It hurt my heart and soul to leave him alone, after he just found out he will be a father, when other women would have wanted to be nestled in his arms now. But I needed time, I wanted to spend an hour alone, and I knew exactly the perfect place. I shrugged and walked to my destination. Three weeks ago, I had absolutely everything I wanted, a wedding to be prepared, a fiancé whose feelings I was sure of, and a painful memory of the past, the ghost of the former fiancé, and now the only thing I was sure of was that soul growing in me, and for him, my love was already beginning to grow with each passing second.
I would solve the wedding problem easily, a simple, small wedding was all I wanted, if the honeymoon had meant just a bed, room service and John completely naked, smelling as good as ever. But I was not sure how I would solve the ghost problem without giving up Rebecca.
Arriving at the entrance to Central Park, I carefully placed my headphones in my earlobe and turned on my iPod. Music always relaxes me and helps me think, if it was accompanied by a walk it was the ideal combination. The park was quiet and big, being in the afternoon on a working day it was not very populated, so in some areas, you could have privacy. The landscape was beautiful for December, the temperature of that day was not low, so it was a good day to walk. I had noticed four nannies walking the strollers quietly and talking about how to take better care of the children, an old couple walking leisurely holding each other - proof that love can last until old age, a group of children out of school, for six or seven years they had been throwing breadcrumbs at the pigeons and rejoiced when the flock gathered around them. It was a beautiful and soothing atmosphere, which I needed to put my thoughts in order.
Once I sat on the bench, it had begun to snow, shyly and lightly, and Chris Martin resounded in my ears, constantly singing “In my place, in my place.” Yes, in my place - now I should be at the peak of happiness, already wandering through the shops buying baby clothes, giving the news to everyone, making love to my future husband and father of my child, but I did not feel up to. Not wanting to blame the pregnancy, being too early according to my calculations, for the symptoms to appear already, I decided, that I will ask John frankly when I get home, what are his feelings about us, our love, ignoring the rest of the world. Just like he said on our first night together, “the two of us against the world!”.
“Relax! I didn't want to scare you!” Jake said raising your hands in the air, in a gesture of surrender, “only you couldn't hear me. By the way, do you know how ridiculous you can feel when people stare at you like an idiot? I was speaking alone, for God's sake!”
“Jake!” I articulated his name in a voice as hard as a sandstone.
My heart was pounding in my chest. “You did not have to do this! What are you doing here?” I held him accountable, as if that place were only mine, and that he should have known how to avoid me.
“Well, I have to get to the law office” he showed me the direction, “and I took the shortcut. But what is wrong with you? I thought Mr. North was always by your side, or so it seemed to me. The kind of "fiancé who needs to know everything that happens to his fiancée."
“Your sarcasm doesn't help anyone!”
I got up from the bench, heading in the opposite direction of his path.
I could hear his hurried, heavy footsteps behind me, running to catch up with me.
“Kate! For God's sake, we are adults, I wish I could talk to you, listen to me. I have so much to tell you for so long that it has drained my soul from spite and resentment.”
I was standing in the middle of the alley, motionless trying to avoid her gaze.
Finally, the moment came when I had Jake in front of me again. It seemed unreal, five years ago I was running on those idiotic stairs, hoping I could hold him back a little, and now I was in the same situation, with reversed roles, but not on the stairs.
“You don't have to say anything, just listen to me. Is OK?"
He leaned to his knees, searching for my gaze on the top of my boots.
“Kate, I need your confirmation so I can continue, otherwise I won't be able to afford to do that.”
I nodded that I agreed to continue, and I looked up, staring at him. A knot had formed in his throat, swallowing hard. His green eyes had not lost their brightness, those eyes I had searched for so long that I knew every color spot in his iris. I knew that when it was sad, they got a dark shade of emerald, and when it was happy, they opened like a blade of grass on a hot summer day. And now they were the color of grass, golden rays. I used to be able to see through them, but now I did not even dare.
"Would you like us to sit down?” He suggested
“It would be an idea.”
Heading to the bench I had left earlier, I could see him better now, his brown hair had not lost its volume, and it was as ruffled and almost the same length as the last time I saw it. His body was a smaller idea than John's, but he had the same athletic build. I remembered his fine hands touching me so delicately, his thin body and hairless chest, arms and thighs so strong, his lips were thin but offering sweet and tender kisses and never tired of them. His arms were not so muscular, but strong enough to move furniture out of the house, whenever I asked him to, or to carry me to the bedroom.
Lost in thought, Jake snapped his fingers to catch my attention.
“You all right?”
“I'm fine! I'm waiting for you to finish what you have to say, to continue on my way.”
“But you had no way, you were sitting on the bench, and as I know you well, I can guess that another hour would have passed before you could have rushed.”
He crossed his legs as he sat on the bench, joining his ankles, wearing brown leather boots, the style of oxford shoes. His gray coat covered his sweater with an anchor, and his shirt was now green, highlighting the color of his eyes.
“So, what were you thinking?” Frowning, I hid my eyes from him. He knew me too well, he knew every gesture, and every grimace of my face. The simple fact that we were both alone in the park made me want to punch him in the chest, cry and extinguish the pain I still felt, since he left. Ever since I asked him to leave.
“Excuse my indiscretion! You do not know how much I am glad to see you again, last night when you left, I was simply frozen. I did not expect such a reaction from your fiancé, but Rebecca took care to keep me informed. It looks like this is a hell of guy”
He made a short a break, swallow hard, and then he continued,” and he loves you more then anything in this world, just like the I should have done”.
Fuck it, it was clear to me what he intended to do! He leaned back, leaning on the bench.
“Jake, listen, I don't need any complaints from you. I know very well what his feelings are and what kind of man he is. So, if you are done, I wouldn't want to hold you back.”
“What? If I am done? he snorted, running his hand through his hair, pulling off a strand that had fallen on his forehead, making him even more irresistible than he was. A beautiful man he was and still is.
“Not even close, beautiful! If it were up to me, you would not leave me again. Whatever the reason, I would keep you and treat you properly. In all those years, far from you, I realized many things that I do not consider important back then. I tormented myself every single fucking night, when I sat in bed every time, and your side of the bed was empty.”
Hearing the last part, I could not help but laugh.
“I doubt that my bedside was empty for a long time, you made sure it was busy even when I was there. So, spare me!” I answered fiercely.
I got up from the bench nervously, angry at him. I had missed him so much for so long and I wiped away so many tears all those years, that now, all this left me cold.
I started in a hurry on the path behind the bench, marked by two old spruces.
“Katherine, I want you back! And I will do anything to win you back.”
I stopped on the way, hearing him running towards me again. He was breathing hard, and steam was coming out of his mouth as he spoke.
“I haven't stopped loving you. I would be a hypocrite to say that. I know you don't believe me; I know I broke your heart, but please! Give me a chance, Kate!” His hands wrapped around my arms, pulling them toward him. His steps shortened the road to me so much that we woke up hugged. I responded to his gesture, putting my hands on his chest, which even through those thick clothes felt strong and muscular.
“Oh, my Kate!” His lips rested unhindered on my strands of hair, kissing them, sniffing them. I looked up at him, his breathing heavy, oppressed, and full of emotion, overwhelmed me and carried me to the top, which I would have wanted to be carried without too much conversation, if I had not been involved in another love story.
“No, Jake! Unfortunately, I will never be your Kate again!” My head fell lazily on his chest, and he never loosened his grip.
“No matter what you say, I will not give up. You know I will not do this!” he said firmly.
“No matter what?”
“Mh-hm!” he made that guttural sound, full of self and pride.
“Even if I told you I am pregnant? Would you still like me to be yours?”
He had taken a few steps back, leaving me in the same place. His astonished look made me believe that what I had told him would have an effect, and that he would withdraw, without too many problems.
“Oh God!” with a crooked face, he came back to me, hugging me even tighter this time.
“You know that kid should have been ours. For a long time, after I left, I thought about this. But now, given this situation, I will not insist. Maybe if it was different.”
“Jake, I hated you with all my heart, but the love I had for you overcame hatred. After you left, I ran after you, I wanted to stop you. I forgive you, but you hurried, and I couldn't find you.”
“I got a scholarship a few days later, and I immediately flew to London, where I stayed until Mike called me here.”
“I would like to go home; I don't feel well at all!” I cut it off, I could not accept any more explanations from him.
Anyway, they did not make sense.
“Sure! I am sorry, Kate! Gently massaging my shoulder, he started in the same direction as me.
We walked in silence until we left the park, and there we stopped.
“Maybe we'd better break up here. I would not even want to keep you from your business."
“The pleasure was on mine, and I insisted on talking, remember?” his smile was millions, but his gaze betrayed him. Certainly, I cut his momentum by telling him about the pregnancy, which will prevent him from continuing his mission. He could be an immoral man, a liar and sometimes impertinent, but he was not an unscrupulous man and certainly would not have added to his list now an affair with a pregnant woman.
He nodded, and turned a little with each step he took, until he turned completely, continuing his way to the office.
“Jake!” I shouted for him, and as if he knew this was coming, he returned like a clown jumping out of a box. But I did not know what to say to him, I had no intention of sending him anything, so I shrugged, smiling at him. The smile was mutual.