Chapter 22- A Declaration
The next day dawned dreary and cold. Big fat snow flakes drifted down coating everything in white. I sipped my coffe with a sigh. I would miss the beautiful snow. One thing I loved about this place over California. Everything was packed and ready I just needed to start loading my car. The movers would be here to get the big stuff.
My phone dinged and I pulled it out of my pocket. I had a few notifications on Facebook so I opened the app. El had uploaded her wedding album. With I smile I scrolled through the beautiful photos, hardly remembering them being taken. There were pictures of El looking stunning in her dress. When I came to the ones of Zane seeing her walk down the aisle for the first time I teared up.
Even in the photos you could see how much they loved each other. I kept scrolling and saw everyone from the reception. There was one of me, Adrienne and Liv dancing. Our heads thrown back in laughter. There was one of El shoving cake in Zane’s mouth. I chuckled at the shocked expression on his face.
Toward the end I came to one and my breath caught in my throat. It was a profile shot. There I was in my sky blue bridesmaid dress and Jax in his tux. His arm was slung around my waist, his other hand holding mine. We had bright smiles on our faces as our gazes were locked on each other.
I stared at the picture for a long time, tapping my screen periodically so it wouldn’t go dim. I looked at the dimple in Jax’s cheek, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes. His hair was short and I could almost feel my fingers running through it. With a shake of my head I locked my phone and stuck it back into my pocket.
Trying to shake my thoughts from the photo I slipped on my boots and coat and shoved a beanie over my unruly morning hair. I grabbed a box and headed out the front door to my car. Luckily I was only taking the necessities with me. I opened my trunk and shoved the box to the back. I began to pull out of the trunk when I heard a voice behind me.
“Aren’t you going to miss all this glorious snow?” I froze, knowing that voice that sent chills down my body every time. I closed my eyes and breathed in through my nose. Slowly I pivoted until I was facing him.
The snow was falling heavily around us but I didn’t care. It dusted his dark hair and the shoulders of his coat. I gave him a small smile. “I actually will. Don’t you find the snow beautiful and refreshing? It’s like it cleanses the world and then disappears to make way for spring.”
“That’s one way to look at it,” he said. I could hear the laughter behind his words.
“Why are you here Jax?” I asked, my voice sounding loud in the cold space between us.
His lips quirked up at the corner. “I don’t want to let you go Sof,” he said so softly I barely heard. I took a small step toward him, my foot marring the beautiful whole powder accumulating between us.
“Jax, I don’t understand.”
He closed the distance between us in a few short strides. I felt my breath catch in my chest. “Sof, I thought letting you go would be the right thing. But it’s not. We belong together. I want you to stay here...with me.”
I sighed heavily feeling tears well in my eyes. “I can’t do that Jax. It’s not what I need right now. I’m not what you need right now.” His hand came up and carressed my cheek.
“Your all I need Sof.” He smiled down at me while we looked at each other. His hand was warm on my cheek and I wanted so badly to kiss him. To bury my head in his chest and stay with him. Instead I pulled myself away from his heat, letting the cold fill the distance between us.
“Don’t do this Jax.” His face fell as he looked at me. I kept the tears at bay as I tucked my shaking hands into my pockets. “I’m leaving Jax.”
His face hardened. “Then I’m coming with you.” I shook my head.
“Jax your life is here. You don’t need me. I thought we settled all this the other night?”
Shaking his head he drew closer to me again. My breath caught in my throat as he pressed against me. Both his hands held my face still as he looked at me. “I love you Sofia.”
“Please Jax,” I sobbed. “Don’t do this. Just let me go.”
“I can’t,” he said quietly. He lowered his face to mine and I closed my eyes as our lips met. The kiss was sweet and simple. I melted into him, my hands wrapping around his lower back pulling him tight against me. He felt so right here with me. We kissed sweetly for what felt like an eternity. I never wanted to let him go.
“Excuse me are you Sofia Munoz?” A voice coughed out near us.
I pulled away from Jax and shook my head to clear the fog. Two men in jumpsuits stood off to the side. A big blue moving truck had pulled up right behind my car. We hadn’t even noticed.
“Yes, sorry guys. Everything’s packed and ready to go.”
I turned to look at Jax’s eyes. I could see the silent plea in his eyes. He thought he loved me but did he even really know me? Did I even know me? “Yes, everything.”
Jax’s face fell again right before my eyes. We stood there awkwardly as the men went into my condo and began moving out boxes. I shuffled my feet, feeling the cold creep over me. “You’re still going?” He asked quietly. I sighed heavily.
“I have to Jax. I care about you and I know you care about me. But I have to do what feels right. And for the first time in a long time this feels like the right step.”
“After everything that happened you aren’t willing to fight for this anymore?”
“It’s shouldn’t be a fight Jax. Love should come naturally. Love should be easy. At least all the love I’ve ever seen.”
“Love comes in many different ways Sof. I’m telling you I love you. You honestly don’t feel the same?”
I took a deep breath. This was the hardest part of leaving. I looked at his handsome face, memorized every line as we stood there in the cold. His beautiful brown eyes bored into mine and I finally said, “No Jax.”
I’d never seen him so disappointed. Did I love him? I honestly didn’t know. I’d always felt a connection to him. But then with this silly competition between me and Liv and the mistake I made falling into bed with Spencer, my feelings were all jumbled. I needed time and distance to short out how I was feeling. To make sense of everything that had happened. I’d always jumped from man to man never allowing myself to get attached or to care too much. I made myself the cool girl, a fun lay and then a good friend. I’d been hiding myself for a long time and I was finally done.
This was my time to do what I’d always wanted. My time to figure out what I felt and who I am. Hurting Jax felt awful though. But he had to let me go. I was a mess and so was he, even if he couldn’t tell.
I walked over to him and placed my hand on his arm. “You are good, kind, compassionate, and have so much love to give others. Don’t let the actions of one woman ruin your chance to fulfill your dream. Maybe you could speak to someone. Help you get through that anger and sadness you carry around. You could even have that family you dreamed of.”
He sniffles softly. His lashes held small drops of tears as he looked at me. “And what if I want that family with you?”
I smiled, feeling the tears brimming my eyes. “Give me a year or two. Then look me up in California.” I squeezed him arm gently before leaning forward and placing a soft kiss on his cheek. “We are two broken people and I’m sorry we found each other like this.”
He looked up at me. “You’re not broken Sofia. And I’m not sorry. I’d do it all oved again.” His eyes drank me in as I had done to him earlier. “Good luck Sofia, I hope you find yourself.”
“You too Jax.” I said, swallowing past the lump in my throat. He turned and walked off, his steps leaving footprints in the crisp snow. I watched him walk off, his black coat eventually disappearing over the hill of white. My cheeks were wet and I used my sleeve to wipe away the tears I hadn’t even realized were falling.
I went back into my house and grabbed the last few boxes and bags. I loaded them in the trunk of my car and went inside one last time. Rex followed me from room to room as we tripled checked everything. I felt numb inside. I knew it would take a while to get over everything that had happened and to find peace with the past. But I was ready to try.
With a sigh I placed my keys on the island. I bent over to scoop up Rex and we walked outside to my car. I looked at my house one last time before jumping in the car. “You ready buddy?” I asked Rex who was pearched in the passenger seat. He looked at me, his head tilted to the side.
With a smile I looked out the front window. “Me too.” And with that we left behind the last few years of my life.