Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 52: And Then I'm Gone

I should go and see my mother.

It’s time I did that. She’s the only family I have left, and as much as that deeply unsettles me, I have to go see her. I should forgive her and forget about everything. Clean slate.

My mum and I deserve that. We have been in a dysfunctional family and it’s been so long that we don’t know how to be normal anymore. But I do care about her and I love her. And I hope she’s okay.

As I enter the living room, I immediately notice that something is amiss.

No pancakes.


“Daniel?” I call out. I look around for him and I spot him by the door, a look of pure agony crossing his face. But... he’s just standing there. By the door.

Like he’s about to leave.

Something’s definitely wrong. Hot tension is pouring into the air and I feel my lungs contracting, slowly gasping for air.

He watches me as I make my way down the staircase, confusion written all over my face.

“Hey.” I say as I approach him. “You okay?”

He doesn’t meet my eye. I close the distance and press my hand against his cheek. “Daniel? Are you okay? Did something happen last night?”

He still doesn’t want to look in my eye. His jaw clenches, and he slowly pulls my hand away from his face.

I stare at him dumbfoundedly. He has never recoiled from my touch before. “What...?” My voice trails off. “What happened? Daniel… you’re scaring me.” His nostrils flare, and suddenly his eyes turn red. “Good.” He huffs.

“What?” My voice echoes through the living room. “Did I do something? You want to talk about it-”

“Shut up, Alex.” He groans. “Just shut up.” My throat constricts. He really means it.

He’s really telling me to shut up.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I almost shriek. “You know, if it’s something I did wrong all you have to do is tell me, you don’t have to be rude about it-”

He rakes his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I can’t… I can’t be with you anymore, Alex.”

All the air leave my body when those words stuck me.

“What the fuck does that mean?” My voice falters. “I don’t understand-”

“Come on. Do you need me to speak ‘idiot’ to you so you would understand?” He rolls his eyes in annoyance. “I’m saying that I want to break up with you, dumbass.” I gasp in disbelief.

“You... you can’t be serious.” I say in a small voice.

I can’t believe this is happening.

Daniel is really dumping me.

“Are you serious?” I say, tears start to fill my eyes, threatening to fall down my cheeks but I hold them captive. “W-why?”

He laughs. “Because I’m sick and tired of your bullshit, Alex. Especially these past two weeks. You’ve been crying a lot and you’re so freaking whiny I can’t stand it anymore!”

“That’s why you’re breaking up with me?” I shake my head. “You’re fucking unbelievable. You know that? I cried because MY FATHER IS DEAD. DEAD. Do you

hear me? So you think I shouldn’t at least shed a single tear over his death? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?”

“It’s not just that!” He yells. “I’m tired of you, Alex. These past few months have been amazing, but I don’t do this. Anymore. This commitment thing. I don’t do commitment, and you knew that. I fuck girls, and when I’m done with them, I throw them away.” And then, his eyes fill with struggle when he says the next few words. “And now... now, you... have to go.”

I can’t breathe I can’t breathe It hurts

so bad

i can’t b r e a t h e

My chest is constricting, and my mind is spinning off axis. I’m spinning spinning spinning helplessly trying to hold on Hold on to nothing.

Nothing left to hold on because he’s not Daniel anymore.

He’s a stranger. He looks exactly like Daniel, same electric blue eyes, same cheekbones, same lips. But he’s not Daniel.

He’s an imposter. And I don’t know how to bring the real him back.

“But... I love you.” I say pathetically. God, how low can I get? I’m getting dumped and all I can think about is trying to make him stay. “I love you, Daniel. I know it’s such shit timing to say it but I do. And I thought-”

He chuckles darkly, a humourless tone. “And you think that I love you too. God, Alex. How naive can you get? You’re so stupid. I fooled you into thinking that I love you so I can get laid. You have an amazing body, and of course I wanted a piece of that-”

I slap him hard.

“Fuck. You.” I seethe. I can’t believe the ugly words that are coming off of his mouth. I thought I knew Daniel enough to know that he would never ever say those words to me.

He loves me. I know he does. Because every time he looks at me, I can see it in his eyes.

Now, their blank and emotionless, and I don’t know what’s wrong with him.

But I know he’s fighting a battle inside of him.

But what’s he fighting against?

“I don’t believe you.” I spit out. “I don’t believe anything you’re saying right now because I know you wouldn’t say such hurtful things to me. Someone’s making you say this to me, huh? Who is it, Daniel?” I hiss. “WHO THE FUCK IS IT?”

“No one JEEZ.” Daniel shakes his head. “Don’t you get it, Alex? I. Don’t. Want. You. Anymore. It’s done. We’re done. I don’t have feelings for you, and I sure as hell want to get the fuck away from you as far as possible. We fucked, and sure it was fun, but I’m done with you. Forever.”

I don’t know whether to slap him again or cry.

“What about the engagement, huh?” I ask. “We still have two and a half years left-” “I handled it.” He cuts me off straight away. “You’re off the hook. That’s what I wanted to talk with my dad about last night. I wanted to end the engagement so I don’t have to deal with your bullshit anymore.” He bows down, as if he’s mocking me. A twisted smile forms on his face. “Goodbye, Alex. It was a pleasure meeting you.”

I don’t believe him.

My brain refuses to believe it.

I shake my head furiously. “I’m going to find out who’s behind this-” I gesture. “Because I sure as hell know that this isn’t you.”

“Just get out of my house, Alex!” His voice booms and I almost jump. “It’s over, you get me? Get it in that fucking head of yours, and GET OUT!”

I take a deep breath, and wipe the tears off my face. I look at Daniel one last time, seeing the monster he has become.

My mind still refuses to believe anything he has told me. Because I know our love is stronger than that.

And if our love isn’t enough, and at least I know mine is.

“Fine.” Angry tears spill out of my eyes. ”Fine. I’ll get out fucking of your way. But I know this isn’t you speaking. I don’t believe you for one second that I was just some girl you wanted to fuck. Because I know I’m more than that. Something’s going on. And I’m going to figure out what the hell is happening. I will.” And then I’m gone.

I’ve never known hurt like this before.

It doesn’t just consume me, it is me.

A month ago, I was at the peak of my life. I had Daniel, the guy whom I actually thought I could have a future with, and my family whom I have just started to reconcile with.

Now I have nothing.

And that makes me pissed as hell.

I try to replay back everything that happened just now. I have never seen Daniel act this way before. So angry, distant... cold. He was deliberately trying to hurt me on purpose, and the sad thing is that it worked.

Every single word he has said to me felt like a million stab wounds to the heart. I would have never believed that he would ever said those cruel things to me... about how we never actually meant anything and how I was just some random girl he wanted to get with.

It just doesn’t make sense.

How can he be so loving with me and then out of a sudden, turn into a monster?

He was perfectly fine yesterday before he went to dinner with his father....

Oh. My God.

I know who’s behind this.

At least I think I know.

Now all I need to do is get where he is at now, which might be a problem because I don’t have my car keys and I certainly don’t want to go back to the penthouse to get it.

I contemplate on calling Cara, but then I knew she’d freak out seeing me like this.

I take out my phone and my fingers hover over Nate’s number.

Will it be wise to call him?

Taking a deep breath, I press my thumb down. He told me if there was anything, he’d be there for me. Well, I really need some help right now.

He answers on the third ring. “Hello?” His raspy voice answers. “Alex?”

“Hey.” I say. “I... um, I sort of need your help.”

The minute his car pulls over, he gets out of the car. “What the hell happened?”

I shake my head. “Can I go in?” I gesture to the front seat. He nods and helps me get in the car.

Somehow, the familiarity of this washes over me. The last time I had been in this car was when we had broken up after visiting his grandma.

Nate gets in after me, and stares at me, his hazel eyes questioning. “Alex, tell me what happened.” And I do.

I tell him about what happened this morning, how Daniel seemed so cold and distant and how he never showed any ounce of sympathy when he dumped me and kicked me out. Then, I tell him my suspicions about his father and how he may have something to do with the break up. At first I feel weird talking about my ex-boyfriend to another ex-boyfriend but well, nothing much matters to me anymore.

Nate listens to me patiently, like he always does, and when I’m done, he swears. “Shit, Alex. That’s... messed up.”

“Yeah.” I sag against the seat. “I don’t know what’s happening, Nate. I really don’t. And I’m so sorry that I called you. I’m sure you had other important things to do-”

“It’s okay,” He says. “Stop apologizing. You always do that.” He offers a small smile.

“Sorry.” I say but then cover my mouth. “God I did it again. I’ll stop now.”

“Good.” He nods. “So what are we going to do now?”

“We are going to do nothing.” I shake my head. “I just need to get to Kerrington & Co.”

“Oh no you’re not.” He says, adamantly. “I’m not going to let you stomp your way into the building and ask your ex-boyfriend’s father if he had anything to do with your break up.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because that’s crazy!” He says, exasperated.

“Please, Nate.” I say. “I need... I don’t have anything left. This is the only thing I’m clinging unto.”

He sighs and I know he’s going to give in. “Even though we’re not technically... together or whatever, I’m still your friend. And as your friend, I have to stop you from doing stupid stuff you’re going to regret later.”

“I’m not going to regret it, Nate.” I say, desperate. “I’ll regret it even more if I don’t do something about it. If I don’t find any answers... I have nothing.” “Alex...” He frowns.

“I’m sorry but it’s true.” I tell him. “My dad died two weeks ago without him saying a word. And Daniel left me without giving me any explanation whatsoever. You see how little I’m clinging unto right now? I swear to god, if shit gets thrown at me like this, I think I might just break.”

Nate purses his lips. “Don’t break, Alex. Please.”

I sigh deeply. “I won’t. I just... I just need to know. That’s all.”

He takes a moment to think about what I’ve said, and then presses on the gas, backing out of his spot.

I look at him, confused. “You’re taking me back to the penthouse.”

He shakes his head. “No. I’m taking you to Kerrington & Co, if that’s really what you want.”

“Oh my god.” I say. “You’re kidding.”

“Don’t make me regret my decision, please.”

“Oh, come on. Have a little faith in me.” I say smugly.

He rolls his eyes. I think I passed that trait unto him. “Sometimes, I put too much faith in you, Alex.”

“And that faith is not misplaced.” The edge of my lip curls.

After a while, he parks in front of the building, then turns to me.

“You’re really sure about this?” He questions me.

I nod. “I got nothing left to lose anyway.”

He doesn’t like my response. But nevertheless, he pulls me into a hug. “Good luck.” He whispers.

I pat him on the shoulder. “Thanks for driving me here.”

“You’re welcome.” He says. “If you need a ride home...” “I’ll handle it.” I tell him, even though I don’t know if I can.

“See you around, Alex.” He grins.

Those are the last words I hear from him before he speeds away.

Trudging through the doors, I walk straight to the elevators. Daniel has told me enough about this place that make me think I might be able to navigate through this building by myself. But before I can press the up button, a hand stops me.

“What are you doing?” A man’s voice sounds. “You can’t be here.”

“You don’t know who I am. So how can you know I’m not supposed to be here?”

The man’s eyes widen. “You don’t have a pass.” He gestures to the tag clipped on the front pocket of his suit. “You need to have one in order to go up.”

I roll my eyes, pluck out his pass and wave it in front of him. “And now I have one. Buh-bye.”

Just then, the elevator doors open. I slide inside and close the doors before the man can stop me.

I don’t exactly know where his office lies, but I know it’s important enough to be on the few tops floors. I press a few extra floors in case I miss it. Every time the elevator stops, I peer out to see if there might be any chance he’d be here.

I wasn’t going anywhere until I meet him.

Just before the elevator doors close, I catch a glimpse of pink and I immediately know it’s him. Dashing out of the elevator, I whirl around trying to find him anywhere. I speed through the hallways, muttering ’excuse me’s and ’please get out of my way’s as I go.

Then, I see him.

Mr Harry Kerrington. The devil himself.

He’s in his huge office of his, sitting behind his desk making a what looks like a very important phone call. I walk straight through, barely noticing the blonde woman who yells “Hey! You don’t have an appointment! Or a pass!”

Rolling my eyes, I chuck my pass straight to her direction and break through Harry Kerrington’s doors.

Harry immediately stops talking and widens his eyes when he sees me.

“Alexandria? What a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting you at all. But would you mind stepping outside while I finish this phone call-”

I slam my hands down his table and growl. “What did you threaten to do to Daniel last night so that he would break up with me?”

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