Alight [Completed]

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Chapter 34 - Melody

The next day, another enormous bouquet arrived. Roses again. Red. About five dozen this time.

Unfortunately, my dad opened the door and signed for the delivery, and he wanted an explanation of what was going on with the sudden explosion of roses in our house.

He knocked on my bedroom door, just as I was about to go downstairs.

“Come it - it’s open,” I raised my voice, putting my shoes on.

I saw the massive bouquet before I saw him hiding behind it, it was that big, and my dad was of impressive stature. My jaw dropped. My heart was doing strange things inside my chest cavity again, just knowing that Knox sent them again.

“Who keeps sending you these flowers, Mel?” My dad demanded to know, looking for an empty space big enough to hold the massive arrangement.

“Knox,” I admitted, not wanting to go into further details.

“Vaughn?” He clarified with a frown.

“Yes. One and the same.” I smiled.

“What’s with all the flowers all of a sudden? Did he mess things up?” My dad didn’t sound too happy about that.

The truth was, I hadn’t told them about what was really going on between Knox and I. They knew I went to visit him, of course. That I stayed longer. And I’ve told my mom that we had an on-again, off-again kind of relationship, and I knew she probably would’ve told my dad.

“Kind of,” I admitted, really not wanting to go into detail with my dad.

“By the looks of it, he’s really sorry,” my dad said with an amused smile.

“Looks like it, doesn’t it?” I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Don’t give in too easily, okay?” His amusement was turning into glee, fast.

“No chance.”

“That’s my girl. Let me know if you’d like me to have a word with his dad. Or him, actually,” he offered and my eyes went wide with horror.

“Definitely not. But thanks.”

He nodded and closed the door behind him as he left, and I got up to read the card.

“Dear Snow,

Please talk to me, I’m going out of my mind here. I miss you. I miss your voice. I miss everything about you. I’ve messed up, and I know it. And you’ve been a saint putting up with me, I know it, too. Please call me so I can properly apologize. I need you so much more than you know.

Love, Knox”

And I couldn’t help but smile a little, reading that card. Because finally, I felt like I was getting somewhere with him.

But I was going to make him suffer some more before I just gave in again. He needed to know exactly what it felt like to be strung along, not knowing where you stood with the person you cared about and was in a non-official relationship with.

So, I didn’t call him that day either. It took every shred of self-restraint I had not to switch on my phone.

The next day was busy because it was the day of the gala-sponsorship dinner with Connor. I went to the hairdresser to have my hair done. Went to the salon to get professional tan applied. Had my make-up done.

Late afternoon, there was another flower delivery - even bigger than the last. At this rate, the price of red roses was going to skyrocket, because Knox was putting one hell of a dent into the supply.

Like the others, there was another card.

“Snow,

You’re killing me here. Please give me one minute of your time.

Love, Knox

P.s. - I’m not giving up.”

I smiled at the post-script, too. But I didn’t call.

I was nervous as hell when Connor came around, as realization hit that there would be television cameras and journalists reporting on the event. I’d be in the company of some seriously famous and beautiful people, and I was hoping like hell that I wouldn’t set a foot wrong, and somehow just manage to fly below the radar without embarrassing myself and Connor.

“You look amazing, Mel,” Connor whistled through his teeth as I opened the front door.

“Flatterer,” I winked, and he laughed.

“I’m serious. They’re not going to be taking photos of me tonight. And I don’t know much about ladies fashion - but holy fucking shit, that dress has showstopper written all over it,” he said appreciatively, and I laughed, really laughed for the first time in days.

“Glad I won’t cramp your style then, because you look pretty suave, Mr. Blake,” I teased, and he wiggled his eyebrows.

“Well, ain’t we lucky to be in each other’s company tonight?” He teased, but all of a sudden, his smile faltered as his gaze fell on something behind me.

I turned around, and I saw Hailey standing there, just looking at the two of us, with a stricken expression on her face.

“Should we go, then?” Connor’s tone was much more business-like all of a sudden as he seemed to struggle to tear his gaze away from Hailes.

“Hi, Connor,” Hailey stepped forward, and I could see it cost her all of her courage, all of her pride.

“Hi,” he nodded coolly in her direction, breaking eye contact.

“Have a good night,” she smiled, but I could see that smile was forced.

“Thanks,” he said curtly, holding out his arm for me.

“Good night, Hailes,” I smiled at her, and she raised a hand. She was trying to make amends here; I could see it. It was just a pity that Connor was stubborn as hell.

We took off, and before long, Connor handed his fancy sports car to the valet, and we entered the red carpet. Camera flashes went off the moment we arrived, and immediately journalists were sticking the microphones into Connor’s face, wanting interviews.

“Connor, who is the lovely lady with you tonight?” A guy with a microphone emblazoned with the letters “E.T.” asked.

“This is Melody Davis,” he gave a charming smile and looked at me, squeezing my hand.

I smiled for the reporter as the camera was focused right on me; even though my heart wanted to tear right out of my skin, it was pounding so hard.

“You look stunning, Melody. Which designer are you wearing tonight?” The reporter stuck the microphone out to me.

“Lanvin,” I said confidently, knowing it was a top-of-the-range dress.

“You get my vote for best dressed, young lady,” the reporter said graciously, and I nodded and smiled, feeling relieved that I seemed to be able to pull this thing off.

The reporter listened into his earpiece for a second, and then his eyebrow shot up.

“Melody, are you the daughter of Adam Davis, who used to play for the Dolphins?” He asked with unmasked interest, and I nodded again.

“Yes, I am.”

The reporter looked like he’d struck gold. “Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. We have the son and daughter of football royalty together here tonight. The son of Mayhem Blake, and daughter of Adam Davis. What a stunning couple they make, too. You saw it here first.”

He let us go as another extremely famous football player and his pregnant wife arrived, and I took a deep breath, but couldn’t relax for a second because those camera flashes kept going off all around us.

“You’ve got this, Mel,” Connor said, still keeping that smile firmly attached to this face.

“Thanks.”

And finally, we made it inside. Once I started to relax a little, it ended up being a great night, actually. We danced and laughed, and slowly I felt myself letting go and actually enjoying myself.

“I forgot to tell you, I’ve heard back; they’ve accepted my offer on that house we saw,” Connor said with a big smile as we were dancing.

“Really? I’m so happy for you!”

“Thanks. Have you given thought to moving in? My other friend, Ben said he’s in,” he raised an eyebrow.

“I’m still thinking about it, although my dad most certainly isn’t a fan of the idea,” I smirked, and Connor laughed.

“I’m not surprised. Some of the stories my dad has told me about yours - holy shit. He’s probably scared that I’ll try to pull some of the same tricks they did when they were our age.”

“Exactly right. Gross double-standards, right there,” I rolled my eyes.

“Well, the offer stands. By the way, have you talked to Knox?”

“No,” I sighed. “He has left messages. Sent texts. Sent flowers. I’ve been ignoring him.”

Connor looked highly amused. “I’ll try to remember never to piss you off, Mel. You Davis girls can be brutal when the occasion calls for it.” And that smile faltered again.

“He deserves to sweat a little,” I said without too much sympathy. “I’ll call him tomorrow and tell him exactly what my terms are.”

I’ve had time to think about the whole thing. About what exactly I was going to say. I didn’t want to go into that conversation unprepared and hot-headed. I needed to stand my ground and be prepared to walk away if he wasn’t prepared to tell me exactly how he felt about me and what exactly we were, just like Connor had said.

It was just shy of one a.m. when Connor dropped me home again. I took off my heels and walked quietly up the stairs, so as not to wake the whole house. But just as I opened my bedroom door, Hailey’s suddenly opened, and she startled the life out of me.

I placed a hand on my heart. “Geez, Hailes, you scared me!” I whispered loudly.

“Sorry.” She walked over to me. “Can we talk for a minute?” She whispered, too.

“Sure. Come on inside.” I switched on the light and motioned for her to take a seat on my bed.

“Trouble sleeping?” I asked with a little frown.

“A little - but I’ve been waiting for you to get back, actually,” she explained with a sigh.

“Nothing happened with Connor, just so you know,” I came straight out with it, not wanting her to get the wrong idea again.

“I know. I’m really, really sorry about that whole episode, Mel. I was going out of my mind, and I was acting kind of crazy, I can admit that now.”

I looked at her with surprise. “It’s okay.”

Her eyes darted between the three bouquets of red roses in my room, and she smiled.

“In any event, the reason that I stayed up, was because I wanted to tell you that Knox called.”

My lips parted, and my pulse raced all of a sudden.

“He called you?” I asked with a frown.

“Yeah. He sounded pretty desperate, to be honest,” Hailes yawned. “Sorry.”

“What did he say?” I paused, taking off my jewelry, and looked Hailey in the eyes.

“He begged me to talk to you. He asked me to ask you to please just return his call and give him one minute of your time.”

I just looked at her for a second, processing this information.

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him you were out with Connor to some fancy event.”

I bit my bottom lip, wondering if that would’ve made him upset at me again.

“What did he say?”

I was almost too scared to hear the answer.

“He sounded pretty desperate, Mel. He said something along the lines of... shit - this is not going to plan, at all. And then he asked me if Connor ended up buying a house.”

“What did you say?” I held my breath.

“I said that he’d made an offer from what I’ve heard and that he asked you to move in with him.”

My hand flew to my mouth and my heart stopped.

“Hailes! You didn’t!”

“Sorry - I didn’t know it was a state secret or anything.”

“What did he say, then?” I asked urgently.

“He said - and I quote - fuck - it’s too late, isn’t it...”

I just looked at her, feeling like shit all of a sudden, knowing what he must have been thinking. He must have been thinking the absolute worst right now.

And all of a sudden, I felt scared. I felt scared that I’d lose what we had, over a simple misunderstanding.

I sighed. “That’s... not great.”

“He didn’t sound great, Mel. He sounded really hurt. Desperate, as though he was devoid of hope.”

I nodded. “I’ll call him tomorrow. I just don’t... have the energy for this right now. I need a clear head for this conversation.”

“Okay,” she nodded. “You... looked really pretty tonight. I hope you had a good time,” and that sad little smile was back.

“I did. But Connor and I are just friends, Hailes, and you know it. There’s absolutely nothing between us, okay?”

She nodded. “I believe you. And... I’m glad you went with him... instead of some other girl.”

And then my heart hurt again for Hailey, because she looked so damn lost. But my heart hurt for Knox and I, as well, because I had a fair idea that his heart was hurting right now, much like mine...

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