Chapter 5: Amaya
I could feel those eyes on me before even forcing myself to look up to them. With Aaron going in there, I knew he wouldn’t take too long to come out here to see if I’d be willing to speak to him, I just thought, or rather hoped that there was going to be more time. When those eyes are on me I get these urges, it could be just me wanting to be in his arms or me wanting to kiss him until I physically can’t do it any longer. It’s so hard to ignore that feeling when it calls to me.
I force myself to look up into those eyes that used to make everything better as they simply just aren’t doing that anymore.
My stomach flips as the image of her lips connecting with his own gets plastered in my brain, making me numb one moment and absolutely livid the next. I’ve never been this broken before and it’s hard to know that Shawn was the one to do this. It feels as though my heart was ripped out of my chest and curb-stomped to be carelessly thrown back into my chest where it’s not doing the job it so desperately needs.
The pain in those eyes can’t be as strong as I feel right about now, and I really could go for punching something again. But that’s partially why I’m here anyway. I don’t want Aaron anywhere near me if I go on a rage hunt and start to get recklessly stupid as I do half of the time emotions come into play.
My eyes land on the ground as I just stare at the dirt mixed in with the grass. The small buds of flowers that are trying to make it through the cooler days, but remaining strong the whole time. I can make it through the bitter cold too, I’m going to make it through.
“Don’t look away from me,” he asks of me what I just simply cannot give. “Amaya, for the love of God.” That voice is pleading and I can just hear it becoming weaker as my eyes begin to water and I force myself to look back up to him. It’s so hard to even be around him right now. “Are you okay?” I give him a look. “Alright, I know that was a stupid question to ask, but I’m trying here. Just say what you want to say to me, punch me, yell; I don’t care, but I can’t deal with you leaving me again, especially with that look on your face and Aaron wondering what’s going on with you.”
I find myself at a loss for words. I can’t speak about this. My breathing starts to get labored and I know it’s from being this close to him. God, I really can’t be around him like this.
My hands grip the straps on my shoulders from a backpack that isn’t filled with my school supplies before I take it into my hand and pull it to my front. I unzip it before pulling out his jacket that he would always give to me before he finally told me to just hold onto it. When he sees what I’m about to hand him those eyes go wide as if he’s just now realizing that this is actually happening.
“Here,” I whisper while holding the jacket out for him to take. Those precious green eyes closed as he shakes his head, those jet black curls moving with his head.
“I’m not taking that, keep it.”
“Shawn…” I continue to hold it out for him before he's biting down on those lips, making them a bit plumper than they usually are.
“I said to just keep the jacket. And also anything else I’ve given you in the past is yours to keep, I don’t want any of it back.” His hands run through his hair before he moves to rub his neck. “This is just crazy… I can’t just watch you walk out on me again and easily just give, especially when I’ve worked my ass off to get this relationship back. We don’t easily give up on each other, that’s not how we worked and it’s not how we’re about to start working,” his muscular arms crossed over his chest.
“Stubborn,” I blow out. I really can’t do this. It’s killing me softly.
“I’m stubborn, sure,” he says before rolling his eyes and moving closer to me, but I only take that many steps away from him. “You know, I’d rather be stubborn than a coward,” he lets out without a single flood of regret coming through, his aggravation clear in his tone. When I open my mouth to say something he only holds a hand up to stop me.
“Every single time things get complicated you either back down or run from me. You say you love me one moment, the next you push me as far as you possibly can away from you. I thought you wanted this to work, but apparently not, the worst part is that you can’t listen to your heart. You leave me broken and in shambles, this time wasn’t even fully on me, nor was the last time. When it comes to me… you’re best at leaving instead of staying,” he chokes out the end of the sentence which cuts deep, though I try my hardest to brush it off. But my anger from earlier gets the best of me before I glare and shove him away from me, creating some more distance between the two of us.
“Do me a favor and watch over your son, I have something I need to do,” I seethe out while stepping away.
“What, running again?”
“You know what, you can just go and fuck yourself. I don’t need your criticism or anything else from you. I can make it on my own, it makes for far less pain.” Those eyes soften before he tries to move closer but I don’t allow him to get too close. “No. You can stay over there, you’ve made your opinion about me clear.”
“No, Amaya… I didn’t. What I think about you there aren’t enough words in the world that could put justice as to what I feel when I look at you or when my lips are on your own. I am a person that has fallen way too damn hard and that’s tired of getting hurt just because you’re scared. But they say if you play with fire you need to expect to get burned, which I keep getting, yet I can’t stay away from you or give up on the feelings I have for you.
“No matter how much I’m pushed it doesn’t keep me gone. I will never stay gone for long when it comes to you. I love that you’re the person that brought Aaron into this world. I’d give you all I can offer, but you’re too scared to stay, too scared of getting hurt, but you need to consider how many times you have hurt me and remember that I haven’t once left.
“My life began with you, and I want it to end with you. Not having you around felt like I was living a damn hell, wondering if others were going to share moments with you that were half as meaningful or even more meaningful than the moments we’ve once had. No matter what you do I’m not giving up on that, and it’s not just about us anymore, it’s about Aaron too and how he’ll be impacted.
“Now I would never pass up an opportunity to spend time with Aaron, so you can sort out whatever you want to and tell me when you want him back to your place. Lord knows I miss having him around all the time,” his voice becomes small at the end and I find myself not having anything to say, so I only nod. “Well, I’ll go get him so that you can say goodbye to him.”
Shawn moves to go inside the house and I find myself watching after him, every single part of him that I’m going to miss, like the way he’ll plead with me to lay in bed with him. Or how sometimes he’ll randomly just kiss me. The way his beautiful arms feel when they wrap around me from behind and refuse to let go. Who am I kidding, I’m going to miss everything about him.
Damn, he’s become something that I can’t give up so easily. It’s impossible for me in all actuality, especially when he looks into my eyes and I can see just how much pain is there. When I look into Aaron’s eyes too. He’s so much like Shawn that I can’t just overlook it. The eyes. The face. Everything except his hair. It’s like looking at Shawn when he was that age. I just hope Aaron doesn’t turn into me when he grows up.
The warm air blows around me, lightly touching my cheeks while I keep my head up. How does everything fall apart so quickly? A few hours ago we were waking up in bed together as he had stayed the night with us. We each ate breakfast together while Aaron was ready to fall back to sleep at the table. Then we went our separate ways.
I wish Shawn hadn’t come to school after.
“Mommy?” Aaron’s small voice meets my ears before small arms wrap around my leg. A sad smile appears on my face as I hug him close. “Where are you going?” I feel Shawn’s eyes settle on me but ignore him for now.
“I’ve got to go…” Shit, what do I tell him? “...I have to deal with some things that you are too young to understand. When you’re older you will.” Aaron’s lip puckers out into a pout before he reaches up to me. Instead of lifting him as I usually would, I crouch down to his level and pull him into my arms, his wrap around my neck. “You’re going to stay here with Daddy, alright?”
“Kay,” he says in this small voice. “When are you coming back?”
“Not long, Kangaroo. I promise.” I place a kiss on his forehead before a single tear streams down his cheek; my heart tugs in my chest. My hand moves to wipe it away. “Why’re you crying?”
“Feels like it’ll be longer than not long. What aren’t you telling me? Why don’t you stay?” That small and fragile voice meets my ears. I place both of my hands on his cheeks before bringing him closer to me and placing another kiss on his forehead.
“Baby, there’s a lot you’re not going to understand right now. Just know that I love you and I’m not leaving fully though physically I’m not going to be there for now. But Daddy’s going to be there. And you can call me. I’ll see you in a bit,” I kiss his forehead again before standing. “Be good.”
“I will,” he whispers while taking my hand in his own.
“Take good care of him,” I say to Shawn, looking into those eyes.
“I will. Don’t stay gone for long. If I have to chase you down I will… I always will.” My eyes move to stare down at my shoes. “Take care of yourself, if something happens I don’t know what I’m going to do.” I only nod before giving Aaron’s hand one last squeeze and letting it go. The feel of his hand lingering in my own as I walk away from him and Shawn, leaving them on the doorstep to the one place that has truly felt like a home to me.
“Mommy,” I swear I could hear before Shawn’s raspy voice had met my ears telling Aaron it’d all be okay.
I get into Mom’s car that I had to use since it’s not safe for me to bring Aaron onto the motorcycle. I drive down the road just a bit before my phone ringing meets my ears and the car announces that I have an incoming call from Mom. “Great,” I sigh out before answering. “Hey, Mom.”
“Don’t ‘hey Mom’ me, why is it that I got a phone call from the school telling me that you assaulted your old best friend?” Mom’s anger is visible in her voice before I force myself to take in deep breaths.
“She wasn’t my old best friend. And she deserved it.” I know it’s not a good reason or even a reason at all, but she did deserve it. She also had this coming to her. I can’t help if it meant that the school had to call her.
“Do you think this is funny?” she practically growls out.
“No…” I mutter out. Mom sighs.
“Amaya, come to the house. We need to talk, and before you try to get out of it you have two options. Bring yourself here or I go to your apartment as do the Santiagos,” she gives me an ultimatum before I open my mouth about to protest and she can just sense it. “This isn’t for debate.”
“Fine,” I groan out, “I’m on my way now. I don’t need Bethany in my place.” I hang up without allowing her the chance to say anything else. “Damn Mom, making me speak about shit I don’t want to or having that Bitchany in my place. Fucking hell. Does everyone have to screw with everything?”
I find myself on my old street in the span of two minutes, hating the fact that I have to do this and in this house. The moment my old house pops up this sick feeling reaches my stomach as I pull into the driveway and climb out. My feet dragging as I try to convince my brain that this isn’t the place that I worked my ass off to escape from.
“Why didn’t I just tell her to come to my place?” I haven’t been in here since the day Jonah was shot. It’s hard to remember that was a bit over a month ago, and now I’m going here to speak to Mom about my beating a girl’s ass, who yes, I used to be really close with, but even still. Sometimes I can’t control these things, and I was driven.
The door gets thrown open before I even make it to it, revealing Mom with a hand on her hip, leaning to the side just a bit. Her long deep brown hair flowing down her shoulders as those deep blue eyes narrow and this disappointed look is glued to her face. For some reason, I’m just so used to seeing people disappointed that it doesn’t really affect me as much as it should.
I move just a bit closer until I stand right before her.
“Hi M-” she shakes her head before motioning for me to follow her. We move into the house before I close the door behind us and move to the kitchen where she takes a seat and points to the one across from her. I take it without saying a word. She’s got enough to say to me. I’m not going to make it worse just yet.
“It was dumb of you to fight her.”
“I know.” Yeah, it was dumb as hell, but am I sorry? Nope. I’d beat her ass again for what she was doing.
“Fighting shouldn’t be your first option. You’re far better than that… and I know Shawn was involved.” My eyes shoot up to her as she blows out a breath. “Your friendship ended because of him, though it wasn’t on purpose and he didn’t do anything for it to happen. But not once have you ever gotten physical with her, he’s the only one that you’ve ever fought anyone for in school if my memory is correct.” She’s not wrong.
“It wasn’t just Shawn this time around… it was you too,” I force myself to admit as I rest my head in my hands.
“What about me?” Mom asks confused.
“I didn’t punch her, or do anything to her until she wanted to start talking shit about you. I mean, she has been piling it all on me. First, it was Aaron, then it was her kissing Shawn, and she pushed me too much when she wanted to fix her face to say something about you.” I take a deep breath through my nose and let it out from my mouth. I need to calm down.
“She kissed Shawn?” I nod in confirmation.
“And he stood there, frozen. But yeah, she was calling you a slut, whore, and all those derogatory words that I wasn’t just gonna allow her to say. I might not always show it but I do respect you and what you have tried to do for us, it just pissed me off that she could say anything and didn’t know a damned thing about you and your reasons.
“We all have reasons for our actions and although they aren’t always known, that doesn’t mean somebody should be judged without knowing the full picture,” I say before standing up from my seat to pace. “It’s like at that moment I could see what was going on, feel the feeling of my fist connecting with her face, but I wasn’t in full control. I really, really wanted to punch her, yeah, but I didn’t think I was about to actually.”
“Maybe you should speak to your father about that one, he’s been in that spot before,” Mom sighs at the end.
“He told me he was a Panther,” I tell her. I don’t know why I do, but it’s not like it can be taken back now. “Seems you have a type, huh?” I joke around with her before stopping to look back to her.
“Maybe. But it wasn’t because they were bad boys as you’d put it. I mean, your father had a lot in his life, his parents, his brother was all that really had faith in him.” I nod. “And Derrick, well he had a lot too, but I thought he’d be different from what my past was. I never had to worry about him cheating, but there were other things that I had to worry about with him as you know.”
“You mean the fact that he was a dick? I get it, your heart made you blinded to it, and I’m not about to make excuses for Dad or Derrick, but there’s a lot that happened that you might not understand. I don’t fully understand, though I have a lot in common with the two of them. Things are complicated.
“An example is how when I fought Bethany; I had a lot moving through my head, she’s done a lot to me and my day was already going to all hell. I’ve managed to screw over more people in today than I have in a while, and it all started over my confrontation with Bethany. The worst part is that I don’t feel sorry about it.
“When I wore that leather jacket I had an excuse for thoughts like that, but now what do I have? I’m a screwed up person with a four-year-old that I can’t allow to end up like me. How the hell do I do that? And how do I make sure I don’t mess him up?” I ask while still pacing, now running a hand through my hair. The panic is gonna be the death of me I’m sure, but I know to all hell that’s never going to end.
“Honey, there isn’t a set answer to that. If there was a set answer to parenthood, I think everyone would pay to get it. I know I would’ve,” she says before letting out a small laugh. “But you aren’t going to mess up Aaron and you aren’t screwed up. Over all of this time, I’m surprised that you haven’t ended up screwed up.” She hasn’t even heard the part of how my relationship has failed yet.
“But I am. And I’ve managed to screw up Shawn too. Then there’s Aaron, God when he was younger he’d look up to me with those big green eyes and reach for me with that lopsided smile of his. I swear those eyes lit up every time I walked into the room and it used to eat away at me. I made myself promise that if he didn’t gain the knowledge that I was his mom that I’d do anything to keep him safe no matter what. I’d do anything just to keep that smile on his face.” Mom nods before standing from her seat and moving over to me to stand only a few inches shorter than me. When Jonah was still walking around we made a staircase kinda.
“Well I can’t speak on the Shawn matter, but for the others, I most certainly can. Aaron is a happy kid, you’ve kept him that way even when there were times that you came home from what people have literal nightmares about. You’ve always placed him first and I’ve no doubts in my mind that that’s not going to change,” she says before placing a gentle, reassuring hand on my shoulder. My mind travels to those sad eyes when I left Aaron just ten minutes ago, maybe a few minutes longer.
“Before I came here I left him with Shawn at his place and Aaron could tell something was off with me. He asked me why I don’t stay, and those eyes, God those eyes are going to be the death of me in more ways than one.” I let out an uneven breath. Aaron doesn’t deserve what I’ve given him and Shawn… well, it’s not just about that kiss either. I know it, but he most likely doesn’t.
“Why’d you leave?” Mom asks, but I feel like she already has this one figured out and just wants me to open up about my feelings and all that other shit that I like bottled up deep down.
“Because I was angry, I still am. I don’t want him to be anywhere around me if I end up doing something really damn stupid. Well, more stupid than leaving Shawn again, which-” Mom’s wide eyes cut me off.
“Did you just say what I think you said?” I nod slowly. “Why the hell would you do that? Have you ever noticed how happy you are when you’re with him, or how happy he makes Aaron? Even when you place him aside and look at things just for you… I’ve never seen you as happy as you get when you’re with him from anything else. And he loves you so damn much. He’s done all he could to fix things and you give up on him?” I open my mouth to say something but it’s a simple fact. All she just said was true.
“Don’t kid yourself and say it was that kiss because, with you, it’s mostly your brain that does too much for you.” I close my mouth for just a moment and gather what I’m about to say to her. “Think about what your heart wants, as what’s best for you is right in front of you. It’s your life, and your own choice to make though it’s going to impact Aaron too. Just think about what’s going on with your family, it’s up to you and him, nobody else.”
“Putting Shawn and I aside, what would you do? Or want me to do about this? Especially having the knowledge and watching me beating Bethany’s ass in front of half of the grade.” Mom shakes her head before looking to me with gentle eyes, the type I haven’t seen in quite a while. It seems almost foreign.
“Well, I would take some time to think. List the pros and cons of being in a relationship with him and then do the same about not being in a relationship with him. Don’t end up like me with those regrets,” she sighs at the end before I narrow my eyes just a bit in concentration, just trying to read her.
“What regrets do you have?” A great question to start with.
“This isn’t about me,” she tries while moving to walk, but I stop her by grabbing her hand and pulling her towards me.
“Like hell it isn’t, I want to hear those regrets.” She takes a deep breath before looking up to the ceiling.
“I don’t regret having Jonah, but I regret starting that relationship with Derrick as soon as I did. Derrick was a part of a lot of my good memories and was there for me at times when your father wasn’t or couldn’t be. I do love Derrick, but there are multiple types of love, I wasn’t in love with him but rather the idea of him,” she admits while looking down at the ground as though it had the answers to all of her problems. Damn, I wish that were true, I’d stare at the damned thing all day long.
“You never felt for him the way you did Dad,” she keeps silent and continues watching the ground. “Scratch that, the way you still feel about Dad but tried to hide for all this time. Tell me I’m wrong if I am.” Mom doesn’t say a single word, giving me the exact answer I thought she would. But why does she seem ashamed of that? “He never dated her.”
Mom looks up to me with a raised eyebrow.
“The twins’ mom, he never dated her. He said he couldn’t, I’m not going to be the person to tell his business, but I do believe you should speak to him more than just that conversation from when I was over there. It’ll do both of you some good.” Her eyes stay watching the ground as she can’t convince herself to look back up to me. I mean, I guess I can understand that much. I barely wanted to look at anyone else besides a long stare in the mirror and curling up in bed to just allow the tears to stream as hard as the Niagara Falls.
That seems to be the solution for everything as of recently. Either that or running. “Every single time things get complicated you either back down or run from me.” Well, he mightn’t have been so wrong about that. I do leave, but that’s to stop myself from feeling that same broken feeling I once had to endure, it was never about hurting him or making him feel trashy.
Now I’ve managed to do it again even when I promised not to. Great going there. And maybe it was a bit harsh of me to say that I shouldn’t have given us another chance, though what I said after was the wholehearted truth… we both end up hurting when doing this. Eventually, that feeling of wanting to be nothing but numb overbears that feeling of love and appreciation you can receive from this one single person.
I guess it makes me the stupid one to just let go of that so easily when I still feel the urge to punch something… or someone again. I’ve avoided Shawn for the most part as it would result in either me breaking or breaking something in return, that’s the major reason behind me rushing away and placing some distance between not just me and him but me and Aaron.
I can get truly reckless when the emotions get the best of me, everyone that knows me knows that about me. That’s why I don’t understand why Bethany was baiting me for all this long when she knows that I can lose it and the moment that I do it won’t be pretty or good for anyone in my line of destruction.
She’s known this for years. Should’ve figured out that I don’t play all those games and wouldn’t be the type of person to piss off the way she has. She’s a damned fool for this one, and my conscience isn’t much against the feeling that coursed through my veins when I jumped her. All I’ve got to say is that it could’ve been way worse on her, this was me holding back… majorly.
“You know you’re apologizing to her, right?” Mom’s voice pulls me away from my inner demons before I let out a loud groan.
“Why?” I ask with a pout. Nobody can give me that crap about acting your age because well, they can screw off, it’s not an answer but still. I don’t need to explain my reasoning for not wanting to apologize as it’s cut and dry and out there. “Technically, this makes us even. Remember how she tried to pin that thing in the bathroom on me like two months ago, now this time I actually did something. Even. That is that.”
“Amaya…” her voice is that of a warning.
“Yes Mom,” I force out playing innocently with my eyes wide as though I don’t understand anything that I’ve done. I’m just trying my best to get out of this and changing the conversation doesn’t seem to be working this time around, so what am I doing here? I feel like making a run for it might do me better than this.
My eyes move from her to the kitchen door frame, if I make it past there without her catching me then I’m basically free.
“Don’t you even think about that Amaya Santana Wolff,” she says before I stomp my foot on the ground and let out a deep sigh. Dammit.
“Can you stop asking why? All you have to do is apologize to her for attacking her, you do realize that she could choose to press charges on you for this? Did that single thought even move through your head as beat her, you’re 18 years old, they would try you as an adult and if charged you end up in prison, not juvie.
“I’m not telling you to hug and act like you’re still friends, I’m simply telling you to apologize for something that you shouldn’t have done in the first place. There were more options than that and quite frankly, it was irresponsible and stupid as hell to even do. That life is supposed to be placed behind you.” I shake my head.
“Don’t you think I’ve tried that? Really tried that. I can’t just forget what I’ve been through in this house with Derrick and I can’t forget what he’s made me endure either. That life won’t ever be in my past, I’ve changed. I’m not the same as who I used to be, this is gonna be me for the rest of my life you realize. Cuts heal, but scars, nah you’re stuck with those for the rest of your life. And I’ve got a damned good amount.
“I don’t blame you for this though I have enough reason to. You don’t know half of what Jonah and I had to endure when you weren’t around, especially in those matches with those kids that were sometimes younger than us or the same age. We had no choice but to hurt them, and they were terrified. Imagine how that felt being a twelve year old and watching as people bid on you winning or losing and it all meant you either hurt someone or they hurt you.
“It was an endless cycle, there are some kids that I don’t know if they’re even still alive anymore, and maybe I had something to do with that. I mean, I knew the repercussions I went through whenever I lost or that I had to take on for when Jonah lost so that he wouldn’t get the worst of it.
“And I think that has made me realized my reasoning for half of the things that I’ve been placed through and ended up surviving for the best. I’ve got so many issues with me, but those issues have helped to keep not only me alive, but some of the people I love and care about too. I know I’m gonna go to hell for half of what I’ve done and I’m willing to take that if it means keeping those that I care about safe from a bullet intended for myself. A stab meant to take me instead. I’m not scared of that if it means that everyone else could be okay, I’ve known that for quite some time. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have all that many hopes or dreams for that matter…” I trailed off at the end and I could tell it was almost impossible for Mom to stand there listening to me and not say anything as she had no idea what to say.
I guess she’s put together the fact that there’s nothing that she can really do to make me feel better about this one when I’m as hard-headed as both she and Dad put together. And my decision was made on the impact of Derrick, but he did make me stronger with what he’s made us go through over the years. I’d take as many bullets as it’d take for me to be gone before letting someone I care about go in such a violent way.
Especially if it ended up being my fault, that there, is something I know I wouldn’t be able to live with.
“You might not care, but everyone else does. I can’t risk losing you, especially when that shit lands on my shoulders if you do… that’s why the Santiagos are coming over.” My eyes go wide.
“I’m sorry what? I think I heard you wrong.”
“Nope, they’re going to be here in about two and a half hours or so for dinner.”
“Wait, I’m gonna have to look at Bethany’s face while I eat?” Mom’s head shakes in disapproval. “That’s not fair.”
“Life isn’t fair, and you know why I’m doing this.” I take a seat at the table before resting my head in my hands. Damn do I wish I wasn’t here for this.