Crossroads

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Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Mia

“It will be a day to remember.”

PRESENT

Why the fuck did I even let that happen?

My goddamn brain still shuts off when he’s close to me, how the hell is that possible?!

I’m still fuming when I get on my Big Lady and drive to Grams’s house. My dad’s parents will be there today, as well. Ever since Pops died we all make an effort to visit her regularly, Grams has always been a family person and we want to make sure she doesn’t feel lonely. Mom wanted her to move in, but Grams insisted they’d need their private space. She doesn’t know that dad is still negotiating with the realtor to buy the house right next door, I’m sure she’d flip if she knew.

But that’s what we do in this family. We help each other out, even if it sometimes comes off as a blessing in disguise.

“Hey, Grams!” I place my helmet on the counter in the hallway as I call out and make my way into the kitchen, seeing my grandmothers and grandpa sitting at the table, cups of coffees in their hands. I give Grams a kiss on the cheek but give the other two a tight hug. They’re rarely at home, ever since they retired they’re traveling the country, making up for the lost time they spent on their business. “Hey, travelers. How was Alaska?”

“Cold as hell, that’s what it was!” Grandma shivers at the thought, and I can’t help but laugh. “Well, I did tell you that beforehand,” I wiggle my finger at them. Sometimes I feel like I’m their grandmother, not the other way around.

“That didn’t make it any less cold though, honey,” Grandpa says and I just roll my eyes as I take a seat next to Grams, pulling over her cup of coffee.

“Hey!” she exclaims, but I just shrug as I take a sip. It’s incredible how much their presence grounds me, I already feel much lighter than just minutes before, the incident with Lincoln seemingly fleeing my mind.

Grams slaps my arm, still looking at me with wide eyes. “Grams, you know you have to cut the caffeine.”

“I can still drink a cup a day!”

“And you’re telling me this is your first cup of the day?” I raise an eyebrow, and she just blinks a few times, not saying anything, until Grandpa speaks up, “Okay I’m just gonna say it: That was her third.”

“Leo!” Both of my grandmothers exclaim and Grandpa looks utterly unimpressed when his wife slaps the back of his head. “God, since when do we rat out to the kids? What’s wrong with you?”

I stifle a laugh when Grandma shakes her head at her husband, and Grams just crosses her arms in front of her chest while I sip her coffee, simply enjoying this moment.

“Grams, we’re still up for Saturday, right?”

“You mean for the zoo? Of course! I haven’t been there in ages.” She smiles, and I give her shoulder a quick squeeze as I reply, “We will have a real granddaughter-grams day. With cotton candy.”

That makes her laugh, “Wow. Cotton candy… Another thing I didn’t have in ages.”

“See? It will be a day to remember.”

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m on my way to Dr. Avian’s office. I can’t deny that I’m nervous as hell at the prospect of having one of my idols in front of me for one whole hour, her gorgeous brain at my disposal. It’s unreal.

That is if my brain would just stop thinking about Lincoln. Because I can’t deny that I’m still confused about the way he ended things back then, he left me with more questions than I can deal with to actually close that chapter of my life. That morning, everything was fine, it seemed almost perfect, even.

But then it was like a new demon chased him. I knew the ones from before, I knew how to fight them, how to help him out of his misery. But this one was bigger, more dangerous, and it apparently knew exactly what to say to push me away, I mean he practically excelled at that.

And I’m still really fucking hurt by the things he said. I was already hurting, my heart already bled from the death of my grandfather, from the pain my whole family felt that day. There’s a reason I went to therapy after that. There’s a reason I changed my whole lifestyle, started studying most of my time, and focused on my friends and family. I needed something else. I needed to occupy my mind.

But I guess that’s the only reason I’m here now, studying and working hard gave me the opportunity to do this interview, to excel at my line of work.

I walk up the street to the medical center, and I have to say I’m almost laughing out loud when I see the person exiting the building. Because it can’t even be fate anymore with how often we run into each other. It must be something different, something extremely cruel and grim, to send us to the same place so often.

He notices me, of course, and just stands still, those stormy eyes stormier than before, even from afar. I instantly feel the rage creeping into my bones, the pain and hurt almost paralyze me for a second. But then I remember my therapist’s words. I told him about our encounter at yesterday’s session, and he said: “If you don’t want to feel the rage, then feel something else. You’re a smart woman. You’ll think of something.”

Sounds like really goddamn stupid advice, to be honest. But I get what he meant. Being angry is exhausting, and pushing people away is, too. I just can’t let him get close to me again, that doesn’t mean I have to hate him, though.

“Hi,” I say as I reach the door, and he just looks at me like he’s seeing a ghost, pale face and wide eyes directed at me.

“Hey.”

We stand like that for a moment, but I keep my distance, not wanting to repeat that disaster from a few days ago. It was too close, again. Because it made me realize that I’m nowhere near over him.

Lincoln has an effect on me, one I don’t understand, that scares the ever-living hell out of me. And that’s why I just can’t let it happen. I can’t let him back in.

“What are you doing here?” I focus on the one thing that I always connected to Lincoln, despite the pain and anger: Curiosity.

Because Lincoln has always sparked my interest. Everything about him was a mystery, from the very first second I noticed him. Even before his downfall, he was a mysterious and extremely intriguing man.

“I had a therapy session,” the blood is back in his cheek when he looks at me now, this time with more interest and wonder.

“That’s good. I’m glad you’re doing that, still.”

He nods his head, that sudden spark glimmering in his eyes when he studies me, “Yeah. I need to. It helps.”

“It does, doesn’t it? I know it helped me, too.”

He tilts his head, his eyes narrowed as he looks at me for a moment, and I realize he probably didn’t expect me to go to therapy myself. That spark in his eyes is now one of surprise, and I realize my words may come off the wrong way, and so I explain, “I just mean, back then… Pops died, that day. It was just a lot I had to deal with, my family needed me and it was just… I mean, you get it.”

All of a sudden I realize it’s much, much easier to speak to him this way than to let the rage and anger cloud my mind.

“What?” he asks, his eyes wide and hands balled into fists, “You mean, that day, that’s when…” It suddenly seems to click in his brain and I somehow feel sorry for him when I see the shock on his face, he even looks angry, somehow. “Motherf…” he mutters while running a hand through his hair, rage suddenly rolling off of him in waves.

“I didn’t know how to say it back then…” I admit.

“Yeah, of course, you didn’t… Fuck. I’m sorry, Mia. Really… Had I… I... Fuck,” he exhales a shaky breath, and I see the apology in his eyes when he looks at me again, I almost want to hug him with how lost he looks for a moment. I still keep my distance, though, I still need to protect myself, first of all.

“You couldn’t know.”

He releases a quiet laugh at my words, and I can’t help but just look at him, wondering what the hell is so funny about that. “Yeah, yeah, I could’ve…”

I raise my eyebrow at that, honestly not knowing where he’s coming from exactly.

“I… Fuck. I gotta go,” he suddenly mutters, looking at me like I just told him the earth was flat. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything… I want to tell you exactly what happened, but I need to take care of something first.”

A fire I haven’t seen in him before flickers in his eyes, and there’s this sudden energetic aura surrounding him when he shakes his head, “I gotta go. I’m sorry. I’ll… I’ll see you soon. I’ll explain. I promise… And I mean it. Really.”

And I see that my words a few days ago left a mark. I know it was harsh to say them like that. But I was overwhelmed, still am. I still don’t know if I can trust him in that regard, but I realize if I want to put an end to this misery. I need answers, and I need to hear what he has to say, properly. Otherwise, I’ll wander around for eternity, not knowing what to do or think about the matter.

“It’s okay. I believe you,” I shoot him a smile, and I see the relief in his eyes, though it’s nothing compared to the fire still raging in them, his irises working as fireballs as he nods his head. “Thank you. I’ll… I’ll find you.”

And then he takes off, just like that.

I’m left standing here, thinking about all the things he said and didn’t say, the moments that still lie ahead of us and the memories we already shared.

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