Chapter 34: Close the Book
When his lips meet mine for the first time, a wave of electricity passes through my entire body like a bolt of lightning and all possible rational thoughts leave my mind.
For a second I freeze, terrified that in the end this would lead to Jay pulling away from me yet again. But when I register his lips gently dominating that of my own, softly coaxing me to respond to him, I choose to give into him and begin to kiss him back fervently.
His lips are soft and warm against that of my own, a complete contrast to his usual cold detached self.
He kisses me slowly, passionately, as if desperate to hold onto the moment with every thing within him. He’s fighting me subconsciously at the same time. It’s almost like he’s genuinely afraid that I’d vanish into thin air and abandon him like everyone else does.
My heart begins to pound faster and thump louder at the thought of ever leaving Jay to face the world on his own. I would never do that to him. I try to show him that through kissing him back just as passionately, no longer holding back.
In turn, I feel him smile into the kiss as if understanding the underlining message before he pulls me even closer to him. His simple action causes a rush of tingles to shoot up my spine at having him this close to me.
I pull away briefly, “Jay maybe…” I start, murmuring softly against him, placing my hands on his chest to get his attention, feeling his hard smooth muscles clench and go rigid beneath my fingertips in response to my touch. His heart is beating so fast and his breathing is rapid against that of my own, yet somehow him returning all of what I’m feeling catches me off guard. I trail off in my sentence, forgetting what I wanted to say.
Jay doesn’t wait any longer before his lips return to mine hungrily as if he’d been waiting for this for an eternity. He pushes me forcefully against the wall again as he begins to kiss me with more pressure, more roughly, as I try to match his quickened pace, melting into his arms as he keeps me up.
I run my hands through his soft hair, knotting my fingers there as I involuntary bring him closer, his body heat beginning to entice me, trap me, that it becomes almost suffocating and difficult to breathe.
I pull away from him, needing oxygen before I drown in the essence that is Jay.
He, on the other hand, keeps me firmly in place in his arms. His mouth moves to my jaw before he begins to place soft delicate kisses down my neck, his grip on me tightening.
A cold involuntary shiver runs down my spine as I bring his head up back to me so that I can talk to him properly, “Jay.” I try again, cupping his face in my hands. His eyes resemble a midnight blue, having darkened in the past couple minutes and he has that confused boyish expression on his face that makes him all the more cute, his hair array in a wild mess. It’s almost as if he got lost in his own world back then, forgetting reality completely.
I swallow, trying to regain my breath as he himself breathes rapidly against me, his cool breath hitting my neck, “Aqueela. Drop it.” he whispers from directly in front of me before trying to kiss me again, but I hold his face away, my eyes meeting his, his lips so close to mine that it has me all up in arms, a giddy feeling taking over me.
He already knows what I want to say.
I shake my head to keep from being distracted, “Tell me.” I plead, staring directly into his blue eyes and for a second I wish I could see through them, to see what he’s hiding.
Jay gazes back at me as if sensing that this is me not letting it go, the colour of his eyes reverting back to that usual cobalt blue he always seems to carry. Then in a flash, a scowl is back on his face and he’s pushing himself away from me, removing my hands off his face and releasing his grip on me all together.
I’d broken his trance. He’s come out of it. We both got carried away.
My heartbeat slows, “Jay.” I say sadly, softly, trying to reach out to him but he’s not having it. He purposely places himself just out of my reach. I can only watch him as he runs both his hands down his face, frustrated and just plain…angry. He adverts his eyes as he paces back and forth. He mumbles something inaudibly under his breath before his eyes meet mine again in a dead panned stare. Before I can say anything he’s already heading for the front door. He always just ups and leaves when things get serious and infuriates me. He’s not going to just get away with it this time. I grab hold of his hand, “Jay please.”
My words halt him as he turns around to face me again, his blue eyes having softened as he searches my face to determine what I’m feeling right now. “Aqueela…” he starts softly, affectionately, “I never told you because he wants nothing to do with you.”
I stare at Jay, time slowing, as I come to register what he’s saying. And just like that, my hand holding his drops limply to my side as if he’d stabbed me. My eyes widen as I process it all, but I don’t say anything. I don’t have the words to say anything right now.
Jay sees this, furrowing his eyebrows as he gives me that rare sympathetic look of his, “I would never keep something from you, but in this situation I honestly thought that you’d be better off not knowing.”
I should have stopped asking when he’d told me to, because now I’m hurting. This is exactly what Jay was trying to protect me from, but I was too stubborn to listen. I didn’t trust him. He’s right. I would have been better off had he kept it from me.
My heart feels heavy. It almost feels as if my lungs have caved in and I can’t get any air. “How do you know this?” I manage to ask in one breath.
“I personally got in touch with him, your father. When I told him all about you, from your crazy personality to your beautiful smile…” Jay stops mid-sentence and shakes his head as if diminishing the thought, his words actually complimenting me for once, “He told me, bluntly, that he doesn’t care, that to him you don’t exist. He doesn’t want to know you. Ever.” Jay tells me, being straight forward. I appreciate it. I don’t need him sugar coating any of it. I want the truth, all of it, even if I can’t handle it.
I try to gulp down the pain I’m now feeling and block it out, but this time, this time I can’t. My eyes begin to water as a single traitorous tear escapes from the corner of my right eye. I quickly cover it up and wipe it away with my thumb, but it’s obvious Jay saw it. He, himself, has a pained expression as if he feels what I’m feeling right now, as if he’s hurting with me. For some reason that brings a small smile to my lips, “Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m not worth knowing. Even you said a while back ago that I’ve made your life a living hell. That you’re done with me. You were going to let me go. You were willing to let me leave. If that isn’t proof enough then-”
Jay silences me when he suddenly steps forward and cups the side of my face, shaking his head at me, disagreeing with what I’d just said, “I only said those things because I’m an idiot. You should know that by now. You should know that I’m impulsive, stubborn and hot headed. I never meant it, any of it. Sure, you’ve ruined my jackets, forced me to be your friend, made me waste my money on numerous stupid occasions, moved in, let other people move in and ruined my house…but the way I see it, the way I really see it, is just Aqueela being Aqueela. If you never did all those things, then I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know you and knowing you…knowing you is definitely worth while, despite the crap you bring on the side lines and all the collateral damage you cause. You’re father is a bigger idiot than me, because you’re worth it all Aqueela. You’re priceless.”
No one’s ever said that to me before.
“I never told you because I didn’t want to see you looking at me in the way you’re looking at me now. I kept it from you because I didn’t want to see you hurt.” he pauses thoughtfully before adding, “I just don’t like it.” Jay confesses, genuine and sincere in his words.
I should have never doubted him. He always has my best interests at heart.
I want to stay and accept what Jay’s saying, but I can’t, not now, not like this. There’s too many emotions bubbling within me and right now I have no control. I don’t want to be reckless. I gently take Jay’s hand off my face and again, he’s confused by my actions, “I can’t deal with all of this right now.” I reply back, willing him to understand the space I need in this moment in time.
Jay nods, always understanding where I’m coming from, “If anyone understands the need for space, it’s me. Take your time, just don’t do anything stupid.” Jay warns before he exits out the house, leaving me alone, trapped in my own thoughts, my own emotions. But it’s what I need. I need to accept all of this and overcome it.
“Remind me why I’m here again.” Grey retorts from beside me as we stand before the race track.
“You’re going to teach me to race. I want to feel the rush.” I admit, reminding him of what I’d asked earlier over the phone. To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting him to show up.
“You know Aqueela, I really don’t like you. I’ve made that explicitly clear on numerous occasions. What makes you think I’m going to help you sabotage the one thing I love most in this world?” Grey asks, frowning.
I shrug, “You showed up. That’s enough for me.”
If street racing healed Jay, maybe it can heal me too.
Grey sighs before motioning to his black GT, “Like I’m letting you of all people touch that, wreck that.” He drops the scowl before continuing, “Listen Lawson, I know why you’re really here.”
I raise an eyebrow, “How could you possibly-”
“Your father.” I stop talking, stunned, caught off guard. He’s certainly got my attention. Grey moves back and sits on the bonnet of his car like a true badass, “Racing won’t take away your problems. It can’t be your scape goat. It will be nothing but a distraction and in the end, you’ll still be hurting.”
“Speaking from experience?” I question, still wondering how he knew.
“So what if I am?” he challenges, making me fall short with my next question I had prepared when he denied it. But he didn’t deny it. “Did Jay ever tell you how we met?” I shake my head in response. “Figures. He will take a secret to the grave if he has to. It isn’t the best of best stories. I’m not going into details here, especially not with someone I despise, but a couple years back, I went through something similar to what you’re now going through.”
“How do you know about this? I trusted Jay to keep this confidential.” I say, feeling defensive seeing as Jay had betrayed my trust yet again by telling Grey something personal.
“And he did. But it’s difficult to trace someone down without friends who know contacts, wouldn’t you agree?” Grey asks me rather harshly as if I’m stupid.
Realization strikes, my eyes widening, “You helped Jay find him?” I state more than ask. On impulse I say the first thing I’m thinking, “Thank you.”
Grey furrows his eyebrows, puzzled, “Don’t thank me. I’m the one who told Jay to stop looking, but he was adamant in finding your father for you. I wanted to discourage him from this wild goose chase. I knew this would happen eventually. The same thing happened with me. I was right. Jay should’ve stopped looking when he had the chance.”
“Why would you say that?” I query, confused as to what it is he’s trying to imply.
“Isn’t it obvious? Look at you, you’re a mess. Finding your father did nothing but put you in a worse off position.” Grey points out and he’s right. He’s so right and he knows it. “You want to know what’s the worst past of this whole scenario, Lawson?”
“What?” I play into his question.
Grey’s dark eyes narrow in on me and for once I actually feel intimidated by him. I stiffen. “It’s just the beginning.”
I pull a face at him “What are you saying Grey? You’re speaking in riddles and it’s jumbling my brain, well what’s left of it anyway.”
He goes onto explain, “Now that you know where he is, you’ll never be done with him until you actually talk to him face to face. You’ll keep searching for him and you’ll follow him into the grave if you have to. You will only stop once you get to see him, until he gives an explanation for leaving you, but he never will.”
How would he know?
”The temptation of seeing him has now been awoken and it’s all because Jay didn’t stop when I told him to. Jay’s going to end up losing you because of all of this. I can see that perfectly now.” Grey concludes with spiteful conviction that his tone and words unnerve me to the bone.
Grey’s starting to tick me off, “No he won’t. I would never leave Jay.” I protest, thoroughly pissed off.
“You say that now, but there will come a day when desperation overtakes logic. Your dad is your blood and we all know how far each and everyone of us will go for our own blood. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow, hell it might not be any time soon, but one day you’ll go after you father at all costs. I did. In the end, sacrifices are made. In the end, people like us, we lose. Don’t make Jay end up being another sacrifice, he’s been one one too many times.” Grey explains, except he’s really not explaining at all. He’s just confusing me and warning me and threatening me all at the same time.
However, I understand partially. From where I’m standing, Grey is just looking out for his friend.
“I won’t leave Jay, you idiot.” I curse at him, annoyed at his bizarre theories and assumptions. “See Grey, you and me are different. Maybe you were willing to leave everyone you care about at some point in time to see which ever relative of yours you keep referring to, but I’m not. I will stay with Jay, always. For all I care, my father can go to hell.” I hiss, bitter inside. I’m not bitter with Grey, it’s my father.
Of course I don’t mean the last part. It’s just Grey. He knows how to get a reaction out of me and it pisses me off that he can rattle my temper so quickly.
What irks me is that he could be right. I want to see my father, but at what expense, at what sacrifice? I shouldn’t even care. He hasn’t seemed to care about me all this time. He’s probably successful now and he doesn’t need to hold onto people that will only hold him back, people being me, his daughter.
But I can’t help but crave for my father’s love. Is that so wrong?
“Even now while you’re saying that, you’re thinking of where your father is, what he’s doing and why he hasn’t given you a second thought in the last couple years even when you needed him most.” Grey hits the nail on the head. He’s spot on. He clearly knows what he’s talking about. “Don’t bother hiding it, I know I’m right. I’ve been exactly where you are. Wake up Aqueela. The man doesn’t want to know you. Accept it, get over it and move on.”
“Easier said than done Grey!” I scoff irritably, now knowing that he’s figured me out. I care about Jay and everyone else, but I also want to see my father. I need to see him. Even if it’s just once.
If I could just move on, I would.
For a second I see something in his eyes, something soft and innocent, so ‘unGrey’ like, but it vanishes in a second when he realizes I see through him, through this cocky front of his, “You were hurt too, weren’t you?” I whisper, only seeing it now.
He doesn’t try hide it. Instead he admits to it. “I was hurt more when I found the person I was looking for, that being my own father. To see someone you care about look you in the eye like you’re a stranger, to denounce you as his son because of one mistake you keep trying to undo…it’s a road you can’t come back from.” he opens up a little. “I wish I never went after him.”
“I didn’t know. I’m sorry.” I say softly, feeling for him for once, knowing that my words hold no comfort, but nevertheless making the attempt.
Grey refuses to acknowledge my condolences. It’s almost as if he’s the one made of stone here, not me.
“There comes a time in life when you need to stop holding on and just let go. Lawson, you need to give up on your father. All he’ll do, if you do find him, is break you more. Wake up before you lose Jay and everyone else like I did by going after someone who will never care. Learn from my mistake and just give it a rest. Close the book before you open it to a point where you can’t stop reading, where you can’t put the book down.” Grey comments fiercely, speaking strongly from his point of view on the matter, so strongly that it petrifies me in another sense altogether.
It makes me question what the hell happened to him, but clearly he isn’t willing to divulge in all that and I respect his wishes.
“You might find your father Aqueela, but you’ll never find your dad. You’re looking for someone who just doesn’t exist, not any more.” he jumps off the bonnet of his car and takes a step closer to me, “So for once, just this once, take me up on my advice and forget about your father for good. Stop looking for him, stop wondering about him, because in the end… it will end cost you. Nothing ever comes without a price. You don’t need him and you never will. Make peace about that now. So stop!” he breathes fiercely close to me, “Just stop.” he ends in a mere whisper before adding. “Oh and Aqueela?”
“Mhmm?” I mumble, still in deep thought.
“Call me sometime when you’re really up to race.”
That’s all I hear before his door slams shut and he’s speeding off into the distance to who knows where. I never realized he had his own tragic past. I guess in a sense, we all do. In a way, I kind of feel closer to Grey now, despite the fact that he’s only doing this for Jay’s sake, not mine.
Grey’s come a long way, perhaps I should just close the book on my father…but how can I?
How can you be expected to give up on your own flesh and blood?
Then again, Grey’s right.
If he were still my dad, he’d be here with me.
But he’s not.
I sit against the tombstone, resting my head in my hands as I reminisce back to the day when she was still alive. I miss her, god I miss her so much. I try to not think of her often, but would she really have wanted that? To be just forgotten? It makes me no better than my father.
I’m so lost in my thoughts that I barely notice the other person appearing and taking a seat beside me, but I already know who it is by the smell of his addictive cologne.
“Hi.” I reply back quietly, lifting my face from my hands to face him. “How’d you know I’d be here?”
“I asked Bella. She said you’d be here. You’ve been out here for hours according to Grey. He saw you last.” he explains, not pressing me for any details on the discussion between Grey and I, which I appreciate. What was said between Grey and I will stay between the two of us.
Bells is the only one that knows I come here when I’ve hit the lowest of my lows.
“She say anything?” I ask, referring to Bell, shifting in my position as I look up at the grey sky above. It’s bound to rain soon.
“Don’t worry. She didn’t spill anything I don’t know already.” he assures me, not that I needed him to. “She’s worried though, as am I.” he admits to his concern for me, something he rarely does. Usually his pride wins him over.
I nod, sucking in a deep breath before facing him, my eyes meeting his electric blue ones in a piercing gaze, “It hurts Jay.” I confess to him, feeling more weak and vulnerable than ever before.
His eyes soften as he wraps his arm nearest to me around me before drawing me close to his side in order to comfort me. I snuggle up beside him, feeling more at ease with him here with me. Grey is wrong. I will never leave Jay. If anything, it might be the other way round.
“I’m sorry. This is my fault.” Jay breathes against the side of my head as I lean my head on his shoulder. He sounds remorseful, guilty. I don’t want him to feel like it’s all on him, because it isn’t. He was only doing what I’d asked. He did this as a favour to me because he cares.
“It’s not your fault that my father is a complete jackass.” I say, tempted to ask more about Grey’s story but not succumbing to it. But it’s not really his place to tell. I will leave it be.
“Yet you still want to talk to him, don’t you?” Jay asks softly as if worried and concerned that I would just up and leave. He’s hesitant and that puts me on edge. He thinks I’ll abandon him like Grey said I would.
“I do.” I admit truthfully, “But I think I’m going to close that chapter of the book for now and skip ahead to the good parts.” I grin up at him warmly, longingly.
“You sure?” he asks affectionately, showing that he truly cares. It makes me think back to the kiss we shared earlier on, that intimate moment between us. I blush a little at the thought, tracing a finger over my lips. Jay definitely sees it as he clears his throat awkwardly, adverting his eyes from mine for a split second, neither of us bringing it up which makes me question where we stand.
“One hundred percent.” I finally answer without any doubts.
My answer brings a small smile to his face. He’s happy, although I know he won’t admit it. He lets out a relieved breath as if he’d been fearfully holding it in anticipation of my answer, as if he’d expected me to say no.
“So where to from here, Aqueela Lawson?” he asks, playfully nudging me in my side, changing the subject.
I shrug restlessly, “You lead, I’ll follow.”