“Oh shit Brie! I’m so sorry, it’s my first day doing hands on practise and I’m a bloody wreck, my professor is going to kill me if I’m late.”
I laugh, pulling her clothes up off the floor and handing them back to her.
“You’re telling me, I only started over there last week and my professor already gave me about fourteen hours of essays and we’ve got a test on Wednesday! That school does not fuck around. How’s things at the restaurant?”
She smiles so big I expect to see her cheeks crack.
“Sooo much easier than working for Clarisse! They have this amazing thing where they give you the time your shift will end, then they actually let you leave at that time! Madness, who knew such a thing existed!”
I can’t help but chuckle, I think Clarisse taking a bullet was the best thing that happened to a lot of people in this town.
Although Antonio definitely didn’t stop there...
Hannah called the day after he left and apparently he kept his word, two people really didn’t live to see sunrise.
She said a neighbour filed a report to say my Grans brother had been declared missing, all his things were still in his house but there’s been no trace of him since that night. I have a feeling that wherever he is, no-one will ever find him. At some point he will be declared legally dead and I will inherit everything he owned. I don’t want it. Aleah spoke to Tara and she said when that time comes she’ll have everything sold or destroyed and I told her I want the money sent to a charity that helps people recovering from childhood abuse. I don’t need anything from that cunt.
Turns out through her madness Clarisse was right about one thing though, prisons are dangerous places... The news hit the local stations before Jayce even got the call. Nigel went to sleep in his cell that night but never woke up after someone shoved a filed off toothbrush into his throat.
They don’t know who did it and neither Jayce nor Milo seemed to care for the answers. That man stopped being their father a long time ago.
I tried to explain it to May but she couldn’t quite process who he was, she’s still young. I think a part of her always really wanted a father but just not one like him. I know one day this will all hit her, it’ll hit them all, but right now they all seemed to be at peace with the fact he was gone.
There was guilt there, I don’t know why, but there was from me. Although my mother’s words about making them both pay kept ringing in my head and a small part of me couldn’t help but wonder where exactly she was in the world right now... and if she played any part in their downfall.
“Anyway, I’ve got to get down there but um... maybe you could convince him to go in? I’ve tried but he’s not listening.”
I have no idea what she’s talking about until I look behind her to see Christopher, sitting on the bench opposite Helena’s room and holding his head in his hands.
“How long has he been here?”
Rayna looks over at the boy with pity. “I’m not sure, Valarie said she’s seen him a few times but every time he sees her he bolts. He wants to talk to her but he’s bloody terrified Brie.”
I offer her a hug before she scurries off to the elevator and I make my way to the poor little rich boy.
Sitting down in the seat next to him I realise he has the perfect view of Helena in the mirror facing her window from here. He’s a smart stalker, I’ll give him that.
“How many times have you got to the door before you turned around today?”
He lets out a pitiful laugh. “Only six, it was twelve yesterday.”
Oh these two. “Just go in Chris, there’s nothing holding you back now. You’ve done everything, your bother is already in France away from this stuff and Charlene is finally happy with her kids. You’ve taken care of everything and everyone, now it’s time for you to go get that girl.”
He falls back against the seat and I can see the pain coating his face.
“What if I can’t do it Brie? What if I walk in there and she doesn’t remember me still? Or worse, what if she does and she hates me for what I did...”
Slowly I slide my hand into his as he turns to face me. Why must the girls most terrible with their own relationships always give the best advice?
“Then you do it again Chris.”
He squints his eyes at me with confusion. “Do what again?”
Smiling, I lean over and pinch his little baby cheeks. So bloody cute this one.
“You make her fall in love with you all over again. You can’t fight destiny Christopher, you can’t fight fate. You two.. there’s a reason she survived Chris, a reason she was better off here than with her sister right now. I think you’re that reason. You walk in there and no matter what happens, you show that girl what it feels like to be loved.”
The moment he makes the decision I know he won’t turn back. He squeezes my hand before walking to the door with authority and grasping the handle. Turning back he gives me a small smile before pulling it open and walking up to the woman who changed his life once, and who will change it all over again. I have faith in this pair.. I have faith in a lot now.
Life is so fucking weird, it throws all this stuff at you that you think you’ll never understand but then one day you get a piece of the puzzle you were missing and it all just magically makes sense.
My life over this last year brought me three incredible men. All of them worthy, all of them offering me something I so desperately needed in one way or another, but all wanting me to be someone I’m not capable of being right now.
It all started with Antonio, the man I thought I would always want, the one who made me feel alive when I thought all I was capable of being was death and destruction. He let me escape my world, but he could never escape his own.
Then came Connor, my beautiful good boy, the man I thought I should want. A man who showed me what I am worth, a man who awoke feelings in me and opened me up in ways I didn’t know I was capable of. A man with everything necessary to make him perfect, just not perfect for me.
Finally there was Steve, my Steve, my king. The man I can’t stop wanting no matter how I try. The man who showed me adventure can come in the forms of discovery, that letting yourself be vulnerable doesn’t mean you let someone overtake you. The man who was able to destroy my heart only because he was the only one strong enough to break into it in the first place.
Three men who all showed me what I could be, but none that could make me what I want to be right now. I want to be stronger, I want to be better...
I want to be Brie.
The truth is, some of us don’t get Aleah’s happy ever after. Some of us have to be beaten into nothing so we can start a fresh, so we can discover who we are.
What is meant to be will always be. Always. I have to believe that.
That unknown can be frightening but if your shielded by the love of everyone else around you, what can’t you achieve?
Destiny... it’s a funny fucker isn’t it.
Two years later...