Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 31: There Are No Words Left To Speak

“You alright?” Nate asks as I get into his car.

Yeah. You guessed it. For the first time in forever, someone else is driving me to campus today.

When I finally got my ass out of my bed half an hour before class starts, I was ready to start the day. The minute I walked out of my room, I was greeted with more silence.

No smell of pancakes filling the air.

No Daniel standing by the stove.

No keys by the kitchen counter.

Nothing.

He fucking left. Without me.

I cursed for a good ten minutes before having to call Nate to pick me up from the penthouse. I can’t believe Daniel ditched me today. I knew he was mad at me (I still don’t know the reason for it, but I think I may have an idea), but I didn’t think he would actually... do this.

He didn’t carpool with me.

That’s probably something he would never do. But he did it anyway. Which means, I probably pissed him off real bad.

“I’m fine,” I force a smile on my face, tugging on my bag. “Feeling superb. Absolutely fantastic!”

Nate looks at me, confused. “I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic with me, or if you’re telling the truth.”

I roll my eyes. Then, I lean forward to kiss him on the cheek. “Just drive.”

He casts me a boyish grin. “Okay.”

When we finally get to campus, Nate and I keep a fair amount of distance between ourselves so we won’t raise suspicion. I’m guessing it’s a hard thing for him to do, because at times I see his hand twitch, aching for mine. I look around for Cara, but see no sign of her. So, I end up hanging out with Nate for a while until it’s time for class.

“So, I want to take you on a date tomorrow night.” He whispers when we’re outside class. I tug on my sling bag, and smile at what he had said.

“We can’t be seen together in public, remember?” I tell him nervously.

“I know,” He grins, “So we’re having the date at my place.”

I lift my eyebrows. “Okay.”

“Yeah,” He nods, “Dinner and a movie. How does that sound?” That sounds like a me and Daniel thing.

But I’m not going to say that out loud.

“Sounds perfect,” A small smile appears on my face. I’m not going to think about Daniel at all. Nate is my priority now.

“I’ll be cooking for you,” He notes. “My famous lasagne. And after that, we can pick whatever movie we want to watch.”

“I’m loving the date already.” When anyone isn’t looking, I press a light kiss on the square of his lips. “Do you know that it’s our first date?”

“Yeah. Well. I did ask you to go on a date with me like a month ago...”

“And then you found out I was engaged to Daniel.” I frown. “I promise, this time, there will be no interruptions.”

He grins sillily. “I like the sound of that.”

“I got to get to class okay?” I tell him. “I’ll see you later.”

He reveals to me another one of his cute grins. “Bye, Alex.”

After waving at him, I decide to enter class. My heart is pounding so fast against my chest when I take my usual seat. I stare at the seat next to me, the seat that Daniel usually occupies. The ghost of his presence deeply unsettles me.

I’m not sure if he will show up for class. He tried to avoid me at all costs last night and this morning. I don’t know what lengths he will go in order to ignore me for good.

As expected, Daniel doesn’t show. My heart sinks as the lecturer starts the lesson without him. I keep looking at his seat, wondering what would happen if he did show up and how is his mood.

There are usually two ways it will go. Bad or good. Bad: he will be scowling at me, throwing insults at my face which in result, would get me super riled up. Good: he will be grinning at me, telling me I look slightly above average (because let’s face it, Daniel never compliments me), and we would just talk about random things and never get bored.

Being with Daniel is super hot and cold. You’ll never know which side of him you’ll see every day.

I guess that’s what keeps things interesting.

Sigh.

I look away from his seat, keeping my focus in front of me. Classes go by in a blur, and I’m counting down the minutes I can finally go back home.

Home.

Funny how I call the penthouse Daniel and I share a home. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived there for what seems like so long, that it actually feels like I belong. But lately I’ve not been feeling that at all. A little part of me tells to get used to the feeling.

I call up Cara once I’m done, and she agrees to take me back. When I meet her by the hallway, I spot her and Simon sharing a friendly chat. He seems to be really engrossed in the conversation because he nods vigorously at what she says, and sometimes he opens his mouth to speak.

I wait patiently for her to finish her talk with Simon. I wave goodbye to him and walk with Cara to the car, our arms linked together.

“So... Simon, huh?” I wriggle my eyebrows at her.

She rolls her eyes. “He’s nice.”

“So, did you manage to get more than a sentence out of him?” I prod, laughter lacing my tone.

She blushes. That’s probably the first time I’ve ever seen her blush over a guy. And let me tell you, Cara’s been with a lot of them. “Yes. And he’s really cool.” “So.... what did you guys talk about?” I smile.

“Nothing much. We talked about the Halloween party,” She grins, “And about gaming.”

“Gaming?” I say in disbelief. “Since when were you ever interested in gaming?” “Since yesterday when he told me about it!” She defends.

“Oh shit,” I cover my mouth. “You like him.”

“Do not!”

“Do too!”

“No!” She tries to say it in a serious tone, but totally fails. I laugh so hard, I’m practically wheezing. “Shut up, Alex!”

I laugh even harder. “Okay... whatever you say.”

She eyes me warily as she turns on the ignition of the car.

When she drops me off at the penthouse, the temporary happiness I felt with Cara begins to fade away. All that’s left in my body is dread. Daniel’s most probably not going to be there in the penthouse. I probably won’t be able to see him the whole day. How long is he going to keep this up, anyway?

I fiddle with my keys and unlock the door. When I enter the penthouse, I see him.

Daniel’s sitting by the sofa with a mug in hand, while listening to an all too familiar Beetles tune blaring from the speakers.

Hey Jude.

I wince as I set my keys and my bag down. The music prickles in my ears. It stirs up some feeling within me, the feeling that I wanted to suppress for so long.

I’m speechless. He doesn’t even acknowledge me when I’m in the room. Hurt crawls into my chest. I just stand there, watching him as he moves his head slightly from side to side, synchronising himself to the beat of the music.

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad.

Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart, Then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid.

You were made to go out and get her. The minute you let her under your skin, Then you begin to make it better.

Somehow, tears start pooling in my eyes. I wipe them away and sniff. I can’t listen to this song anymore. This song reminds me of that time when we had so much fun lounging on the couch, singing our hearts out to it. That was a really good moment.

And somehow, that makes me really mad.

Hey Jude, don’t let me down.

You have found her, now go and get her. Remember to let her into your heart, Then you can start to make it better.

Anger boils my skin as I listen to the song. Without much thought, I trudge over to the player and turned the fucking song off. Then, I whirl around and my eyes lock with Daniel’s.

“What the fuck is going on?” I yell, my voice echoing throughout the entire penthouse.

Daniel doesn’t answer.

“What’s happening, Daniel? What’s going on between us?” Tears fall down my cheeks but this time I make no attempt to wipe them away.

I watch as his face crumbles bit by bit.

He has come completely undone.

We both have.

Sighing, I walk over and plop myself on the couch beside him, utterly defeated. The both of us don’t look at each other. We just stare ahead, not speaking.

There are no words left to speak.

Tears stream down my face uncontrollably. Each tear burns through my skin, somehow a reminder of how much I think I have hurt him.

How much he has hurt me.

How much we have hurt each other.

Eventually, I scoot closer to him and lean my head against his shoulder. Daniel doesn’t tell me to go away. He welcomes me.

We stay like that for so long. Neither of us want to move. Neither of us want to be the first one to speak.

Neither of us do anything at all.

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