Part Forty Nine
A/N Thanks for all your messages, and sorry that this has taken so long to publish, really needed to get the next couple of chapters right. I know you've all been patiently waiting...and I know I haven't given you everything in this chapter. Next one will be ASAP. MZxx
Chapter Forty Nine
For along moment Bo was confused, he didn't know the man stood in front of him, but the man most definitely knew Natasha, even called her Tash. That was painful, another man having a nickname for his girl. Because that's what she was, his. But the stranger was still staring at her, and when he himself looked down at Natasha, she was as white as a sheet, and for a moment he could feel her hand shake.
Suddenly a heavy feeling washed over him as his eyes flitted between them.
This was him? The jock? The man who broke her heart?
Bo stared at him, and found no answers staring back.
"Shit, it is you. Fucking hell, Tash, it's been like what? Fifteen years? You haven't changed. Wow! What the hell are you doing here?" As he spoke, he was coming at her, arms open as though he was going to hug her, and she was backing away, and the idiot clearly wasn't reading the situation, So Bo stepped between them slightly, and turned to her defensively, or rather what he hoped she'd see as protectively.
"You know this guy, babe?"
Those words, more than the joined hands, made the other man step back and Natasha smiled gratefully. He could see her pull up her big girl pants, and square up to him.
"Fourteen years." That surprised him, but she continued, "and I've come here with my boyfriend...because I had no idea that you would be within a million miles of this place."
Bo mentally high fived her, he hated seeing her appear down trodden by some loser who didn't have the nous to appreciate how amazing she was. Who never had.
The guy looked a little stunned at her venom, because there was no hiding how she felt about seeing him.
"Hey, Tash..." he reached for her arm, "no need to be like that?"
He watched and felt the anger rise in her, and as she shrugged the idiot's hand off her shoulder, she dropped his hand too, "no need? Fuck you, Torrie. You make me sick...I called you...I left you messages...and you just skipped off into the distance. Left me to literally pick up the pieces. Don't you dare tell me how to act."
The man looked like he'd been slapped, and by now, everyone in the foyer was watching the exchange. Bo could tell that Natasha was uncaring, but this other man? His eyes were darting around nervously, he was embarrassed.
"Look Tash, I'm not sure..."
"It's Natasha. I have never been called Tash." She was speaking through her gritted teeth, but was remarkably calm to Bo's eye.
"Natasha," he hastily corrected, aware of Nathan and several of his team mates watching the exchange with spectator interest. "I don't know why you seem so angry!"
She turned deathly pale, Bo could see the tears welling in her eyes, "you wouldn't, because your life didn't change. Mine did. And you sat back and let it all happen, let me deal with it all."
He laughed still nervous, "you make it sound like I jilted you at the altar...we were just friends."
She gave a knowing nod, "so friends fuck each other? Is that how your world still works? Taking virginities like badges of honour? I called you, I messaged you...and you ignored me, I really needed to talk to you, I needed you to help."
He started to step backwards, flicking a nervous grin to his associates, "she's obviously a little crazy."
Bo had heard enough, pushing him he snarled, "she's not crazy, but it sounds like we're all witness to hearing what a fuck up you are!"
"This is nothing to do with me, she's your mess." Torrie spat out angrily.
Natasha let out a laugh, a hollow almost haunting sounds, "shit, that really is all that we were to you, a mess. My parents were right. Who fucking knew that?"
With a grunt, she turned on her heel and stormed out. Bo, frozen for a moment, watched, then his eyes flicked to the man who had caused her untold pain. He hated the conclusions that he was making, he'd missed so much up to that point, but probably all the cues had been there, he'd just been too absorbed with his own problems to see hers.
"You fucking scum bag."
Bo snapped turning to snarl at the other man, who backed away a bit. He sneered at his cowardice, and followed Natasha's trail.
Natasha could barely see for the overwhelming pounding behind her eyes, if her world wasn't falling apart, then she'd wonder if she was about to have a stroke. But it was almost far worse than that. Far, far worse.
Worlds were colliding, her past, her present and quite possibly her future. Smashed into a holy mess and she was in danger of hyperventilating before she dealt with it all.
She had honestly imagined that she'd never see Torrie again, but that was now a reality. And where she'd seen a handsome charming man, that she'd fantasised over, in reality, he was a greying middle aged man who she felt nothing but contempt for. She hated him, hated all that he had caused, the cascade of disaster that had seen her lose her parents, then eventually Mia and her Nana. Whilst it wasn't all his fault, she'd have felt more charitable is he'd replied to her requests for help when Mia was sick. She'd called his house repeated times, left increasingly desperate messages...but there had been no reply, no contact, no fucks given by him.
Seeing him had been a shock, literally the rug had been pulled from under her, and her reaction, to snarl, then breakdown and reveal more than she ever intended. But then she wanted to Torrie to know, always had, wanted him to know that her baby girl was his, and that even though she was gone, she had been loved to distraction.
But that hadn't happened, and Bo had heard stuff...he wasn't dull. He'd make the right conclusions, what sort of a way was that for him to find out about her daughter? She had intended to sit down, tell him everything, calmly, instead she'd dragged him to a cloud of chaos. It wasn't ironic to her that it was him she was more concerned about.
After standing up to Torrie, more vocally than she could ever imagine, she had left the hotel, storming out into the ice cold evening, uncaring that she had no outerwear. She needed distance, space...air...and the freezing variety was having a dramatic effect on her desperate, air starved lungs. She was cold, shivering, but wasn't able to focus properly on anything other than gaping chasm that had opened in the centre of her world.
Leaning against a pillar, she tried to calm herself, to regain control of her emotions, the icy concrete barely registering with her bare skin.
Then she heard footsteps, not fast, running or chasing, but probably looking for her. Dropping her head, she dreaded the confrontation with Torrie, even though she wanted it, needed it even.
Taking a deep breath, she looked up, primed to attack...to see Bo stood there, holding out her coat.
She made to protest, to try and explain, but he shook his head, instead, pulling her close as she slipped her arms into her coat.
"Don't say anything, there's no need."
She sighed, but didn't speak further. Instead, he stroked her hair, "just relax, OK."
She nodded against his chest, "I never thought I'd see him again."
Bo didn't speak, he just used her arms to warm her up, and it was more than a minute before he spoke, "what do you want to do?"
What did she want? She didn't know. Her fight or flight response was only being tempered by those warm arms, and the anchor of his strong heartbeat against her cheek.
"I want to disappear."
"We can do that."
She gave a half ironic laugh, "and I want to punch him."
"We can do that too."
She nodded, then closed her eyes, what to do. She'd envisaged this moment, her control and power over Torrie, she almost wanted to throw all her emotional baggage back on to him. She finally wanted to throw her pain on him.
She wasn't sure she could, but she had to try.
"I want to confront him."
She pulled back in his arms to look at him, and he nodded, "we can do that too."
Taking her hand he led her back to the hotel.
Bo hated seeing Natasha so distraught, he had come to a lot of his own conclusions and he wasn't sure they were correct, but they were awful, for her. She needed to do this, that much he knew.
In the hotel foyer, he approached reception and asked them for a private room, fortunately there was an empty conference room just off to the left.
Leading Natasha there, he squeezed her hand, "I'll go find him...do you want me to be there?"
She shook her head, "I need to do this myself."
Nodding, he gave her a brief kiss, then disappeared.
The last thing he wanted to do was leave her alone with that bastard, but he had to give her space, and just hope and pray that she survived it all...and that she still wanted him in her life.
The man she'd called Torrie was across the dining room talking to some people he vaguely recognised, but he didn't care for that, instead he marched up to the group and literally pulled him to one side.
"She wants to give you the time of day, which is far more than you'd ever deserve, but she's such a generous person."
Bo manhandled him out of the room, "I don't give a fuck, you broke that girl in there, and you owe her the chance to tell you all about it. Hear that?"
He merely grunted, and Bo forced him into the room with the woman he loved. Then against his every instinct, closed the door behind them.
Natasha was sat on a chair in front of the central desk when the door opened and Torrie fell into the room, if she wasn't so tense, she'd have laughed, imagining Bo bundling him into the room forcibly. She met his eyes, properly, studied him, saw the flush sweep his cheeks, and she wasn't sure if it was through anger at Bo or embarrassment at being forced to face her. He'd been so devastatingly attractive as a fresh faced student, but as an approaching middle aged man, he was anything but.
"Tash..." he offered, nervously.
"It's Natasha, I told you, it's never been Tash."
He gulped, visibly. "You look well."
She gave a nod, but didn't return the compliment, "I've thought about this moment for years, what I'd say, what you'd say..."
He looked confused again, "we had a brief thing, you make out that we were love's young dream."
She laughed, "no, never that. But I thought when you knew about the baby you'd have at least contacted me."
He visibly swayed, then staggered back a few steps, "what?"
She shook her head, "don't play dumb, Torrie. Don't fucking insult me."
He stepped towards her, "I swear, I don't know what you're talking about."
She glared at him, "I left you messages, called you...I told you I needed to talk to you."
"I thought you were being clingy..."
Shaking her head, she hoped that she could hold off tears, "clingy? Nah. The opposite. My parents wanted me to terminate, and I couldn't. I hoped that you'd back me up, but then my father said you'd laughed, told him it wasn't yours..."
He shook his head, "no way. I never spoke to your father, that conversation never happened."
"He said it did. Who to believe? What a choice. The man who ignored me, or the parents who disowned me?"
He ran a hand through his hair, "You have to believe me, this is the first I'm hearing about this. You don't see you parents? I wondered why you disappeared..."
Sh laughed, "stalker one minute, gone the next...you must have thought all your Christmases came at once. Fuck, you make me so angry."
He held up a hand, "I get that, but please, slow down a minute, you were pregnant? You had my baby?"
There came the tears, because thinking of Mia always made her cry, "yes." She offered softly.
He started to pace anxiously, "shit, honestly Natasha, I didn't know."
"I had to move to my grandmother in England as my parents were trying to railroad me into an abortion. It was my only option I had. I haven't seen them since."
Torrie stopped, and stared at her, "I have a child?"