What Lies Beneath

By leanna All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Adventure

Truth Be Told

Jesse and I went to my favourite spot on horseback for the fifth time. This time I brought a towel to tan on since the sun was shining bright and it was over thirty degrees out.

Jesse started laughing, “Are you serious?”

“I might as well get the best out of this trip; the sun does not always shine.”

He lay next to me blocking my sun, “Our sun could always shine.”

“Where did you come from?” I asked.

“Toronto.”

I grinned, “I know that, I mean, you say things that guys just don’t say. You make me smile like no other can and when I am with you I feel like nothing could go wrong.”

He kissed me, “That’s why our sun will always shine.”

“You scare me,” I said.

He frowned, “Is that a bad thing?”

“I don’t know, you tell me?”

“Why do I scare you?”

“I’m afraid of everything you make me feel.”

“Go on,” he said.

“Do I risk it?”

“Risk what?”

“Everything.”

“I think you lost me,” he said.

“I’m terrified to love again.”

“Why?”

“Because that gives you power over me.”

“No it doesn’t,” he shook his head, “If it makes you feel any better, you have me wrapped around your finger.”

I laughed as I leaned on my elbow and put my arm around his neck, “I was lost before you came along.”

“I think you were just fine before me.”

I shook my head, “You showed me everything that was missing in my life. If it wasn’t for you I still wouldn’t be training. I owe you.”

“How about this? You can kiss me right now and we can call it even.”

I pressed my lips on his and pushed him to lie on his back, “Even?”

“Not yet,” he pulled me close to kiss me again, “Okay, I think that does it.”

“I found my way because of you,” I said smiling.

He caressed my cheek, “I’m not the only one who says things that people don’t say.”

“I feel safe when I am with you.”

“You should.”

“Am I tanned yet?” I winked changing the subject.

He shook his head, “There is a fire in us that will never be burned out.”

“I love you,” I said looking deep into Jesse’s eyes.

It was difficult to understand the emotions that ran across his face. I didn’t want him to reply if he didn’t mean it though I was a little disappointed that he didn’t. He brought his lips to mine and kissed them gently. I smiled as he pulled away and lay on my back.

I guess it was too soon for him, I probably shouldn’t have said anything but I couldn’t stop myself, he knew all the right things to say.

When we got up to head back I turned to him, “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For telling you…”

“So you don’t?” he asked.

“I do,” I said, “I just feel like maybe it was too soon to say it even if I was feeling it. I told you I’m terrified to love anyone but I do and maybe I shouldn’t so quickly. I mean, I kept asking myself whether or not I should tell you because I don’t want to fall Jesse. I don’t want to get hurt but I can’t deny it anymore or hide it anymore because it’s how I feel. I just don’t want things to be weird now…”

He brought his finger to my lips, “First of all, you are way too strong to fall and secondly, things are not weird.”

That wasn’t the reply that I was looking for but I would have to respect him. As we headed back we didn’t speak, my mind just continued to wander. I felt vulnerable!

When we got back Jesse grabbed my hand as we walked back to the barn. I smiled at him as I left him to go train a horse. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t think straight and I got nowhere.

I barely recognized Mary standing in front of me, “Earth to Jennifer.”

I shook my head, “Hey, sorry, I was just thinking.”

“I could see that, looked intense. Is everything okay?”

I thought about it and tried to push the thought away, “Yeah, everything is fine. How’s it going with you?”

“Good, I think the little bugger is ready to go,” she said referring to a horse.

I smiled, “Okay, well I will call their owner tomorrow then. Good job.”

“Are you sure everything is okay? I couldn’t help watch you for a bit and it seems like you are off your game today.”

I faced the barn and saw Jesse leading a horse to the pen, “I told Jesse I loved him.”

“Wow,” Mary’s eyes opened.

“I know right? Why, I keep asking myself why I did and I can’t come up with anything.”

“I’m guessing he didn’t say it back.”

I shook my head, “I know it’s only been like what? A month that we have been together but I keep thinking that maybe he just doesn’t feel the same.”

“Wow, slow down Jen. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself okay? So what he didn’t say it? Trust me, I know it hurts even if you try to hide it but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel the same way. Maybe he is just not ready to take that step yet. Who knows why he didn’t say it but when he does say it, at least you know he will mean it and it will be worth it honey.”

“I know, I keep telling myself that but I just feel like curling up in bed. I won’t do that but I hate that I feel that way.”

“I told Sam I loved him before he told me,” she said, “He didn’t tell me until the next month. He said he loved me but he was upset that I said it first so he wanted to punish me for it. I was so angry with him but I didn’t care, after all he finally told me he loved me.”

“Why didn’t he tell you then?”

“He said he wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear it.”

I thought about it, “Maybe you are right. I just need to give it time. I just, I don’t want this to be a bad omen.”

“Oh honey, you of all people should not believe that.”

I sighed, “Alright, enough about me. How is everything coming along for the wedding?”

“Amazing. Sam has been great through this whole thing. He’s been helping me with everything and actually wants to be involved,” her eyes twinkled.

“A guy who wants to be involved in planning a wedding?” I questioned as we walked out of the ring, “You lucked out.”

“I know,” she laughed, “Everything is pretty much set. My parents have been great too with all the help they have been giving me. Basically, the day just needs to arrive. I appreciate it that you are letting us have our wedding here. This place just feels like home to me.”

“I’m glad because seeing you here everyday makes it feel like home for me too.”


I tried not to pay too much attention to the fact that Jesse didn’t tell me he loved me but it was difficult considering I felt that he was avoiding me. We still saw each other every day but he wouldn’t come visit me in my office or come see how I was doing when I was training. He didn’t saddle our horses up to go for a ride at noon and at night instead of sticking around he left right away, popping his head in my office to tell me he was leaving, without giving me a kiss.

Finally on Saturday I regretted telling him I loved him, it was like I didn’t even recognize him anymore. He turned into a completely different person.

After dinner, I told my dad I wanted to go to Jesse’s place for a little while. He gave me the keys to his truck as I hopped I could steal him away from his brother so we could watch the stars together again, maybe helping us to get back on track.

As I approached the door I could hear him arguing with his brother. I wasn’t sure if I should interrupt or not so I gave it sometime but they didn’t settle down. I got the feeling if no one disrupted them they might punch each other out.

I knocked on the door and could see the surprise in Jesse’s eyes as he answered it, “Hey, Jen!”

“Hey,” I smiled, “Is this a bad time?”

He looked uncomfortable, “No, come in.”

I walked in and smiled at Ben, “Hi.”

“Speak of the devil,” he winked.

I frowned, “You were talking about me?”

Jesse sighed, “No, my brother was just being an ass.”

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Jesse said grabbing my hand and leading me to the couch, “So is everything okay?”

I thought about it, “Well, I don’t know. Is it?”

He looked at Ben before responding, “Yes, why wouldn’t it be?”

I looked at Ben wishing he weren’t there, “Well, I feel like we’ve sort of been off this past week ever since you know…”

“Just because I haven’t spent every waking minute with you doesn’t mean there is something wrong,” he said with attitude.

I was taken back and stood up, “Okay, you know what? I’ll talk to you Monday.”

He huffed, “No wait, come back, sit down. I’m sorry. It’s just been a tough week.”

I sat down with a worried expression, “Is everything okay?”

He shook his head closing his eyes, “Not really.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“Not tonight, if you don’t mind.”

I tried not to feel disappointed again, “Okay.”

“Do you want to watch a movie?”

I nodded, “Okay,” I looked around, “I see you brought the television in here.”

He nodded, “Yeah, I figured it would be better here now that I get visitors,” he winked.

I smiled feeling as if things might be on the verge of normal. As he put on a movie I went to look at the books on the shelves and found his year book.

“It’s payback,” I said making him turn around.

He immediately grabbed the book from my hand, “You don’t want to see that.”

“Yes I do,” I said trying to get it back but he was to strong.

“No, really.”

“Come on, you saw mine,” I argued.

“No!”

I looked at Ben, “A little help here.”

“You’re on your own.”

“You are no help,” I said.

“You’ll thank me one day.”

Jesse scowled, “Wouldn’t you much rather watch the movie?”

I nodded but as he lowered his arm I grabbed the book, “Just one peak?”

He nodded, “Fine.”

I began to flip through the pages until I found him. He was cute; I would have been attracted to him back in high school.

“Why didn’t you want me to see this?” I asked, “Your picture is a thousand times better than mine.”

He kissed my cheek, “You are too sweet.”

I analyzed the picture some more and noticed his name, “Why does it say Liam?”

“I told you that is my middle name, everyone used to call me that in high school.”

“Do you like it better than Jesse?” I asked.

He shook his head, “No, that’s why no one calls me that anymore.”

“Except your brother” I pointed out.

“That was a one-time thing,” Ben jumped in, “Habits die hard.”

I smiled and got up, “I’m just going to use the washroom.”

“I’ll keep your spot warm,” Jesse smiled.

I nodded making my way to the bathroom. As I washed my hands I saw a prescription bottle on the counter. It was addressed to Liam, not Jesse. I frowned as I picked the bottle up. I wasn’t sure what the pills were for but they were purchased a year ago. I found it a little odd.

As I made my way back into the living room I heard Ben say, “You’re the biggest idiot I know.”

I frowned, “Jesse?”

He turned to face me, “Yeah?” when I didn’t answer he stood up, “Is everything okay?”

I shook my head, “I don’t know, you tell me?”

“I don’t know what you mean?”

I didn’t care that Ben was there, “I came here because all week I have had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something has been off and I couldn’t figure it out so I came here hoping we could work whatever it was out.”

“I thought we did that.”

“Yeah but then I found these,” I lifted the prescription bottle, “It’s for Liam.”

He swallowed, “I think you keep forgetting that is my nickname.”

“Just tell her,” Ben whispered but I still caught it.

“Tell me what?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Jesse said, “Can you stay out of this?” he referred to his brother.

“Why do you keep using your nick name if you don’t like it? And why would you use your middle name for prescriptions?”

“Those are old,” he pointed to the bottle.

“Only one year old,” I said feeling as if he was lying to me, “Just talk to me. What is going on?”

He bit his lip and faced Ben, “Can you leave us alone for a bit?”

He nodded, “Yes.”

Jesse walked towards me, “Come here.”

We sat down on the couch, he was playing with his hands. I grabbed them and drew nearer to him. I kissed him on the lips letting him know I wasn’t going anywhere.

“Talk to me.”

He shook his head.

“Why not?” I sighed, “You can tell me anything.”

“I know,” again he didn’t look into my eyes, “But can we just not talk about it?”

I thought about it, “Okay, as long as it doesn’t affect us.”

“Aren’t some things better off unsaid?”

I shook my head, “Not if they are going to create problems in the future.”

“They might not.”

“If you can guarantee me that it won’t, then fine don’t tell me if you feel so strongly about it. But if it does,” I stopped.

“If it does,” he encouraged me to go on.

“I don’t want to get hurt,” I simply said.

He raised his voice, “That is why I don’t want to tell you.”

“So then it does affect us?” I asked.

He walked forward and put one hand on my waist, “There are things about me you don’t know. Things in my past that I don’t like to talk about.”

“Everyone has a past but you need someone to talk to about it.”

“I do, my brother.”

“So you don’t trust me?” I asked feeling hurt.

He closed his eyes, “I do trust you.”

I placed my hand on his chest, “Then tell me. Everything is going to be okay.”

“If I tell you,” he whispered, “I am going to lose you.”

I shook my head and hugged him, “I am right here and I am not going anywhere.”

When I pulled away he sighed, “I am not the person you think I am.”

I laughed as I grabbed his hand, “Yes you are. You are sweet, caring and someone I have strong feelings for so I am pretty sure I know you.”

“My birth name was Liam,” he began, “Liam is not my middle name.”

I let go of his hand, “I’m confused.”

“My family and I went into the witness protection program last year,” he said, “so I had to change my name.”

I thought about what he said. It would take some time getting used to the fact that he had this whole other identity before I met him but I wasn’t about to break up with him because he had a secret that he couldn’t control.

“Okay so you had to change your name, I wish you would have told me and I wish you would have trusted me but I guess the important thing is you are telling me now.”

“I shouldn’t be,” he said, “I am not supposed to tell anyone.”

“I know what being in the witness protection program does and I know the rules you have to follow.”

“Do you? Because I don’t think you do. I shouldn’t be telling you this.”

I put my hand on his shoulder, “You can trust me. I am not going to tell anyone Jesse, I love you and yes I wish I could tell Sara or my father but I won’t because I care about you and don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize your safety.

“So you are not mad at me?”

I smiled, “Maybe a little disappointment but that is where things end, I can’t be mad at you for something like that.”

He loosened up a bit, “You are amazing.”

“Don’t you forget it,” I winked at him as I gave him a kiss, “So what happened? Why did you have to go into witness protection?”

He frowned, “I got mixed up with the wrong people and they wanted me to do things that I couldn’t do but they wouldn’t leave me alone so we had to be protected.”

“So were these people like the mafia?”

“Something like that,” he said staring into space.

“Your family had to leave Toronto too?”

“Well we were actually in Italy at the time,” he admitted, “I never lived in Toronto.”

“You didn’t have to lie about that,” I pointed out.

“I was paranoid,” he admitted.

“Okay so what did they want you to do?” I asked.

“What is with all the questions?” he asked defensively.

“Are you hiding something else?” I asked.

He looked at me, “What they wanted me to do isn’t what I don’t want to tell you.”

I took a deep breath, “Okay now you are scaring me.”

“I thought I would have already lost you after telling you what I did,” he paused, “But I am not so sure about the next part.”

“I am sure you are overreacting. What else could you possibly have to tell me?”

“If I just did what they wanted, my sister would still be alive.”

I blinked my eyes a few times not sure I heard correctly, “Huh?”

“They killed my sister!”

My hand flew to my mouth, “I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything.”

“I am so sorry,” I said.

“It’s my own fault,” he said tears filling his eyes, “But I can’t think like that anymore.”

“They killed her?” I said finally realizing what he said.

He nodded, “Yes.”

I took a step back, “Am I safe?”

He nodded, “I would never do anything to put you in danger.

“Wait, they killed your sister? You didn’t tell me you had a sister.”

“Jessica is my sister.”

“You said she was a friend,” I said.

“I know and I am sorry I just couldn’t tell you the truth, you wouldn’t have understood.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“You wouldn’t have,” he said, “You never will because you didn’t have to watch your family fall apart as they blamed you for the death of your sibling.”

“I could have tried. Wait, you said she died of a brain tumour.”

“I know,” he repeated, “I wanted you to know that I knew what you were going through.”

“No,” I raised my voice, “You’re lying, you’re joking.”

He shook his head, “I wish I was.”

“You lied to me about that too?”

He faced the ground, “I am sorry.”

I shook my head, “So I guess it wasn’t five years ago, it was last year?”

He nodded, “Yes.”

I sighed, “Is Ben your brother?”

He nodded, “yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“What else did you lie to me about?” I asked getting angrier by the second.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” I repeated.

“I can’t remember everything I told you.”

“Of course not because everything you said was a lie. Do you even know what the truth is?”

“Just tell me what to do to make this right.”

“I can’t believe this,” I ran my hand through my hair trying to think.

I was angry, I was hurt and I felt like I didn’t know him at all. I didn’t care that he was in the witness protection program, I cared about the fact that he lied to me about every detail in his life. It all made sense.

“Now I understand why you never volunteered information, why you got upset every time I tried to get information out of you about your life or why you didn’t want any attachments.”

Jesse walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder but I flung it away.

“Did you think you could get away with it?” I asked.

“I wanted to tell you.”

“But you didn’t and I bet if it wasn’t for your brother you still wouldn’t have told me.”

“I am not supposed to tell anyone.”

“I am sure you could tell the person you actually saw a future with but I guess that was the problem; you didn’t feel the way I did right? That is why you thought it was okay to keep this from me and to make everything about your life up. I bet you felt guilty when I told you, I loved you right? That’s why you started ignoring me.”

“I couldn’t tell you that I love you with this secret,” he whispered.

I ignored the fact that he practically told me he loved me, right now those three words were not worth much.

“I have to go,” I said heading for the door.

Jesse put his arm in front of me keeping the door closed, “You can’t go anywhere.”

“What?” I said trying to push him, “Let me go.”

“No!” he paused, “You need to listen to me.”

“I don’t have to do anything,” I said looking at the grip he had on my wrist, “and you need to let go.”

He loosened his grip, “I can’t let you tell anyone.”

“You still don’t trust me?”

“I don’t trust anyone,” he admitted, “I want to and a part of me did and still does but I can’t, not after everything I have been through and everything I have seen.”

“I don’t feel safe,” I whispered.

“No one is going to hurt you, ever, I would never let that happen.”

“You can’t control that.”

“You will never get hurt on my account.”

“You already hurt me,” I pointed out.

“I meant physically.”

“I think that might be less painful,” I said opening the door.

I walked out and found Ben sitting on the steps. He looked up and saw me storming out. He faced the ground unable to meet my eyes.

“Jen,” Jesse followed me, “You need to hear the whole story.”

“I don’t want to hear it; I can’t hear it right now.”

“Well you need to!”

“The only thing I need to do is get far away from here and far away from you.”

Jesse closed the door to the truck, “Please. I want to tell you everything.”

“It’s a little late for that.”

“It’s never too late.”

“Be quiet,” I shook my head trying to control my feelings; “I do not want to hear anything right now. I will not tell anyone about your precious secret but right now I need to get out of here.”

“Are you okay to drive?”

“You do not need to worry about me.”

“Stop it,” he said, “Don’t act like you are fine about this. Don’t act like I don’t care because I do.”

That was all I could take, “I was fine before you came along. I could take you being in this program and I am sorry for everything you had to go through. I can never imagine anything like that but I would think that you having gone through that would have compassion on other people. Yet you led me to believe that you cared about me. You let me fall in love with you making me think you were some miracle that I was waiting for. You got everyone to like you, my dad even approved of you but this was all some joke. For what? To see how easily you could fool someone?”

“You have it all wrong,” he said, “None of this was a joke. I never thought a girl like you would fall for someone like me.”

“Yet I did and you did nothing to stop it from happening. Was this a test to see if you could use your charm and get a girl to fall for you? If you really cared and if you didn’t want to tell anyone about who you really are, then you wouldn’t have gotten involved with me.”

“You’re right,” he said, “But when it happened I couldn’t stop myself. Jen, I didn’t know anyone like you in the past, I never knew you existed and then you told me you loved me…”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I loved Jesse, but Jesse doesn’t even exist, the Jesse I knew was a lie.”

“Don’t say that, I am Jesse.”

“No you are not,” I yelled, “I hate myself right now for ever believing anything you said, all the sweet things that made me love you more. I told you everything about me, I told you my secrets my fears, I bet you were laughing at me the whole time that I was pouring out my heart.”

“I never lied to you about my feelings for you.”

“You really think I am going to believe that? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Isn’t that how the saying goes?”

Ben cleared his throat, “If there is anything he didn’t lie about, it is the way he feels for you.”

“Stay out of this Ben,” Jesse’s eyes were on fire.

I took a deep breath, “Just let me go.”

“Please, let me tell you the whole story.”

“Maybe one day,” I whispered, “But not now.”

“Jen,” he grabbed my hand, “Don’t go.”

“I can’t believe this,” I said getting into the truck, “I came here because I knew there was something off between us. I was planning on kidnapping you to spend the night under the stars because I thought it would get us back on track. Instead, I discovered the real you.”

“This isn’t me,” he argued, “This person you’re discovering was me; I am not that person anymore.”

“You are always going to be that person,” I said.

“I got my life together Jen, whether or not you want to believe that and meeting you only helped me to move on.”

“So you used me,” I finally sighed.

“No,” Jesse said wanting to further explain himself but I cut in.

“You were right,” I continued, “You did lose me. Not because of your past but because you didn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth. You made me fall in love with a lie and for that, I will never look at you the same way.”

With that I pulled out of the driveway and left without looking back. On my way home I shed a couple tears, I still didn’t understand what went wrong. I thought Jesse was different but he was no better than Eric, my ex-boyfriend. Our whole relationship was based on lies, the one thing my father told us would destroy a relationship…and he was right!

I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to shed tears for someone I never really knew. Everyone had a past but to not trust me when he saw a future together was unforgiveable. I was saddened at the thought that Jesse couldn’t trust me nor did he love me.

I didn’t know what to tell my dad or Sara. I didn’t know what reason to give them for not being with Jesse anymore. I had to think of something before morning, luckily my father was in bed when I got in. I went to my room and closed the door collapsing on the bed.

Finally I decided that I would simply tell everyone that we would rather not ruin what we have by trying to be something more. The only problem with that was I would have to pretend to still be his friend when the last thing I wanted to do was see him.

I wanted to fire him, I didn’t want to see him every day working on the ranch but that would create problems for everyone especially myself because then I really could not make up an excuse which means I would have to tell my father the truth which I couldn’t do. So I didn’t know exactly what to do and I couldn’t seem to fall asleep either.

At five in the morning I still had not slept for more than a few minutes at a time so I got up and headed to the barn. The sun was just about to come up and I started mucking out the stalls. I tried to keep busy so I wouldn’t have to think but around seven, everyone started arriving.

My father came out with a mug of coffee, “You must have been out here early?”

“I couldn’t sleep too well.”

My father looked around, “It looks like everything is done in this barn, what will there be left for Jesse to do?”

I swallowed at the mention of his name, “He could do the other barn but he might not show up today.”

“How come?”

I thought about it, “He said he had some things to do.”

The truth was I didn’t know if he would come or not but I prayed that he wouldn’t. It would give me more time to think of what to tell my father.

“Looks like he changed his mind,” my father said as Jesse walked into the barn, “Jen was just telling me you wanted the day off.”

“Oh,” Jesse said looking at me, “I changed my mind.”

“Well, Jen already got most of the work done so when you are done if she doesn’t need you; you might as well take the rest of the day and go home.”

“We’ll see,” Jesse said not taking his eyes off of me.

I sighed as I continued to brush Snowflake. My father just stood there as if waiting for someone to say something but I didn’t make eyes contact.

Mary and Luca came at the same time as they walked in the barn to greet everyone. I offered them a smile and again turned my attention back to Snowflake.

“We’ll go for a ride later okay boy?”

Slowly everyone left except for Jesse. He came over to the stall as I could feel his eyes on me.

“Can I talk to you?”

I cleared my throat, “No.”

“Please,” he begged.

I shook my head as I walked out of the stall, “No.”

“I want to tell you the whole story from start to finish,” he said.

“I already know how it ends and frankly I don’t care how it started.”

“I can understand that but I still want to tell you, I think you deserve that much.”

“You think I deserve it?” I asked, “Don’t you think I deserved a little better before you lied to me?”

“You deserve the best,” he began, “and I can’t tell you how much I regret what I did to you but I can’t go back and undue it. I can only try to make things right.”

I rolled my eyes as I walked into my office.

“Jennifer,” Jesse followed me in my office and closed the door, “We need to talk about this.”

“No, we don’t,” I denied, “There is nothing to talk about. You lied to me about everything.”

“Not everything,” he pointed out.

“Name something you didn’t lie to me about?”

“The way I feel about you.”

“No,” I shook my head, “Something about you.”

He thought about it and for a while all he did was look into my eyes until he fixed his sight on a stack of paper that lay on my desk.

“Exactly,” I said getting up, “If you told me, none of this would have happened.”

“You’re right,” he got up, “But you wouldn’t have given me a chance either.”

“How dare you say that,” I said, “You don’t know what I would have done.”

“If you are honest with yourself, you wouldn’t have given me a chance, you probably wouldn’t have hired me if you knew all this before. That’s understandable; I probably wouldn’t want someone like me hanging around either.”

“I’ve heard enough okay,” I said making my way to open the door.

Jesse leaned in front of me and closed the door getting in front of it, “So what’s going to happen?”

“Nothing is going to happen,” I said, “You never trusted me so I don’t expect you to start now.”

“At first, no I didn’t but as you started trusting me I slowly started trusting you, which is why I want to tell you everything.”

“I am not ready to hear it.”

“Maybe it would help you,” he said.

“Help me?”

“Yes, maybe you will understand why I didn’t tell you, maybe you will…”

“Will what? Forgive you?” I laughed, “Maybe I will but that is still not going to change anything.”

“I was going to say give me a second chance.”

I shook my head, “Not going to happen.”

He nodded, “So are you firing me?”

“No.”

“Thank you.”

“I am not doing it for you,” I said rudely, “If I fired you people would ask a lot of questions and like you said, I can’t tell anyone.”

“I appreciate it,” he said, “So what are you going to tell people?”

“I haven’t figured it out completely yet.”

“I think you should tell me so we get our story straight.”

“What do you suggest?” I asked.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you.”

I closed my eyes trying not to cry. I did so well last night but all of a sudden standing in front of the man I thought I loved who broke my heart, not crying didn’t seem possible.

I blinked my eyes a couple times trying to prevent the tears from coming out. Jesse saw my eyes get glossy and tried to come closer but I took a step back.

“You make me sick,” I said wishing I didn’t speak my mind, “Just thinking about how many other girls you must have hurt this way.”

“I didn’t do this to anyone,” he faced the floor.

“I’ll tell people we just want to be friends,” I said, “But that doesn’t mean we are. I will do one barn and you will do another barn, I will train without you, if Mary needs your help you can help her and unless you need time off or have an issue you need to discuss which is about work you don’t need to talk to me.”

“Fine,” he frowned, “But one day soon I will tell you the whole story.”

“I don’t know Jesse,” I swallowed, “But can I ask you something? I want an honest answer.”

“Okay.”

“Were you ever going to tell me the truth? If I didn’t get suspicious and if your brother didn’t encourage you, would you have told me one day?”

He thought about it, “I don’t know, and that is my honest answer.”

I nodded, “Oh and I don’t know if this is too much to ask but can you maybe take two weeks off?”

He thought about it, “If you want me to then yes.”

“I need some time to get used to this.”

He nodded, “What about my brother? Your dad told him to start next week part time. Should I tell him to forget about it?”

I shook my head, “No, I don’t care, he could come. I don’t have anything against him, he didn’t do anything wrong, plus we will need the help since you won’t be here.”

I could see the hurt flash across Jesse’s face, “Is that it?”

I thought about it and nodded, “Yeah.”

Jesse slowly opened the door and headed out.

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