Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 33: We Hurt Each Other

My phone has been constantly ringing all morning, screaming at me to pick it up. I grip it in my hand as I pull my car into the driveway of the penthouse. What the hell did I just do? I just... left. Nate was being so nice and loving to me and I just left him.

Once I get through the door, I take a deep breath. I am a fucking mess right now. Emotions running all over the place. My brain, scrambled to bits. And here I am, mascara running down my eyes, with a phone in my hands, a phone that has been fucking up my ears since I left Nate’s place.

With trembling fingers, I unlock my phone and answer the call.

“H-hello?” I stammer.

“Thank god,” Nate praises. “What happened, Alex? Why the fuck did you just leave like that?”

“I...” Because I’m confused about my feelings for you. Because I don’t deserve you. Because I’m all kinds fucked up. “I don’t know.”

“Christ, Alex,” He swears, “I thought everything was going fine between us. We were okay. And now we’re not. And I’m trying to understand what went wrong.”

“No. Nothing went wrong,” I reassure him, “it’s just... I need some time to think.”

“About what?”

“About things.”

“You’re not being very specific, Alex.”

“I know,” I sigh, “God, I know. I just- I have a lot going on right now. I need some time. But we’re okay, Nate. I think. We’re okay.”

“How can you say we’re okay? We’re definitely not okay.”

“I’ll call you back tomorrow. I promise.”

“Alex.”

“I’m sorry.” And then I hang up.

I lean against the door, my body sliding down till I meet with the floor. Closing my eyes, I let the hot tears flow down.


My head fucking hurts.

Somehow after the crying, I had fallen asleep against the door, my hands hugging my legs. I move my head from side to side, and a stinging pain attacks me.

“Ow,” I rub my neck with my fingers.

Note to self: Never fall asleep against the door. It fucks up your neck.

Sighing, I heave myself up into a standing position, needing to stretch my back a little. What happened last night starts to come back to me in pieces and fragments.

Me having a great time with Nate. Me watching a movie with Nate. Nate kissing me. Me storming out of his apartment.

I’m an absolute disaster.

Shuffling to the kitchen, I have the urge to pour myself some coffee to get some caffeine into my system. Maybe that will clear my brain a little bit. Just as I cross the living room, I spot him.

Daniel’s by the stove, making pancakes. He hums to himself quietly, flipping the pancakes into the air and catching it with a plate. He does it a couple more times and when he’s finally done, he turns the stove off and places two plates on the table.

Then, his eyes lock with mine. I hold his gaze.

A thousand emotions flicker in his deep blue eyes, but the one he chooses to show is annoyance.

“Are you going to eat or what?” He asks me in a bored tone, making himself comfortable on his usual seat. My mouth gapes open at his abruptness, wondering if I should respond or not.

That’s the most he has said to me since the Halloween party.

I don’t know what to say. So, I don’t say anything at all. With one hand behind my neck, I make my way to my seat and plop myself down. Silence hangs in the air as we eat our food.

I peek a glance at Daniel. He looks like his usual self, his blonde hair spiked up, a small flush in his cheeks as he forks some pancakes into his mouth. He wears a navy-blue t-shirt that looks two sizes too small for him and some khakis to match with his shirt.

After a while, he notices me staring at me, and his eyes meet mine yet again, this time something flickering in his eyes. Like he’s challenging me. Daring for me to speak up.

The old feelings start to crawl back into me, my skin, my heart, my entire body. I start to feel what I felt after I found out he had ditched me at the party and left with those girls. My gaze hardens, and I tilt my head up.

If he’s challenging me, then I accept.

Whole-heartedly.

“What the fuck happened at that Halloween party?” I sneer at him.

He smirks. “Now we’re talking.”

“Yeah, because you didn’t want to do that for the past two days!” I roll my eyes. “What the fuck is going on with us? I thought we were going along fine. And then, you had to give me the attitude-”

“I give you an attitude?” He says in disbelief, “You’re fucking unbelievable, Alex.”

“I’m fucking unbelievable?” Is he serious right now? “You’re the one who ditched me at that party to go fuck some girls!”

“Yeah, and that was a hell lot of fun,” He spits at me, and my heart aches. He’s hurting me. Deliberately. “I loved every second of when our tongues met. I especially love taking off those girls’ clothes until there’s absolutely nothing but skin-”

I choke on my words. “Fuck you, Kerrington! Just... FUCK YOU!” I push my seat away and start making my way to my room.

Daniel trudges after me. He grabs my arm, and hisses. “We’re not done here, Alex! You don’t fucking get to leave when things get tough. It may work in the past, but it sure as hell won’t work now.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I yank my hand away from him.

He chuckles darkly. “You’re a coward. You run away when things get tough. Isn’t that exactly what happened with your parents? The minute they did something wrong, you turned their back on them. That’s fucking cowardice if you ask me.” Red hot anger seizes me. Without much thought, I slap him on the face.

“Fuck!” He turns away from me, his hand flying over to the place that I have hit him.

“Don’t you dare call me a coward when you’re too afraid to speak to your own father. I don’t know what the deal is with the both of you guys, but I see fear in your eyes everytime you look at him,” I point an accusing finger at him.

“Don’t you DARE bring my father into this!” He screams, his voice sticking needles in my ears. “You know nothing, Alex. Nothing.”

“You’re a fucking loser, Kerrington,” I scoff. “When the going gets tough, you turn away and you lose yourself in women. Just like what you did last summer. And just like what you did at that Halloween party.”

“You know nothing about what happened at that Halloween party.” He sneers, his eyes turning to stone when he looks at me.

“THEN TELL ME!” I yell, my hands raking over my hair in frustration. “Tell me what the hell went wrong with us!”

“You kissed him!” He screams. His face is red from the rage, his skin boiling. “YOU

KISSED HIM! You fucked everything up for us, Alex! All because you fucking KISSED HIM!”

The air suddenly grows still, only the sounds of our huffing and breathing filling the air.

My face immediately crumbles. This is what Daniel has been mad with rage about?

“How did you know about that?” My voice becomes soft, all the anger leaving me as just as fast as it came.

“I saw you,” He says, his voice now dry and hoarse. “When I couldn’t find you after a while, I ask Simon where you went. He told me he saw you leaving the apartment with Nate. So, I looked for you everywhere. Then, I heard laughing from upstairs. I went to see what was going on. That’s when I saw you. Kissing...” He chokes on the last word. “Him."

I close my eyes, sucking in a deep breath.

“I knew he had feelings for you, but I didn’t know he would act on those feelings, when he knew you were engaged. But he did it anyway,” He mutters, his expression unreadable. “When I saw him kiss you, all I wanted to do was to punch him in the face, repeatedly and then throw his fucking body against the wall.” I open my mouth, but no words escape.

“I was mad with rage, Alex. You have no idea. He had your fucking hands all over you and he doesn’t fucking deserve to live because of that. He doesn’t deserve to touch you, kiss you, or fuck you. He doesn’t deserve you.”

“Then, who does?” I lift my shoulders. “Who deserves me, then?”

He doesn’t answer.

“WHO?” I yell louder this time.

He doesn’t need to answer. I already know.

The minute I look into his eyes, I know. He thinks he is the one who deserves me.

I take in deep breath. I wish I never said anything at all. Because the pain that now consumes me, so raw, is destroying everything that I ever thought was true.

“I heard the both of you agreeing to see each other in secret. That I wouldn’t need to know,” he glares at me like he wants to kill me. “That’s when I left. I took those girls and I had sex with them. I needed... I needed to forget. About you. About him. About us. Every single fucking thing. And those girls, they made me forget. At least for a little while. But the next morning, I remembered again. How much he touched you, talked to you, kissed you. And It fucking hurt, Alex. I don’t know why, but it hurt so much.”

“I couldn’t talk to you. Couldn’t see you. Because every time I do, I saw you kissing him. Over and over again. And I didn’t want you to see me too. To look into my eyes and see what I did to those girls.” He strains to say, “A part of me regretted hooking up with those girls, but I knew it was the only way to temporarily get you out of my system.”

“I’m sorry.” I choke out, “I’m so sorry, Daniel. I shouldn’t have... I shouldn’t have kissed Nate. Even if he did kiss me.”

He laughs, but it’s a humourless one. “It’s a little bit too late for that now, isn’t it?”

I lean my head against the back of the couch. “You should have told me this sooner.”

“Would you have told me you kissed Nate?” I shake my head.

“Then, I wouldn’t have told you about my hook ups too.”

I bite my lip, my throat constricting. “Why do we hurt each other like this? We got along fine, and then after that party, we didn’t. We hurt each other, Daniel.”

He scoots closer to me, heaving a sigh. “Yeah. We did.”

“Why? Why does it hurt?” I look at him, searching the answer in his deep blue eyes.

“Because we don’t want to admit what we should have admitted a long time ago.”

“And what is that?”

He swallows hard, and pauses before giving me the answer that I already know, deep in my heart.

“We’re falling in love with each other.”

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