Chapter 20: Miss
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Lo Mimieux- Nightingale) & (Nate Feurestein- Beautiful Addiction)
Shitty things happen for a reason they say.
Shitty things happen because God throws a stone at you, knowing you’ll be able to take it.
How many more stones does he have to throw left?
How many more stones does he have to throw until I fall to my knees in front of him, bleeding, bruised, screaming; Enough!
No one ever knows.
This was just another one of those stones.
Another one of those... problems.
The cracking of my knuckles make me recoil, voice stuck in my throat, expression pained.
“Shit!” Shaking my left hand, I feel my wrist throb in discomfort as tingles shoot up my arm.
Opening my closed fist, I stared at my palm indecorously as it continued to burn.
The punching bag swayed haphazardly on it’s chain and I reached to stop it with my uninjured hand, feeling the heavy weight settle beneath my fingertips.
“Dammit,” Sighing tiredly, I balled my injured hand and walked over to wrap a towel around it.
“No more secrets!”
“No more! You remember don’t you?! All of you do!”
They should have told me.
“Tell me what happened to her.”
They should said something, anything.
“She was killed.”
Why tell me now?
Why tell me now, when I’m teetering between what is right and what is wrong?
“Because we did it,”
Why tell me when they know, just how fragile my trust already is on a person who I’ve barely known?
“We put a bullet in her head.”
“Vanessa?” Veronica poked her head into my training room, red hair glowing in the after light of the sunset.
“Yeah?” I tried to keep my tone astray from any indication that I was upset as I’m brutally ripped away from my train of thought.
Veronica doesn’t notice my lapse and smiles at me. “Go washed up, we’re celebrating tonight.”
“Oh,” Blinking, I picked up my water bottle and threw my T-shirt over my head as I was walking out. “What’s new?”
“I got a job,”
For a moment, I’m suspended in time.
“Fuck, for real?” I’m so shocked, I barely held my jaw from dropping.
Veronica’s smile never wavered. “For real.”
“Oh my god, that’s great news.” Shaking my head, I let out an excited breath. “Where’s the job?”
“Somewhere in Uptown. There’s a company that had a slot open for Landscape,”
“Shit, Veronica.” After weeks of staying with us and endless encounters with job interviews, she finally did it. She got a job. “That’s great news.”
Crossing the space between us, I wrapped my arms around her neck and pulled her in.
The sudden gesture of affection makes her halt confusingly before her own arms wrap around me.
“Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are.” She joked, sounding like she was tearing up.
Breathing in the scent of her clothes, I find myself burying deeper into her embrace, missing the warmth of someone that cared.
“I’m proud of you,” I say.
Veronica doesn’t respond. Eventually we remained like this for a long time until she understood this was more then just congratulating her.
This was about my gratitude that she was back.
After so many years, lost, my Mom had come home.
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.
The uncertainty of the future.
The thin line of trust between Thomas and I.
The fall of Downtown’s Ring.
Travis involvement with Malorie.
The boys and their willingness to now tell me the truth.
Abruptly, there are tears rolling down my face. They start small first, non-existent, but soon it’s evident I can’t hide this from her when she hears me sniffle.
“Hey? What’s wrong baby?” She asks, me worried beyond belief.
“It’s... It’s nothing,” Wiping my nose with the back of my sleeve, I continued to hug her, not wanting to let go.
“That doesn’t sound like nothing.” Veronica hums, clearly calling out that I was lying. “Did something happened? Was it that boy?”
“No, Mom, god no.” Reluctantly letting go, I leaned back on my heels and wipe the tears hurriedly. “It’s not always about him.”
She doesn’t believe me.
I can see the way her eyes knit together and the frown that mares her forehead.
It’s not always about him. But it is always about everything.
“Do you trust me enough to tell me?”
It was only eight words.
But somehow those eight words were enough.
So taking a deep breath, I watched the sun set and told her my story.
There was no manual to emotions.
No manual to how you live you’re life.
I covered it of course.
Never letting them see what I don’t show.
Evan can smile at me, crack up jokes and I’ll still laugh.
Elios and Matthew can start a food fight in my apartment and I’ll still clean up the mess.
Jared and Victor could try to talk to me, get me to open up and I still would.
But that’s the problem isn’t it?
No matter how open you are. No matter how much you talk with people, converse as though everything else that happened before didn’t matter... it did.
It does matter.
It mattered to me.
When I laugh with Evan, I’m yelling inside.
When I clean up after Elios and Matthew, I’m crying inside.
When I talk with Jared and Victor, I’m begging inside.
Yelling, crying, begging.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know how to fix it.
My mind is plague with thoughts, ideas, everything that revolves around first world problems.
You can say it’s not important.
Everybody goes through the same shit.
Everybody suffers the same as you.
I get that. I really do.
What’s my excuse?
Well, for once, I want it to be me.
I want it to be about me.
No one else.
Am I selfish for wanting that?
If I am, then I don’t care.
I want to be selfish.
I want to care, for me, just this once.
So how am I suppose to convince myself, that caring about yourself is not wrong?
How am I supposed to convince myself, that it’s okay to feel anxious, doubtful, even sad?
“Vanessa?” A knock on my door makes me spin on my chair, one leg propped over the other.
Hailey stands by my doorway, one hand placed against the wooden side. “Was I interrupting something?”
“Nah,” Turning back on my chair, I cleared up my clustered table and balled up notes of scribbled paper that I had been mindlessly drawing. “Just had a lot to think about.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“No, not really,” Sighing, I watch my best friend sit herself on my bed, both hands on her lap. “I don’t want to bother you.”
She nods understandingly. “I’m sorry if I hadn’t been around as much. There’s this big thing in the Office, some big shot manager is about to be shot down from his position.”
I flinched at the word; ′Shot,′ and coughed to disguise the fact.
“Any reason why?”
Hailey shrugs. “Something about someone new stepping in? Who knows, I’m not that high in the food chain.”
“So as long as it doesn’t stress you out, we wouldn’t want you to grow white hairs now do we?”
She threw a pillow at me and I laughed going to pick it up.
“How’s the wound?” I hear her ask after I settled the fallen pillow by the windowsill.
From my window I could see the dark grey clouds looming from above, followed by a bare streak of orange that was the sun setting.
Another day ends.
Another day of no progress.
“Are you cleaning it well enough?”
“Yes, mom,” Rolling my eyes, I lifted my shirt and showcased the now healed wound.
It was a permanent scar now.
Ugly, but well... apart of me.
“Speaking of Moms...” She trails off, standing up to cross her arms over her chest. “I see you and Veronica have been getting better.”
“Yeah...” Frowning in deep thought, I let my mind wander. “A lot of things have happened.”
“Good things, I hope?” She was only asking because she was worried. Not because she was judging me.
I tossed my curly red mane to the side, not caring if it was beyond tangled. “We’re getting better. Not perfect, but definitely better.”
Hailey smiles warmly at me. “That’s great news Ness,”
“Yeah I know... it goes to show, people who lost their way could eventually come back to you.”
Hailey props one elbow forward, chin in hand. “Since when did you get all philosophic?”
Rolling my eyes, I tossed a throw blanket at her and kicked up my feet on the desk. “Since now,”
She smiles at my answer and for a while neither of us say a thing.
It was just silence.
In the silence, I find myself glancing at the room around me and wondering why the hell I was so afraid of it.
After practically going through a life and death situation, I shouldn’t even be afraid of anything.
What’s more scary then facing you’re own death?
But for some reason, despite the nagging at the back of my head that tells me something went down in this room, I can’t seem to remember any of it.
That’s what kills me.
So pushing all my fears and insecurities aside, I’ve been sleeping in the room as though hoping it could jump start my memory.
No such luck.
“Hey,” Hailey taps my hand with my bolster. “You look constipated.”
“Wow,” Shaking my head, I can’t help but scoff at her callous attitude. “Is it really that obvious?”
“That something is bothering you? Yeah.”
Hailey was staring at me expectantly as though it would will me to spill all my dirty little secrets.
She almost succeeded.
Until I remembered this was something I needed to keep from her.
Still, it wouldn’t harm anyone if I did tell her what’s bothering me.
That and it wasn’t good keeping everything bottled up.
“Marlen’s going on trial.”
“Oh.” She pauses, eyebrows furrowed. “I’m so sorry, Ness, I know who he means to you.”
“Yeah,” Glancing down at my fingertips, I rubbed them together. “He uh, he used his last phone call, to contact me.”
This was something I couldn’t bring myself to discuss with the boys.
Not after what they told me about Rose.
So for now, I’ve decided not to tell them.
We promised to be honest with each other.
But it scared me just how far this honesty goes.
“Shouldn’t you be glad, he at least called you?”
“No, yeah, I get it, I am glad it’s just...” Trailing off, I bit my lip and chewed it frustratingly. “I’m not his daughter, Hailey. Why would he use it to call me?”
“I can’t answer that, Ness.” She sighs, leaning forward so her hands clasp in front of her lap. “Sometimes people do things that the rest of us don’t understand.”
“Well this is something I need to understand.” Putting my feet down, I began to pace, two hands running up and down my hair. “After everything that’s come to light lately... I can’t handle anymore secrets. What else is he hiding from me?”
The truth is, I’m afraid of what’s to come.
I’m afraid of the unexpected.
“You could ask him?”
I scoffed. “Getting Marlen to tell me the truth is like pulling teeth from a stubborn mule.”
“Look,” She halts me, one hand raised. “If this worries you so much, have you tried maybe... I don’t know, contacting her?”
“I have,” It was like digging into freshly grounded cement. There was nothing I could find on her. She disappeared entirely.
“Whatever happened to her, Marlen must’ve have done something to hide it because I can’t find anything. Not even a paper trail.”
“Well there you go,” She slides over to my headboard and leans against it. “He doesn’t want you to know. Better let it stay that way until he tells you himself.”
She was right.
I couldn’t invade Marlen’s privacy like that.
It was better to wait for him.
Dejected, I slump over the windowsill and leaned my forehead against the foggy glass.
Elios’s words come back to haunt me.
“Marlen isn’t a good man, I hope you know that. He may be different now but he was nothing short of a bastard years back,”
Maybe he had changed.
I just wasn’t here long enough to know that.
“You know, you can say it out loud.”
Hailey raises a delicate eyebrow at me, the corner of her lips curved into a sad smile. “You can say you’re worried about him. That you care more then you’d like to admit.”
I open my mouth and let it snap back close.
“Come on Ness,” She urged, slightly exasperated. “All this worrying, even an idiot would know you’re hurting.”
I don’t respond but in my silence, Hailey had an answer.
That all I wanted was to help him.
A part of me blamed myself for letting Marlen called the cops during my fight.
But another part of me says otherwise.
It was his choice. Not mine.
“Have you told Thomas about this?”
At mention of the name, I snap my gaze over to Hailey’s whose staring at me as intently as someone would when they’re looking at something microscopic.
“You haven’t have you?”
“Oh come on!” She cried out. “When’s the last time you called him? Texted him even?”
For some reason, my cheeks immediately started reddening. “He hasn’t called.”
“Screw that, this is the 21st century! Girls can call guys!”
“He’s busy with the company, Hailey. Did you forget he’s Graymoore’s heir?” I commented lamely.
“All the more reason,” She snorts. “Guys like that? They need to be reminded about staying grounded.”
“I don’t want to bother him.” Stupid, but true.
I realized it must have been the wrong thing to say because my best friend was now looking at me as though I’ve eaten a slice of her imaginary pizza.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “You’re an idiot.”
“You’re an idiot!” Scrambling off the bed, she strode over to me and pointed a bony finger directly at my nose. “Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you feel this way because you haven’t, contacted him?”
“I’m a grown woman Hales, I don’t need to run to him for help when a spec of a problem appears.” I glowered, not wanting to back down from the truth she pushed at my face.
“Unfortunately for you,” She pauses dramatically. “A spec of a problem can get as big as an inferno!”
“You don’t know what you’re saying.” But even as I say this, my voice betrays my intention.
Hailey pinches the bridge of her nose and takes a deep breath before shutting her eyes.
The silence that stretched after that was more ominous then death itself.
I was debating if I should run or jump out the window.
“Listen,” She begins, exhaling slowly. “I get it. All this is new. You’re in a relationship now and-”
“We don’t have a title-”
“Seriously? If you don’t shut up, I will stick my shoe in you’re mouth.”
I reared back and bit my lips close at her threat.
She stares down at me as though expecting a fight but when she sees I’m not going to do anything she continues.
“Whatever you’re feeling right now, it’s all new. You’ve never been in a relationship before and that’s okay. People learn as they go.”
“I have been in a relationship.” I defended.
“Jonas, does not count,” She retorted, silencing me at once. “You were more like strangers with benefits.”
Throwing my hands up, I crossed them over my chest and sulked as she continued to berate me.
“I shouldn’t even be advising you considering I had a poor relationship before but that doesn’t mean I’m dumb. You’re supposed to be talking, Ness, you’re supposed to be open.”
“I am open!”
“No you’re not. Spending time in this room, planning, is not going to get you anywhere. Not everything is about strategy. This isn’t the Ring. It’s reality, where people have feelings, you, have feelings.”
“Fuck, I don’t know Hales!” Suddenly I’m vulnerable. I’m in new territory without a map or a guide. “I don’t know how to act anymore! Should I act like this, should I act like that, I don’t know!”
“What are you afraid off?”
“I’m afraid of fucking things up! Hailey, the guy I like carries a shit load of baggage. I, carry a shitload of baggage. You can’t tell me that isn’t a train wreck waiting to happen!”
“That’s where talking comes in. You’re supposed to be honest. Not talking to each other for more then a month after the big confession is not doing anyone favors. He must be running out of his mind over there.”
“Then you tell me what to do!” Glaring at her, I gritted my teeth. “You tell me how to act!”
“Simple,” She folds her legs and sits down in front of me. “Be yourself. Just because you’re together doesn’t mean you’ll start acting differently. It just means you now have a person backing you up.”
For the first time in a long time, I’m speechless.
It was so simple.
Hailey shakes her head in annoyance before holding out her hand. “Give me you’re phone.”
“Give me you’re phone!” She won’t take no for an answer and I reluctantly give it her.
In one fell swoop, she unlocks the pass code and begins typing.
“Done.” She tosses my phone aside that it bounces against the bed and lands on the floor.
Worried at what she’s done, I lunged for it and swiped the screen, a screech lodging itself in my throat when I saw what she did.
“Delete it then,” She challenges. “Delete it and prove me wrong.”
I’m suspended in time as I looked between my best friend and the device I held.
This happens almost a dozen times before I groan and switched it off, much to mortified to comment about the issue.
Even through my closed lids, I hear and feel her smirking.
“At least now you can’t complain that you didn’t try.”
Peeking at her, she smiles a Cheshire grin and folds her arms. “Thank me later.”
Sighing in desolation, I mumbled a small prayer and wished the three little words across the glowing screen of my phone didn’t reflect what I felt inside.
I miss you.
I miss you too.
A/N Oh god, they’re cute. It’s been a while, mind telling me you’re thoughts? I know I haven’t been consistent and that’s my fault.
Hope you loved this chapter.
“Never be afraid of telling the person you love, you’re feelings. Relationships work both ways. You have to be honest with each other and communicate in order for it to work,”