Chapter Eleven - Kyla
I stayed hidden for a week. Cut off from the world in a self imposed dead zone. I didn’t leave the room until I checked out. The desk clerk eyed me critically, almost down her nose at me and I couldn’t place why, infact over the week I had noticed a change in almost all of the staff members I had come across. I wheeled my suitcase from the foyer. Whatever I had done, I didn’t have time to work it all out. My path was clear cut. I had laid my heart on the line and it had been broken, but Dan and I had never said the words, at least not until after the truth came spilling out. I would get over this, and Daniel and I would work together, like we always had.
But that was where it had to end. We would never have worked as a couple, even without all the lies.
I stepped out on to the sidewalk and hailed a cab. I gave the driver my address and turned my phone on. I had expected a few messages, after all I had been in away for a week. Away from everything including a very demanding business, but when my phones notifications caused it to vibrate for five minutes straight I knew I’d missed something big.
I dialled Tom’s number, and he answered almost instantly.
“Ms Hallister?” He said, his voice was worried. “You’re okay?”
“Of course I am. Has something happened? My phone is going crazy.” I replied.
“Where have you been?”
“I took a break. I turned all my devices off and rested.” and it had been wonderful, even if Dan and those few days in London had never been far from my mind.
“You mean you’ve not seen it?”
“You’ve got a delivery. You should come into the office.”
I looked out the cab’s window, we were still in the city, and only a few minutes away from the office. “I’ll be there soon Tom.” I replied before hitting call end.
I gave the driver the new address and he took the next left. When the cab pulled up outside Kystars building I sighed. It had been almost two weeks since I’d been in the office. I’d really let this plan takeover my life. It had failed epically and I had to accept that.
I wheeled my suitcase behind me, into the office. The doorman tipped his hat and opened the door. I was in the elevator, riding to the top floor when I noticed the eyes of the other staff members inside the small cell like room with me. They were all watching me, judging me. I breathed out a sigh of relief when they all spilled out onto the media level of the building, leaving me to compose myself. I hadn’t seen Dan since London, since the day after we had… If he was here, I needed to be prepared. The doors opened and to my surprise Tom stood there waiting.
“Have you been waiting for me since I called?”
“No, someone in media let me know you were here.” He replied.
“Oh.” I looked around, scoping the top floor for others. Tom took my suitcase and gestured for me to follow him so I did.
“He’s not here.” He said finally. “He’s taken an extended leave of absence.”
My chest hurt, he was gone? I swallowed the ball of hard emotion in my throat and opened my mouth to ask the question I was scared to know the answer too.
“For how long?”
“He didn’t give a return date Ms Hallister. I believe he wants to sell out his share of the business.”
Tom’s words were like a punch to the gut. I had to stop walking, I placed my hand on the wall of the corridor for support. I had run away, I had told him I couldn’t work with him anymore in the heat of the moment, and now he was gone. I had made my bed, I was going to have to lie in it. But not now, not today. I couldn’t face work.
“Tom. I need to go home, I can’t be here.” My voice was tight, I was holding onto composure by a thread.
Tom stopped he looked back at me nodded. “You need to see something first. Please.”
He walked back to me and looped his arm through mine. “I’ll have someone take you home after, I promise.”
I nodded, walking with him the remainder of the corridor. We stepped into his office and I smiled. Kystar was home. This business was home, I closed my eyes and remembered various moments throughout it’s decade long history and in those moments, Daniel threaded through like stitching keeping the whole thing together. I opened my eyes and looked at my office to the left, my eyes widened, adjusting to what I was seeing. I walked over to the glass doors and placed my hand against the coolness. THere was no empty space, I couldn’t even see my desk, the entire room was filled floor to ceiling with red, pink and silver helium heart shaped balloons. I opened the door and touched them, smiling as I took a pink one in my fingers. I looked down at the floor, various balloons were looking semi deflated, as if they’d been there for days.
I looked out the door at Tom and shook my head as tears fell down my face.
Tom grimaced and walked to my office door, he opened it. “There’s something else I need to show you.”
I shook my head, there couldn’t be anything else. I couldn’t stand it. Daniel had made London happen, he had been there when things fell apart with Jeff and he had been a gentleman in every way when we had taken that step… I had run because of a lie, while yes it hurt… discovering he knew about Jeff’s infidelity, I hadn’t even heard him out.
He had said he loved me, and I’d told him he didn’t.
But my office was filled with balloons, and I knew for a fact Daniel Jackson didn’t chase women, and he certainly didn’t do over the top romantic gestures. Except he had.
“I can’t.” I whispered, furiously wiping the tears from my cheeks.
“You have too.” He pleaded.
He led me from the office and over to his desk, he sat me down and opened his laptop. He typed something, then a youtube link popped up on the screen.
“Kystar Press Conference - MediaMania” I said slowly. “What is this?”
“Just watch.” Tom said slowly.
The meeting room was full of various media agencies. They were all poised for a breaking story, but I wasn’t sure why. The video was dated almost a week ago. I frowned and turned to look at Tom who pointed back at the screen. I returned my gaze just in time to see Daniel walk onto the stage. He stood behind the podium and took a deep breath. My heart fluttered, he was nervous, I could see it in his face.
“I imagine you’re all wondering why I called a press conference. Truth is, I need to make an announcement.” He said finally, his voice was calm and collected. He smiled and looked around the room. “I am in love with Kyla Hallister.”
The cameras in the room sprung to life, taking picture upon picture of the man who had just confessed to the world that he loved me. My heart thudded hard against my chest, He smiled and looked to his left before opening his mouth again.
“This past week we were in London on business and I made a terrible call. I messed things up and I need to make it right. So I apologise if I have pulled you all out here under false pretences, but the only woman I have ever truly been in love with won’t speak to me and I’m sure we can all agree. Love makes you do crazy things.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks and onto the front of my black cardigan. I had hurt him by running, it had been selfish to assume that I was the only one hurting. I wanted to close the screen, unable to handle anymore of this truth, but I forced myself to keep watching, because my heart needed to know the truth. “Any questions?”
He chose a man in blue to answer the first question.
“Rumor has it you’re a playboy. How do you respond to that?”
He smirked, look down and then shook his head.
“I respond by saying, Once upon a time maybe that title might have been close to the truth. But it’s not who I am now. I’m standing here telling you all how mushy I feel on the inside.” He grinned his playful grin and it sent a shiver up my spine. “I’m not sure that’s a very playboy thing to do.”
“So you think you can just run a press conference and say you love someone and they forgive you?” A almost amused voice said from the back of the room “You really are new at this aren’t you.
“To answer your first question. No and I know that Kyla Hallister is a fiercely stubborn woman who probably won’t care to speak to me ever again.” He stopped speaking, his voice cracked slightly at the end of his sentence. “But I have to try. I have to do everything I can to let her know just how sorry I am… and just how much I love her. To answer your second question. Yes, I am new at this.”
Everyone in the conference laughed “I think we have time for one more question.” He smiled pointing to someone at the front.
“Mr Jackson, can I ask… How do you know it’s love?”
Daniel didn’t answer for almost a minute. His eyes glazed over and he smiled before looking down at the question asker.
“Because the very thought of never seeing her again, of never hearing her voice or holding her hand or watching her laugh… The thought of her being void from my life is a life I can’t imagine living. I didn’t realise it, because I was scared of seeing what was right in front of me, but it’s always been that way. My life without her is no life at all.”
Nausea washed over me. Our conversation, the one we’d had before that fateful night, ran through my mind. He hadn’t been saying he loved me just to stop me leaving, he truly had meant it. I closed my eyes to stem the flow of tears. I’d only survived the week of darkness, the week post Daniel, because my mind had been overrun by thoughts of him. I had never really let go. I hadn’t been able to think of him not being around, I hadn’t been able to erase him.
I looked up at his empty office and choked on raw emotion.
He wanted to leave the company, sell his share… I had sent him away, and he had listened…. Because he loved me enough to respect my wishes.
“I’ve made a terrible mistake.” I sobbed. Closing the the laptop screen down.
“Ms Hallister, it isn’t too late to fix it.” Tom offered.
I nodded, he was right. I’d never been one to give up easily, and now was the time to prove it.
“That ride home you promised.” I said standing up. “Can you have them take me by Daniels apartment first?”
Tom grinned and nodded before picking up his office phone.
I sat in the back seat of a one of the company cars, my driver was one of the people who had been in the elevator earlier. He didn’t say anything, although I could tell he was curious. I wasn’t used to people knowing my personal business, and I’d always assumed I liked keeping that part of myself private because it was something to strive for. But now I wondered if like Daniel I had just been sheltering myself from the emotions of real love, I’d kept my private life, almost like a business.
The car pulled up outside Daniels building. I thanked the driver, who said he’d wait until I returned. I left my suitcase in the car, although I was hopeful that I would only need to come back down to retrieve it.
With hope in my heart I rode the elevator up to Daniel’s floor. I smiled and knocked on the door. I had missed his face, the way he smiled at me. His lips, his eyes, everything. I couldn’t breath properly, in anticipation of seeing him.
Except the door never opened.
“Daniel. If you’re in there and you can hear me, I love you too.”
My voice shook as I spoke, but still the door remained closed. Tears filled my eyes and washed down my cheeks for the umpteenth time today. I didn’t know where to begin to fix this, I didn’t know where to go or who to talk to.
I finally knew what true love felt like, but along with it came heartbreak. I hadn’t just lost my business partner, I had lost my best friend and lover.
Daniel had been right in the press conference, I was stubborn… but this time it had cost me everything.