and walking down the sidewalk.
My mind was a jumble of thoughts and feelings. I shoved my hands deep into my pockets as my feet crunched lightly against the new snow. I couldn’t believe she was leaving, just like that.
I remembered that day I’d found Gionna in bed with my friend. The hurt and anger I’d felt. How determined I was to never get hurt again. I’d pushed away anyone who might break through to my heart. Sofia made me feel though. Sure I’d been hurt and run to Olivia as my own personal form of payback. But that had been wrong. Using Olivia was wrong. I deserved to be alone.
With a sigh I turned and walked back to my car. I turned the car on and drove with no real destination in mind. It wasn’t until I stopped the car I knew what I was doing. I took a deep breath and climbed out. I made my way through the complex up to the door. My fist knocked lightly and I waited. The door sung open slowly and Liv’s eyes widened in shock.
“Hey Liv, I know you probably don’t want to see me but I needed to tell you I’m sorry. I’ve been a shit and I just needed you to know.” We stood there quietly for a moment. She slowly moved aside.
“Come in Jax.”
I walked past her into her apartment. She closed the door behind her and turned to me with her arms crossed. “What’s going on?” She asked softly.
I felt burning in my eyes and I sniffed, holding the tears at bay. “I had a wide once. She cheated on me and left me in a bad place. I couldn’t trust anyone anymore. I thought keeping women at a distance would help protect me from ever feeling what I’d felt with her. I jumped from woman to woman with no care of their feelings. I was an ass. Eventually my ways had to catch up with me.” Olivia’s eyes studied my face.
“It really hurt the way you treated me Jax. And then to just disappear after I gave myself to you. I don’t do that Jax. I’ve been hurt to. My own parents didn’t want me..” her voice caught in her throat. She shook her head slightly. “If you haven’t noticed El and I look nothing alike. I was lucky her parents adopted me when I was young. They gave me a good life. But letting people in is hard for me too. If my own parents could leave me what’s to stop others?”
My chest felt tight. I hadn’t known her history, nor had I cared to learn it. I’d used her for my own purpose and discarded her like nothing. Shame washed over me. People weren’t my playthings. “I’m so sorry Liv.”
I shrugged, unsure of what else I could say to her. She shifted her stance then moved closer to me. “Why are you here Jax?”
“Sofia broke up with me.”
Her eyes narrowed as her body stiffened. “And now you’ve come to me as a backup?” Her tone was icy, barely leashed anger lurking under the surface.
“No Liv. Her and I talked and I realized I have a lot of issues. Things I’ve pushed off thinking I was fine and I’m not. I wanted to make amends with you, with everyone. I can’t go through life not feeling and I don’t want to keep hurting people.” My shoulders sagged in defeat.
I buried my hands in my pockets. This probably wasn’t my best idea but I hadn’t been thinking. I felt hurt, abandoned, worthless. I’d realized I’d made others feel this way and I needed to make it right. Just because I was hurt didn’t give my license to hurt others.
“Why’d she break it off?” Liv broke the silence.
“She’s moving home to California.”
Olivia looked taken aback. I walked back past her and stopped at the door. “I’m sorry to bother you I just...” I sighed and opened the door.
“Your not a bad person Jax. And I wasn’t blameless in all this. Sofia and I knew what we were doing. I was just hurt you chose her over me. My own demons reared their ugly heads.” She laughed softly. “If you love her you should fight for her.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know what love is anymore Liv.” She shrugged, a small smile on her face.
“I think you know more about it than you think. Thanks for the apology Jax, we’re cool.” I smiled at her opened the door. I crossed the threshold and felt my chest loosen a little. This was the right thing to do. I needed to make amends with my past so I could move forward to my future. I just needed to figure out what that future entailed.