Chapter 17: Revelation
The tension was tangible in the car the next day as Jasmine drove Lucy to school. To her surprise, it didn't take a whole lot of cajoling to get Lucy out from hiding. Just the magic words: don't let that scumbag win and ruin you. When they arrived at school, Lucy jumped out of the car and shut the door without so much as a word. She was clearly in a fool mood – understandable in her position.
"Luce, wait up," Jasmine called as she stepped out of the Audi and locked the car. She smiled softly when she noticed Lucy was waiting for her a few cars away. Lucy didn't return her smile, the sad look across her face stayed unperturbed.
As they walked into the school building, Jasmine groaned, mentally preparing herself for an encounter with Kelsey. The blonde was waiting in the hallway, a smirk appearing across her features as she noticed them walk in. Not waiting another second, she crossed the room and stepped in front of Lucy. Eyes wide with excitement she winked. "I told you he was mine, bitch," Kelsey grinned.
Lucy bit her bottom lip, not answering. Done seeing her friend get hurt, Jasmine stepped in front of her. "Get moving, skank. Not all of us need to open our legs to get some male attention."
Kelsey just smirked, her stance fierce. "What's wrong, sweetie? Cat got your tongue? Need someone to play your guard dog? Poor defenseless thing," she fired at Lucy, her smirk growing when Lucy's body started to shake.
"You should be ashamed of yourself. Getting off on bullying people and fucking guys in a relationship. What's wrong, Kelsey, didn't you get enough love growing up? Didn't your mommy and daddy love you? Let me guess, they saw you for the bitch you were and wanted nothing to do with their own child," Jasmine spat, praying she'd hit a nerve. Seeing as Kelsey smirk finally started to fall, she knew she had.
"You don't know anything about me, Jasmine. I'd watch my back if I were you," Kelsey threatened, pointing her finger at Jasmine's chest.
"Ooh, I'm so scared now," Jasmine retorted before feigning to yawn. Clearly done being harassed, Kelsey turned her back to them and flounced away.
Finally paying attention to Lucy, Jasmine noticed tears welling up in her friend's eyes. Quickly, before anyone noticed, Jasmine pushed Lucy in the direction of the girls' bathroom and pushed her inside. They were just in time before a loud sob wrecked through Lucy's body. Jasmine quickly pulled her friend into a hug and tried to sooth her pain. "I'm such a loser," Lucy mumbled. "How could I ever think someone like Nathan was going to stay faithful to me?"
"Shh," Jasmine interrupted the girl's rant. "Don't say that, Luce. He doesn't deserve you. You're so much better off without him." Lucy nodded, but Jasmine knew she didn't believe her. The poor girl's self-esteem had gotten another punch. How could Jasmine convince Lucy of how special she was when the girl didn't want to listen?
Lucy and Jasmine walked into the hallway as soon as last period ended. They both wanted to get home as fast as they could, not in the mood for another confrontation with either Kelsey or even worse, with Nathan. Unfortunately fate didn't seem to want to give either of them a break. Jasmine retained from rolling her eyes when they turned the corner to see Nathan waiting for them, his face lighting up when he noticed Lucy.
"Luce, baby," Nathan spoke softly as he halted in front of her, blocking her path. "I'm so sorry, so fucking sorry, baby," he apologized, reaching out to caress her cheek. Lucy stepped back, effectively shunning away from his touch. Nathan let his hand drop with a sigh and shook his head. "Luce, please, you have to give me another chance. I promise you, baby, it's never going to happen again."
"You're right. It won't happen again, because I'm not stupid enough to forgive you. Who the hell do you think you are Nathan Wood? Wasn't it enough to break my heart? Do you want to tear me down completely? You fucking loser," Lucy cried out, her eyes spitting fire. Nathan's fierce stance wavered, Lucy's words sucking the air out of him like a punch to the gut.
A few passers halted in the hallway, wanting to watch the spectacle unfold. "Baby, I love you. I fucking love you. Don't do this, Luce. Don't end our relationship before it even properly starts," Nathan begged, his tone pleading.
Lucy shook her head, disbelief reflecting in her eyes. "I'm doing this to us? You ruined us the moment you put your dick where it didn't belong! You can go fuck yourself, Nate. I don't ever want to see you again," Lucy shouted furiously, her hands balled to fists. A few girls started to clap around them, while guys whistled.
"Luce, please," Nathan pleaded, falling to his knees in front of her. Jasmine's eyes widened. Who would have thought Nathan could put his ego aside and beg? It certainly came as a surprise to her. "She doesn't mean anything to me. I love you, baby. I want you, only you!"
"You want me, ONLY me?" Lucy repeated, laughing humorlessly. "Yeah, right. Don't make me laugh. You're pathetic, you know that? A pathetic loser that only thinks with his dick! I'm done believing your lies, Nate. You can have Kelsey. The two of you seem to have a lot in common, both fucking sluts with no brains!"
Lucy bent over slightly until she was hovering over Nathan and looked him straight in the eye. "I'm done. We're done. I don't love you. I don't want to see you. I want you to disappear out of my life and leave me the hell alone," she spat before straitening up, saluting at the crowd and making her way down the hall and out of the school building.
Jasmine stayed behind frozen in place, utterly speechless. She watched Nathan for a good minute before finally snapping out of it and following Lucy outside. "Not a word," Lucy warned, holding up her hand when Jasmine finally caught up with her.
"I'm not saying anything," Jasmine said innocently, shaking her head as she walked over to the car. "Come on, get in. I'll drop you off at home."
Sighing, Lucy followed her command. Jasmine's lips slowly curled into a smile. Lucy was going to be okay. She might have received a serious blow, but she was going to be just fine.
"Lucas, you have to help me," Nathan pleaded, his voice low. Jasmine's eyebrows turned into a frown as she stepped inside the manor later that evening. Nathan and Lucas never talked, in fact they did a pretty good job at avoiding each other at all costs. It was no secret they couldn't stand to be in the same room, breathing in the same air. The tension was always palpable.
"You're asking the wrong person for advice, brother," Lucas replied in a monotone voice. Not able to keep her curiosity at bay, Jasmine headed in the direction of the voices. As she stepped into the living room, she noticed Lucas and Nathan standing across each other.
"I screwed up big time," Nathan stated, running his fingers through his hair. He was so lost in his thoughts he didn't even notice Jasmine stepped into the room.
"Yes, you did," Jasmine butted in, her voice laced with venom. Lucas looked up and smiled softly before his features turned impassive.
Nathan looked up, pain visible in his eyes. He nodded sadly before turning his gaze back to the floor. "There seems to be no way to make this right."
"You shouldn't have listened to your dick when your mind obviously had a different opinion about Kelsey. You didn't just make a mistake, you ruined your relationship. I don't think Lucy could ever forgive you. Not after what you put her through. She might seem strong, but on the inside she's a mess. I know she will be okay, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with what happened. I'm pretty sure I hate you, Nathan, and let me tell you, I don't often hold a grudge. Yet, I'm willing to make an exception just for you," Jasmine ended her speech, her finger pointing at his chest.
Lucas whistled, breaking the tension. "Damn, princess, maybe you should hit him when he's already down?" he teased.
Jasmine rolled her eyes. "He deserves every ounce of pain he receives. He's a lying, cheating bastard."
"Don't hold back," Lucas grinned. "Not that she's entirely wrong, brother," he added, turning to face Nathan. "You did a pretty shitty thing. At least I tell my girls up front they shouldn't expect to be the only one I screw."
"I know that!" Nathan screamed, his patience running out. "I wish I could go back in time, but I can't. I made the biggest mistake of my life and I'll probably always regret it. I know!"
"I'm glad to see you at least realize what you've lost," Jasmine replied, putting some extra salt in the still open wound.
"Princess, I think that's enough," Lucas suddenly stated, stepping closer to Jasmine and cupping her chin. "Go outside and wait by the pool," he ordered.
"What? Why?" she questioned confused.
Lucas shook his head. "Always so damn stubborn," he muttered under his breath. "Princess, do you trust me?" Jasmine simply nodded, knowing she did in fact trust him. Strange as it might be. "Then for once, do as I say. Go outside, sit by the pool and wait for me. It won't take long."
Sighing, Jasmine gave in and walked out without a word. She threw Nathan one last glance over Lucas' shoulder before turning around and disappearing through the backdoor.
Jasmine absentmindedly played with the key between the hollow of her breasts as she stared at the undulating water in the pool. The past week had been tough. It only made the ache in her chest worse. She missed her grandma, missed the guidance Theresa would give her in times of need.
She would give anything for one last moment with her grandmother. To hold her in her arms and ask her the billions of questions that ran constantly through her mind. Jasmine felt like the time in her life had arrived that she needed someone to rely on the most. Yet the person perfect for the job had been taken away.
Lucas was a pretty good protector. He made her feel safe and cherished. Sadly, he couldn't give Jasmine what she truly needed, someone to give her advice in times of desperation. Lucas tried his best to be there for her and Jasmine knew that, but she missed the guidance of a mother figure. She missed having someone unconditionally love her, guiding her through life and protecting her from the bad.
Sighing, Jasmine bent forward and rested her head against her knees. She curled into a protective ball and softly started to rock back and forth. She shrieked when someone suddenly sat down behind her. Lucas' arms wrapped around her middle and pulled her back against his chest. The tension in her body left her muscles as soon as she recognized his touch.
A soft smile played at her lips when Lucas nestled his face in the crook of her neck and held on tight. All thoughts about missing her grandmother left her mind as a sense of relaxation washed over her. She curled into Lucas' body, enjoying the protective and strong hold he had on her. She felt safe and cared for.
"Are you okay?" he whispered against the shell of her ear, his arms still wrapped around her like a shield. Jasmine nodded and wrapped her arms around his, intertwining their fingers.
"What did you talk about with Nate?" she asked curiously, leaning back further against Lucas' chest as she watched the sky turn a few shades darker with every passing minute. Little stars were starting to appear out of nowhere, their soft glow lighting the sky.
"I think it's best to keep that conversation between brothers. Let's just say I made it clear how royally he screwed up," Lucas replied, a soft chuckle leaving his lips.
Jasmine smiled. It made her feel gushy on the inside that Lucas would give his brother a piece of his mind on behalf of Jasmine's best friend. He definitely wasn't the heartless bad boy people claimed him to be. "Are you going to run away from me if I ask you a super personal question?" she asked, smiling sheepishly.
Lucas sighed and waited a few seconds before answering, thoroughly thinking about her question. "Sharing information isn't really my thing, princess, but I'm feeling kind of relaxed today. Maybe I'll make an exception," he eventually stated.
Nodding, Jasmine turned around in his embrace until she was sitting in his lap, her chest pressed flush against his. She needed to be able to watch his face, see the emotions reflect in his eyes when she asked her question. Lucas looked a little uncertain before his impassive look returned.
"If it's too much, tell me. Don't block me out and run away from me. It'll hurt my feelings," Jasmine warned as she caressed Lucas' cheek with her hand, tenderly stroking his skin. Physical contact seemed to relax Lucas. He nodded and pressed a feather light kiss against the inside of her wrist.
"We both know you're a good person," she started, pressing her index finger against Lucas' lips when he started to protest. "You've got a kind heart and take care of the people that matter to you. Don't deny it, Luke. You might think I don't realize it, but true bad boys don't protect girls from biker gangs. They don't cuddle with them, kiss them without asking anything in return or comfort them when they're feeling down."
Lucas just stared at her, his eyes piercing hers as he let Jasmine's words process in his mind. "You claim you don't give a rat's ass about your brother, yet you give him advice and watch him from the sideline. Maybe no one else notices, but I know you watch out for him. You say you don't care about your parents' approval, yet you come down for dinner when you know your mom needs you there. You join on a family trip that only makes you feel miserable because your grandmother wanted you there."
Jasmine waited a heartbeat before asking: "Tell me, why does your mother think she failed you? Why did you change so much and push them all away? Why did you need that brick wall around you to protect yourself?"
It was a tricky question – scratch that it was a tricky subject! Lucas was known to shut down when asked personal questions. He'd start yelling, stand up and leave or just snicker and throw out a few snarky remarks. Jasmine fully expected him to do either of those things, instead she was met with eerie silence. It made her heart stand still for a second.
The serious look in Lucas' eyes was one she didn't know, nor one she could read. He didn't crack a joke or smirk. Instead his eyes stayed focused on hers, their blueness seemed like an infinite ocean, an ocean in which she started to drown. Lucas reached out to push a loosened strand of hair back behind her ear as he watched her closely.
"In a way my mother did fail me, but I don't think she understands," Lucas said, his lips pressed into a thin line. "It's a long story."
"I've got all the time in the world," Jasmine replied softly, eager to know more. Lucas was a mystery to her, a puzzle she might finally understand after tonight. In a way she needed him to explain everything to her, so she could finally understand him and embrace his inner demons. She was desperate to know the real Lucas.
"As a teenager I was a fairly popular kid. I was doing well in school, my grades were high and I probably would've gotten a football scholarship if I hadn't ruined it all. I had lots of friends, was captain of our football team and dated the head cheerleader. You'd think it couldn't possibly get any more cliché," Lucas said with a wry smile.
"It could. It was a Friday, I'd just turned seventeen a day earlier, when I walked into the men's locker room. I forgot my jacket and didn't want to leave it at school for the weekend. The memory is still vivid in my mind. I don't think it'll ever fade. My so-called best friend was driving his dick into my girl, her nails scratching his back as she begged him to go faster," Lucas explained, leaving out no details. Jasmine gasped, her heart constricting painfully in her chest.
"I loved her, you know? I truly did. Cathy was my first everything, the first girl I ever wanted at my side. She was the woman I wanted to come home to every night, the woman I wanted to marry and the woman that would bear my children. Josh Carter screwed that up. He didn't just stab me in the back, he repeatedly beat me when I was already down. I thought he was my best friend, turns out he'd always envied my success and was just jealous. I swear I would've killed him with my bare hands if I hadn't chosen that exact moment to run out of that locker room, take my bike and drive off."
"I was so furious, I didn't know what I was doing until suddenly I halted at a bar and started ordering drinks. The scotch kept flowing, I can't remember how much I drank, but I know it's a wonder I didn't have alcohol poisoning. Barely able to stand I fell asleep just outside the bar. A few hours later I woke up and still in a haze, I took my bike and drove home. I was in no state to drive, but I did it anyway," Lucas admitted sheepishly as he ran his fingers through his messy onyx locks.
"When I arrived home my dad was still awake. It's an understatement to say he was furious. We got into a fight. He didn't let me explain anything, just started throwing snide remarks at me. I tried to tell him what happened with Cathy, but he wouldn't listen. He hit me…hit me straight in the face," Lucas stated, disbelieve laced in his tone as he turned his head to the side and stared off in the distance. "He'd always been hard on me and Nate, but he'd never physically hurt either of us."
A tear escaped Jasmine's eye as she watched Lucas crumble in front of her eyes, his body shaking violently. "I was so shocked. I didn't think he would ever physically hurt me. I don't remember much of that night, but I do remember that part, vividly even. After his blow, I turned around and ran outside. Dad didn't even follow me. He just let me leave the house without another word."
"I drove mindlessly around town until I finally halted at the bar I'd left only hours before. That's where I met Hank. He saw me walking in, completely wrecked and offered me a joint. I was so furious at that point, I just wanted to rebel and took him up on his offer. I got high as the sky that night – or should I say morning?" Lucas trailed off.
"When I finally came down from my high, Hank dropped me off at my parents' house. My mother gave me another speech about reckless behavior. She didn't even ask what was wrong. Why I was acting so weird. She just pushed me deeper and deeper into the endless hole I'd already fallen into. You want to know when I really flipped the switch and decided I was done with my family?" Lucas asked, not waiting for an answer before going on.
"The moment she defended my dad's behavior. She literally told me things had gotten out of hand and my father made a mistake, but he meant well. It was the final straw. She stood by my dad, had his back, when he hit me. I didn't understand how she could do that, I still don't understand."
Lucas smiled sadly as he rested his head against Jasmine's and stared into her eyes. "That day I completely lost track of my priorities. I started skipping classes, quit football, started drinking and smoking. I hung out with Hank and his boys, pushed away all the good in my life. I no longer wanted to be a good son. Ironically the only person that kept fighting for me was Nate," Lucas explained, sounding saddened.
"I didn't want to drag my brother into the shit I'd gotten in. I had totally lost my way and didn't want Nate to follow in my footsteps. I knew he'd stand by my side, but he deserved better. At the time, Nathan was dating this bitch. She'd tried to hit on me more than once, but I'd repeatedly turned down her offers. Nathan never knew. I came up with a plan to get her naked in my bed. Everything worked out, Nate walked in when we were both stark naked and immediately concluded I'd fucked his girl. I never did. I don't touch what belongs to another man," he stated with conviction.
"My plan worked. I pushed Nathan successfully out of my life by making him believe I'd betrayed him and he dumped the girl. He was way better off without her. What kind of person cheats on her boyfriend with his brother of all people? It's fucked up," Lucas exclaimed, shaking his head.
"So yeah, that's why I built the walls around me. Looking back, Josh nor Cathy were worth all of this, but it happened and I can't change it. My parents let me down when I needed them the most. It's something I probably won't ever forgive them for, not entirely. Nowadays, my mom keeps asking me what happened to me, but when she had her chance to talk to me, she screwed up."
Jasmine stayed silent for a few minutes, processing what Lucas just told her. It all started to make sense. She never understood why Lucas would betray his brother in such a coldhearted way when it was obvious he still cared deeply about Nathan. She didn't understand his hatred towards Frank, while the man didn't seem to be a bad person. She just didn't understand him and now she finally did. It felt…exhilarating.
Relief washed over her, knowing her gut feeling about Lucas hadn't been wrong. He was a good person, he just made a mess out of his life because he couldn't deal with the pain of losing two people that clearly meant a lot to him. It was so sad. Looking up she caught Lucas' eyes, trying to keep the pity out of her own. She knew he'd forever hate her if she showed him pity.
"You should tell Nate," Jasmine eventually said. "He deserves to know the truth. It's obvious he still loves you so damn much. He just doesn't understand what he ever did wrong that you would betray him like that."
"I can't tell him, princess. I didn't hurt him for no good reason. I don't want Nate to throw away his future. I don't want him to start rebelling against my parents when I tell him my story. He shouldn't be involved with someone like me," Lucas clarified, his tone leaving no room to argue.
"And what kind of 'someone' are you?" Jasmine decided to ask, curious to know his answer.
"A good-for-nothing, someone that threw away his future because someone betrayed him. An idiot. An alcohol drinking, smoking biker. A low-life," Lucas ended, his true insecurities showing.
Jasmine shook her head. "You know what I see? Someone that went through some shitty stuff, that loved his brother enough to push him away in order to offer him a bright future, a son that needed his parents, a man with a good heart, someone that got lost along the way and is in desperate need of guidance," she stated, grabbing Lucas' chin and forcing him to look her in the eye.
"You know what else I see?" she added, not giving him time to reply. "An amazing friend, someone you can rely on when you need him the most. I see someone that genuinely cares about me and wants to protect me from all the bad stuff. Someone that has no clue how much he means to me because he's too damn stubborn to notice."
Jasmine expected to get another smartass remark, but was once again surprised to be met with silence. Instead of replying, Lucas hid his face in the crook of her neck and wrapped his arms tightly around her frame, hugging her close. Jasmine was barely able to breath - he held her that firmly.
"Lucas," she started to say, but he held a finger against her lips and shook his head.
"That's enough for tonight. I'm going to pick you up, carry you up the stairs and sleep in your bed. I'm going to hold you all night, spoon you from behind and in the morning, we'll just act like nothing ever happened. When I'm ready to continue this conversation I'll tell you, but that's it for today," he told her before slowly following through with his plan. Jasmine didn't complain, nor did she push him away when he crawled into bed with her or did she force him to talk. She'd gotten way more information out of him than she ever expected and she was going to treasure it.