Chapter Nine - Kyla
I threw my things into my suitcase without much thought. I had to get out of here I had to get some space. I knew if Daniel returned before I could leave I’d let myself get sucked into his vortex, my mind and heart would allow themselves to be hypnotized by his words.
But it wouldn’t erase the hurt and it would erase the lying. His words ran through my head.
I don’t make a habit of lying Kyla.
Us being here, this entire situation was the result of a big huge lie. I had been such a dunce to believe him. Now I was going to pay the price.
I yanked my case off the bed and ran out of the room and back down to Harry who was still waiting by his car like I had asked.
“Are you sure you don’t want to wait for Mr Jackson?”
“Very.” I replied. “Please, take me to the airport.”
Harry nodded and took my case from me, wheeling it to the trunk of the car. I opened the car door and slipped inside. I looked at the empty space beside me and frowned.
Harry took me to the airport, I booked the first ticket back and left London, Daniel and my now broken heart behind.
I didn’t go home, and I’m not sure why. There were little memories of both Daniel and Jeff there, in fact my home, as I had always wanted it to be was a place of solace and sanctuary. But I couldn’t chance facing either of them. Jeff had already wasted so much of my time, he didn’t deserve more. But Daniel, well my anger for Daniel was deep seated, seeing him would bring all my feelings to the surface, I couldn’t trust that I would think with a clear head.
“Ms Hallister, your room is ready. May I send up a bottle of wine once you’re settled?” the woman behind the counter asked softly.
I frowned, was I that transparent? Was it that obvious I was on edge?
“Yes.” I replied. “That would be lovely. White please.”
“Not a problem. Here’s your key. I’ll have a bell boy follow you up with your things.”
I nodded and took the golden coloured keycard that said Room 400 in bold black font. I thumbed over it and took a deep breath.
The bell boy followed me into the elevator with my suitcase, and we rode in silence to the fifth floor. Once we were at my room I unlocked the door and stepped inside. The young male placed my suitcase on the black leather futon and smiled. I opened my wallet and pulled out a ten dollar note, placing it in his hand.
“Thank you.” I smiled.
He nodded and stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Not five minutes had passed before there was a knock at the door. I opened it and a room service attendant pushed a trolley with wine and light refreshments into the room.
“Courtesy of the hotel miss. We’re honestly big fans of your company. You did put the hotel on the map after all by facilitating the marketing for the hotel when it first opened.”
I nodded. I remembered, the hotels advertisment campaign had been our first project seven years before hand. Daniel and I had been excited young entrepreneurs, completely out of our depth, but somehow we had pulled it off.
“My manager insists that you enjoy this on us, and anything else you might require during your stay.”
“That isn’t necessary.” I smiled.
“Even so, it’s what the manager has requested.” SHe smiled. “Is there anything else I can get you?”
A new heart? One that hadn’t been stomped on maybe. I shook my head and picked up the bottle of wine. “After the week I’ve had, this is more than enough. Thank you.”
I gave her a generous tip. If I was going to be dining free then the staff would reap the benefits in the form of tips. She left and I popped the cork. I stared at the bottle for a while, before closing my eyes and remembering a time long forgotten.
My heart raced. Daniel Jackson was here and he was going to play spin the bottle too. I had crushed on him from the moment I had moved schools almost a year before hand, but then so did every other girl, there was no way I had a look in. At least not until tonight, I was going to change things, make a move show him that I could give him something no other girl could.
I sat down, opposite Daniel. Suddenly acutely aware that If the bottle landed on me, we’d have to do a dare, together. A girl next to me leaned in and giggled. “Daniel is Hot isn’t he… with a capital H.”
I licked my lips, she wasn’t wrong, but that wasn’t why I liked him. Anyone with eyes could see the guy was blessed by his very famous genetics.
No I liked him because when I had first moved into the neighbourhood we had run into one another in the middle of the mall. Literally run into one another. My bags of clothes and various items I had purchased for starting at the new school flew in all directions.
He could have stood up and told me to watch where I was going. But he didn’t. He held his hand out and helped me up before gathering my things and handing them to me.
“You okay?” He had smiled, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Sorry I didn’t see you.”
“It’s my fault, I wasn’t paying attention.” I had replied.
“Well that makes two of us. I’m Daniel. You’re new around her right?”
“Kyla.” I said slowly. “And yeah, how’d you know?”
“Lucky guess.” He grinned.
Before I could say anything though, and before Daniel could say anything else a tall, blond bombshell wearing more makeup than clothing snaked are arm through his.
“Ugh, Daniel can we like go.” She said, complete with her valley accent “My parents are away remember.”
Daniel’s back had straightened, he stopped looking at me and started looking through me. A dopey grin pressed upon his face and he shrugged.
“Seeya new girl.” He mumbled before leaving with the airhead.
I watched him as he walked away, but I couldn’t help but feel he had shown me a side of himself he didn’t usually let out. When I started at the school, he seemed to have forgotten me and the moment in the mall, but I knew that with time, we’d be able to finish what could have been.
A girl in the year ahead of me skipped into the room with an empty vodka bottle breaking my memory of the first time I’d ever laid eyes on Daniel Jackson. She grinned and sat down next to Daniel whispering something in his ear.
That was the thing about Daniel Jackson, he had the attention of all the girls in school, even as a sophomore. The game started, and Daniel was first. He looked around the circle and smiled, his eyes stopped on me for split second and I felt my legs turn to jelly. He had noticed me, even if it was only for a second.
He leaned forward, placing his fingers on the empty bottle the girl had brought in and spun it. I watched it moved like a spinning top around and around until slowly it drew to a stop, pointing directly at me.
“Kyla.” He drawled sounding less than impressed.
I frowned, was there something wrong with me?
“Problem?” I enquired.
“All these pretty and willing girls and I land on the one who quite possibly wants to kill me.”
I felt my face scrunch up, had I been that closed off? Sure I had always put up guards, especially after I had moved schools, but Daniel and I had barely spoken after that day in the mall.
“Don’t flatter yourself.” I shot back. “I don’t think of you enough for that.”
Daniel rolled his eyes and glanced at the instigator of the game. “What’s my punishment.”
The girl who had instigated the game folded her arms across her ample chest. She pressed a finger to her chin and tapped a few times. Her friend either side leaned in and whispered before she laughed and nodded.
“Seven minutes in heaven.” She grinned, turning her focus on to me. I knew I looked aghast, but it wasn’t because I was going to have to kiss Daniel. A kiss I could deal with, a kiss I could do.
What I couldn’t do was hide in a dark closet with the boy I was crushing on, and make out with him. I’m not a prude or anything, and I had kissed boys before, but this was different.
Reluctantly I stood up. All things aside, I wasn’t going to back out of a dare. Daniel slowly stood up as well, he was closer to the closet that I was, so opened it and ushered me in.
“After you.” He smiled.
I grunted in reply, the whole situation was suddenly incredibly uncomfortable. Sure I wanted something to happen between Daniel and I, but not like this. He closed the door after he walked inside and sat down on the floor.
“Why would you think I want to kill you.” I muttered sitting down.
“I don’t.” The dim light under the doorway was enough for me to make out the shape of his body as he shrugged. “But you don’t like me much.”
“Is that so?” I mumbled.
“Either that.” He paused. “Or you like me a whole lot.”
“Your first assumption was right.” I lied. Guys like Daniel fed off of the crushes of girls like me. I wasn’t going to let him in on how into him I was. Not in here anyway.
“Well, the feelings mutual then.” He growled. “Even still, we should probably make good on this dare.”
I won’t lie, it hurt as he admitted he disliked me but my pride took over.
“No way.” I replied.
“Breaking spin the bottle rules.” He clicked his tongue. “You shouldn’t play if you aren’t prepared to follow through.”
“I would rather swallow swords than put my mouth anywhere near yours.”
“Why don’t I believe you.” Daniel replied softly. His body shifted, he moved closer toward me, closing the distance between us. “Why do I think that kissing me is exactly what you want.”
I almost sighed as his face rest in front of mine, he had me right where he wanted me. On the brink of admitting he was right so he could make fun of me. I lifted my hand and brought it against his cheek. Hard. He pulled back and rubbed the apple of his cheek.
“You don’t believe me because you’re an egotistical moron who thinks everyone wants him. But news flash Daniel Jackson. You’re just like everyone else. Scared of being disliked.” I had once seen a flash of hope in the eyes of Daniel Jackson, but it had been fleeting. He wasn’t going to grow up any time soon, and I wasn’t going to waste my time waiting. I stood up and walked out of the closet, one of the girls stood up and called out “Hey, you’ve still got over four minutes in there.”
“Bite me.” I replied.
“Kinky.” Daniel said as he walked out.
I rolled my eyes and looked at the group of people frowning at me. “You broke the rules. If you want to keep playing you need to follow another dare.”
I sighed. I didn’t want to keep playing, but I, like Daniel was scared of being an outcast a no one, disliked.
“Kiss Daniel. In front of us.”
I made a face. A few minutes ago I would have obliged eagerly. Not now.
I walked back over to Daniel, his height made him tower over me but as I stood in front of him I could see he was unsure. I leaned in, and tiptoed ready to end this stupidity with something that quite rightly was equally as stupid.
Our lips were so close I could feel his uneven breath on my face. Then, just as I went to kiss him, his head turned and my lips met his cheek. He laughed and stepped back.
“You missed your chance.” He purred. “Move along sweet thing.”
My face burned with embarrassment. He was being a condescending misogynistic pig and suddenly I was angry I had ever liked him at all. I walked over to my spot in the circle and picked my purse up off the ground I walked passed daniel and leaned in. “Don’t forget that I know that deep down you’re just a scared little boy.”
He scoffed, but we both knew I was right. His cockiness was all an act and not one he planned on giving up any time soon. Being liked meant nothing if it meant being surrounded by a faker.
I walked out of the room and down the hallway, stopping in the kitchen. Daniel’s cousin Jackson looked up at me and smiled.
“My cousin can be a pig.” He smiled. “But he’s really a good guy.”
“I’ll have to take your word on that.” I said dryly. Once upon a time I had thought so too. But that had changed now.
I couldn’t help it, but something deep inside of me, hoped Jackson was right.
I opened my eyes. I had shut it out for so long that the truth of that night hit me like a ton of bricks. Once upon a time I had liked Daniel and while I had been able to read him, he too had been able to read me. Those feelings had never really gone away, they had like a volcano, lain dormant somewhere dark in my heart. Now though the heat ran through my veins like lava, alighting me and waking those feelings.
Not that it mattered, for a second I had let myself believe that something real was possible, that Daniel truly wanted me. How could I believe anything he had said after everything.
I placed my cellphone down on the trolley and I poured a large glass of wine and held the glass to my lips. The niggling pain my chest was growing every second I was reminded that he had known Jeff was cheating. He had known and he had kept it to himself. We were meant to be equals, but we weren’t. To him it seemed I was still the little girl in high school who wasn’t worthy of his respect. I drank from the glass, downing the whole lot in one go.
“Classy, Kyla.” I mocked myself, placing it down on the trolley, lifting the bottle to pour myself another.
My phone buzzed, unsurprisingly it was Daniel. It was the fifth call since I had landed back in New York. I lifted the phone up of the trolley and paced the floor of the inner city hotel, staring down at the call screen begging me to answer. I couldn’t do this, We had gone a step too far, obliterating our working relationship to pieces.
“Daniel. I don’t want to speak to you.” I mumbled after swiping to answer the call.
“Let me explain. Please.” He sounded desperate, but I wasn’t ready to hear anything he had to say.
“No. Look, I’m away until next week. When I get back we have to discuss how to go forward.”
“What do you mean how to go forward?” He replied softly.
“I can’t work with you anymore Daniel.” I said it deliberately, unaware of just how I felt until the words left my lips.
“Kyla.” He breathed my name out like he had a few nights beforehand except this time it was mixed with sadness not passion. It sent a shiver up my back anyway, which I struggled to ignore. I pulled the phone away from my ears and looked down at the phone. “Goodbye Daniel.”
I hit called end and turned my phone off.