Chapter Twenty. Black Holes and Prince Charming.
Song for this chapter: Beyonce-Runnin’.
You know that feeling you get when you feel like your drowning in your nightmares, you don’t know how to swim and there’s no lifeguards to save you from your inevitable death? Yeah, that was how I was feeling right now.
But I wasn’t drowning in water but drowning in my very own thoughts, Jackson’s words knocking into me like a sledgehammer with no remorse. I was in a black hole and I didn’t know how to escape. I tried to scream, yell for help, but I couldn’t. My lips were sewn shut against my own will and there was nothing I could do to fight it.
I could hear voices, they seemed so close yet so far to reach. I ran as fast as I could until I could start to see light, I ran and I ran.
I shot my eyes open,gasping for breath as I began taking in my surroundings. My heart felt as if it were beating ninety miles per minute. I was in Jackson’s bedroom, Grayson and Jackson at the end of the bed, Jackson pacing back and fourth running his long ass fingers through his hair while Grayson sat down on a gaming chair, his hand in a fist. He was looking down at his hands with a look that brought me so much pain before he looked up and his eyes met mine.
″You’re awake″ Grayson exclaimed, a worried smile on his face, worry lines clear on his forehead. He walked closer towards me and rubbed his hand up and down my back.
″Are you okay, Lib?″ He asked soothingly, putting some stray hair away from my eyes and placing it gently behind my ear.
Jackson was looking between the both of us with a worrisome glance, but I could tell in his eyes he was glad Grayson was here with me. Like me, Jackson also didn’t know what to do in situations like this. I think we both panic and lose all of our words, it’s even worse when people cry in front of us. We don’t know what to do besides pat their shoulder like a dog and say ‘there, there’.
I gave him a small smile and slowly nodded my head. I rubbed my temple that felt as if it were lit on fire, trying to remember any of my memories I lost so many years ago. I tried so hard, I closed my eyes tightly and remembered all of Jackson’s words hoping they would spark something in my brain and all my lost memories would come back to me in a flash.
But my life wasn’t a movie and they never came back, not even one. Not one month of memories, or week, a day, an hour, a minute or even a second. I got nothing, my mind was void of any memories just like they were before passing out.
It was useless trying any longer, I was glad I now knew why I could no longer remember Blake but I wish I could at least get a glance of what we once were. A glance at who I once was before my life turned upside down and spiraled into a pit of doom. I lost a part of myself that could never return but I hope I could try work around that and build up me and Blake’s friendship again if he wanted to. I’m ready to face up to everything and accept that a part of me isn’t here anymore, and i’m not the same person I once was.
″I told him everything″ Jackson nervously admitted, it was weird seeing Jackson like this, nervous and fidgety. He was always the type to put on a ‘bad boy’ front not showing his emotions to anyone. He was the type of person who was the prankster of the school, always getting detention, expelled etc etc but like his amazing sister *cough cough* me, he still kept his grades up.
″Everything?″ I repeated, I didn’t care if he had told Grayson everything. I trusted Grayson with my life so I knew he would be understanding with all of this and I would have told him myself anyways. I couldn’t keep something like that a secret from him, and I wouldn’t want to either.
I never kept anything from Grayson besides the fact that Elizabeth was a raging alcoholic but other than that everything was out in the open and that’s the way I liked it. I gave him all of my trust and I knew I wouldn’t ever regret it. Grayson was the only one who knew besides Jackson and I, but I knew he wouldn’t tell a soul.
″Everything″ Grayson confirmed a sad smile playing on his lips.
″Are you mad?″ He had asked, his eyes boring into mine searching for any sign that I was the littlest bit angry, but I wasn’t.
I shook my head lightly, ″No″ I answered,my voice low almost in a whisper. ″Not at all, I would have told you myself anyways″ I reassured as a sigh left my lips as soon as I swung my legs over the bed and placed my left hand on Jackson’s bedside locker to help myself get up since my legs felt like jelly and my vision was dizzy like I was just on one hell of a roller coaster.
″Hey″ Grayson scolded, but not harshly or loudly just more so in a ‘i’m trying to look out for you’ way,he made his way over to me gently steadying my shaking legs. ″You should lie back down, Lib. Just for another few minutes, until you’re not dizzy anymore″.
I nodded my head like an obedient dog as he helped me lie back down in bed. I hated this, having to have someone take care of me like a child. I mean I am very fortunate and grateful for Grayson helping me but he shouldn’t have to is the point. I should be able to look after myself with no help needed. But my stupid brain decided to take a nap for a bit and the aftermath was not so good for my vision or my legs.
It was like that feeling you get when you just take a long nap from coming home from a stressful day of school or football practice and when you wake up you feel like you’re in a whole other dimension, you have to keep looking all around because you don’t know where you are in the moment, and you feel real clammy like someone just threw some ocean water on you.
″Thank you″ I murmured to Grayson a small smile on my lips, a wave of exhaustion suddenly hitting me. I know I just woke up but damn I’m tired. My eyes started to slowly close but before I could let darkness overtake me, someone decided to flick my forehead.
″Hey!″ I groaned, my voice hoarse. ″What was that for?″. I sounded like a little bratty kid whose mommy wouldn’t buy them candy or a pack of Pokemon cards. I had expected Jackson to flick my forehead, like the annoying soul he is, it wouldn’t come to a surprise. But it was actually Grayson.
He gave me a stern look, ″Lib, you can’t go to sleep, yet. You could possibly have a concussion from hitting your head off the floor″ He scolded, but his voice was soft. I still held on to the word ‘yet’. Oh how I can’t wait for that time to come.
I let out a deep sigh, ″But i’m tired ″ I dragged on, my voice still low and whiny like a bratty child. I still thank God that Gabriela was never like that. But just wait until she becomes a teenager that little demon voice said from within my head.
All I’ll be hearing about is ‘he said this’, ‘she said that’, ‘this boy in my class is so cute’, ‘Susan the soccer mom invited us over for sandwiches on Wednesday’.
Oh, how I can’t wait for those years to come. Can’t you just hear the pure joy in my voice. No sarcasm at all, nothing, prendo, zinc.
″I know, Lib. But you just gotta wait an hour or two″ Grayson soothed, rubbing his thumb on my cheek. Even without trying, his thumb alone sent sparks all throughout my body. That boy will be the death of me I tell you.
I huffed and pouted like a puppy, batting my eyelashes and looking up at him with sad eyes. Now that I think of it, I think I was more so like the cat from Shrek. You know because I can be cute but then I might bite you the next second. But sadly enough my puss in boots act didn’t work, he shook his head and let a soft chuckle escape his lips, ″That’s not going to work with me, Lib″.
I crossed my arms over my blanket ridden arms harshly this time. I closed my eyes and pretended to drift off, my mouth closed as I tried to steady my breathing to make it all appear real.
A flick on my forehead jolted my eyes open again. Oh I would get him back for this, just you wait and see Gray.
″Hey! that’s not fair. I was getting my beauty sleep!″ I scolded him, pointing an accusing finger at him.
He rolled his eyes playfully at me, but I was entranced by his beautiful smile and small but apparent dimples sinking into his cheeks. Damn, I sure was lucky to have a guy as cute as him.
″I don’t think you can get any more beautiful than you already are, Lib″ Grayson complimented, a cocky smirk on his face as he shot me a playful wink. I think I just got pregnant, my heart swelled up at his words, my face now burning a crimson color of red.
From behind us Jackson made fake gagging noises as he pretended to stick his finger down his throat, huh I forget he was even in the room with us. I guess when I’m with Grayson, I just don’t really pay any attention to anybody else, he was all I needed and more.
″Are you just recreating the sounds I heard Olivia make just a few nights ago?″ I mocked Jackson in an angelic voice making him narrow my eyes in my direction. Awh, did I hit a soft spot.
″Hm, I don’t know. I couldn’t really remember the noises she was making since we were too busy most of the time in that very bed you’re sitting in″ He shot back, a mischievous smirk on his face.
Oh my God, EW EW EW. I was in the same bed as open 24 hours Olivia was in and most likely naked too. I needed to wash my body with bleach and put these sheets in the fire next time. Is it possibly to catch any diseases from her from just sitting in the same bed she once slept in? I don’t know, but I’m not going to risk it. I need to burn these clothes too.
You know what they say, rather be safe than sorry.
Without wasting another second, I quickly jumped out of the disease baring sheets. My vision not as blurry as before and my legs seemed to be walk-able and so with that I walked over to Jackson, Grayson holding a gentle arm on me to keep me fully steady.
Jackson looked down at me with a wondrous look as if he hadn’t said a word about open 24 hours Olivia, ″Oh Jackson, I will surely get you back for that. Just you wait and see brother″ I threatened, my voice burning like fire. But deep down we both knew I was joking, or at least he thought I was.
But I was already plotting my revenge from the very moment me and Grayson left his room, ″So I see you and Jackson are very close″ He joked.
Sure me and Jackson joked around with each other and barely ever had a heart to heart but he would always continuously piss me off on a daily basis and especially when he brings up Olivia or even worse when he brings her over and I have to give me and Gabriela some ear plugs to use for the night since Olivia was so over dramatic and had to make sure she was heard from space, or even a whole other planet.
But at the end of the day he was my big brother and I would die for him and I knew I could count on him to do the same for me.
″Yeah, you could say that alright″ I joked back sarcastically with a playful roll of the eyes. Grayson made sure to keep me steady as we walked down the stairs by placing a secure arm around my waist and had a gentle grip on my arm. It’s not like I got hit by a train, I just passed out. I was actually fine by now but you know I don’t think i’ll let Grayson in on that secret, what can I say? I just loved his hands all over me.
Hearing soft giggles from the living room I smiled as I instantly recognised them as Gabriela and Bella’s laughs. Without Grayson’s help this time, I walked over the living room door and peeked my head inside watching as the two girls watched and sang along to High School Musical with Disney dresses on themselves. I made a promise to myself that I would not let High School Musical ever be forgotten about so I think it’s safe to say I did a damn good job teaching Gabriela.
I decided I wouldn’t interrupt the girls little ‘party’ and so I closed the living room door quietly as if they were sleeping and I didn’t want to wake them up. Grayson smiled at me brightly once I turned back around to them.
″I think those girls will be spending a lot of time with each other in the future″ Grayson stated matter of factually with a soft chuckle.
I nodded my head in agreement, you could just tell right off the bat that those girls would be forever friends and I was so glad Gabriela had that person in her life. I wish I could just remember mine.
″I don’t have a problem with that, do you Grayson?″ I teased, wrapping both my arms around his toned torso.
He placed two of his arms on the small of my back, looking down at me with a smile that would make all of the stars be embarrassed that they weren’t quite as bright as Grayson is.
″Well, if Gabriela turns out to be anything like her big sister in the future then I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all″ He smirked making me blush within his hold, why does he have to be such a charmer?
He was making me fall in love with him all over again with just a few words, with just a gentle touch of his fingers, with that damned smile of his that I could never stop thinking about. Like I said before, this boy was going to be the death of me and he didn’t even know it.
I punched his shoulder jokingly, ″Has anyone ever told you before that you’re very cheesy″ I joked,a big smile on my face. He mocked a fake hurt expression on his face holding a hand to his heart once we let go of each other.
″Yeah, I get it a few times when I use some pick up lines at the club″ He joked, but tried muffling his laughter once I chuckled.
″Gray, you’re too young to get into a club″ I stated as a matter of fact.
″Who knows? maybe I’m doing a Drew Barrymore and going undercover as a high school student when in reality i’m twenty five with a wife, three dogs and two kids″ He whispered close to my ear like it was a big secret, but his soft laughs gave it away.
″Lib, I was thinking we could go back to Angie’s cafe, you know the place where they had those brownies?″.
I nodded my head excitedly like a child, but honestly it was because it was like my taste buds were remembering the soft, velvety chocolate and delightful taste once Grayson mentioned the word ‘brownie’. There was no way I was turning down that offer.
″I guess that’s a yes″ Grayson chuckled at my excited expression.
″Hell yeah″ I answered a back in a tone of voice that reminded me of the fake Britney and Tiffany Wilson from my all time favourite movie, White Chicks.
I needed to get out for a bit, even a minute or two was just enough to clear my mind before I knew my thoughts would come stabbing my dreams. I knew I would have to stop running from everything in my head soon and that day would be tomorrow.
I needed to talk to Blake and tell him everything I now knew.I didn’t know how he would take it, if he would believe me or not, but if he didn’t believe me that’s not what a true friend is and it would be his loss cause i’m pretty great.
″What about the girls?″ I asked as soon as I remembered that they were just in the room next to us.
″Jack said he would watch them for a bit while we headed out″.
″Jack, really?″ I chuckled at the new nickname, ″And he actually agreed to watch them? As in my big brother Jackson agreed to watch over two, seven year old girls without any sort of reward or bribe or payment?″ I spoke with disbelief.
Jackson barely ever watched Gabriela for me when I asked him to, not because he was being arrogant and didn’t love her, but he was always working or with his friends enjoying his last year of being a teen and I couldn’t rip that from him. He needed to enjoy his life and who was I to deprive him of that.
″Unless you have another brother named Jack that I don’t know about then yes, your big brother Jack″ He chuckled a brow quirked up.
″Okay, so what are we waiting for? Let’s get some brownies!″ I exclaimed, without any interjection from Grayson I grabbed his arm and my bag that was on a coat hanger just at the door and pulled him out of my house like a mad woman which might be true.
I think I am a little mad right now at just the thought to even have some chocolate in my system, damn it’s been too long, way too long. Taking a girls chocolate away from her is like taking away her freedom, you just can’t do it.
Grayson being the gentleman he is opened the car door for me, I bowed like a Queen in front of him ″Thank you, Darling″ I said in a fake posh British accent. Grayson chuckled at me and shook his head before he closed the door once I was inside the car.
I buckled my seat belt in as Grayson got into his seat copying my actions. I leaned forward a bit and of course turned on the radio, Joy Division’s ‘Love will tear us apart’ song came on.
This song always made me feel nostalgic, it was my Dad’s favourite and was always played at home no matter the occasion. It brought a smile to my face at all the good memories I had with my Dad while this song played in the background.
So I sat back on the chair, closed my eyes and smiled. Smiled like there were no tomorrow, it was the first time I was listening to it since Dad passed but it no longer made me want to cry but smile at what once was.
I remember playing football with Dad and Jackson and a few of their friends just before he passed, this song playing in the background. I now knew that this song was not one to cry over but to smile and bring back old memories of all the laughs, smiles, and love Dad brought to all of us.
We arrived outside the cafe in what felt like no time, just exchanging small talk as we listened to some old songs that brought back so many memories I never wanted to forget. Before Grayson could open the car door for me like I knew he would, I got out myself. I was too excited for those brownies that were like none other.
Am I overreacting? I mean they are just brownies, but they’re one hell of a damn good, fine, velvety piece of brownie that’s for sure.
″Grayson, come on!″ I scolded him for taken too long. What? I miss my chocolate.
″Alright, alright, Lib. Calm your tits″ he chuckled as he held out his hand for me to take but I stood there open mouthed with shock.
Did the Grayson Smith just say ‘tits’, well that’s a first.
I don’t even think I had heard him swear before, he was too immaculate to swear. It just wouldn’t suit him, but the word ‘tits’ leaving his mouth just made me laugh once I got over the shocked state.
″Grayson″ I laughed, ″Did you just say tits?″.
He smiled but he looked around confused, ″Uh, I think so″.
I closed my eyes, a smile still on my face as I shook my head letting out a small breath as I did. This boy never fails to surprise me, I took his hand and made both of us run towards the front door that wasn’t far away from where Grayson parked.
″Woah, Lib. You’re really excited about those brownies, huh″.
I smiled, ″You can say that again″.
Grayson opened the front door with an easy push, as soon as we stepped inside the chocolate smell hit my smell like a shark smelling blood from miles away. It was like a drug I was addicted to, the warmth of the fireplace hitting my bare arms, and the cosiness of the small cafe making me instantly feel at home.
As soon as she noticed who had walked in, Angie walked over to us as fast as her small legs could take her, a bright smile on her face the same as from when I first met her.
″Oh Grayson, I’m so glad to see you around again″. She reached up and pinched his smiling cheeks.
″I’m glad to be back, Ang″ He spoke in a tone of voice that made me wonder if this place meant more to him than I would ever know.
I think Angie knows of Grayson’s mysterious girl since the first time we came here she almost said someones name but I just pushed that away, not wanting to bring up any bad memories for Gray. Maybe he went through a bad breakup with his first love, that would explain a few things. But then who did he bury?
″Oh sweetie, it’s lovely to see you again too. I assume Gray here is taking good care of you″ She winked as she embraced me into a tight hug. I had to lean down to hug her properly like Gray had since she was so small in height.
″It’s great to see you again, I couldn’t stop thinking about your brownies″ I chuckled, she smiled warmly at me reminding me of how my Grandma use to smile at me and Jackson when we would visit her every Sunday.
″Oh did you know, it was actually Grayson and Je-″ She stopped herself to clear her throat, ″And an old friend actually that found the secret ingredient for them?″.
And there it was again, the ‘Je’. Who was this person, was it his mysterious girl or even a guy friend Jeff?, Jennifer?, Jessica?, Jet? The possibilities are endless and I know I won’t press Grayson on this subject since I can clearly tell it still feels like a fresh wound to him that hasn’t fully healed yet.
I looked at Grayson, a crooked smile on my face as I raised a brow at him, ″No, I didn’t know that″ I answered her, still with a smile on my face.
She nodded her head, ″So you can thank Gray here for how delicious they taste″ She nudged me with her elbow and shot me a wink.
″Oh, don’t give me all of the credit Ang″ Grayson chuckled. ″Ang here is the one who makes them everyday and came up with all of the other vital ingredients. I simply just found an ingredient that worked well with all the others″ He shrugged, a sad smile on his face but looking at me he tried to hide it by winking at Angie.
But I could read him like an open book and something or someone was bringing him pain and I wanted it to stop, I wanted it to just go away. I wanted him to be full of brightness again and not be sad when he thinks to whatever is making him sad but rather smile at something that once brought him laughs, or I hope it did at least. I think I could tell it did at one period in his life, he wouldn’t be hurting so much if it wasn’t so hard to say goodbye to it.
″Oh nonsense dear, they would simply be brownies if you hadn’t found that ingredient but since you have found it they are simply splendid brownies″ Ang waved Grayson off.
″Well if you say so, I’ll take all the credit you give me″ He smirked cockily at her.
″Now Gray why don’t you go find a seat for you and the lady while I have a quick chat with her for a bit″ Angie directed, a smile on her face. Was this the part where when she’s not around Grayson she becomes secretly evil?
Why would I even think that? Of course that wouldn’t be the case. I could tell Angie was a wonderful woman just by how much Grayson admired her.
Grayson looked at me with one brow quirked up, asking if it was okay. I smiled at him and nodded my head as he soon left to sit back down at the table we sat at the first time we came here. Just near the fireplace.
Angie walked behind her desk, me following suit behind her. She looked over at Grayson who had his eyes melting onto the fire as if he as in a trance. ″Hunny, I need you to give this to Gray. Not until tomorrow though, alright?″.
I looked at her as she held out a big white envelope waiting for me to take it, I furrowed my brows at it in curiosity but took it from her delicate hands anyways. ″It’s a contract to the cafe, I know if I give it to him myself he won’t take it. So that’s why I need you to give it to him yourself. I can tell he has taking quite a liking to you″.
I shook my head and placed the envelope on the counter in front of her, ″Angie″ I started softly, sadly even.
″He won’t take this from me either. He wouldn’t dream of taking this cafe away from you, this is your workplace, the cafe is in your name. I know Grayson and I know he wouldn’t ever take this away from you, no matter who gives it to him. i’m sorry but I can’t do that to you″.
She had a sad smile on her lips as he took a glance at Gray, ″I can tell you’re a good person, Libby. I know how much you two like each other, love would be a better word to use, dear. But I don’t have long left now and before I go I need to make sure this cafe is in good hands, and with Grayson I know it will be. Please give a dying person their last wish″ She begged, sadly. She looked at Grayson with so much love and admiration, tears started to prick my eyes that this would properly be the last time they would both see each other.
I didn’t know Angie, but even the thought of her passing away made tears gloss my eyes. I could tell how much Grayson and Angie both meant to each other and it pained me to know that they would have to part ways.
I nodded my head, ″I’ll do it″.
She smiled so gratefully at me it made me feel worth it that I could at least give her last wish as she said, but I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I at least wanted Grayson to get to say a proper goodbye to her, but if this is the way she wanted it to be then that’s how she was going to have it.
″Oh thank you, Deary″ She beamed as she once again handed me over the white envelope which I took without a second thought and put in my bag. She walked around to me from behind the counter.
″It’s no problem at all″ I replied to her as she embraced me into a hug.
″He’s a good guy, dear. Don’t break his heart″ She whispered close to my ear, once she let go she let me go and shushed me away, ″Now go on have a seat and relax while I serve you love birds some brownies″ She said brightly as if he hadn’t just had a conversation about granting her last dying wish.
I smiled back just as brightly and nodded my head before a thought popped into my head, ″Oh, Angie you wouldn’t mind if I could have two more brownies to bring home with me for me and Grayson’s little sisters?″ I asked kindly.
She beamed at me and nodded her head, ″Of course, darling. Now go on and take a seat, you don’t want to keep your Prince Charming waiting too long″ She chuckled as she gently pushed me away with her small hands.
A blush rose to my pale cheeks at the thought of Gray being my Prince Charming, the name oddly suited him. It did make sense, I was in a bad situation, around bad people but then one day I crashed into Grayson and since then my life turned around drastically and I couldn’t be happier he happened to knock all the books out of my hands that one day.