Six years have passed, but still, I find myself standing there in that room with her as she looks at me unflinchingly. Feeling of being betrayed etched in her beautiful brown orbs.
Sometimes when I close my eyes I see the smile which graced her face, every time I said ‘I love you’. Still, every day I say ‘I love you’ to her, the only difference is that now she can’t hear these words nor I can see her beautiful smile.
“Hey, Alec thanks for coming, man.” Jake lightly slaps my shoulder and smiles, “I thought you would not come.”
“You are one of my few friends which I have.” I smile ruefully, “How could I have missed your wedding?”
Jake gives an understanding smile but doesn’t say anything.
When I left this place six years back, I also left everyone whom I knew. Sometimes I used to get in touch with Jake, to keep alive that old Alec in me. Without even asking me the reason for my disappearance, he just treated me like he always used to, never once he made me feel that anything has changed between us.
So, when Jake invited me to his wedding, at first I was not ready to face her, but then I could not help myself to agree. Because this could be the only chance which I will have to talk to her and tell her why I had to leave her... why I had to say all those hurtful things to her.
No one knows what had happened six years back, except me and her. She is also not aware of the complete truth, that why I had to suddenly leave the person who means the world to me. Leaving her with nothing but, the hurt.
I made a choice that day... I chose her, even though it meant letting her go.
All these years I could not gather up the courage to meet her, but now I have finally gained the courage to face her.
I am aware, the eyes in which I always saw love, is now going to be filled with questions and hate. The hurt of feeling betrayed by the person who promised to never betray her. But I am prepared to accept everything even her anger, her hatred for me. As honestly, I deserve every bit of her hate and anger... I was the one to protect her heart, but I choose to protect her. And for that, I had to break her heart.
I just pray that she gives me a chance to explain myself, maybe then she can forgive me.
“I will just come back in a second.” Jake sighs tiredly as he reads the message on his phone, “I have to check-in my cousin and his girlfriend in their room.” He keeps the phone in his pocket then walks towards the reception lobby.
Currently, we are in the garden area of the hotel where refreshments have been arranged for the arriving wedding guests. Jake and his fiancee Kristan, have booked hotel rooms, for their wedding guests, in the same hotel where they will have their wedding festivities.
I grab a glass of juice from the tray as the waiter passes in front of me. Taking a sip as my eyes wander over everyone’s faces, some of them are laughing and talking with each other, while some of them are helping themselves with food. But none of the faces belong to the person whom I want to see.
At last, my eyes land on the familiar, yet different face. The girl, in front of my eyes, is not the girl that I have left six years back. The mischievous teenage girl which I knew is gone, as in her place I see a beautiful mature woman.
Even after so many years, she still manages to take my breath away.
Suddenly, my hands feel clammy while my heart beats rapidly just by the sight of her. Even she has not still noticed me, but I know one look of hers is enough to shake me till my soul if I still have one. My soul also left me with her, because my soul was bonded to her.
Abruptly, I slightly lose my footing as someone small but strong slams into me. I raise my glass up to save it from spilling, as I look down to find a small boy around four to five years old looking at me apologetically.
“I am sorry, mister.” The kid cutely smiles at me with an apologetic look on his face.
“I hope I didn’t hurt you?” He asks sounding guilty, making me lightly chuckle. This boy hardly reaches my waist, and he is worried that he might have hurt me.
“No, I am fine.” I crouch down to come to his eye level, ” Are you alright?”
“Yes, I just stumble over my shoelace while running.” He points at his undone shoelace while his cheeks slightly flushed.
“Do you want me to do it for you?” I ask him, as I am not sure he can manage to do it by himself.
“No, thank you.” He shakes his head, making fringes of hair fall over his forehead, “I know how to tie a shoelace," he says confidently, as he sits on his one knee.
I watch him with a small smile as he makes loops of the laces then makes a knot of them. When he finishes tieing the shoelace he looks up in my direction with a proud smile.
“Good job!” I smile and ruffle his hair which makes him lightly frown.
“Kiddo! You came,” Jake speaks from behind me and that boy runs to him. As soon as he reaches Jake, he picks him up throwing him up in the air as both laugh loudly.
“Yeah.” The boy nods his head, Jake comes towards me while carrying him, “I came for your wedding.”
“Did you meet your Aunt?” Jake asks him, “She’s waiting for you for so long .”
The boy sadly pouts and shakes his head in no. He looks around then slips from his arms and runoff in the other direction without caring about anything.
“This kid can stir a storm.” He laughs as he looks in the direction where the boy took off.
“Congratulations, Jake!” Her voice reaches my ears, making me nearly freeze in my spot.
I have lost the count of how many times I have heard this voice in my dreams.
“Thanks, Avery!” Jake hugs her, his eyes meet mine for a moment as he steps back releasing her.
“I am so happy for both of you.” She smiles while looking at Jake and Kristan, as Kristan walks to us when she sees Avery. Whereas, I am unable to remove my eyes from her face.
She is so close to me that if I extend my hand I can touch her. Maybe I should touch her to make sure my eyes are not playing a trick on me, that she is actually standing in front of me. So many years have passed but still, for me, she is the most beautiful girl.
She glances over me, her lips set in a small smile, then she turns her attention back to the couple without even acknowledging me.
Glancing down, I swallow the hurt which I feel because of her ignorance. I at least expected any kind of reaction from her, anger, hatred or.... anything, but not this. She looks at me like I am a complete stranger.
I still clearly remember when the first time our eyes met, we were strangers yet her eyes were full of warmth. But now there is nothing but cold in them.
“Found you!” A little voice makes me look up, as I see the same boy hugging her legs.
“Yeah, you did.” She lovingly smiles at him, her smile seems natural not like the one she was giving everyone earlier.
He must be the kid of someone they know.
“Won’t you give me a hug, Liam?” Kristan pretends to look sad.
“I was searching for you.” Liam comes out from behind Avery’s legs and hugs Kristan as she bends down.
“You look so pretty, Aunt Kris.” He kisses her cheek, making Kristan laugh.
“Thank you, handsome.” She kisses his head while she again hugs him.
“Mommy.” Liam yawns and rubs his eyes, a small frown form on his face, “I am sleepy.”
“I told you to take a nap earlier,” Avery says while shaking her head at him, “Let’s get you to bed.” She picks up Liam and settles him on her hip when he stretches his arms towards her.
My eyes snap up to her, blood drains from my face as I hear these words.
Mommy? Avery is the mother of this boy!
“Well, excuse me guys, I have to put him to bed.” She gives a small smile to Jake and Kristan, “He hasn’t slept all night in excitement to meet you guys. So, now his energy level is going down.” She nods her head at them.
She doesn’t even spare a glance in my direction when she leaves.
“He... Liam is Avery’s son?” I frown in disbelief.
“Yes.” Jake briefly looks at me.
“Who’s his...” I swallow hard, unable to say the word.
“She is a single mother,” Kristan curtly answers my incomplete question, “She never talks about his father, from what I figure he was a scumbag. So, we don’t know who is he, if that you want to know.” But I can see that she knows everything as Avery trusts her and will not keep such a big secret from her.
“Last year when she came here, for the first time in years, to meet Frank in his last moments. Then only everyone found out about her son,” Jake shakes his head sadly.
“Stay away from her, Alec.” She glares at me, while a warning clear in her tone, then she excuses herself when somebody calls her.
“I don’t know what were you expecting.” Jake places a hand on my shoulder, “But everything has changed. I am surprised how even Kristan managed to convince her to come for the wedding, because from what I have figured she doesn’t even want to come back here. Honestly, why would she? She doesn’t have anyone left to come.”
“Why didn’t you tell me anything?” I ask quietly, while my heart clenching at the thought of how much she had to suffer. Also, the news of Frank’s death is no less than a shock for me.
Frank was her only family. Now when Frank has also passed away she has no one.
She is alone, just like me.
“Did you ever ask?” His tone accusatory, “Tell me? Did you ever ask about her or Frank? Alec, I think it is better we should just leave these things, as now everything is in the past.”
“I don’t know neither I want to know, whatever had happened between you two. But I request you not to bother her. Avery is not the same girl whom we knew, she is a different person. I think you have already noticed this.” He gives me a pointed look then he starts talking with someone who approaches him, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Why does it hurt so much to know that she has moved on, didn’t I want this for her?