2 | Letting Go
“You know Phoebe, I’m more than happy to take your money without offering you my help but I think you and I both know that I’m not like that. So, do me a favor and stop staring at the window” She says with a lilting British accent.
I turn around and find myself getting lost inside the sea of black orbs. To say calling Alana beautiful would’ve been a complete insult, she was absolutely a Goddess. With dark brown waist length natural curled hair, shaped eyebrows, pointed nose, delicately carved facial structure, eyes as dark as the onyx framed inside long sooty lashes shadowing her face, she was a fine sight. What I envied the most about her was her skin tone. It was somewhere between porcelain and light peach with a pinkish tint. If I was a lesbian, I would’ve definitely hit on her.
I immediately break out of my thoughts with a jolt at her stern voice and briskly walk towards the couch and sit on it facing her. I’m telling you, she can be really serious when she wants to be. And also a tad bit scary!
Hesitantly I face my therapist knowing what’s about to come next “So, how do you feel now that Nate is here in Seattle?” she asks with an air of anticipation.
“I feel angry?” I say.
“Are you asking me?” she asks, raising one of her perfectly arched eyebrows.
Finally, she lets out a huge sigh and scribbles something on her diary that is on her lap. Sometimes I wonder what she writes there so much.
‘Probably about how much of a fuck up you are!’ my head screams at me.
“You have to understand yourself, Phoebe. I can’t save you unless you cooperate with me in this. Yes I know it can be a bit tough for you to explore your emotions but you can’t just bottle it all up. It’s not good for you or others around you. Trust me I know how much it hurts to be heartbroken. But you have to move on. This isn’t just about some stupid heartbreak as you claim it to be. This is more and your condition is not something that is to be taken lightly. You need to let go of the past patterns and move forward. It’s the only way you can heal. Now take a deep breath and think for a moment about how you feel about Nate right now. Think deeply! Any emotion that you feel is more than enough. Even if you feel hollow or empty, tell me” She finishes saying and regards me with a stern look.
Taking a deep breath, I do as I’m told.
As soon as I close my eyes, kaleidoscopes of images flash through my mind.
Throngs of drunken people, Nate and me, screams, pain, and lastly the blood. And like always my whole vision gets clouded with red. All I see is red and screams of that man.
I quickly open my eyes to banish them away and come face to face with Alana, who is staring at me intently.
“I feel used, betrayed, destroyed, and violated,” I say whilst feeling a lone tear graze down my cheeks. I hastily wipe it off and continue “I know that I didn’t deserve what happened to me. Somewhere deep inside I don’t blame Nate. Then again none of this would’ve happened if I wasn’t so upset that night. Maybe if I was composed or sober, I would’ve been long gone home, dining with my parents?” I ask almost to myself in the end.
She offers me an encouraging smile and once again I find myself saying “I know we were never that close or anything but it hurt knowing how...how...how...” I start stuttering with my hands shaking violently and instantly she hands me a glass of water which I gulped down gratefully.
“I think it’s better if we continue this in the next session. I’m glad that you are being yourself and facing your fears at least. Trust me that’s a huge step towards healing. If we can keep up with that, you will be fine within a few months. Besides if you ever feel like sharing this with someone, please do. Try telling Ava or perhaps your other friends. It often feels good to let out your frustrations” She suggested with a bright smile.
“I honestly don’t think it’s a good idea to tell Ava anything right now” I murmur and place the now-empty glass on top of the coffee table in front of me.
“And why exactly is that?”
“Because her so-called boyfriend broke up with her and I don’t want to burden her with my problems”
“Oh, I see...” She trails off but her face remains impassive, giving nothing away “But you have other friends too right? Why don’t you go and talk with them? Try opening up to them too”
I let out a bitter laugh followed by a snort and say “Huh, friends? First off I honestly don’t want to repeat my past mistakes and second off I don’t want people to know that I’m a monster”
“What makes Ava so different then?” She prompts.
I give her my ′Are you serious?′ look which she ignores and keeps on persisting why.
“Because she has witnessed everything that went down in my life. Each phase. How could I not trust her?” I finish with a huff.
“Yes I agree that she has witnessed everything but what caught my attention was the comment that you made about yourself. No, you are not a monster. If you were, Ava wouldn’t be still with you as your friend. Trust me, Phoebe, you are nothing compared to some people I’ve dealt with. You are nothing like them at all. If you were anything close to them. You wouldn’t have been here standing steadily instead of being nailed inside a padded cell. You were just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. You fell in love with the man who wronged you. Calling yourself a monster proves it further that you are not. It’s your guilt that is eating you alive. If you can’t open up about your guilt, no one, believe me, no one can help you” She shakes her head.
“But I do want help” I whisper.
“Then let me help you” Her expression kind and warm.
“Fine, I’ll do what you asked me to do. I’ll try my best to open up and let people in” I flash her bright genuine smile as my mood starts brightening. She lets out a melodious laugh and writes down something in her diary whilst shaking her head.
“Gosh, you remind me of my brother Elio sometimes. He can be a mercurial person too” She smiles at me fondly. “I still want you to continue with your breathing exercise and try not to take your meds unless it’s an emergency ok?” She waves her pen pointedly in my direction and I tell her yes whilst rolling my eyes playfully.
I also tell her about the upcoming trip to France to which she says “Well then it means that you won’t see me for some weeks which is fine since you’ll have your medications with you in case of emergency. I’d say that I’m glad that you’re going to France. It’s lovely over there at this time of the year and please try to have some fun and remember my advice. However, don’t go around telling strangers about your problems either” She tells me pointedly and puts emphasis on the word ‘emergency’. I don’t blame her; many patients tend to overdose.
“How do I know who to trust?” I ask confusedly.
She looks up from her diary and almost looks lost for a moment before saying “You know when you know. You just...know” and suddenly a sort of expression flashed through her face before she resumes her impassive face and tells me “Well time is up for today. Now off you go, don’t forget to have fun and remember what I said”
I nod hesitantly and leave her chamber.
While I wait for the elevator, I do a quick scan around the floor and notice a couple of doctors in lab coats and a bunch of patients in the waiting area. I always loved coming to this hospital.
Huh, talk about sounding sick.
Unlike any other hospital, EverCare had a comfortable feeling.
When I first came here I thought it was a rich five-star hotel instead of some normal prestigious hospital. The whole place was beautifully decorated with green flower pots making the place appear eco-friendly, softly dimmed halogens casting a warm ambiance, dark brown wood, floor to ceiling glass walls with sheer white drapes tucked in the corner of each side gave the place an airy feeling and beige leather couches lied around the lounge area here and there. The whole place had a warm atmosphere. It even had the facilities of a five-star hotel too.
Sometimes I wished I was a doctor because I would’ve definitely loved to work here! This hospital was also popular because of employing good looking doctors too.
As much as illegal as that sounded, it wasn’t.
Every doctor was too good looking and young. Like really young. But being young didn’t mean that they were unqualified. In fact, they were the best. The owner himself was gorgeous and said in one of his interviews that he looked for potential in young people and always chose the best.
After spending 20 minutes in the Seattle traffic, I finally reach home.
Upon freshening up, I go through my latest projects sent by my assistant, Cathy. I start going through my schedule for the next month and after finishing it I start packing for the trip.
By the time I’m done with both my work and packing my bags. I let out a loud sigh of satisfaction and settle down on my bed with a glass of white wine. Taking leisure sips, I check my phone and notice a couple of texts from Noah and decide to call him.
He picks up the phone on the third ring and says “Well if this isn’t a surprise” I can almost see him smiling his adorable dimple kissed smile.
“Well, what can I say, since you are too busy, I had to call,” I say dryly.
“Oh c’mon don’t be like that amour, the business can be a real pain in the ass sometimes” He lets out a deep sigh.
“Speaking of business, as much as I would love to let you drown in your pit of misery about being a bad friend, I also can’t help but thank you for the amazing opportunity and of course the paid flight tickets” I let out a laugh and stare at the modern LED chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
“Now that you mention it, I should be the one thanking you for accepting my request despite your hectic schedule”
“Of course, that’s what friends are for. Aren’t they?”
“Yes they are speaking of which, how are you doing?” For a moment I get scared about how he knows that Nate’s here but then realize that he probably asked that casually.
“I’m doing fine actually. What about you? Anything new besides the business works?” I ask.
“Oh well, about tha-″ before he could even finish his sentence, a deep baritone voice interrupts him and says something like “Can you go over the file I sent you regarding John Riva’s warehouse?” The voice asks or more like commands.
And suddenly for some inexplicable reason, I deliciously shiver at the harsh cold commanding tone of that voice. It was somewhere between warm honey and rich velvet with a domineering edge. Before I could even comprehend my reaction, the warm American accent of Noah resumes the phone speaker and he says urgently “Shit man I got to go. I forgot to go over some files. I promise I’ll call you before the trip about all the details concerning your stay in Monaco. I really have to rush. Bye!” with that, he quickly hangs up the phone.
I shrug out the weird feeling and laugh as soon as I realize that the great lordly Noah I’ve known all my life is intimidated by someone.
It was a first!
Shaking my head, I put down the wine glass on my bedside table and settle inside my bed covers.
And soon I find myself drift away from everything as sleep consumes me.
Finally, the day of the trip comes. I was pretty much nervous about it even after talking with Noah for solid forty minutes about all the arrangements and almost had a mini heart attack after finding out that I have to design the insides of some castle.
I was really afraid to face the consequences of screwing up. The charity ball was a very prestigious affair to the Hunter family. It was more like a tradition for them and I almost started regretting my decision into agreeing to it as soon as I find out about its importance.
The Hunters were basically filthy rich and I wouldn’t be surprised if they ordered me to do something ridiculous like covering the whole mansion with real sapphire gems. They were literally that rich.
Honestly, their financial status did not matter to me as long as they acted civil with me. I hated snobby people who wasted money on trivial things instead of spending them on something useful.
But money wasn’t the thing that intimidated me. What intimidated me was the power. If I somehow manage to fuck this up, not only my firm will suffer, all my years of hard work and reputation will do down the drain before I can even say ho!
I know for the fact that Noah will never do something as cruel as that but his parents weren’t the ones who managed the family business and everything. From what I know, both of his parents are lawyers who manage a law firm and he was always interested in the business which influenced him into choosing business management in college. I remember meeting him in grade school. He was one of those nerdy kids turned bashfully hot after going through puberty and by the end of our high school he was our school star quarterback and football team captain.
He was talented and passionate toward everything he put his heart to. All the girls in our school had a huge crush on him and did everything in their power to make him notice them. This might be one of the reasons why he always hung out with me because according to him ‘You did not slut yourself out for getting my attention’, but I had to admit, I was quite attracted to him honestly speaking. I mean who wouldn’t in their right state of mind.
There wasn’t really anything too appealing in his looks but he still managed to steal hearts with his sharp jawline, deep voice, mocha-colored eyes, and dark brown hair. He looked quite...normal to me at least. But what made me like him was despite him being a straight out asshole to others; he always managed to make time for me even after his football practices and made sure to help me with my studies and homework.
Many even thought that we were dating.
He even once asked me out but after dating for a month we both realized that there was no spark and that we were both better off being friends which strengthened our friendship even further because we realized that we can never be in love with each other. Not romantically at least.
Breaking out of my thoughts, I glance down at the half-finished tuna sandwich lying on my plate that was previously filled with cream cheese bagel, spring rolls, and pasta. Without thinking further, I gobble down the rest of the sandwich and pick out one of the Forbes magazines laid out on the small cubed mahogany tables.
My flight was at 12am and being the well-timed person that I was, I decided to arrive early and now here I am, in one of the private lounges stuffing my face with food even after having dinner at 10 pm.
I still had thirty minutes left before the departure, so I decided to divulge myself in one of those stupid celebrity feud magazines and catch up on some new gossip. Even though I was never the type of girl to fawn over meaningless gossips.
Heck! I was never even the type of girl that I am now!
But of course as time changes, so do people.
As I thumb around the pages I come face to face with the one person that I was trying to avoid thinking and behold there he was, in one of those glossy paged gossip section with that stupid brooding demeanor that I was quite accustomed to over the years, looking like he would like to be anywhere rather than be where he was.
‘C’mon Phoebe read it!’ I feel my subconscious snarl at me and with a deep huge sigh, I start reading the article relating him.
‘Our dear elusive CEO of Woodward enterprise, Nate Woodward is back to being a bachelor again after he split with his longtime- girlfriend-turned-fiancé who is none other than Natalie Sommer. Their official separation was announced yesterday through a reliable source saying that the split was caused because of some internal issues between the couple. Fans of our beloved now-bachelor Nate Woodward are more than ecstatic to find out about the break up caused between the duo. So single ladies, gee up your horses and get back in the game. Who knows? You might also be the next one to be the hot billionaire’s conquest’
I literally fume with anger after reading the crappy article.
Jesus H Christ! That cunt was engaged?!
Fucking shit and it was also with that dumb spoilt brat Natalie. I almost started hyperventilating at the thought of those two together in bed.
Then suddenly Alana’s words come back to me ′How exactly do you feel?′
I literally feel hot smoke bursting out of my ears right now. My blood was boiling with red hot rage that was building inside me. For years I did everything to get him to like me and in the end, he chose Natalie?!
With that thought, I immediately reach my phone to call Ava only to realize that she was already in France and was probably busy arranging the decorations and other whatnots since it is morning over there.
Sighing I put my phone inside my handbag and toss that offensive magazine inside the dustbin in an aggressive manner earning a few glares from the nearby loungers because of the sound but I couldn’t even bother to give two fucks about who was looking.
That’s it! I had enough. I don’t even know why I’m sad.
Yes, they broke up but I was blinded with rage thinking about the past as I dragged my suitcase toward the departure terminal petulantly and passed through the jet bridge leading towards the airplane’s entrance.
After entering the plane, the air hostess leads me towards the first-class area and asks me if I would like something to drink. I answered saying that I want a glass of plain bourbon and the air hostess left frowning at my choice.
It was not like I wanted to get drunk with a massive hangover but given what I read on that mag, I deserved a drink.
I just couldn’t help but replay my past life and all my mistakes.
God, I was so naïve!
You see, once upon a time there was a group of friends and I happened to be the dumbest of them despite my intelligence in academics. I was a complete emotional fool who had no idea that no matter how much you try to be nice, the world ends up biting you right back in the ass for no reason.
Emily Woodward, the queen dramatic bitch of the century used to be my dearest best friend. Whereas actually in real life it was all a pretense, she used naïve people like me to get what she wanted.
My father and Emily’s father were, unfortunately, best buds since they were kids so I always found myself going to parties and soirees hosted by Ryan Woodward, Nate’s father.
Nate was the eldest child of the family and Emily’s older brother on whom I had a huge crush. I used to hang out almost every day in their house just to get a glimpse of him.
I know, Pathetic right?
Just like that, days turned into months and months turned into years. At first, I brushed it off as some sort of infatuation but day after day things took a turn and made me realize that I was in love with him.
And man did I love him!
My love for him almost cost me my life in the process and was my biggest demise.
Fate really was a bitch.
Nate was never a playboy and was always in a committed relationship. It was Zoey Walkers in grade school. They were literally inseparable.
Huh, young love!
Always going out on dates, coming home after school hand in hand, and each time I noticed that my heart squeezed in pain.
Like that void, you feel when someone snatches something precious from your reach. It was that kind of feeling.
It continued until both of them were in high school and somewhere around a senior year, she cheated on Nate making him dump her. As much as selfish as that sounded, I was beyond happy but all my happiness was crushed into pieces when I found out that he started dating the school nerd Jane Avery. As if seeing them together wasn’t a pain already, Emily made the whole thing even a lot worse by ranting about their cute ‘fairy-tale love’. Now that I think of it, I feel like she always did that on purpose to make me feel miserable.
Some kind of friend that she was!
What scared me the most was how Nate looked at Jane, with so much intensity and love that it always managed to tear me apart on the inside.
However, things took a sharp turn when they broke up a few months after graduating from school. Nate became cold and distant. Gone was the nice guy that I fell in love with. I lost all my hope in ′us’.
But despite his aloofness, I always stayed by his side like a friend and he often confided in me like a friend. It was going all fine until Noah started hanging out with me on daily basis and Emily started showing her real self pretty quickly.
You see, Emily had a huge crush on Noah and made me look like I was some bone in their ′So-called relationship’. And of course, then that Incident happened.
Shaking my head at my own thoughts, I take a sip of the Boulevardier and immediately cringe at its taste.
Fucking shit! Why did I even order this crap?!
Releasing a deep breath, I stare wistfully out of the window and see nothing but darkness because of the night time.
Dark and tainted as my soul.
′Wow Phoebe, could you be any more poetic?′ I ask myself sarcastically.
Pinching the bridge of my nose because of the growing headache, I close my eyes in hope of getting some sleep and thinking of ways to survive this 13-hour long flight without thinking about anything other than my project.
I take out my headphones from my bag, connect them with my iPod, and play ‘Stranger things by Kygo’ and look at the plans laid out on my lap.
I create a bunch of designs and jot down various ideas that start popping in my head.
Then suddenly it occurs to me, the whole trip feels kind of odd. I mean I have to be there just to design a ballroom and some palace hallways?
Now I’m having a bad feeling that Ava and Noah might’ve gone behind my back and created this plan to make me go to some foreign country and get a life. Like literally!
I quickly diminish the ridiculous thought and focus on the plans and promise myself that I’m going to enjoy this trip to my fullest.
Business or not!
A/N- Hey everyone! I know many of you have a lot of confusion regarding this book. So, I’ll make sure to update soon. Possibly by tomorrow. And of course my dear readers, your thoughts are more than welcome and appreciated.
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