Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 51: I'm Not Going Anywhere

The next two weeks had been a blur. I was still tied down by my own grief of losing my father, constantly walking around campus and off like a living corpse, except there wasn’t much life in me anymore.

Death sucks.

My mother isn’t doing any better than me either. Apparently, she had not been going to work for the whole two weeks.

It’s strange behaviour, considering she never missed a day of work. But lately, she’s been missing out so much that her newly appointed assistant got so worried she called me to tell me about it.

She told me that my mum had missed three budget meetings and a hell load of appointments with important clients. She tried to send people to retrieve her from home, but she wouldn’t come out, not even to open door to let them in.

At first I didn’t know what to do. What if I go back to the townhouse and she shuns me out just like the other 16 people that only wanted to see if she was alright? But then again, I am her daughter. We’re supposed to be grieving together.

But instead, we’re not.

Maybe it’s because I’m still angry at her for not telling me about my father’s disease in the first place. And maybe she feels guilty about it too, so we avoid each other, slowly drifting apart when we should be staying together.

I don’t know what to do. Every time I think about my mum, I feel myself drowning in hurt and anger all over again.

Daniel understands. Even though he constantly tells me that I should indeed see my mum, he knows that it’s best to keep our distance for a while before that happens.

I’m grateful for him. I know it’s not easy dealing with someone like me, someone who stumbles and falls, unable to make her way back up again. Nevertheless, he’s always patient with me.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, he embraces me in those huge arms of his, his head resting over mine, kissing my hair and everywhere else. It helps to take the pain away.

“I’m here for you, Alex.” He says, with determination. “I’m not going anywhere.” Everytime he says that, I love him a little bit more.

He doesn’t have to say he loves me either. He expresses it through his mind, his lips and his body. I mold into him, my fingers tracing the outline of the skin above his heart, knowing that one day I will be worthy of him.


Funny how Christmas is a week away and instead of happiness and joy filling the air, it’s death and sorrow.

Yeah, I’m one morbid person. But trust me, I have seen worse days.

Today’s the last day before classes get cancelled due to winter break. So, I’m in the school library, trying to cram three assignments that I have missed into four hours of non-stop researching.

Thank you Wikipedia and Google. I don’t think I can ever get through college if it wasn’t for you two.

After saving the files on the computer, I shoot a text to Daniel, telling him that I’m done and I’ll be going back home soon.

Okay. He texts back. How are you feeling today?

Great.

How are you actually feeling?

Like shit. I send him.

He replies a minute later.

I’m sorry.

It’s okay. I’ll deal.

I’m going to be late tonight. Don’t wait up. He says.

I lift a puzzled brow. Why not?

My dad just invited me over for dinner.

Well, that can’t be good. I say, a little bit worried. What for?

I think maybe he wants to spend some more time with me or something. I don’t know. He’s acting weirder than usual, ever since the Christmas party.

That also can’t be good.

Yeah I know. Either he’s really interested in being a real father to me now, or that he wants to tell me that he’s gay.

I burst out laughing. The librarian casts an annoying look at me. I send her an apologetic smile.

Why on earth do you think he’s gay?

He’s been wearing a lot of pink lately. Could be a coincidence. Could be not.

You are so weird.

Maybe that’s why we’re together. Weird and weirder. A perfect match.

I hate you, you know that?

<3 he shoots back.

Rolling my eyes, I type out another message:

Too bad for you, I’m treating myself to some sushi tonight. Be jealous. XX

He replies. God dammit.

Don’t be too late. I’ll wait up for you.

I wait for his reponse. Then a minute later, my phone beeps.

That’s my girl. (;

After smiling to myself for a good minute, I decide to to head back to the penthouse to catch up on some reading. I tug on my bag and make my way down the hallway when I see him.

The guy in the denim jacket.

Oh lordy lord.

It’s been ages since I last saw him. I notice that his dark hair is a lot shorter now, curling around the edges. His hazel eyes have more light in them, and I can see the tiny glimmer on his eyes that also probably caused that smile to turn up on his face when he says goodbye to a blonde girl who waves back at him.

When the girl dissappears, he turns around and immediately locks eyes with me. His smile breaks as he drinks me in.

“Um. Hi.” I say, unsure of what else to say.

“Alex.” He breathes. “Hey. It’s been a long time.”

“Tell me about it.” I reply. “It’s good to see you.”

Nate takes about half a minute to completely take me in. His blinks at me rapidly, but then lowers his head and replaces his confusion with a frown. “Yeah. It’s good to see you too.”

I gesture to the direction of where the girl he was saying goobye to went off. “Is that your girlfriend?”

He takes a moment to answer. “Uh. Yeah. Kind of. Well... uh, we’re sort of seeing each other.”

“That’s great, Nate.” I try to smile but it feels forced. “That’s amazing. I’m happy for you.”

“Yeah. She’s amazing alright.” He doesn’t smile when he says it. “I’m sorry- I shouldn’t be talking about my love life or anything when your dad just-” He stops mid-sentence as I inhale a sharp breath.

Nate knows.

Of course he knows. Cara was there at the funeral. She would also have bound to tell Simon and he would have probably told Nate.

“It’s fine.” I wave him off. “I’m still trying to grasp the reality that he’s gone.”

“I’m sorry.” He steps closer towards me. “But I’m worried about you. As a friend, I

mean. I’m so sorry you had to lose your dad that way.”

I shrug. “Shit happens.”

“It just sucks.” Nate frowns. “I just want you to know that eventhough we’re not- we can still talk if you want to, you know? I still care about you.”

I sigh. “I know.”

Nate smiles a little, and he does what I didn’t expect him to do.

He hugs me.

It isn’t a romantic hug at all, it’s just a friendly hug, a hug that says that he’s here for me when I need him. I wrap my arms around him and sigh against his shoulder, allowing a small tear to slide down my cheek.

“I missed you, Nate.” I whisper. “I missed hanging out with you.”

“Me too.” He catches the tear and wipes it away from my face. “I’m really sorry about your dad, Alex. I really am.”

“That’s okay.” I nod. “I’m better now- or at least, better than I used to be. Daniel… he uh... he helps. A lot.”

“Right.” He smiles. “Daniel. He treats you right?”

“Yes.” I say without any hesitation. “He’s so much more than I deserve.”

“I’m glad you have him, then.” He steps away. “He clearly loves you.”

“And I love him.”

A long moment passes.

“Well, I guess I should go.” Nate finally says, breaking the silence. “Lyn- I mean, my uh, the girl I’m seeing, uh... I should go um meet her...”

“Yeah, you should.” I cannot help but smile when Nate’s cheeks turn red. I know he really likes her.

Nate presses his lips in a thin line. “Bye, Alex. I’ll see you around, alright?” “Alright.” I smile.

And then, he’s off.

Part of me finally feels relieved that I’ve seen Nate now, because for a while I have felt guilty of being with Daniel after I’ve been with Nate. But he knows. He has known all along that I’ve been in love with Daniel, and not him. And seeing Nate today confirms my feelings for Daniel, and I hope him seeing me confirms his feelings for Lyn.

I feel a little bit light hearted as I reach home, dumping my bag on the floor and propping myself on the couch. It’s almost time for dinner, so I take a quick bath and do a little bit of reading. It helps me take my mind off the grief for a while.

The sun outside starts to set, and the ombre sky turns dark, the stars slowly popping out and the moon casting its moonlight through the windows of the living room. I grab my dinner from the refrigerator and turn on the television, pressing play on the last episode of Gilmore Girls.

After a while, I check my phone for the time. Daniel should be back around now. I guess his dinner with his dad must be taking long, so I shrug it off.

Dinner’s gone, and I’m waiting on the sofa, the hours ticking off the clock. He’s two hours late, and I don’t know if I should be worried. Maybe he’s having such a blast with his father that he forgot the time. I’m glad that they’re bonding and everything, but a little part of me feels weird. Bad weird.

I guess it wouldn’t be such a sin to call Daniel.

I dial his number and wait for him to pick up.

Three beeps sound and it cuts straight to voicemail.

Huh. That’s weird.

I immediately know who should I ask.

Cara. Do you think something bad’s going to happen?

Five minutes later, I hear from her.

Oh my god! How do you know?

Fuck.

I know I said I never belived her stupid foretelling of the future via her stomach, but she’s been right lately...

Daniel’s not back yet. I think something might have happened to him.

Cara replies. Um, when was he supposed to be back?

Three hours ago. He said he was with his father.

Don’t you think you’re jumping into conclusions, Alex? I mean, he’s with his dad. I bet he just lost track of time.

But... I’m worried.

Why do you have to be? I hate to say it, but don’t be so clingy. He loves you. And he will come back.

Is Cara right? Am I just being a clingy girlfriend?

Then how would you explain the whole ‘something bad’s going to happen’ aura?

I don’t know. Doesn’t mean something bad’s going to happen to Daniel. Maybe it’s gonna happen to some other person on the other side of the world. I don’t know how my body works.

I sigh. Oh, Cara.

I guess you’re right. I finally admit. Maybe I’m being stupid about Daniel. I should just go to bed.

Yes. You probably should. Good night Alex. Dream of me X

Heading off to bed, I turn of the lights, the darkness the only thing keeping me company. I replay back Cara’s text messages in my mind, the sinking feeling in my stomach growing.

Something bad isn’t going to happen.

Something much worse than that will.

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