35 | Aftermath
“What mistake, Aves?” I inquire skeptically as I register her forlorn expression. It was like someone was tearing her heart out and honestly speaking, it was kind of sad to witness.
She lets out a deep sigh and faces me with a determined look.
“I guess it’s time I told you the truth. Remember the time when I told you that I was seeing someone…” She says and seeing my confused face, she clarifies further, “I mean the guy you never met. It was during my last year in college before my internship at Vanity”
That is when the fog inside my memory lifts.
Of course, the mystery guy to whom Ava lost her virginity to and the one that none of our friends ever saw
“Ah, you mean the one for whom you used to ditch us back in college?” I decide to tease her and just like I expected, her face reddens like a ripe tomato.
“Oh shut up” She bursts out haughtily and stutters in her defense, “I-I never ditched-d you guys”
It was kind of funny to see Ava all flustered over a guy because honestly, I rarely saw her like this.
“So...” I drag on, “What about this guy?” Her rosy face loses color as I ask my question and she grows all serious again.
“Phoebe look, you are one of those very few people who know what type of toxic relationship I share with my parents. He knew about it too. Despite all that, he cared for me. He really did. But you know that I’ve always been insecure. Whenever I was with him, I would feel insecure about myself because damn he was like a fucking Greek God.
“Our relationship started on the sexual path because I met him at a club and we were instantly attracted to each other. I left him after a few months when my relatives were being too much”
I shoot her an incredulous look after hearing this and I almost refrain from the urge to swat her.
Who the fuck leaves a man for such a stupid reason?!
Noticing my look of disbelief, she quickly shakes her head frantically and explains, “That’s not everything. There’s more. He was almost the same age as Blaze, if not, a year older I guess.” She shrugs and continues as I listen patiently, “He was always so supportive. Like, he witnessed me going through my suicidal phase and pulled me out of it. Sometimes, I felt guilty when I was with him because oh my God Pheebs, he was perfect and I was such a fucking mess.
“It was a surprise when he told me that he loves me. I never thought that I’d find someone as amazing as him in my life. But all good things come to an end, right? I didn’t even love myself at that time Pheebs, how could I love him? I couldn’t be what he needed so I left him” She takes a deep breath as tears fall down her cheeks, “Even to this day, I regret leaving. I regret it each and every waking moment of my life. I love him so much. Nothing can compare to the feelings I have for him”
By the time she’s done, her tears are falling and falling. My heart breaks seeing her like this, so broken, so fragile. It kills me.
Taking in a deep shaky breath, she turns to look at me and gently strokes my hair before saying, “I don’t want you to regret leaving Blaze, Pheebs”
“I know but I’m afraid. What if he loathes me after he finds out that I killed someone?” I clasp her hand with mine and search her face for answers.
She offers me a gentle smile and replies, “It’s his decision. He’s not a child Phoebe. You can’t decide what’s right for him. You killed Pietro out of self-defense. It wasn’t your fault. Your situation was something like, either you kill or be killed. You did what any sane person would’ve done in your place. And if Blaze leaves you after knowing the truth…then he’s not the right guy for you”
Her words offer me solace knowing that she’s indeed right. Blaze deserves better than me but at least he doesn’t deserve being left upon in the dark.
“What about Diana? Maybe she has told Blaze everything…?” I contemplate and she swats me across the head.
What the fuck…
“Christ, Pheebs! You really are dumb. If Diana did tell him everything, what makes you think that they’ll rekindle their relationship? Over the short time that I’ve known Blaze, I can assure you that he won’t be blind to trust a woman who once trapped him into marriage by claiming that she’s pregnant with his child. Also, always remember that there are two sides to the story. Maybe Blaze has a good explanation for it?”
As her words, register inside my head, I realize that she’s right. But still, a part of me wonders does Blaze really not have any feelings for Diana? For someone who hates his ex and certainly wants nothing to do with her, he seemed pretty affected by her presence.
‘Almost like how you still get mad over Nate’s shenanigans’ My subconscious snidely remarks at me.
I mean, why show any form of emotion at all?
“I’m just afraid of…I don’t even know how to put it in words…” I trail off and turn to look behind me to stare at the stunning sky high view from her condo window.
“You’re scared of losing him and it’s totally understandable” She assures me and puts her arms around me in a comforting gesture.
I gladly sink into her embrace as the cat starts purring for her attention and I stare at it with disapproval.
What an attention-seeking cat! Fuck off, she’s mine!
I glare at the cat whilst it keeps on looking at me with its innocent sapphire blue eyes. Ok, don’t judge me. I’m very possessive of my best friend. This often makes me wonder; how the fuck will I manage when Ava finally gets married or better yet starts dating?
The last question causes me to cringe when I think about Andres.
Oh hell NO!
He might be a good friend to Blaze, but I don’t like him for Ava. Over the numerous times' Blaze managed to fuck up, Andres always had a huge involvement in it. Like the time at the cellar when Blaze handcuffed me.
A thought pops inside my head before I verbalize it, “Hey, what’s this guy’s name? You know the one who you love?”
“Why are you asking that?” Ava frowns at me and I release a dramatic scoff.
“Um, because my best friend loves him…? Also, you do realize that you have to make up for not ever telling me about this mysterious dude!” I give her my practiced puppy dog eyes I normally use for convincing people and recognizing that look, she narrows her eyes.
“His name’s Evan” Her lips stretch slightly into a tight-lipped smile as she tries to hide her pain. I decide to steer her attention away from this topic.
“By the way, I kind of need to ask you for a favor” She nods her head and I continue, “Can I stay with you for a month? It’s just that I don’t want to come face to face with Blaze because he knows my address but he doesn’t know yours. Also, I know that I need to face him, but I guess that I just need some time to wrap my head over the last few months”
“Of course you can stay here for as long as you want” She reassures me and reaches forward to retrieve a slice of pizza.
“You know…” I start before continuing, “I talked with Noah at the masquerade ball”
She freezes her movement as soon as my words register inside her head.
“So?” She shrugs and continues surfing through YouTube inside her TV.
“He said that he tried reaching out to you by inviting you to his parent’s masquerade ball”
She lets out a deep sigh before rolling her eyes and I instantly regret my decision on bringing up this topic.
“Yeah, I know. As you can see, I declined his invitation. I don’t want to face him Pheebs. I had enough. He always fucked up but despite all that, I forgave him. He continued violating my patience and he fucked over my trust for over a decade and honestly, I’m fucking sick of it!” She almost yells and continues munching on her slice of pizza whilst clicking on one of Bailey Sarian’s videos.
I keep my mouth shut momentarily as I keep on stroking the cats fur and as curiosity hits me again, I find myself asking, “Do you ever wonder what Evan’s doing? Or if he ever thinks about you?”
She lets out a bitter laugh and silently whispers, “I dug up my own grave the day I decided to leave him and now I’m lying on it”
Her words shoot me like arrows as I continue realizing that maybe I’ve done the same mistake like her.
Calm down, Phoebe. You’ve got this…
I can’t do this anymore
One fucking month has passed with me living my life miserably. I certainly wasn’t lying when I said that God hates me.
I mean c’mon…
The last four weeks consisted of me doing nothing but drowning myself in heaps of work. Every day when I arrive at the firm, I could literally feel my employees’ pity stares behind my back. I’ll admit that I look like absolute shit or like someone who’s going through a terrible break-up.
I’m rooting for the latter
Like yeah, I know that I represent a crap served in a silver platter (The silver platter’s my dress, by the way). The worst thing is that I’ve never heard a single beep from Blaze.
‘Oh c’mon bitch, how is that poor man supposed to text you when you’ve blocked all his number from all your devices?!’ My subconscious screams at me and instantly I shake my head.
Lord, I’m a fucking mess
You know that constant gnawing feeling inside your chest. It’s almost as if someone’s sinking their claws inside your chest cavity and you find yourself unable to breathe and the only way you know to get rid of that emotion is to drown out every thoughts and feeling and suddenly you're left with nothing but darkness.
Yes, that’s exactly the feeling I’m experiencing right now
And let me tell you, I wouldn’t recommend it!
The empty void inside my chest keeps on expanding every day as I try to live or make it through a rough twenty-four hours a day.
“Phoebe, this is not helping” A sweet frustrated feminine voice breaks my chain of thoughts and I find myself looking up to gaze into pools of onyx black eyes that regard me with both concern and frustration.
Yes, you all heard me right – With both frustration and concern
How she manages to do that is beyond me.
“Ok, Pheebs, this is getting nowhere” Alana shakes her head disappointedly and scribbles down something on her yellow notepad.
Looking out, I could see the sheer curtains giving off a muted light shade of blue, indicating that it’s almost evening. After I was done with my work, I drove straight to Ever Care Hospital to meet my therapist.
For some inexplicable reason, I could see that Alana had a very vibrant glow radiating from each pore of her face and compared to her, I looked almost as pale as a ghost. The tan that I obtained from my three-day visit to Italy was now long gone due to staying inside my office and at Ava’s condo all day long.
“I don’t know what to say. I honestly feel like a damn lost puppy right now” I confess genuinely and pick up one of the gold foil-wrapped candies from the customary mason jar that’s perched on her coffee table.
“I understand that you’re feeling lost. Is there any other emotion that you might be experiencing…?” She pries further.
Swallowing the delicious ball of chocolate with nut encased inside, I reply to her, “I feel empty. Also, I feel remorse for ending things with Blaze so abruptly. I’ll be honest; it definitely wasn’t the best decision of my life”
She nods and even though she maintains a composed impassive face, I could see pity lying on the depth of her black eyes.
This for some reason infuriates me. I don’t want anyone to pity me. I’m not pathetic! Or am I? The fact that I’m questioning myself if I’m pathetic enrages me even further. For fuck’s sake, I made this decision on my own!
“I understand that you’re feeling heartbroken, it will-” Before she can finish her sentence, I halt her by letting out a sarcastic laugh.
“Huh, what do you know about heart-break. Over the last three years of me knowing you, I’ve never seen you with a single man. I should pity you. Have you ever even been in a fucking relationship?” I mockingly laugh at her as I feel the now unfamiliar adrenaline kick inside my system.
I don’t think I’ve been like this since the day when I snapped at Ava for being nosey back in Monaco. That day now feels so long ago.
’All because Blaze was with you…He used to chase your pain away’ My subconscious tuts at me like I’m some fucking disapproval and I inwardly shake my head to get rid of Blaze's image inside my brain.
Oh c’mon, my life doesn’t revolve around one guy!
Even as I reassure myself, I know that I’m lying
“You think I don’t know what heartbreak feels like?” Alana questions me as she flexes her jaw with a dangerous glint in her eyes as she glares at me venomously.
“Oh, I’ve been in a relationship. My first ever relationship was with a man who was my teacher. I was naïve enough to believe that he loved me when he already a wife with whom he shared a son, living on the other side of England. For years I bore the title home-wrecker inside my head.
“The second man with whom I fell in love…he destroyed me. He didn’t want me to love him because he was flawed. After all, he was incapable of loving anyone. He would whip me, and like the sick fuck that I was, I enjoyed it. Our relationship was based in a way where I was his sex slave and I willingly offered myself to him because I couldn’t control my desires and knowing this, he ruined me completely.
“We did share something beautiful. We really did. But I knew that it wasn’t enough. Our relationship was terminated by him the day I professed my love to him. Do you know the worst part? That was the day he first made love to me before completely dismissing me from his life. That was also the day my aunt died. I loved my aunt, I really did. She died in a car crash whilst I was busy having sex with him.
“I was torn after her death. One night I was driving home and the next thing I know, I was involved in a tragic accident myself. For this, I was in a coma for two months. And guess what’s the first thing I do after I wake up – I visit him only to see that he already has another woman by his side. For years, I hated him.
“For seven years I tortured myself for not being enough. Then suddenly I see the news of him engaged to some woman. It killed me. I could feel myself struggling to breathe as excruciating mental pain wracked through my body. The man who claimed that he was incapable of loving anyone suddenly had another woman in his arms, saying that he’s madly in love with her.
“But little did I know that there’s always two sides of a story. I wasn’t the only one who was hurting. He suffered his share of pain too. For years, I avoided him and it was utterly painful. Now that I know the entire truth after all these years, I feel like stabbing myself for being so stupid and selfish. So yes, I know what heartbreak is”
By the time she’s done, I find myself absolutely mortified. She wasn’t even looking at me, her jet black eyes were glittering as small droplets were making their way out of her eyes, running all the way down to her chin.
I was lost for words because I felt so stupid.
Her nose and cheeks were turning red and all I could do was just simply stare at her like the fucking idiot that I am.
Suddenly, she rises from her chair and strides out of the room, before pausing at the doorway, “Don’t do something that you’ll regret for the rest of your life”
With that said, she’s out of the room, leaving me to drown in my pit of misery that I’ve dug for myself.
I turn off the ignition of my car after parking it outside.
This exact place now felt so awfully foreign like I haven’t been here for ages. Now, that is true because I haven’t been living inside my own house for almost a month. Even before that, my days were spent inside Blaze’s penthouse as he would pick me up from my workplace.
As much as I hated myself for admitting this, I really did miss him.
A lot actually
‘You already know that it’s for the best Phoebe’ I chide myself and shake my head as my heels click against the clay-brick porch of my house.
However, my footsteps come to a screeching halt as I take in the scene in front of me with absolute shock.
The front double door was crowded with white roses. They were all placed in blush pink satin hatboxes. I think that there were at least thirty of these boxes and I could bet that the delivery man was awfully annoyed by this.
Some of them looked like they withered away whilst the ones placed right before me looked quite fresh. On top of each open box, there was a note. I scanned my surrounding dismally to see that my once beautiful garden looked like a graveyard, as if the cloak of death was placed over them.
I had only myself to blame for it because of my absence, all the flowers died due to the lack of attention and water.
The sight of these delivered white roses was like a breath of fresh air in the midst of my dead garden. The soft light mist-like smell of the roses wafted through the air, making me inch closer to them.
But who are these from?
I pick up the note from the most withered box of roses. I open the folded piece of paper and stare right into the familiar slanted cursive handwriting of Blaze.
My breath gets caught inside my throat as I realize that all of these flowers are sent from him.
I lower my hand to touch the feathery petals of one of the roses and see a drop of water falling on top of it only to realize that it’s my tears.
My eyes fall over his beautiful handwriting to read his words.
It hasn’t even been a day and I already miss you. I don’t believe a single thing you wrote in that letter because I know you better than this. I devoted my days trying to get to know you and my heart knows that you can never be so cruel. Please come back. I promise that I’ll never hurt you. I'm ready to tell you everything that you want to know because I can't bear losing you.
I could literally hear my heart shredding into pieces like wisps of papers as I read the note. My body sinks on the ground, not caring if there’s dirt around as I try to control the convulsive sobs that threaten to tear me down.
I could feel myself close to a mental breakdown as I frantically reach forward to pick up the note out of the box which looks like it was delivered today. With shaky hands, I unravel the folded piece of note and start reading it.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt THIS desperate in my life. I should be ashamed of myself for sending you flowers every day because I know that I’m now almost crossing the line of harassment in the eyes of law. It’s insane how much absence makes your heart grow fond. I’ve never missed anyone the way I miss you. I didn’t even miss my parents like this when I left home for college. My life’s absolutely dull without your presence. I know that you’re tired of reading all this and probably these flowers have reached their way to the trashcan but I can’t stop myself from doing this. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up on you because you’re worth it all.
I completely lose it when I finish reading today’s letter and surrender myself to my grief, rocking myself back and forth whilst closely hugging my knees to my chest as I cry my heart out.
Oh God, what have I done?
A/N - This update was really long due but due to some family matters, I couldn't update sooner :( I'm truly sorry for that.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I'm not sorry for not providing much info about Ava and Alana's life because can't reveal the whole plot of their book now can I? ;)
Anyways, let me know your thoughts on this chapter, and buckle yourselves up because the next update will be in Blaze's POV!