EPILOGUE - I
The sunlight was streaming inside the room, almost blinding me with its rays even though my eyes were closed. I reluctantly open them and squint at the harsh glare of the sunshine and stretch my sore body on the bed like a feline. The corner of my lips tug into a Cheshire grin as I enjoy the softness of the Egyptian cotton sheets, however, my smile drops as soon as I spot the vacant place beside me.
Did he leave?
My brows scrunch into a frown as I place my hand on his side and find it slightly warm. He probably woke up a few minutes earlier than me. Before I let my thoughts run wild, I flop back down on the litter of silk brown pillows.
The shrill ringing of my phone breaks me out of my reverie and wrapping the duvet around my body, I try to get up.
As I said, I try.
I cringe as soon as I stand. Pain shoots all over my lower abdomen and my back from last night’s exertions and my knees feel like they are about to give up.
We at least did it ten times and stopped only when I said so. Blaze was completely insatiable and so was I. But after seven hours, I was beyond exhausted. How Blaze managed with his voracious appetite was still beyond me.
The shrill ringtone of my phone breaks me out of my reverie again and I limp my way to the lounge area where I left my purse last night.
Pulling out my phone I roll my eyes when I see who the caller is.
I reluctantly swipe the green icon over the screen and muster my most nonchalant I-did-not-sleep-with-your-cousin voice.
“Hey! Good Morning” I greet him.
“Hi, so she picks up my phone, finally” He replies sarcasm dripping his voice and I roll my eyes.
“Why are you calling me anyway?” I ask him curiously.
“Well, I was on my way to your room to escort you for breakfast…” My mind blanks as soon as I hear this ad my breath gets hitched in my throat with panic.
Shit! How the hell am I going to reach my room before Noah when I can barely move?
“No! That’s unnecessary. Besides, I just woke up and I still need to freshen up. You go join others, I’ll see you shortly” I try my best to convince him, and thankfully it works.
“Oh. Sure I’ll see you then” He says after a pause and I inwardly sigh with relief and hang up.
I set the phone down on the coffee table and timidly make my way towards the bathroom to freshen up first.
On my way there, I pause momentarily in the bedroom and check the bed for any notes that I might’ve missed. Blaze always left notes whenever he was in a hurry. Finding none, I sigh with disappointment and gasp when I see a slight smudge of blood staining the sheets on my side of the bed. On cue, I look down and notice dotted dry blood on the side of my thighs.
No wonder it hurts like a bitch
Nope, it wasn’t period blood if that’s what you’re all thinking. This was the result of last night which happened the first time too. It wasn’t a surprise anymore, Blaze was huge and I getting bruised as the aftermath was the only disadvantage. I wouldn’t lie though; I did enjoy this side of him sometimes.
’Wow Phoebe, you’re really sick on the head. Aren’t you?’ My subconscious snarls at me and I wince at my wayward thoughts.
However, sadness creeps its way inside my head as I think of Blaze leaving me right on the day when I’m about to leave.
I try my best to push away all my depressing thoughts and make my way inside the washroom to get cleaned up.
“Well, the weather’s beautiful today so it’s safe to say that we won’t be facing any turbulence then” Noah mutters as he takes a bite of his French toast and I nod my head in acknowledgment of his words.
The weather was indeed bright but my mood was still bleak like stormy black clouds.
Blaze wasn’t present at the dining hall for breakfast either. I felt so restless knowing that I had no one to ask about his whereabouts without them being suspicious of me. Even Andres was missing and I found out from Ava that he went back to Irisfield early in the morning to get some unfinished business done.
I look down at the Soupe à l'oignon which was been served a minute ago by Brenda. According to her, the soup was a very famous dish in France and the taste was a complete die-for. The dish looked quite strange actually. It was a famous French onion soup with caramelized onions and meat stock. On top of it was a thick golden crispy bread crust which was coated generously with large proportions of cheese. Brenda was indeed right; the taste was truly to die for.
Finally having had enough of my anxieties, I ask take a deep breath of courage and turn towards Noah who was sitting on my right.
“Hey isn’t it odd? I mean I don’t see your cousin at the table” I try my best to appear nonchalant as I utter those words out and tentatively take a sip of my slightly chilled Beaujolais. The fruity taste of raspberries and something like tart cherry bursts inside my taste buds as the red wine smoothly glides down my dry throat.
From the corner of my eye, I see Noah freeze momentarily and he speaks up lowly so that only I can hear him, “Really man? You properly ask me a question after a week of avoiding me only to ask me about my cousin who rarely acknowledges my presence?” He locks his gloomy eyes with my surprised ones and before I can even reply to him, Nate sneers from where he’s sitting opposite to me.
“You are asking where he is. Aren’t you supposed to know that?” Nate says as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world with a cruel smirk on his face and my blood runs cold.
Shit! Does he know?
“What do you mean? How is she supposed to know?” Noah asks him with confusion and panic settles inside me. Suddenly, my anger hits me with full force.
What the fuck does he think he’s doing? Even if he knows, why does he care?
Before I can come up with a good reply, Ava beats me to it.
“Hey Nate, how’s Jane? I heard she’s dating Carlos. Oh, you know your former best friend. Wait, didn’t you guys resolve things out at the graduation?” She asks him mockingly with a fake thoughtful expression on her face.
My jaw drops at the newfound piece of information and I see the same expression plastered over Noah’s face too. It wasn’t a shock that Carlos and Nate fought over Jane since high school. Before that, those two were inseparable. Carlos always had a crush on Jane which only Nate was aware of and just like his sister; Nate went behind Carlos’ back and started dating Jane which destroyed the duo’s friendship.
But it surely was a shock to know that Jane was dating Carlos. Like, could this be any more clichéd?
“Oh my God Nate, that must be fantastic to know. I mean finally, your best friend got the happiness he deserved from the beginning” I say with a fake smile and inwardly smirk when I see his face turn red with anger.
Ava throws a wink in my direction and resumes cutting her chocolate éclair which was filled with chocolate pastry cream that oozed out of the choux pastry coat.
I inwardly glow with gratitude for Ava being my saving grace and decide to thank her when were alone.
Blaze almost slips out of my mind until Noah turns to speak to me.
“Uncle Eric as in Blaze’s father showed up this morning and summoned Blaze to some important meeting. Uncle’s word in this household is like law. I think they’ll be finished by the time you guys will be departing” He says and I frown when I hear ‘you guys’.
“What do you mean by ‘you guys’? What about you? Aren’t you going to join us?” I ask him and Ava looks up from her plate to hear his reply.
“Not really. I’ll drop you guys at the airport but I’ll be in Germany for a week. Uncle Eric wants me to meet some potential clients for expanding our medical venture and it’s a huge deal. Since I’m a newbie; he probably wants to test my abilities” He shrugs and reaches for the plate that is filled with assorted dried fruits.
A flicker of hope builds inside me at the information, thinking of the possibility of seeing Blaze before I leave but it soon dies when I realize that he didn’t even bother telling me about his departure himself.
Oh c’mon, he must have his own reasons…
With that thought in my head, I gulp down the rest of my wine in one go.
‘Oh fuck this!’
I mutter to myself as I brush my dark brown hair which now has returned to its natural wavy self.
I throw down the hairbrush with contempt and look at the mirror petulantly. I was wearing a dark green tank top that matched the color of my eyes with my black leather jacket and paired it with black jeans and black high heel boots.
The outfit seemed appropriate for traveling.
But my mind wasn’t anywhere close to my appearance. I was one step away from bawling my eyes out at Blaze’s absence.
Hell! Since when did I turn into such a whiny bitch?
I had nothing to do other than admit to myself that I was falling for Blaze. He aroused emotions within me that I never knew existed until this day. I missed him terribly. The thought of not seeing him before I leave for Seattle was unsettling.
I mean, where did that leave us?
Whatever this was, I had no idea what to call it anyway. I can’t help but wonder what will happen once I reach Seattle. It was obvious that it will take me a lot of time to get over this.
Suddenly a disturbing image of Noah introducing me to Blaze’s wife soon flashes inside my head and I almost puke at the thought.
’Huh as if he’d ever married a fuck-up like you! He’ll find someone who deserves him more unlike you’ my mind yells at me and I groan out in frustration. I stand up from the chaise and pace toward my handbag which contained my medications and pop one white round pill inside my mouth, downing it with water.
I clutch my head with both of my hands and flop down on the bed.
“God, I’m a fucking mess” I mumble to myself and before the waterworks starts, the door to my bedroom opens and I lift my head quickly hoping that it’s him but unfortunately it’s Noah.
“You ok? You look like someone gifted you an encyclopedia instead of a dollhouse on Christmas” He says amused and I refrain myself from spewing at his face with, ‘Oh yeah, I was waiting for your brother who’s fucking me behind your back’.
“No, I’m fine. Just feeling a bit bloated after all that hearty breakfast. You already know that I eat very less in the morning…” I say and sigh dejectedly.
“You know…I think my Blaze fancies you” He states ignoring my words with a sheepish expression and I look at him quizzically.
“What do you mean?” I ask him warily and he shrugs.
“I don’t know. He’s normally so reserved and introverted but over the last couple of days I noticed him making casual conversations with you”
“And that’s not normal?” I ask him incredulously and he snorts.
“For him? No. He’s a ruthless bastard who doesn’t think twice about people’s feelings before crushing them. He doesn’t even properly talk with his own family sometimes so it was a huge shock when I saw him interacting with you” He replies to my question with a soft sad smile playing on his lips.
If that’s the case then where the hell is he?
“Yeah, he’s a nice guy I guess…” I mutter thinking about the times when he listened to my rants patiently and comforted me through my nightmares.
“Figures” He grimaces and continues “I mean for fuck’s sake you even danced with him at the ball whereas you wouldn’t even look at me”
“That’s for a good reason Noah and you know it” I shoot him a glare and watch him freeze momentarily.
“But that’s between me and Ava. Why are you mad?” He asks me innocently and I feel my anger ricocheting.
“What the Hell, Noah?! You know how much she means to me. Both of you are my close friends but justice is justice. You had no right to insult her the way you did!” I burst out.
“But she was the one who insulted Camille first!” He yells back.
“Well, that’s because Camille insulted me in the beginning” And suddenly it feels like a teen drama show all over again as I continue, “Unlike you, Ava stood up for me but unfortunately it backfired on her. I’m not telling you to choose us over Camille. I know you still have feelings for her. But for fuck’s sake, don’t tolerate her inconsiderate attitude towards us. I would never date anyone who will insult and degrade my friends. The same goes for Ava too. Camille always loathed me but I never said a word. You already know full well how much protective Ava is over me ever since that Emily incident. How do you expect her to tolerate that? If I was in her place too, I would’ve done the same thing” I finish with a loud huff and look away from him.
I hear him exhale loudly and mumble “You’re right. It was really wrong. I promise I’ll apologize to her. She deserves better than this” I nod my head at his words and still doesn’t turn when he leaves the room silently.
“Madame, please secure your seatbelts on”
I break away from my thoughts as the female flight attendant regards me with her blue doe eyes.
Damn it! Even looking at blue eyes were enough to squeeze my heart painfully.
He never showed up…
It was hard to believe that he did this. A part of me tried to convince myself that he probably left because he wanted to do nothing with me but I knew him better than that.
At this point, I didn’t know what to believe. It was all so confusing. Noah was already on his way to Germany, Ava and I were boarding Hunter’s luxurious private jet and the rest of my crew was flying back in the commercial.
I take small sips of my French 75 which was one of the popular French cocktails according to Ava. The drink was prepared with gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and champagne. I savor the slightly acidic taste of the drink and bite down on the lemon peel provided on the side.
Ava, who’s sitting opposite me, sets down her orange-apricot mimosa punch and looks at me with a serious look on her face.
“Phoebe, don’t be sad. I know it’s hard to not think over this but please for your own sake, don’t. Maybe he got held up with work. After all, he’s the CEO of a massive industry” She tries to make me feel better but I shake my head.
“He could’ve just left me a text, you know. I mean is that too hard?” I try to reason with her and lean back on the cool leather seat.
“I know. Even if he doesn’t want you, what’s the big deal? You’re Phoebe Bloody Carter for crying out loud. You’re stronger than this. Bitch you’re a survivor. Besides, consider this as some holiday fling anyway. Forget it man” She tries her best to cheer me up and I smile at her fondly.
I wanted to correct her by saying that Blaze not wanting me was a huge deal. For the first time in my life after that dreadful incident, I felt something. Blaze made me feel all that. I know I wasn’t supposed to fall for him. Heck, I wasn’t even supposed to sleep with him, and yet here we are.
I offer Ava a genuine smile and look at the wispy white clouds in midst of the champagne pink sky through the rectangular-shaped window. As the plane speeds away from France, I feel my heart breaking into pieces each with each growing distance.
An image of his dimple-kissed smile flashes inside my head and my lips start to tremble. Without any thought, I surrender myself to my grief as my tears start spilling out of my eyes.
*The Beginning Of The End*
A/N - It was honestly such a pain for me to write this chapter. I can almost feel you, readers, cursing me but please understand. As I said before, THIS IS NOT THE END. I will be publishing Book 2 inside this book by the end of November because right now I need to focus on my exams which are just a week away.
I hope you all enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed it writing to you. I never thought that I'd be able to finish it but thanks to all your love and support, I did it!
This book is dedicated to all of my amazing readers!
Lastly, if you all have some time to spare, can you please write a review on it? It will help me understand my faults better.
I also promise you guys that you'll see Phoebe and Blaze very soon. Until then, stay tuned for the updates and you can also follow me for future announcements too if you like.