Chapter 19
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Jack

I can't forget the way he looked at me with such resentment. I wasn't ready. The feeling of guilt took over me and all I could say was useless “sorry”.

I think I deserved his anger, but it still hurts. Aiden seemed to have matured in these three months. And I looked like a teenager who didn't know what to say to right the wrongs. To regain trust once lost.

At home, I study the ceiling above my bed again. I think over Aiden's words and understand that this is fair. How else could he feel?

betrayed... used...

Hell... I've never felt so bad in my life...

I thought we had a chance to make up, but...

Sean's call wakes me up in the morning.

“Are you still sad?” He asks.

“I'm forever sad now,” I chuckle mirthlessly.

“Did you talk to him?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Apparently, it didn't go very well?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Maybe I should talk to him?”

“Don’t,” I say. “Leave him alone. I messed up, I deserved it.”

“Are you giving up?”

“I can't make him like me, can I?”

“Just don't drink, okay? Get down to business, it'll help you to get over it.”

I would like to tell Sean that even after a couple of years of traveling in Europe, he didn't get over me.

And he came back. But the past did not come back.

But I hum again and hang up.

And I fall asleep.

I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want anything at all.

But the phone is disturbing my peace again. This is Laura.

“Well, how are you, Romeo?”

“Don't call me that.”

“Why?”

“Because Romeo is dead. Do you wish me death, evil little sister?”

“No,” she laughs.

“I see you in a good mood.”

“Well, regular sex has such a side effect.”

“Spare me the details. But I am happy for you and for your regular sex life.”

“You should try sometime too.”

“Yeah... sometime...”

Laura laughs. We talk a little about dad, about whether we're going to get together for Thanksgiving, and then I hang up and fall asleep again.

The next day I force myself to go to the university. I turn into some kind of robot that answers questions.

Hell, I've never been like this.

I want to go back to my father's farm, exhaust myself with work and sleep without dreams. I don’t want to think about the future, because I can't let go of the past, and the present is dark.

This is because I just have no way out. I admitted my guilt, I realized it, I repented. But it didn't (and shouldn't have) restored the lost trust, didn't get me and Aiden back together. And I understand that it should be so.

And I just live thought my remorse and the fact that nothing can be fixed.

I just need to wait... But for how long?

The worst part is that... I'm waiting for my feelings for Aiden to die.

And I don’t want them to die, but it’s my own fault that I didn’t recognize them earlier. Didn't come to their defense. Did nothing to protect them, although I got Aiden so easily...

Sean calls every day to ask how I'm doing. I'm so annoyed by this question that on the third day I don't answer the call. So he comes in the evening and knocks on the door. I open it with great reluctance.

“Why didn't you answer my calls? How long are you going to suffer?”

“Leave me alone,” I say, and lie down on the couch again.

“You look like a pig. And you smell like one. How old is your shirt?”

The one I'm wearing is three days old and covered with sauce stains, but I don't care.

“Jack, what are you doing to yourself? Is it really worth it?”

“It's not about that.” I argue lazily. “It's not because of someone else. I just don't want anything. I just need time.”

“You always need time, stupid.”

I shrug. Well, he's right about something. Recent events have shown that I can be very stupid.

“Jack, pull yourself together!”

“I don’t want to, Sean!” I snap. “Leave me be. I need this fucking time! I can't get over it faster just because you're worried about me!”

Sean is hurt by my words.

“Okay, do what you want.”

And he leaves me alone. The next day his call does not wake me up, and I sleep until noon.

When I wake up, I realize that I have missed most of the classes. I get dressed and go to the university, not in a hurry. But I never get there because Brent meets me on the way. Something in my face apparently surprises him. But I'm not going to impose my company on him, I nod and move on, but he stops me.

“Jack, can we talk?”

“Ok,” I say. But he doesn't start, he's silently examining my face. Well, yes, I haven’t been shaving I don’t remember for how long, I sleep poorly too, I think I don't look too good. Shall we talk about my skin routine?

“I wanted to ask you.” Brent pauses rubbing his neck awkwardly. “Are you serious about Aiden? Are you sure?”

“Why are you asking? It's already over. Why everyone is meddling?” I say it without malice and on one exhale.

“And still... tell me.”

“More serious than I thought. More serious than anything I had before. Does this answer suit you?”

“Then talk to him again.”

“What?”

“Look, I'm sorry I'm meddling now and did before... But... how to put it... I involuntarily overheard your last conversation. Aiden is angry with you, he's hurt, but still... he's not been himself lately. I don't mean that you should feel sorry for him. But maybe if you speak out and say what you said to me now, then maybe he... will believe you. Maybe. It's just you're both so unhappy despite the fact that you love each other. ”Brent stops. “Well, or whatever your feelings are. I mean I think that there's some kind of misunderstanding going on. If you clear things up, maybe it'll be a chance for both of you. If not, it's fine. Just... it feels so unfair...” Brent draws a deep breath. “Now it seems that I'm talking nonsense here... I just... I don't know. I feel somehow guilty. And I want Aiden to be happy.”

“You feel guilty?”

Brent hesitates.

“I was wrong in many ways. Maybe if I hadn't intervened then, you would have talked, and everything would have turned out differently.”

“I'll think about it,” I say.

“Thanks.”

Brent and I are parting ways and I am wandering home past the cafe where Sean and Aiden work. I don't even look into the windows, I just walk by.

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