I do care about him, maybe more than I can express. However, I don’t know about love. Maybe care has taken the place of love.
I just don’t know.
The thought of something happening to him scares me. He matters to me, always did, and always will.
Since Alec has got back into my life, things are getting more complicated for me. I am not like my old self, yet I feel different around him.
Day by day everything is just becoming so overwhelming, the more I think about it, the more confused I get.
Why my mind keeps on thinking what if nothing would have changed between us, what if we have just stayed friends like we used to be. Maybe then he would not have left me... maybe then everything would have been fine.
Sometimes, I wish I never had fallen in love with him. At least then, I could have been with him when he needed me the most.
My thumb hovers over his name, as I contemplate whether to call him or not. I want to talk to someone. Who am I kidding? I want to talk to him... but then I don’t know what to talk.
Lying on my side, I tap his name still not sure why am I calling him. I hear the ring and hope he doesn’t answer the call. On the third ring, he answers the call.
“Talk to me,” Closing my eyes, I say even before he can speak.
For a few moments, I just listen to his silent breathing... but still it’s comforting.
“Are you alright?” He asks.
“I don’t know... maybe I am.” A small sigh passes my lips, “Honestly, I don’t even remember how it feels to be alright.” I shrug, shifting the phone from one ear to another.
“Are you alright?” I repeat his question.
“I am... when I am with you,” he answers in a quiet tone.
His answer makes me feel guilty because it feels like I am leading him on, promising him something about which I am unsure whether I am capable of doing.
“Why?” I swallow, thickly, “Why our lives turned out like this? We were happy, Alec, then why?”
“Happiness is perishable, enslave to circumstances. It can never last forever, and time makes sure of it. Life puts us in a numerous challenging situation where happiness can’t survive, it just vanishes.” I hear him taking a small breath. “There is no happily ever after in real life.” He dryly chuckles.
“So we don’t deserve happiness?” I question him, swiping my fingers underneath my eyes to wipe any traces of moisture because for some reason the urge to cry is really strong.
“No, we don’t” He instantly answers, “We don’t need anything which is momentary, what we should aim for is contentment. Contentment comes from inside which is not bound to the circumstances or a person, it is internal and eternal."
The silence stretches between us. I ponder over everything which he has said.
He sounds like a person who has years of experience in life, maybe in some way he has. His eyes have seen more than anyone of his age could have seen. His heart bears the pain that anyone could have only imagined.
Light rapping on the front door makes me sit up straight in bed. Still holding the phone to my ear, I walk outside my room towards the front door.
The person behind the door again knocks the door, making me frown as I usually don’t have any visitors, especially this late at night.
Removing the curtain, I peek outside and my eyebrows lift in surprise seeing the person.
“What are you doing here?” I open the door, still stunned to find Alec standing outside holding the phone to his ear.
“You needed me, so I am here.” He shrugs as if it is not a big deal.
“When have I said I needed you?” I disconnect the call while staring at him. Taking a refugee behind my blank expression.
“You don’t have to say anything I know you better than you.” He looks intently into my eyes, tearing down the protective walls which I have built around me.
Blinking, I look away before any betraying expression comes on my face. Stepping on the side, I make way for him as he walks inside the house.
It is easier to talk to him when he is not before my eyes, however, when he is just inches away from me it becomes difficult to formulate any words.
There is something about his presence that always calms the chaos inside me. Sometimes, I feel it is the silence before the storm. Because last time, when I felt like this, my entire life turned upside down.
Without saying anything, he ascends the stairs and walks into the direction of Liam’s room. I am not surprised that's the destination his feet took him to.
Because sometimes, he calls me in the middle of the night requesting me to send Liam’s picture to him. Or video calls just to see his sleeping figure because he needed to check on him.
A faint smile comes on my lips, as I watch his retreating figure. His love for Liam is so evident that I don’t regret giving him a chance to be a part of Liam’s life. And this put my heart to ease knowing that, I did the right thing.
Locking the door, I make my way to my bedroom. Shutting the door partially out of habit, which developed since Liam was born, I walk to my window as I stare into the darkness that night has to offer.
Sometimes it is easy to lose yourself in the darkness because it comes with the feeling of liberation.
Shuffling behind causes me to turn my head in the direction of the sound. Alec hesitantly enters the room, looking unsure of my reaction when I don’t say anything he takes it as an encouragement to walk inside the room completely.
“Prying on your neighbors?” He stands beside me, as he turns to look outside the window. His gaze is more observing then wandering.
“Are you always like this?” I ask as he turns to me, waiting for me to elaborate my question. “Observant?” I can’t stop myself from asking.
“Losing my focus is something which I can’t afford. I have to be vigilant” He slips his hand into the pocket of his sweatpants, “Especially when I am around you guys because I can’t let anything happen to you.” His jaws go rigid with tension as something is going through his mind.
And I don’t need to read his thoughts to know that he blames himself for the death of his parents.
“It’s not your fault.” I place my hand on his arm, “You can’t keep everyone safe, it is something which is beyond your power.”
I know how he feels, I have been once in his place. No matter how much you try, the truth is, some things are just not in your hand.
He lifts his furious glare to me.
“I know I can’t protect everyone, but it doesn’t mean I am going to sit back and do nothing. I will do everything which is in my power to make sure you no harm comes to you or Liam.” He clenches his jaws, “I refuse to go through the pain of losing you when I have just found my everything.”
“Avery.” He breathes and rakes his fingers through his hair almost tugging them, brokenhearted expression replaces the earlier glare, “Once I have told you that I am afraid of being alone, however, now I have realized actually my worst fear is being helpless.”
“It is like an invisible coil wrapped around your heart and with each breath, it just tightens.” He swallows, closing his eyes, “You wait for the moment when your heart will finally give up, but it keeps on beating and the pain just continues.” His voice filled with the agony, that he experienced years ago, and relives with every nightmare. The agony which is directly reaching my heart, bringing down another wall that I have created.
The haunted look in his eyes telling me he reliving his horrors, the tears swimming in his eyes show, time couldn't heal his wounded heart.
Every time he breaks in front of me, every time something shatters inside me.
Sliding my hand from his arm to his hand, trying to pull him back from the torment of the past, I clasp his hand firmly in mine.
Locking our fingers together, I take a step closer to him, holding his gaze with determination and a silent promise.
I will never let you be helpless again, Alec. I will be there for you always.