Twenty-Two: Second Best
I spilled my deepest thoughts to Ella, things I have told no one, even my mom. The thing that surprises me most is how good it feels to get this off my chest, even if that includes me having a breakdown. I didn’t just lose my girlfriend, I lost my child - the child that no one knows about except me, and now Ella.
Why did I choose to keep it a secret for so long? I don’t have the answers to my thoughts but one can assume that it was to avoid more sympathy than what I’ve received from losing Jade. I’m sick of being the person someone looks at and feels bad for, if everyone knew that I lost a child that day also, I would only become more of a sad problem in everyone’s lives.
Ella is easy to talk to. I feel like I’m actually being heard when I speak to her and she doesn’t pass judgement. I can’t speak to my family about certain things, and when I talk about Jade to Violet she becomes very standoffish. I don’t want to open wounds for her while reminding her of the past love I shared with her cousin. Whether their relationship was strained or not. It feels all kinds of wrong.
“Mason texted me... The fire department is downstairs, working on the elevator, however, turns out a tree had fallen from the storm and knocked out an electric post that your building feeds off of,” Ella tells me while looking at her phone.
I’m grateful to get out of here, I’m beginning to feel trapped with my thoughts which is never a good thing.
Luckily, I have since pulled myself together, readjusting my tie that I had tugged at from my frustrated state. My heart rate has fallen, which is good since it was racing just twenty minutes prior.
I run my fingers through my hair at the realization that we will be returning to reality soon, “Uh... So, thanks for listening earlier. I appreciate it but if we could just keep it between us, it would be great.”
Ella looks at me, her brows raised in surprise at my request, “I would never discuss you’re private business with anyone, Thomas. Not even your family. That’s your place to tell whoever you want.”
It takes nearly another hour before the fire department gets the electronic doors opened and the only way Ella and I can get out of the building is by talking down the staircase which is multiple floors, but at this point I just want out.
I could have reached the bottom quickly but I took my time so Ella wouldn’t be left alone. Her feet had started hurting from her high heels so she had taken them off and was walking carefully down each step.
“You good?” I ask her, offering my hand for help.
She accepts it and nods her head, taking her time down the stairs, “Remind me to never attend one of your events again.”
Her joked causes me to laugh and I nod my head in agreement, “Will do. But, in my defense, this was far out of my control. If you do decide to attend one of my events again, I promise nothing but the best.”
Ella smiles and as we make it to the lobby, I left her hand go, taking in a deep breath of relief. Thank fuck. I wouldn’t have been able to last up there much longer without going insane. I see my brother and make my way towards him.
As I reach Mason, I flail my arms, “What took you so long? The event is over!”
“I had my phone on silent, Thomas. You were the one who made it clear that you didn’t want cellphones interrupting the speeches,” Mason defends himself and he has a damn good excuse, I can’t argue with it.
I’m just frustrated that tonight didn’t go as planned. My eyes search the room and I become disappointed, “Where’s Violet?”
“She left,” Mason tells me, giving his shoulders a shrug, “Said she was tired and would catch up with you tomorrow.”
I close my eyes and groan in frustration. If Violet and I were experiencing some rocky roads in our relationship before, tonight just made it worse. Before leaving to get the cheque, I had tried making amends with Violet for dancing with Ella, but any chance I had of that working or being repaired will now be tainted by me randomly disappearing with Ella following behind.
My first thought it to call Violet and try to explain but I’m not surprised when she doesn’t answer.
“I need to go,” I announce, not giving Mason a chance to respond before heading out the door. Once I call Violet again, this time I choose to leave a message, “Vi, jesus... I’m so sorry. I swear to you I can explain and I will. I’m getting in my car and I’m on my way to see you, okay? Please just hear me out when I get there.”
I hang up and start my car, in a rush to get to Violet before she could assume the worse or even consider leaving me. Though, I wouldn’t blame her. Someone can only fuck up so many times before their significant other decides to leave them. Violet could choose to leave me instead of dealing with my shit and constant drama, but if I can convince her not to, I will.
When I get to Violet’s apartment, I park my car in the back and rush into the entrance. After climbing up each flight of stairs I finally reach Violet’s floor and hurry down the hallway to her door. Stopping in front of her door, I know on the surface and pray to myself that she will answer me.
“Vi... Please answer. I really need to see you.”
It’s quiet for a moment but finally Violet responds, “Thomas, go... I can’t right now.”
“I don’t need you to talk,” I tell her, taking a deep breath and deciding to tell her my thoughts, whether she decides to listen or not, “I know that tonight didn’t go as planned and I’m sorry, okay? I messed up. I swear to you that I didn’t intentionally get stuck in the office. All I wanted was for you and my mom to hit it off, I wanted her to love you as much as I do...”
Fuck... Fuck! I didn’t just say that. No, I couldn’t have. It’s too soon to love her, or anyone for that matter. I said it as a habit for all of the times that I apologized to Jade, I would always apologize and tell her I love her and the words just rolled off my tongue.
It isn’t that I don’t love Violet, I’m just not there yet. I care deeply for her but this isn’t supposed to be the moment I tell her that I love her for the first time.
“Fuck me,” I mumble under my breath, hating myself for being such a fuck up in this moment. I had come here to convince Violet to hear me out, not to express my undying love like fucking Romeo and all of that Shakespeare shit.
I hear the door unlock and as it slowly opens I begin to see Violet looking at me with her brows furrowed in confusion. It’s clear that she had been crying based on the makeup stains beneath her eyes, “Did you...”
“I... I don’t know.” I tell her, looking down uncomfortably and shrugging my shoulders. Honesty is the best way to approach this situation even if honesty caused me to lose her all together, “I wasn’t intending on saying that. It wasn’t like I planned on coming here and saying things that change everything, Vi.”
“So you didn’t mean it?” She asks me.
I flail my arms in frustration, becoming confused with myself and the situation, “I don’t know, Violet. That isn’t an easy word to throw out there and it slipped... I know that I’m falling for you. My feelings get stronger every single day, but...”
“But I’m not Jade.”
“No, you’re not.” I say without really thinking my answer through.
“I think it’s best that we end this with no harsh feelings,” Violet suggests, beginning to close the door but I quickly stop her. She rolls her eyes and looked at me, annoyance in eyes, “Thomas. I’m not going to compete with Violet for the rest of my life. I am done being someone’s second best...”
“You’re not second best,” I quickly defend myself, wanting Violet to know just how much she means to me. It doesn’t seem like she sees that at all, “Jade isn’t here anymore. It kills me every fucking day to think that I won’t see her again, but it’s my reality. Jade is gone and I’m going to miss her forever, you knew this when you met me so don’t expect me to just stop loving her because I never will. She was my first love, Violet. She helped me get past so much shit and she made me feel like I could be something. I’m going to go to my grave loving Jade, but that doesn’t mean that while I’m still on this Earth that I can’t love someone else. People can have more than one love in their lifetime, right?”
Violet falls silent from my speech and I wonder what she’s thinking. Is she going to slam the door in my face? Maybe, just maybe, my speech worked. It is all true. I’m not going to let any woman in my life think that my feelings for Jade will disappear because they won’t, I’ve learned that over the past 4 years. But when it comes down to it, Jade isn’t competition because she isn’t here anymore.
If Jade were here, there wouldn’t be a competition anyway. I would choose her every time, in a heart beat, in a blink of an eye. She would have always been my choice and my choice is gone.
“What about Ella?” Violet breaks the silence, raising her brow at me as her arms fold over her chest.
I shrug my shoulders, unsure what she means by that, “What about Ella?”
“Do you... Do you have feelings for her?” She asks me and her question takes me off guard.
Ella? No way. I would never have feelings for Ella, she’s not only an old high school acquaintance, but she’s also my employee, “Jesus fuck, Violet. No! I have never even looked at her with an ounce of attraction. I promise you that she hasn’t even crossed my mind romantically.”
“She’s really pretty, Thomas. And she’s nice...” Violet’s words trail off, “Maybe she’s good for you. She could be the person to help you get through this.”
A frown appears on my face and I have no idea where this conversation is going at this point, “Why are you pushing me away? Why don’t you want me to fight for you to see that I care about you and only you? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Because I’m no good for you, Thomas. This isn’t even about you anymore, okay? It’s about me and I don’t think I can be with you. Not now after everything that has happened... You deserve happiness and I can’t... I can’t give that to you.”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
I have never been broken up with before. Even when Jade tried pushing me away I never considered it a breakup because I wouldn’t let her leave me. I couldn’t be without her and she was my girlfriend even through the times when she didn’t want to me.
Violet shakes her head, “I’m telling you to get out of this before a bad situation becomes worse. We go out separate ways now and it could save us both a lot of hurt.”
“What are you hiding?” I ask her straight away, “The only reason we wouldn’t work is if there’s something about you that I don’t know because I’m not afraid of falling in love with you. It’s getting there and I know that I could love you my whole life. I just need the time to allow those feelings to develop fully. So give me a reason why I should walk away right now.”
My eyes stay on Violet’s as I wait for an answer and when she speaks, everything is validated, “I can’t.”
“That’s what I thought.”
With that being said, I step towards her and tilt her chin upwards so she’s looking at me. I press my lips against her in an aggressive but passionate manner. I best express my feelings through intimacy, because I want to show Violet just how much I care. Just how deeply I feel for her.
I step into Violet’s apartment as I pull my shirt off and I can feel her kissing me back just as forcefully, reassuring me that she wants me also.
We both want each other so why would we give up on something that has potential to be something so damn good?