Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 22: Let it Happen

My entire body goes on full lockdown mode, my hands and legs turning to stone. I find it almost impossible to turn around to face them. I move inch by inch, my breathing coming out in ragged breaths. When I finally lay eyes on them, the entire crowd vanishes, and now it’s just my parents and I.

I am definitely not prepared for this.

But since when I’m ever prepared for anything? Take a look at the past three hours alone. I hung out with Nate in the coffee shop and bought some books with him at the bookstore. Then, when I came home, Daniel gave me a lecture on that. Then, I find Cara drunk on her ass and lock her in my room. After that, I hugged Daniel. I actually hugged him.

Definitely the weirdest day I had in a long time.

Now, my parents are right in front of me and I have no choice but to face them.

“Alex,” My mum calls out to me. She’s wearing a beautiful blue blouse and a black pencil skirt, no doubt her office wear. She, along with my dad, must have just came straight from the office to the party. Of course. “Hello.” “Uh, hi.” I don’t know what else to say.

“You look gorgeous,” She smiles, and I think it’s genuine. My eyes meet with hers and it hints of longing. “I’m surprised, I didn’t know you wore these sorts of dresses.”

I don’t know why her comment makes me angry. It sparks something deep inside of me, a feeling I had compressed ever since the last time I saw my parents.

I scoff. “Well, you wouldn’t know, would you? You were barely there for the past three years of my life.”

Her body immediately goes rigid at my response. Her thoughts probably go about the lines of ′well, fuck.′

“That’s no way to talk to your mother,” My dad snaps at me. His cold eyes meet mine.

He is expecting me to look away, but I don’t. I’m stronger than that.

“You can’t tell me what to do anymore, remember?” I snap back. “I said that I didn’t want to speak to the both of you ever again.”

Mum forces a laugh, suspecting that I’m joking about this, “You were exaggerating, Alex. We know that now. I get it, everyone was all very tensed up from the meeting with Harry, and you were being your snappy usual self. We didn’t think you actually mean what you said.”

“We gave you time to calm down,” My dad chimes in, “It’s been two weeks, Alexandria. Don’t you think it’s finally time to let go of the grudge you have against us and start talking to us again?”

“Listen to your father,” Mum says, speaking at low tones, “I think the whole engagement thing isn’t as much of a big deal as you thought it is. It’s not ruining your life, is it? By the looks of this penthouse, Daniel seems to be treating you well-” They don’t understand.

My fists clench, and I’m trying to contain the whirlwind of hurt and anger that is raging in my body right now.

“I don’t think the both of you ever got it,” I shake my head, my hands resting against my hips, I try to keep my voice as low as possible. “It’s not just about the engagement, for god’s sake! I know the both of you think I’m being stupid and bratty for overreacting about that. Sure, the whole engagement thing sucked donkey ass. I had to sell three years of my life away- I can’t date, I can’t be seen with anyone else, and I have Daniel and my reputation to keep. Yeah, those things really sucked. But you know what sucked real bad? That the both of you actually went behind my back to arrange this whole thing without telling me. That betrayal really stings. It made me wonder how much you even cared about me in the first place.”

“Of course we care about you, Alex!” My mum pleads, “You know we do! How can you even say that?”

I glare at her. How can she be any oblivious to this? She’s my mother.

But she never really has been, hasn’t she? She knows little about me.

“You were barely at home ever since the business started to bloom! It’s like I never even existed in your lives anymore. Poof. Gone. Just like that. I felt neglected, unwanted. A teenager shouldn’t have to feel like that ever. But the both of you acted like you couldn’t even give two shits about me.” My dad opens his mouth to protest but I shush him. “And don’t say that you guys cared by buying me things! Those were material things. I didn’t want any of that.” My voice starts to break already and I realise I’m about to cry. So many emotions hit me, and if I stay here any longer, I think I might break down.

My dad frowns at me, as if sensing me. He rubs the part above his heart in a circular motion, as if he’s in pain too.

“I wanted the both of you to be my real parents, “I force a smile, “Parents who asked how I was doing and gave me advice when I felt conflicted. Parents who woke up to make me breakfast and tell me corny jokes that I could care less about but secretly like. Parents who got mad at me when I drank beer-” “You drank beer?” My dad’s eyes harden.

“That’s- that’s not the point,” I shake my head. “The point is, when I really needed you both, you weren’t there.”

Silence falls upon my parents. The truth has finally dawned upon them, after so long.

I feel a little bit satisfied now.

“Mum and dad, you cut me out of your lives a long time ago,” I say, my voice dry, “Now, it’s my turn to cut you out of my life.” And then, I walk away.

But before I get too far from them, I turn back and add something. “Oh, and please don’t try to contact me. It’s better that... I’m to be left alone.”


Needing some fresh air, I step outside the first-floor balcony and pressed my hands against the railing. I take a few breaths to calm myself down. It’s not working. I think I’ve been trying to use that tactic for so long that my brain decides that I need a new one.

My eyes wander from my hands to the scene in front of me. The night sky is an explosion of stars. It lights up the night as well as a little bit of my spirits. The air is still and heavy, and the clouds attempt to blot out the stars, but they still manage to shine anyway.

Now I’m finally alone, alone with my own thoughts. I want to dive myself into them, recalling what had just happened and how do I feel about it. But when I attempt to do so, I just feel and see nothing.

Maybe it’s because I’m just so sick and tired of it.

I’m tired. I’m tired of wondering if I’m doing the wrong thing or if I’m making the right choice. I’m tired of everything.

Everything.

I get so much shit, and I’m tired of it.

“You okay?” A voice startles me. I yelp.

A red-haired guy stands in front of me, his hazel eyes trained on mine. He wears a white tuxedo, but he doesn’t look very comfortable in it. He waves his hand over my face and pouts. “Hello?”

I shake my head and try to form words. “Yeah. I’m- I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.” He comments, then stands beside me, gazing out from the balcony.

“Just trying to escape from that,” I gesture to the party, “It’s a little bit too much for me.”

He nods.

Then, it goes silent.

“Um...” My voice softens, “What’s your name?”

He glances at me briefly. “Simon.”

Simon Simon Simon-

Simon. Daniel’s best friend. The guy who plays computer games and never likes to socialise.

Oh.

“I know you,” I say, “You’re Daniel’s best friend. I’ve heard so much about you.” One side of his lips curve into a smile. He doesn’t say anything.

“I’m Alex, his fiancé,” I stick out my hand and he reluctantly shakes it, “Nice to meet you.”

He nods.

“So, what are you doing out here?” I ask.

“Same reason why you’re out here.” He mutters, “To escape.”

“Not your scene?”

He shakes his head no.

“Sooooo.... Have you seen Daniel yet?” I question him.

“Yeah. For a while,” He joins his hands together and leans against the balcony, “He’s really busy.” “Yeah.” I nod.

“I think he was looking for you,” He notes. I sigh. “I really don’t want to be found right now.” He nods again.

What is with this guy and his nods, and head shakes?

The silence between us now is overbearing and I really can’t stand it. If this is Daniel’s best friend, I really want to know more about him. That is if he wants to talk to me.

I prop my elbows on the railing and face him. “How long have you been best friends with Daniel?”

He lifts two fingers.

“Cool,” I say, “How did you guys meet?” He doesn’t answer.

“Simon?”

Suddenly, he tears his gaze away from the sky and his eyes lock with mine. There is so much intensity in them that I almost take a step back.

“Can I tell you something?” He asks.

“Yeah. Sure. I guess.” I reply.

He takes a deep breath. “Alex, I know you’re only asking me questions because you’re avoiding something more important,” He tells me, and I’m almost shocked by the number of words he has just spoke to me.

“Excuse me?” I blink at him.

He shakes his head, “You’re hurt inside, and I can see it. You aren’t that good in hiding your emotions. I think you should talk to someone about it- maybe Daniel, since you two are forced to be engaged to each other anyways.”

I widen my eyes. “You know.”

“Of course I know, he’s my best friend,” he rolls his eyes, “And I also know that the both of you aren’t quite so different at all. Maybe its time the both of you know that and actually talk to each other instead of the usual bantering you guys normally do.”

“How do you know-”

“I’m quite an observant guy on campus and I sometimes eavesdrop on your conversations- and no, I’m not going to apologise for doing so,” he lifts his shoulders, “Yeah. So take my advice, Alex. Talk to Daniel. You may not know this, but he’s hurting too. The both of you can really help each other out, if you guys let it happen.”

I am at loss for words at the amount he has just said to me.

Daniel? Hurt? If he is hurting, he does a pretty good job at hiding it. But... why is Daniel hurt? I am about to ask Simon, but I have a feeling I should find out on my own.

I’m starting to get why Daniel calls Simon his best friend. Even though he’s quiet, and doesn’t talk much, he understands you and tells you things you don’t want to hear, but things you need to know.

I smile at him, “Daniel is lucky to have a best friend like you.”

He nods, and then, he goes back to his usual, quiet self.

We stand together in silence, not talking. There are no more words to be said. I can hear his words echo in my head, and I keep them at the back of my mind, knowing that one day I will need it.

Suddenly the balcony doors fly open and Daniel stands there, looking straight at me. I search for the hurt that Simon has mentioned in his face... but nothing.

Damn, he’s good.

“I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” He approaches me, his eyes hard. “Why did you disappear- oh hey, Simon.” Simon shrugs.

Daniel has his attention fixed on me again, and he nudges my shoulder, “Come on, Alex. Let’s go.”

“What are we doing now?” I ask him as I let him drag me away from Simon.

His casts me a toothy grin. “Party’s getting boring as hell. We’re going to entertain them for a bit.”

I arch my eyebrows. “By doing what?”

He presses a small kiss on my forehead and whispers, “We’re going to dance.”

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