Chapter 34: BadBye's
There aren’t any decorations of any kind but it seems I walked in just in time for Mae to set a 3 layer German Chocolate Cake in the middle of the dining room table. Finally everyone’s necks crane awkwardly towards me.
“SAPH!” Von and Gia run towards me.
I. Am. Frozen.
How could I forget something like this so easily? How could I do this to Trey? My mouth is nearly slack at my own guilt. Even so, Von and Gia draw me into a large hug. My hand is still clutching my suitcase, and the other glued to my side. Simply dumbfounded.
Perfect fucking timing, Fire.
“Good thing you made it back in time for Trey’s-“Gia’s words are replaced by her bulging eyes averting to the large figure behind me.
The air instantly becomes cold as I look back at Ezra.
My heart is picking up the pace again.
“Saphyre what is this, for Christ’s sake, it’s your brother’s birthday!” John audaciously speaks out of turn. As if, of all people, I owe him the first explanation.
Tuh, yeah right.
I scowl at him, “Don’t worry, I was just leaving.”
“Wait, wait,” Gia chimes in, “I thought you said you would think about it!”
I look at her pleading blue eyes, “I did.”
“Saphyre,” Trey slides out from his seat, “What do you mean you’re leaving, it’s my birthday today, I thought maybe you would want to at least hang around for that?”
He doesn’t seem to know what I mean by leaving.
Maxum clears his throat, “Uhh, are we not going to address the literal elephant in the room, who is this guy, I mean, I’ve never seen-”
I turn to see Mae’s hand over her mouth and one over her heart. Of course she knows his pen name. But the better question is why, how, and when could she possibly find it out?
And why did Ezra not tell me that he also knew Mae?
I’m not going back on my choice to leave, but I think it’s about that time to get some answers.
Some legitimate answers.
Gia and Von’s eyes are still fixated on Ezra, who’s standing stiffly behind me.
“Hey, Rosa.” His voice creeps into the air, in a sleazy way, and everyone seems to stiffen at that alone.
I avoid looking in Xander’s direction, but I know he’s angry. Angry at what I did to him and what I’m doing to Trey, for the very man that is behind me and the one I’m leaving to save.
The tension in this room could be cut with a cold butter knife. I can hardly think straight, I was supposed to have a speech by now, but clearly I have aborted that mission altogether. Thanks to this surprise of a birthday.
“For real, what’s with the suitcase, anyway, Saphyre, you aren’t really leaving with him are you?” Clayton speaks up, I look into his foreign eyes, along with his twin brother. The twins and I never really talked, but whenever they came to visit, they were sure to show me kindness. We get along and that pretty much sums our association up. They are very observant, and like Trey and Xander, they care about me. At least that’s how they always made me feel.
I breathe, with every nerve in my body activated enough to shake me, “I’m afraid I am.”
“No!” Mae counters my statement angrily, slamming her hand against the table, “Filha, you aren’t going anywhere with him, I won’t allow it, this is not a debate!”
Baby Ava’s screams erupt once again from her crib by the living room couch.
“It’s for Aster!” I shout over her cries. Gia squeezes my hand, almost causing tears to creep from my eyes, “H-he’s in a lot of trouble and it’s my fault, so I have to go.”
“I told you,” Xander finally speaks, “All of this mess she’s getting herself in is for that crazy ass kid!”
“Watch your mouth, Xander!” Gia yells from beside me, “This is not your place to speak foully in!”
Xander heeds her demand and swiftly removes himself from the table and the house, slamming the door behind him.
Well, look who’s pissed off.
Pfft, as if.
I should be the one that’s mad. Everyone keeps asking me the same damn questions as if it’s going to change anything.
For Trey’s sake only, will I continue to entertain this bull shit.
This isn’t the way I intended to go. I don’t think I actually had a firm go-to plan laid out, but damn, I didn’t need everyone to act as if they cared!
I am always alone!
If Gia’s not at my side then textbooks and my headphones are. Xander and my lustful activities do not count in the slightest. If I didn’t give in to him the way I have been lately, he would have treated me the same way he did all those previous years.
Like I wasn’t even there.
“I don’t get it,” Von’s tiny voice comes from my left side, “If he’s in so much trouble, why does he need you and not-” She cuts herself off before looking behind me, “Th-this guy?”
Mae clears her throat, “They want to sacrifice Saphyre.”
Wait, hold on a damn minute.
“Mae, momma,” I tilt my head in her direction, “Why don’t you explain yourself, how do you know Leon and matter of fact how do you know about any of this?”
Her light cheeks turn a bright red, “It’s him who carried you and Aster from the accident that night, the only reason I didn’t tell you to begin with. He threatened my entire family, filha, which is why your Papai and I split, we couldn’t handle the stress of keeping you shut in and away from your friends if we didn’t value each other’s decisions to begin with. I didn’t want him or anyone else coming for my little girl and for such a crazy thing...” Her voice fades and the room goes completely silent.
“I didn’t want to scare you, honey, he’s a predator, Saphyre!” Mae continues to blurt, but with much more passion, “He-he isn’t a normal person like the rest of us, even now, he hasn’t aged a bit since the last time I saw him, Leon is dangerous, Filha!”
I don’t even know how to look at her, much less, how to respond to this.
Even Ava’s quiet now.
“Filha!” Mae yells at me as if I’m obligated to acknowledge her.
Her and her lies!
All these years....
She wouldn’t tell me about the accident. She never told me about the real reason she divorced my Papai for this John prick, and she damn well could have done much better.
What kind of life have I even been living? To be sleeping luxuriously in lies and cover-up love.
With nothing much left to say, think or do, I walk over to Trey and he stands taller, anticipating my next move. I wrap my arms around him and I don’t think I have ever felt him so shaken up.
Is he crying?
“I’m sorry for messing up your day, for being selfish and inconsiderate of you.” I say into his plaid shirt.
He squeezes me tighter, “You know I hate birthdays anyway,” His voice is quivering violently, “you’re too stubborn to be convinced to stay so I won’t even ask for it, but don’t you dare get yourself hurt over this kid, okay.”
I release him, afraid of my own tears, and swipe a streak from his cheek, “I won’t, I promise.”
Putting myself on the list of lying right next to my mother. I give the twins confirmed hugs of farewell. Then I look straight into Mae’s teary eyes.
Mae, though, turns away from me. “I cannot even look at you,” Her voice is quiet, saddened, “you are committing suicide, and I did not raise you to act like this.”
This hit way bellow the belt. Mae’s never turned her back to me...never.
Even if I am acting a little irrational, she has no right! After all, if she knows I am to be sacrificed, why would she think keeping me under this roof would protect me from the likes of Ezra’s kind?
I wrap my arms around her, regardless of her turned back and stiffened stature,” You raised me on lies, I don’t see how that’s any different.” I retort mindfully disrespecting her wish, walking away from her unmoved body.
I ignore John completely and, boy, is he hurt about it. I never gave him a reason to care for me so I don’t know why his facial expression is showing even a hint of remorse.
Could be the energy in the room.
I hug Von and Gia last and they hold onto my coat as if I’m the last bit of life that they have left.
Gia plants a hard kiss to my cheek, “If he hurts you, I’ll hurt him, you can bet your ass.”
I almost laugh, but I hold it in. For the sake of my welling tears that I have managed to hold back thus far.
She slips away from me, taking Von back with her, who is fighting hard to sniffle away the tears. Theo must be sleeping....it’s sad I didn’t even get to tell my little man goodbye.
This is much to much!
I rush into the darkness of the outdoors without my bag, without Ezra and without anyone else.
I just need some air...some goddamn air.
But as soon as I step out, I spot Xander to the left of the house entrance. Sulking against the siding. His head is dipped low with his arms crossed over his chest to keep him and his temper warm from the true chill.
After all, it’s snowing tonight, and he’s out here without a jacket on.
Deus, this is too much!
To see him this angry, knowing that I’m the cause of such a menacing expression, it adds to the burden.
He glares in my direction and slowly moves towards me. My heart beats faster than it already was before the speech I never prepared, and before I was lied to.
It’s funny how he can make my entire body slip from it’s medium and then cause me to debate my own love for him. I embrace the air that closes us in and before I know it, he’s pulling my face to his.
My hand impulsively touches his chin and when it does he pulls me towards him.
I wrap my arms around his neck, my jaw quivering, “You’re making this harder for me, for us,” I sniffle, “you and I both know we can’t keep doing this.”
Xander gives me a pleading tug, “I could do this forever with you,” He holds me closer, pressing his head to mine, “but you won’t let me.”
My body trembles against his.
This is sick, what I have done.
I have managed to ruin any sort of friendship we ever could have had and merely out of lust.
Simply out of craving.
Because, now, I find it hard to fall for him like I used to when he was a distance away.
When I could stare at him in school and almost get caught by his own eye contact. I’ve lost the way I used to feel when he would simply dress a certain way. It used to drive me wild!
Yet, the feeling is just not there anymore.
He took it all for himself once he climbed in my window that night.
I sigh, and shake away from his grip, feeling the hurt in every syllable, “Let me go, Xander.”
“Saphyre, It’s time to leave.” Ezra’s voice appears behind me.
I jump back and Xander scowls at Ezra.
My cheeks run hot, hoping he wasn’t there the entire time Xander and I were....well saying our goodbye’s.
It seems Von and Gia has stepped out along with him. Of course they would.
It’s been time to go.
Though, even with all the goodbyes and tears, I’m still not ready. “Your belongings are in the car.”
I nod and as I look away, Xander walks the other way.
To where, I don’t know.
It’s too cold and lonely for him to be walking away like that.
Why...what did I say-
“He’ll be fine, Saphyre.” Gia says stepping beside me with her bare arms crossed to trap her own body heat for warmth. “I hope.”
I breathe, a puff of cold air condensates before me, and trail behind Ezra with Von and Gia close at my side. I’m still shocked that Mae let me go so harshly.
If it weren’t for her own guilt of her lies, I’m afraid it wouldn’t have been easy for me to leave any other time.
As I step further and further down the driveway, I debate whether I should stay or go. Even with the knowledge that I have no freedom to choose.
“Are you sure about this, Saphyre?” Von whispers, stopping me in the middle of the driveway, “I mean I don’t know much about much but how are you absolutely sure he won’t kill you?”
Both her and Gia look at me with tentative eyes. It reminds me of the old days when Gia, Kaisha and I would finally all have to separate to go back home from having the best sleep over 3 girls could ever have.
Although, this is nothing like leaving from a sleepover.
I’m leaving my life. My home, my family, my friends.
“I don’t know if I’ll be killed, but leaving with him is much better than any other case scenario,” Von looks away with disgust, “I’ll keep in touch.”
Gia steps in, “No Pinocchio?”
I smile, a low drawn up smile, “No Pinocchio, I promise.”
Von’s green eyes seem to light up when she turns back to me.
“Now I know this is not the time nor the place for this, girls, but,” Gia looks at us, “Leon is super fucking hot.”
Von and I have no choice but to laugh at her extremely crude remark.
I can always count on you to turn the grayest clouds to the color of your pretty blue eyes.
“Really, Gia?” Von asks, placing her hands on her hips. I laugh again allowing them to continue to lead me to the car door that Ezra’s been holding open for quite some time now. He looks at me and then to my friends, with an expression I don’t much see on his face.
I duck into the car and Ezra shuts it rounding to the drivers side. Von and Gia stand outside my window, with tears streaming down their snow-kissed faces. I wave to them with a fake smile, holding my own tears back for them. I can’t let them see me continue to cry. Especially around a guy like Ezra, in a situation like this. The car is warm but as soon as he steps in, it turns as cold as Ice.
“You alright?” He asks pulling away from the driveway, I stare back at Gia and Von who, unsteadily, stand firm in their position.
My head knocks back into my seat as I close my eyes.
This is for you Aster. Everything I’m giving up, is for you.
“No,” I answer, facing forward and wiping my dry tears, “But I will be.”
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