37: You broke me first
I knew where his spare key was. I lifted the fourth flower pot resting on the window and snatched the key from below it. I don’t know how he could still be so reckless about such things. I unlocked the door and let myself inside. The house seemed empty.
I don’t think Nathan is at home so I need to get started and then get the hell out of here.
I ran towards his bedroom and checked for any paperwork that might be related to what my mother is making him do for her. If I have the information by myself then I don’t need him. I found nothing though. I walked out of his room and into his little office room. The drawers were locked and there were thousands of files placed on the shelves behind his desk. I couldn’t possibly cover them all. I turned around and my hand knocked down a photo frame placed at the corner of his desk.
The glass broke into pieces but the picture remained intact. I carefully picked up the frame without cutting myself. It was a picture from our first date. I was smiling at the camera and he was smiling back at me. I had my arms loosely wound around his waist and his arm was resting on my shoulder. His fingers were lightly tracing my jaw. My head was resting against his chest and the smile on my face was something else. It was one of the happiest days of my life or so I thought. It didn’t take him long to show his real face.
It made me realize that no matter how good you have it with someone it all comes crashing down. If a stranger saw this photo then they might think we are living our happily ever after but that’s far from the truth. And I don’t think I can do that anymore. Put myself out there. Give everything I got to one person in particular who has the power to hurt me the most. After breaking up with Nathan, I stopped getting emotionally involved and now I remember what was the reason.
I’m standing exactly where I was two years ago. Heartbroken and a mess.
“We look good together, don’t we?”
Nathan’s voice startled me and I dropped the frame again. He walked over to the desk and picked it up, not much caring about the glass shards. I didn’t answer him and look away from him when he kept staring at me.
“I was just looking around and I got lost.”
I avoided answering his question because I know he was trying to pull here.
“Give me some credit, kitten. I know every little tell of your body. I know when you are lying and right now you are. It’s okay, I was actually expecting a visit from you. You don’t disappoint. You didn’t think I was stupid enough to leave confidential paperwork for anyone to look around, right?”
He kept staring at the frame and then dumped it carelessly on the desk. I almost jumped at the suddenness of his action. I moved around the desk towards the door but he blocked my path.
“Nathan, what the fuck do you want from me?”
It was said with a tired sigh.
“You know the answer to that.”
He said it without smirking and that gave me the chills.
“And you know I’m not getting back with you.”
I said it in a firm voice to let him know that I’m serious too.
“Oh right, because you are fucking your brother.”
I winced. He snarled when he said “brother” which only made me feel dirty.
“Stepbrother. He is my stepbrother. No blood relation. Just a guy who’s father married my mother.”
“He is a few years younger than me. I thought you liked your men older and wiser.”
He’s such an asshole I don’t know why I ever dated him.
“Don’t talk about him. This has nothing to do with him or my preference in men.”
“Having troubles, kitten? Did you run away because he was getting too close?”
“Don’t call me that and that’s not what happened.”
“It’s why you left me.”
“You are delusional. You always have been. You were controlling and in a relationship with yourself. Even if you knew everything about me you didn’t understand me. You were selfish. You still are and that’s why I left you. Not because you didn’t love me. Sometimes love is not enough, Nathan. Sometimes, a person needs more than that to survive.”
“You are wrong. If you loved the right person then love is enough. It is worth everything. You are worth everything. Anyways, I’ll see you at the wedding.”
He walked over to the door and I stopped right before him.
“Nathan, you have to help me stop my mom from ruining my father’s life. Tell me what you know.”
“Be my plus one for the wedding and I’ll tell you everything you need to know to make her stop.”
“Is this one of your tricks to get what you want regardless of the conditions?”
That earned me a smile.
“No. I want you in my arms tomorrow and trust me your mother won’t be able to do anything about it.”
“She told me if I didn’t stop the wedding she’ll tell everyone about me and Alastair. She is willing to go to the press just to get what she wants.”
“I gave her that suggestion.”
He laughed as he saw my face which I’m sure is in shock.
“What the fuck, Nate?”
“Relax, she thinks by doing that she could achieve something but it’s your word against hers. You are almost nineteen and you’ve only been living with the Stone’s for less than a year. So, she doesn’t have proof or anything valid to file a case against him. There is a fact that she didn’t consider: The Stones. They are powerful businessmen and Grayson Stone isn’t going to let his new wife destroy his reputation. And she won’t go to the media because her reputation is on the line too. And even if she managed to inform the press then I’ll throw money on their tables and the articles will be gone just like that. She is just feeding on your fears.”
“You know this how?”
“I’m a lawyer after all. I play dirty if my clients want me too but because I’m a lawyer I also find loopholes in almost everything.”
“I cannot believe you, Nate. I could have avoided this flight and fight. You could have told me all this on the phone.”
“Then, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of having you inside my house, right?”
“Yeah, I forgot that you loved to play mind games with me. I guess old habits die hard.”
“I don’t remember you complaining. It made you insane but you loved getting tortured.”
“It was toxic. We were toxic together.”
“But we were good and it seems like your old habits die hard too. Jumping from one toxic relationship to another. Real classy.”
“We are done here.”
“We are so not. I’ll be at your dad’s place to pick you up. Be ready by 4 pm.”
“After that, we are done and you better stop my mother from doing whatever she’s doing.”
“Don’t double-cross me, Nate.”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me against his chest.
“Have some faith.”
He pushed a loose tendril behind my ear.
“You are impossible.”
I pulled away from his warmth which felt so familiar.
I was for a second because I got lost thinking about when things were good.
“I’m not smiling and I’m going”
“At least give me a kiss.”
He was still holding my hand.
“Cmon I deserve it. I saw your tongue down your step brother’s mouth. It still gives me nightmares.”
He was laughing at me. He wouldn’t laugh if he knew my feelings about the said stepbrother.
“Stop laughing at me. This is your problem. You don’t take anything seriously.”
“Serious hasn’t gotten me anywhere, has it now?”
He had the answer for everything and it irritated me to no end.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that, I finally pulled my hand off his grip and walked out of his house.
I stood in front of the mirror in a black full-sleeved short dress. I kept staring at myself trying to understand how the hell did I end up here? I walked over to the window and looked out at the view. It was gorgeous. No matter what people say, there is not a place like NYC. I used to belong here. Now, I want beaches and sand below my feet.
How could one year change the person I am?
If I was the Adelyn Stark that Chester knew then I wouldn’t be here attending my father’s wedding, trying to undo my mother’s plans, running away from the guy I love and forgiving the person who once hurt me.
I was not this person. I couldn’t care less about the consequences. Now, look at me, hiding in my father’s house avoiding the outside world. But I need to take responsibility for my actions. I need to do something instead of sitting here waiting for everything to fall back into place for me.
I walked back to my bed where I threw my phone. I grab it and then finally switch it on. It takes a minute then my phone is buzzing with notifications. I have missed calls and text messages from my mother, Alastair and two of them are from Emeric. I don’t know why.
Without reading the messages I call my mother first. She picks up after two rings.
“Adelyn, where are you? I’ve been calling you for so long.”
“I’m in New York.”
Silence. Pin drop Silence. She didn’t expect that.
“Adelyn, did you forget what we talked about? You better not say a word to your father or we both know what’s going to happen.”
“You don’t have to panic. I’m handling things. He doesn’t have a clue. He just thinks I’m here for the wedding. By the way thanks for telling me that I was invited to his wedding.”
I said sarcastically. I know she would have a perfect excuse for this too or she will straight deny it.
“He’s manipulating you, Adelyn. He’s a liar. He will tell you anything to make me a villain.”
Yeah, that’s how I end up having trust issues. When you can’t tell if your parents are telling you the truth or not then you start doubting everything and everyone.
“Mom, I don’t even know who you are anymore so save it for someone who cares. After this, we are done. You will stop using me in your sick games. I’m doing this for Alastair only. He deserves a life free of scandal and drama that I bring with me.”
“I’ll be flying in tonight. Just don’t let your father make you believe that he cares about you because he doesn’t.”
“Yeah, okay. Whatever.”
My mother is completely lost. She needs therapy and a psych evaluation by a professional. This war between my parents has been going on for years even when they were together and I don’t want to be the collateral damage.
I end the call and press dial on his number. I wait patiently but his phone keeps ringing. I end the call and redial only to get the voicemail once again. Just when I am about to read his text, his name appears on my screen. It takes me a minute to press the accept button.
He asked as if expecting someone else to answer my phone.
“Yeah. Are you kidding me right now? Where the fuck are you? I’ve called you. I texted you. No response. No replies. Your mobile is switched off. Your mom has no idea where you are and all you can say is ‘Yeah’. You wanted my attention. You have it. All of it. I overreacted. All I wanted was some time to think about everything. To think about what the hell are my priorities. To clear my head. You disappeared on me. I told you to not wait for dinner. I never told you to not wait for me ever. I can’t be the only one fighting for this fucking relationship every single time.”
“I’m in New York. I am attending my dad’s wedding. I know I fucked up again but I promise everything is going to be alright.”
“You fucked up but it’s me who gets fucked over every damn time. You left town without telling anyone, switched off your phone and no one has any clue where you went. It is the irresponsible behaviour that gets to me every time. Adults don’t behave like that. We take our time but we don’t run away from confrontations or problems.”
“I’m sorry but don’t patronize me. What more do you want from me?”
“At this point, nothing. I have a very important meeting tomorrow. I have to go. Enjoy the wedding. I’ll see if I can catch you on the television. Goodnight.”
He hung up on me. I threw the phone away. What the hell have I done? Is this what I’m fighting for, a relationship that has already reached its end? We both are constantly making mistakes and right now it doesn’t seem worth it.
Is it over? Was Nathan right? Was my mother right about everything?
I look out the window and the city lights don’t do it for me anymore. Because I’m not a city girl anymore. I neither belong here nor do I belong where he is.
For the first time in my life, I’m questioning myself, my identity. Who have I become?
In the midst of solving everything, I have lost myself.
I know I'm super late with the update and this chapter is not satisfying enough. But it needs to be written. Also, two more chapters left which will be updated in a few hours.
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