Chapter 12: Mixed Signals
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Rand Aldo- Between Moments) & (Christian Reindl- Let this be the end)
“I’m begging you!”
That’s all I remembered the day I left her.
The day I left her on the sidewalk, bawling for her only daughter to come back and fix her.
The problem was, I hadn’t come back.
I hadn’t come back for a long time.
For months, I forced myself to forget my old life. I forced myself to forget her.
The woman who brought nothing but heartache and pain.
The woman who was supposed to protect me and failed.
We don’t say anything when we find ourselves in my hospital room, alone.
Hailey and David dutifully left when they realized this was a conversation they shouldn’t interfere.
Somehow I felt like that was a bad mistake.
I’m on the bed, my hands folded in on myself while she lounges on the chair in front of me, fingers in knots.
How could I speak to her?
What would I say?
There was absolutely nothing I could think off.
A chair scrapping against the marble floor makes me look at Veronica who gets up and glides around the room towards my bedside table where the flowers are.
They’ve long wilted but I don’t have the heart in me to get rid of them.
“You have many friends.”
Her voice renders me speechless. It’s been so long since I last heard it.
Somehow, I find it in me to answer. “Not like they gave me any choice in the matter.”
Being friends with them was not on my list but hey, life works in mysterious ways.
“They must care for you a lot, although one of them brought grass.” She picks up a bouquet wrapped in different shades of greenery.
“That’s Evan’s.” He didn’t know what flowers I like and while the others brought roses, sunflowers, orchids and other colorful ensembles, the younger twin decided I might not like flowers and chose grass.
“A boy?” Veronica turns and raises an eyebrow at me.
I can’t help but roll my eyes. “Yes, Veronica, it’s the 21st century, girls are allowed to be friends with guys now.”
She doesn’t rise up to my insult because her gaze has landed over a single dark purple flower.
I hadn’t notice it was there, how did she?
Veronica gently picked it up, the expression on her face lets me know she’s confused as she is thoughtful.
Out of all the bouquets on the table, somehow, that flower stood out to her the most.
The flower itself was shaped oddly in a dome-like swirl. Tiny purple petals bloom all around the mouth of the tip before branching out further down the stem.
It was beautiful I admit.
But why that?
“I’m surprise this is here.” She stares at the flower in serene tranquility. “You have someone that is asking for forgiveness.”
“I have what?”
Veronica releases a small smile at my confusion before handing it to me. “That’s a purple hyacinth. The person is saying; ′I’m sorry, forgive me.’”
My mind blanked at the new information. Who could be asking that?
“Is there a note on it?” Sitting up, I peer through the other flowers and took out card after card, making sure to list the names that gave them to me so I won’t get confused.
There was no note.
Not for this flower.
My fingers graze over the bright petals, the colors bringing me a strange sense of calm as I continued to stare at it.
“This must be recent.” Veronica informs me, her voice distant in my echoing brain. “It’s the brightest among the rest.”
I have to give her some credit, she knew what she was talking about.
Come to think of it, I do remember times when I was younger about how she would collect flowers and display them all over the house.
She even had a book full of them just so she could keep track.
I’m surprised she-
“Oh my god.” Clutching the flower fervently, I cast a widened gaze towards the other flowers on the table before going back to the hyacinth.
It was the brightest. There was no hint of wilt like the other flowers. No hint of drooping petals.
Or at least, he was.
I can’t stop the dizzying smile that appears on my face at the mere thought of it. It was stupid and not worth anything at all but damn it, I was happy.
“What’s wrong?” Veronica takes a step back and peers at me, confused by my sudden cheerful mood.
“Nothing,” I shake my head and gently placed the flower down by the table. “I just remembered something that’s all.”
“I don’t think that smile was for a memory.” The corner of her lips turn up and her tone takes in a teasing one. “Who’s the lucky fella?”
“Someone I’m absolutely annoyed with.” That was the truth. If he comes back-no, when, he comes back, I’m going to wring his neck for leaving.
Veronica laughs, her voice warm and inviting.
I never heard her laugh.
Not since the tragedy.
She stops when she notices I’m staring.
“Vanessa?” The conflict in her eyes are clear.
I exhaled slowly before straightened my arms over my crossed knees. “It’s been a year. Almost, a year. We didn’t leave on good terms, if you remember...”
She was so drunk and intoxicated that day that it disgusts me just thinking about it.
Veronica realizes we’re about to have the conversation now and promptly sat down on the lounge chair beside me, head down.
“I... I remember.”
So she did.
She did remember how I left her.
“Truth be told it was hazy but there was one thing that stood out to me the most whenever I thought back about it.” Her dark eyes find mine.
“You’re father’s Bike.”
“He wasn’t going to use it anymore so I figured I could breath some life into it. Make it alive again.”
“I’m glad you decided to do that.” She leans back on the lounge chair, red hair falling in waves. “If it were up to me, that piece of junk would have stayed rotting in the garage.”
“Then it’s a good thing, I took it away before you could.” I snapped, offended by how carelessly she threw her husband’s prized possession aside.
Veronica shuts her eyes and exhales before opening them again. “I’m sorry... It’s just every time I see something that reminds me of him, I get so angry-”
“Veronica, it’s been 7 years.” It sounded so harsh when I said it like that but I couldn’t help it. She needed to stop living in the past. “Dad killed himself on the 1st of January, my birthday, so if you think you’re angry, think again.”
The intoxicated Veronica would have cursed me for speaking so bluntly. The Veronica in front of me is reduced to nothing but silence.
“You saw it didn’t you?” She shakes. “I know you never told me but I saw it in your eyes. You saw him on the ground.”
“I watched it happen.” A breathless scoff escaped me. “I watched him jump and I crawled to his body and sobbed.”
She hitched in a breath and buries her head into her palms. “I wasn’t strong enough an-and I left you by yourself-”
“You didn’t just leave me Veronica.” Shaking my head, I release a bitter laugh. “You abused me. Physically, emotionally, you tore down everything.”
After so many years of harbored feelings it’s finally out in the open and I’m not holding back.
She deserves to know.
She deserves to know what I became and who I am now.
“Why did you do that? Why did you do that to me, I was only 13. I was 13 and the only family I had left was suppose to protect me why didn’t you protect me?”
“Vanessa it was a mistake.” Veronica begs, hands clasp together in a plea. “I know it was a mistake, I shouldn’t have done it, I shouldn’t have abandon you. I was weak a-and...”
“Don’t, you dare!” The volume of my voice was rising. My limit was reaching. “Don’t you dare victimized yourself!”
In my mind all I could see were the memories of living in that house.
The house that would hold Veronica’s drugs, her flings and even the occasional raids from the people she owed money from. “You don’t deserve that, you don’t deserve anything.”
Clutching my fists, I feel my anger boil. “Not when one of your boy toys had come into my room and tried to rape me.”
The memory was bitter. It was the event that pushed me into getting in contact with Jonas.
“Where were you Veronica? You were passed out on the couch, a needle stuck in your arm. You’re daughter was screaming for your help and you never answered!”
Her silence is all I get but when the tears fall, I know my words have truly hit home.
“I got him to stop, by smashing a beer bottle on his head.” The prick had gone unconscious almost immediately and I packed a bag before leaving the house and staying with Hailey.
“If I stayed any longer, I wouldn’t have let him live, I would’ve killed him.”
The dark slithering feelings are coiling around my throat, squeezing and squeezing until I feel my ears go numb.
“You were right, you weren’t strong enough to protect me. You weren’t strong enough to get over your grief. But I was.” Determination laced in my words as I pointed a jabbing finger to the covers in front of me. “I stood up for myself, I made my path, I cleared it.”
“So why are you here Veronica? Why are you back here after everything you put me through-”
“It’s because I love you!” Her cries crack the room and a loud sob is followed.
My anger dies out.
“You don’t know what happened after you left. You don’t know what I did to get sober. To get clean. I wanted to see you. I wanted to do everything I could, to get back to you but you were already gone.”
“There was no point saving a person who didn’t want to be saved.” I tell her bluntly, remembering just how eager she was with the money. “You broke me Veronica.”
“I did. I know I did.” She nods, tears stream down her face. “Nothing in this world will ever make you forgive me but I just had to see your face. I just had to tell you I was sorry. I’m so sorry, baby girl...”
The sobs eventually struck something in my heart and I feel my own emotions battling it’s way to the surface.
“I don’t know how to trust you.” The fear of being hurt is overwhelming and as I cried, she cries too. “How can I trust you, Mom?”
“I don’t know.”
The two of us broke down into tears and the sobs echoed the room.
There we were.
A woman who lost her lover and husband.
A girl who lost both her parents to their desires.
Around late evening, Mason walks into my hospital room.
For a second the heir of BourneFell frowns before he steps forward to scan my swollen red eyes.
“Nothing,” Rubbing my eyelids, I sniffled and did my best to look normal only to fail terribly. “Today has been quite an emotional wreck for me.”
“I can tell.” He sits himself by the foot of my bed and twists his torso so he could view me at an angle. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, not really.” Sighing, I ran my fingers through my hair and leaned back so I was half laying and half sitting. “It’s just hard to wrap my head around it.”
Finding out Veronica got sober and clean just so she can see me again is both terrifying and shocking.
How was I suppose to speak to the woman who abandon me to the wolves?
Despite telling me she’s trying, I still feel doubt. Doubt that she never did change. That it was all an act.
But at the same time, one part of me wants to welcome her back. The part of me that still loves my Mother.
“Hey,” Mason moves forward and captured my hand in his. He doesn’t let go when I don’t respond, instead he tugs it slightly so I’m brought to his attention. “One step at a time alright? Just like walking.”
“Just like walking.” Exhaling heavily, I straightened my spine and looked at Mason with guilt.
He’s been with me throughout my recovery and although he smiles, I know the pain he’s hiding inside.
The pain of watching someone he likes not recuperate the same feelings.
“You shouldn’t be doing this.” My voice echoes the room, the temperature around us, dropping. “I know how you feel for me and it’s not fair.”
Mason glances down at our hands and doesn’t remove it even as he speaks. “You’re right, I shouldn’t be doing this, but I can’t stop, is that wrong?”
“Depends on how you view it I guess.”
He releases his grip and sadly smiles. “I know you don’t feel the same way Vanessa. But there must be some part of you... some part of you that looks at me as more then just a friend.”
Averting my eyes, I toyed with the covers and felt my breath catch in my throat.
It was true.
I couldn’t view Mason as just a friend.
What he and I shared was simple compare to what me and Thomas go through.
I don’t feel the same way for him but at the same time...
“What are we Mason?”
“We’re everything we can be.” He frowns at the question and confusingly shrugs. “Allies, friends, lovers... We can be anything for each other at any time.”
At any time.
Mason doesn’t explain further then that.
It takes the heir of BourneFell great willpower to change the topic and be back to business.
“You said if we have any leads on Thomas, you wanted to be the first to know.”
“So you found him then?”
Bouncing in my seat, I gave him a diligent frown. “What do you mean? Is he okay?”
Mason shakes his head. “We don’t know yet. But Elios got a call from someone that he might be hanging around in Brooklyn.”
“What the hell is he doing so far out there?” Biting my lip, I mirrored a frustrating expression but kept my cool. “Will you be able to find him?”
“All of us are driving out later just in case we do but that leaves you alone so-”
“I’m not made of glass, Fell.” Rolling my eyes at their protectiveness, I can’t help but be bitter. “I’ve thrown people double my size around before, so don’t be worried about me.”
“That’s exactly why I’m worried.” He stands up and moves around the bed, features soft. “Don’t get into any other trouble.”
“That’s what you said before and Karen attacked you.”
“Hey, that was uncalled for!”
He reaches forward and captures my face in his hands, bringing us impeccably close. I halted my words and watch his green blue eyes swirl with affection.
“Stay right here okay? We’ll bring him back. I’ll, bring him back.”
My fingers wrap around his wrists before squeezing them comfortingly. “Bring yourself back too,”
The heir of BourneFell grins, showcasing his lost charm before leaning forward and kissing me gently on the cheek. “Mixed signals,”
“No, I’m not!”
He laughs when he breaks away from me and I threw my pillow at his chest, watching it land harmlessly on the floor.
“See you later Nessa,” He winks and then he was gone, leaving me in my 5 star hospital room.
I stared at the spot that he once was for a long time before releasing a heavy sigh and glancing at the purple hyacinth at my bedside table.
While the boys chased another lead, I’m stuck in here like a potato couch. There wasn’t even a confirmation if Thomas was there or not.
We were relying on blind intuition.
There was only one way I can find him.
I’ll have to speak to Marlen.