Trusting Him (Journey to Love, #2)

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05. Pancakes and Apologies


Jules’ POV

I knew that a part of last night was just too good to be true. I don’t know whether to be mad, insecure or just let it go that she left me. I asked last night if she was going to leave before the morning and she gave me a bullshit answer. I should be angry and I have every right to be angry at her but then what’s the point?

To a certain extent in the back of my mind I knew that she was likely to do something like that, I have done it once or twice before but I was an immature 17-18-year-old who didn’t care about anything or anyone at that time, even myself. Looking back, I now regret those actions but the girls knew what was going on, in fact, they’re still friends with my friends at home, I think one of the girls is even dating one of my friends.

I could say that I didn’t know her rejection was going to hurt me but I knew that, I knew that if I woke up on my own, I would feel that sting of emotions. I could also say that I expected to wake up to her next to me but sometime during the night or morning I think subconsciously I knew that she left, but there is nothing I could do from my bed.

Last night was easily the best but most unexpected night, I love being in control of everything, knowing what comes next helps me relax. Even though to some last night might have been normal but even giving her a little bit of control throws me out of my comfort zone. Touching the cold pillow beside me, I turn so I am in the middle of my bed, if she were still here we would be wrapped in the sheets and each other.

Feeling a little dejected, I spend a couple more moments in bed, knowing that I have to get up and go to work. Even though it is a Saturday, I can do with a little extra help each month. I would have loved to make her breakfast or just spend some time with her away from alcohol but I guess I am going to have to work harder than I did last night for us to get to that stage.

I might seem quite pathetic running after her like this, trying to get her attention and keep it, when she is sending all of the wrong signs my way. Normally, I would have taken those signs and backed off but as soon as I think that I’m going to be able to do that, I see her again and that fire is fuelled once again. While she is sending me so many mixed signals, it’s fucking with my head as expected.

Do I let her go which is something I think part of her wants me to do, now that we’ve fucked she would expect me to just give up? Everyone has been hurt in the past, I knew that she has been hurt as soon as I met her, the most important moment is when I hit her walls and I keep going. I don’t want to look back on this time years from now to realise that I could have done something more, I know deep inside that I am supposed to have met Lily and that even years from now I would remember her even if we are only left with these last couple of week and only spent one night together.

For the rest of that day I have to focus on doing my job but in the back of my mind, every single thought is about her. I have to avoid Joe as I know that he is going to lay into me. I know that he’s worried about where this could lead but I have finally reached that stage in my recovery where I am confident in my self-soothing skills and my strength. I have come a long way and the one thing I know for a fact is that I’m never going back to that dark place ever again.

I was lucky not to have such a busy shift today but coupled with the fact that I was out drinking late and did not get much sleep, only to go in to do an extra shift at work. Add to the fact that I have heard nothing from her all day and that I haven’t eaten, I am a pretty moody fucker right about now. So, when I am coming back from work and parking my car, I am taken back when I see Lily standing outside of my building, looking around and I can tell that she is nervous.

Taking a deep breath, not knowing where this conversation is going to go, but I have those butterflies in my stomach as I hope her being here after she left this morning is a good thing. I mean, if she wanted everything to end between us then she would have just avoided me, right?

“Who goes to work on a Saturday?” She asks as soon as I step out of my car. I didn’t even realise she was walking towards me, but here she is standing in front of me in her large white fluffy winter coat with no makeup on her face. Looking just as beautiful as she did last night, although a hell of a lot more nervous.

“I didn’t really have a reason to call in sick this morning, did I?” I snap at her, still a little annoyed that she left even though she said she wouldn’t. I would expect her to keep her word but she said one thing but did the complete opposite, so colour me tired and annoyed.

“I guess I should say sorry?” She says with such a nervous and cute look on her face that I feel some of my annoyance just melt away. If she can have this effect on me when she isn’t trying, then I am completely fucked when she is trying.

“I’m not going to keep saying the same thing to you over and over again. You know I like you and I played your game for a while, in fact I still am but you should at least keep your word when you say you’re not going to do something.” I say as I lock my car. I don’t really want to be so harsh with her when she has been very clear in what our boundaries are and what she is willing to give to this relationship, but a large of me was hurt this morning so I’m no saint.

“I know I said that I would stay the night and I did, I just panicked when I woke up next to you and I left. That’s why I have been stood out here for the last half an hour waiting for you to come back, Joe told me that you’re at work.” She explains, once again I feel like melting at her feet but I can’t just be the toy she plays with when she’s bored. I refuse to be the guy who follows the girl around like a puppy when she is fucking around with him for fun.

“I get that you’re going to panic but you could have gone for a walk or even just sent me a text to say you left. I don’t know who hurt you but it seems like they still have a hold on you.” I say, even though I know that it’s none of my business who has hurt her or in what way. I also don’t know her well enough to guess who hurt her or even demand she tell me or change, I’m just sad that she would panic about just waking up next to a guy.

“I know I have my problems but I’m here right now, and I don’t even know why. I have no idea what I’m trying to say to you but I just didn’t want you to hate me for bailing this morning.” She shrugs, while staring at her feet and I do feel for her. I am not her boyfriend or someone she owes an explanation to but yet here she is, making that first step that I can’t throw back in her face if I want for this work.

“I don’t hate you for leaving, I understand that you had to leave, I know what panic feels like. But, I also can’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed to find you gone when I woke up.” I say truthfully as I look at her, I don’t want to make her feel bad as it seems that she actually regrets not staying in the morning. I know full well what panic feels like and in those moments your most dominating thought is to get away from the thing causing you panic. I may have been sad this morning but there is no way that I am going to make her feel bad about something that her body did that was out of her control.

“Can we start over? I’ve made a mess of things and you have been nothing but amazing to me.” She says as she reaches for my hand, we might have only spent very little time together but she doesn’t strike me as the type of girl to seek intimate contact.

“I’m not allowed to be mad or annoyed with you because you left the morning after, just because I want something more out of this than you do doesn’t make you the bad guy Lily.” I stress, as I don’t want her to feel bad about herself when I’m the one who couldn’t take the multiple hints she threw my way.

“You always say the right thing and understand everything that is going on around you, I feel like such a screw up standing next to you.” She says breaking eye contact with me, I can see the shame written all over her face and that is one thing I never want to cause. I in no way see myself as perfect, I have demons that I hide very deep down and I might be doing better now than before but that does not make me perfect.

“Look at me, sweetheart.” I say, hooking my finger under her chin so I can look into her eyes once more. “This thing between us might not go anywhere but I don’t want you thinking that I am perfect and when compared to me you’re not. You have no idea what I’m really like but I have done some fucked up things in life so I am in no way perfect. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, especially me.” I tell her, knowing full well if she has self-worth insecurities then my words don’t mean much but I need to say them anyway.

“It’s hard to believe that you’re anything other than perfect, and I also can’t believe those cringy words just came out of my mouth.” She laughs and I can see some of her mood lift a little bit. Even though she seems to be feeling better, I don’t know if I should invite her inside or if we should go somewhere for a coffee or drink. We have this very weird relationship where we have so many unspoken boundaries yet it feels like we’re free to do anything at all.

“Don’t worry, you’re not going to give me a big head.” I say instead, laughing along with her. Just trying to enjoy the fact that she is relaxed once again with me and this time there is no alcohol involved, as far as I can tell.

“Well there is one head which I would like to help make bigger.” She jokes as she blatantly stares at my crotch, instead of feeling annoyed as she once again changed the conversation, I find myself laughing along with her at her shit joke.

“That head is always big when you’re around.” I tease back as I wrap my arms around her waist and press her body against mine. Making sure to reach down and steal a cheeky butt squeeze, I love that I can do this with her and know that she isn’t going to get offended.

“I would love to check that theory out but I actually came here so we could maybe grab dinner?” She asks but she is back to looking a little uncomfortable and unsure.

“That sounds a hell of a lot like a date, and I know you don’t want a relationship.” I half tease her, but the other half of me is eager to know how she’ll reply. As her answer will set the tone for dinner and what may come after.

“I don’t want to call it a date but we’re not just friends, and I hate the friends with benefits label. We’re just going to dinner, as an apology and because I actually want to spend more time with you.” She replies and it’s better than I thought it would be, if only she knew how I’m hanging onto every word she says and how smitten I am with her, it’s actually kind of ridiculous how much I’m under her spell.

“I’m going to take that as a good sign, although it’s not good you’re surprised you want to spend time with me.” I laugh as we fall into step as we begin our walk into the town centre, not having an idea where we’re going but I guess we’re going to figure that out along the way as well. I normally have a shower right after work but I don’t want to be apart from her for any sort of time when I have no idea how much I have with her.

“I’m never going to be the type to say the right thing, of course I want to spend time with you. It’s been years since I just turned up to a guy’s house in the hope of seeing more of him, I’m not surprised so you shouldn’t be.” She replies and intertwines her hand in mine. I am going to enjoy the moment, not wanting to remind her that we could bump into people we know who might assume that we’re dating.

I have no idea how she feels about others seeing us together, I’ve met too many people who want to keep their relationships only behind closed doors, away from anyone else. That might work in the beginning but I know from experience how draining and unhealthy that is. I hate to have seen her be the same, yet here she is with me outside and holding my hand as if it’s nothing out of the ordinary. It’s weird how we let others opinion dictate nearly every single part of our lives and the way we act.

“One day you might be willing to tell me about that time, I would love to know what other kind of things you used to do that you don’t do now.” I tease her, but I think we both know that I am completely serious in the fact that I need to know everything there is to know about her, my slight obsession with her might be more serious than it should be considering the time frame of our relationship.

“Maybe one day, but right now comes the dreaded question, where do you want to eat?” She asks with a teasing smile and just like that any tension left between us from last night is gone. We are just back to teasing and bantering with each other, the ease and comfort I feel when I am with her is unlike anything I have felt this early on, or even after years of knowing some people.

I guess time really is not a factor in what kind of relationship you have with someone.

“Since you skipped out on me this morning, I think you owe me breakfast.” I reply, as honestly, I don’t want to have the dreaded hour-long conversation that turns into an argument, of where we should go to eat. Might as well say what I’m craving and see if she agrees.

“I can’t say no to pancakes or sugar, at least that’s what I would have for my ideal breakfast.” She grins and as corny as it fucking sounds, I swear my heart skipped a beat. Or, that might have been my feet missing a step as I trip on the pavement, nearly taking her with me and making a massive fool of myself. What an amazing start to this ‘non-date’.

“I don’t think anyone can deny the appeal of large amount of sugar and the magical food that are pancakes.” I agree and the more we talk about it, the hungrier I am becoming, I think I might have skipped my lunch break today which is never a good thing but sometimes you have to do it.

“Creams it is then.” She agrees and steers me in the direction of said place, where I swear the food is magical. All sugar, all ice cream and chocolate and everything that is so bad for you but tastes so good. It’s also one of the only places that has that old American diner feel which is something I’ve always loved growing up with old movies and seeing it in nearly every single one of them.

“I don’t think I can walk home, I ate way too much.” She groans from the booth beside me. She made the mistake of ordering a lot of extras and even though she’s a girl who can eat, she now overestimated herself and has been complaining about how she can eat no more, which for me was good as I ate her food as well.

“I might have some trouble carrying you all the way back home.” I say as I pat my own no longer flat stomach, I NO longer feel the vague outline of my abs which are only there on my best days but right now I have a good old food baby.

“You can’t lie to me, I’ve seen what you’re working with under that shirt.” She jokes as she looks me up and down. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that her words don’t go to my head, after all, muscles aren’t made in a day and I’ve spent many hours building up my strength and stamina.

“I’m going to take that as a compliment.” I say with a straight face but then fit one last bite of chocolate pancake into my mouth. She laughs and I don’t think she realised that the waiter was right behind as he went to grab her plate and next thing the whole heard was a loud bang and a lot of swearing.

“Motherfucker that hurt.” Was the main response coming from her as she apologises to the waiter while massaging her knee, which she hit on the table as she jumped and nearly head butted the poor guy in the face. I try to hold back my laugher as her face goes a nice shade of red, as she notices how nearly everyone is looking at us now.

“You alright sweetheart?” I ask, still trying to look somewhat normal. I don’t know if she would take it well if I burst out laughing at her, especially when half the people are glaring at her and whispering about her instead of laughing for me.

“I’m good, but can we leave now?” She asks as she looks around the room, mainly at the one table who has the guy about ready to come over here. My mood would have taken a permanent dive if Lily hadn’t stood up and blocked my view of him. “Let’s just go and walk all of this off.” She offers me a hand and pulls me away from the place, but not before tipping the poor waiter who felt bad about hurting herself.

Honestly, I have no idea why I found the whole thing so funny but as soon as we were outside, the laughter poured out of us both. It was one of those moments where you had no idea why you are laughing but just taking another breath makes you laugh even more. To everyone in the pubs or walking the high street, we would totally seem drunk or even high, but I felt nothing but carefree walking next to her.

“You’ll find out with time that I always somehow manage to embarrass myself in every situation.” She manages to say as she calms down slight, after god knows how long. I think it’s been quite a while as we have made it to the river and that’s at least a 5-minute walk. “That wasn’t even that bad or that funny.” She looks quite thoughtful as she says this, for the same reason I have no idea why I’m still quietly chuckling to myself.

“I think that has happened to everyone, you don’t have to explain yourself.” I note when I notice she is still glancing behind us and looks to be lost in thought. I don’t know if her thinking will lead to another awesome idea about how to prolong the night or if she is going flee again.

“I’m glad you’re not making this into a big deal.” She says quietly, she glances at me briefly but then just sits down on the edge, with her feet dangling above the river.

“Why would I make a big deal out of this? You only hit your leg for god’s sake, it was nothing more than a little funny.” I say confused, why would this be something that she would think is a big deal. Was it something that happened in her past?

“I guess it reminded me of a bad memory.” She replies, giving me a little insight into her but I’m left with more questions than answers, something that happens quite often with her. I just hope that with time she learns to trust me, I hope that she hasn’t been too hurt in the past that she wouldn’t even try.

“We all have our triggers, it’s okay.” I reply, wishing that I knew more of what is going through her head to know what the right thing to say is. I want to make her feel better but I know that sometimes there is nothing anyone can say, no magical words.

“I think there’s a darker side to you than some might think, where is all this wisdom coming from?” She asks as she twists to face me. Normally it would bother me that someone wants to know so much about me when they’re not sharing the same sentiment but I think in this case I can’t expect her to trust me if I don’t place my trust in her.

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