Chapter Thirty Five
I couldn’t sleep.
In less then twenty four hours, I would be touching ground in Illyria. My bags were packed and ready. My gps was set for course. Everything was settled for the holidays.
I felt completely terrified. The past few days, I had racked my brain for any excuse not to go. But I came up empty. Trying to stay brave and face my feelings was tiresome.
I was a runner. I had come accept that part of myself. When things were tough, I ran because it was easier. That’s just who I was, but even I knew this was one issue I couldn’t run from.
“Antoine?” I whispered in the darkness of our room. After awhile, I heard nothing more than his loud snore. He was out like a light.
Staring at my clock, it read that it was well past three o’clock in the morning. Groaning, I sat up and turned on my bedside lamp. I looked around our room, I felt terrified.
I got up and walked over to my closet. Slowly, I opened the door and found Chloe snuggled up in the corner like a puppy. I found myself smiling down at her.
Then I turned to a shelf in the closet. In a small black box, tucked away behind sheets, was something I had sworn I would never venture into again. I opened it up and looked inside then quickly closed it.
I sighed in frustration and looked at it again. Maybe it wasn’t the right move. Maybe I should have left that box alone. But I didn’t see many options for myself.
So I placed it in my luggage and hoped for the best.
“Look what the cat dragged in!” Sawyer yelled from the driveway, as I pulled up. From beside him, mom smacked his head.
I chuckled and clambered out of the car. Sawyer quickly helped me grab my luggage as mom wrapped me up in a hug. I smiled, at ease and held her close.
“I’m so glad you’re home. I missed you Vivi.” she said before kissing my forehead and untangling herself from me.
“I’m glad you’re here.” I replied with a smile. “How’s the U.S treating you?” I joked.
“I missed home, but Melbourne was beautiful.” she admitted, “Maybe after you kids head off to college, I’ll think about a residency over there.” she mused.
“If you do, maybe taking Sawyer would be a great idea. He loves the tropics.” I suggested as Sawyer passed us with my luggage in towe. He stopped short and tripped, sending him face first into the driveway.
“W-what, no!” he cried out, as he dusted himself off.
“Enough kids,” mom reprimanded us, “Lets get Vivi unpacked and settled. It’s freezing out here.” Mom suggested a cold gust of wind hit us. No one objected and we quickly shuffled inside.
Sawyer carried my bags to my room and left, leaving the hard labor to mom and I. We didn’t mind much, it gave us time to ourselves.
“How’s school going? How are your friends?” she asked, rearranging my clothes neatly on my bed.
“Still complete loons.” I scoffed, as the last time my mother had seen them we were all fighting for our lives. “School is pretty much lackluster. I just finished my winter final with a new design for a winter wonderland look.”
“I don’t say it often sweetie,” Mom smiled warmly, “but I am incredibly proud of you.”
“Thanks mom, I’m proud of you too.” I smiled, wrapping an arm around her.
“For what?” she furrowed her brows in confusion.
“For giving birth to a legend…I’m talking about me just so we’re clear.”
Mom rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Your ignorance was an inherited result from your father. Speaking of which…are you sure you’re okay with your father bringing his fiancee?” she asked me carefully.
“Yeah,” I nodded. “it’s not a problem.”
In truth, it wasn’t. I had bigger problems to tackle. With Ty and Blake, my daddy issues just paled in comparison. Maybe it was due to the fact, that I couldn’t choose who my dad loved. He had that part figured out.
My problem, was tackling my own feelings. It was figuring out who I loved and it baffled me that I was comfortable enough to use that word. Because I knew I loved them, but in what way did I love them?
Was Chloe right? Did I love Blake only out of guilt? Did my feelings for him only intensify because somewhere in my twisted mind, I wanted to somehow become a constellation prize for a family he didn’t have?
Or did I love him because there was something there. Something even I couldn’t put into words. Was that love? An indescribable desire to have more of a person no matter the circumstances?
Was Dom right? Did I love Ty in a brotherly way? Was he my replacement when Sawyer was away? Did I delude myself into thinking that I loved him because he was a place holder?
Or did I love him because I knew him. Because he was easily the person for me? He became my protector and my best friend. He was picture perfect and everything any girl could ask of a man.
“Vivian sweetie, is there something wrong?” Mom’s voice broke through my reverie. My gaze immediately snapped to her worrisome eyes.
“No.” I said quickly, shaking my head. “Not completely….sort of…maybe….I-I mean what would you qualify as wrong?”
“Is it wrong to love two different people at the same time? Is it wrong to love them both, even if they’re out of reach?” I rambled, chuckling nervously.
“Is this a fangirl crush? It sounds like it.” Mom mused.
“No! I’m talking about Ty and Blake!” I blurted out. Mom’s eyes widened in shock as she waved at me. I furrowed my brows in confusion before I realized she wasn’t waving at me….she was waving to someone else.
“Hello Sophia.” Mom smiled, uneasily. My cheeks drained of any color and my heart stopped, I’m sure of it.
I turned and sure enough she was at my doorway. Much to my surprise, she was smiling at both of us. She offered my mother a dimpled smile, the perfect image of beauty.
“Hello Ms.King,” she greeted my mother before her eyes landed on me, “Welcome home Vivian.” she said with a knowing smile.
“Won’t you look at that-” Mom chuckled nervously, “I think it’s time to feed your brother! I’ll just leave you two girls to catch up.”
“Mom wait!” I cried out desperately but my pleas fell to deaf ears as mom bolted. I faintly heard her say that this was more cringe worthy than her divorce.
“So you love my brother-“
“You loved mine first!” I scoffed, immaturely.
“I knew it! I saw it coming, oh my god I’m so good!” she laughed happily. I stared at her flatly, waiting for her to stop. “Although the whole Blake angle, totally caught me off guard?” she admitted.
“Oh god, when will the toture end!” I groaned, rubbing my temples to ease my nerves. “I didn’t mean for you-or any one for that matter-to find out!”
“Well you suck at keeping secrets, Vivian.” Sophia stated bluntly. “Do you remember what you said to me when I was stuck on your brother?” she raised her eyebrow.
I frowned and racked my brain for any recollection. But all that came to mind was telling her not to vomit on me if we shared the same bed. And if she’s referring to that, then I’m screwed in the advice area. Let’s be honest, my advice is as lethal as bath salts in 2012.
“Nothing comes to mind.” I mumbled, “But at this point I’m willing to seek guidance from a homeless man named Chow meow with a lazy eye.” Sophia grimaced and back away cautiously as if weary she might catch my insanity.
Can’t say I blame her.
“You told me to talk to him. It’s not an award winning piece of advise but it is effective. So talk to my brother and talk to Blake. Just don’t do it drunk…or together. Something tells me telling them together could prove to be disastrous.” she said.
“See, I was hoping talking wouldn’t be part of the deal. You know, since i’m chicken shit and rather live in silent torture. Who’s to say Ty and Blake aren’t dating behind our backs. I mean, our social group is known for lying.” I rambled, finally breaking mentally.
“Correction—you and Sawyer are known for lying. The rest of us stay oblivious to it all.” Soph pointed out, “You need to talk to them Vivian. Rip off that damn band aid and just do it!”
I sighed, and ran my fingers through my hair. If I told them both, then things would change forever…would it be for the better or not? There was so many unanswered questions and I knew I couldn’t wait around for any answers.
“You’re right.” I mumbled, begrudgingly.
“Of course I am.” She smirked, arrogantly.
“I see my brother has rubbed off on you.” I stated flatly.
“Rubbing was involved, yes.” She wiggled her eyebrows, suggestively. I gagged and pointed towards my door.
“Please make an exit, so that I may wash myself in holy water!” I cried out. Sophia threw her head back and laughed as she left me to my own devices.
I stared at the building in front of me. All I had to do was go in. It was simple….so simple a caveman could do it. I sighed and realized I was missing my winter gloves. Seeing it as a perfect opportunity to postpone my little lunch meet, I turned to leave. He would understand, I mean I needed my gloves for the cold weather.
As I turned to leave however, I heard the voice of Sophia scolding me to turn back. I scoffed and continued walking, because not even Sophia could make me feel guilty….however Ty and Blake’s face could and that’s who I saw as I continued on home.
Groaning, I turned back and walked into Bermuda Burgers. Then I saw him, sitting at a booth in the corner all by himself. Looking at him, it was a wonder to me why it took me so long to realize why I had fallen for him. Why did I ignore all the signs?
He looked so content, sitting there as he pulled out his phone. Then before I could form another thought, my phone buzzed in my pocket.
Are you going to just stand there and stare at me all day?
I laughed lightly and picked up my gaze and met his. My breath completely caught as I lost myself in the wonderment that was-