View From Heaven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 31 (v.1) - Chapter 30

Submitted: May 04, 2008

Reads: 146

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Submitted: May 04, 2008

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Chapter 30

“This lobster is amazing.”

“Yeah, have you tried the garlic roasted potatoes yet? They’re incredible.”

“I’m praying I have some room left for dessert after this.”

“Me too. Rumor has it the cake is red velvet.”

Absurd. This was absolutely absurd. Every glance, every gesture, every word, every nicety between them was another thread woven into a delicately crafted lie, and the final product was nowhere in sight. The truth was there, but it resided on an alternate plane where a perpetual message was being transmitted between the two parties. When Jamie remarked on how perfectly short and sweet the wedding ceremony had been, what he was actually saying was ‘I’m still waiting patiently for you to tell me exactly what the hell is wrong and I’m not going to be able to wait much longer’. When Cecily nodded enthusiastically in agreement and gushed about how perfectly the pink lilies matched the bridesmaids’ gowns, she was actually implying ‘why don’t you stop trying to be such a damn angel and just let me have it already?’

She didn’t give a damn about the food. In fact, she could hardly stomach it bearing witness to the way that from the head table across the ballroom Deanna, breasts heaving out of her coral dress, making her seem more suited for the role of a Playboy centerfold than a modest bridesmaid, stared hungrily in their—more specifically Jamie’s—direction.

She gazed down at her own stunning lavender satin halter which fitted her as if it had been designed for her body. Jamie had given it to her as a surprise gift the week before, reminding her of his vow to provide her as much as was in his means to spare her any unnecessary expenses for her hard-earned money. Despite its beauty, she donned the dress out of absolute obligation. She may have appeared impeccable, but what she felt trapped inside of it was quite the opposite.

It must have cost Jamie several hundred dollars—yet another token of his affection, another tangible measurement of his love. She knew it was with a good heart and the best of intentions that he did such things, but the grandiose amount of money he poured out for her sake, never failed to irk.

How would it be different if he didn’t have the means to lavish such luxury upon her? She liked to think there would be no difference, that it was the immaterial qualities which defined their relationship; but, then again, if Jamie weren’t so financially comfortable, they certainly would not be battling the issue of who would pay her brother’s several hundred-thousand-dollar medical bills. Without his money, things wouldn’t be so damn complicated.

Or would they?

“You know, I can’t help but be caught up in the irony of it all,” rang a familiar voice from over Cecily’s shoulder, causing all the muscles in her body to tense. Deanna came into sight between where the couple sat, one hand poised saucily on a hip, the other hand cradling a flute of champagne—not her first glass of the night if her incredibly lax facial features and the way she swayed ever so slightly were any indication.

“What’s that, Dee?” Jamie inquired in an unassuming manner, gazing up at the well-endowed woman in complete innocence. Cecily felt her toes curl as Deanna’s hand slipped from her waist to the back of Jamie’s chair, her breasts drawing dangerously close to his face.

“Well, I’m here to help seal the e-TER-nal union between my friend and her wonderful new husband, and who else is here to help, sitting just feet away from me? Well, that would be the man who once promised me forever, the man who divorced me not so very long ago for real reasons yet unknown. Now doesn’t that seem a little ass backwards to you both?”

Jamie groaned and shook his head sympathetically while Cecily had very little difficulty summoning a pained look of her own.

“You’re holding up very well, Deanna,” Jamie stated in his gentle, wise manner. Deanna’s bitter fade melted into radiant sweetness. Perhaps it was the fifty dollars a bottle champagne talking, but Cecily detected a hint of sarcasm in Deanna’s beaming smile when it turned upon her.

“Oh, Cecily, what I went through with Eric—you’ll never have to worry about any of it as long as you stay with this man.” The hand drifted from Jamie’s chair back to rest firmly on his shoulder. Cecily tasted bile. “He’s so caring, so considerate, so selfless…” With each honorable adjective she conjured up, Deanna leaned into Jamie for greater effect, her breasts actually brushing his arm. Cecily watched his eyes flit sporadically about the room. He was doing his damndest to disallow them from landing on the undisputable most obvious point of interest for any warm-blooded heterosexual male.

“My God, he’s even twice as good looking as Eric,” Deanna whined, practically drooling over Jamie as if he were a two-hundred pound piece of fudge on display in a bakery window. “Damn you, Cecily, if only I’d gotten to him first!”

There was a moment of silence in which Cecily was so extraordinarily mind-blown she wondered if it was only in her imagination that her jaw had landed with a thud onto the table. Deanna cackled loudly in jest after a few seconds, but neither of them was able to find the same level of amusement. Jamie’s face flushed an instant hue of deep red and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat; Cecily remained tight lipped and stony-faced.

Deanna sighed forlornly and pouted her lips in a highly exaggerated manner.

“If you pair of lucky lovers will excuse me, I think I’m going to go step out for a breath of fresh air.”

Releasing her grip on Jamie, Deanna took a moment to balance before pivoting and strutting off across the dance floor. They observed dumb-founded as she veered slightly from her intended path several times, champagne sloshing out of her glass on each occasion and turning many of the heads of other guests in the process. Eventually she reached the double doors of the ballroom, and walked head-long into a disgusted looking middle-aged man before disappearing.

“She is obviously completely drunk,” Jamie muttered, shaking his head slowly, his eyes still trained to the spot she had previously occupied. He stood resolutely, pushed back his seat, and straightened his suit jacket. “I better go make sure she’s all right before she does something she’ll seriously regret.”

Cecily was full of rage in an instant. She had just sat a foot away and watched another woman blatantly and shamelessly hit on her boyfriend as if she weren’t even there, and his first response was to chase after the woman and ensure her well-being? Talk about ass backwards.

“You know, Jamie, it’s not like she’s your responsibility,” Cecily spat angrily. Jamie, already advancing towards the door, back-pedaled with a look of surprise.

“Excuse me?”

“You think it’s your duty to try and save everyone who you think might be in trouble,” she uttered in a voice shaking with ill-suppressed resentment, her gaze unable to meet his. “Well, it’s not.”

Jamie’s jaw pulsed and his fists clenched, but his tone remained steady.

“You’re right, Cecily. She’s not my responsibility. She’s my friend, and I’m treating her as I believe any friend deserves to be treated. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

With this, Jamie reeled around and stalked towards the doors. Cecily watched him go, her eyes prickling with the threat of tears. She had inwardly craved a fight between them, and if a fight was what she truly desired, she was certainly on the right track. The tension, the unhappiness, the disquietude had mounted so high within her, she felt as if she were being slowly strangled. She could barely swallow or breathe for the hold it had on her and the undeniable way it begged for release. Yet the tiny echo of reason resounding at the back of her mind urged her to re-consider. She was undoubtedly unhappy with Jamie, and it was only right that it be known, but what was the cause? Was she completely sure?

Cecily’s eyes were drawn to the dance floor where the bride and groom slow danced to a romantic ballad with their foreheads touching, eyes locked. In this moment their love, the world they shared was flawless, perfect. All at once she felt very much alone. She had to talk to Jamie in complete honesty, spill what had festered far too long inside her this very instant.

Dabbing her mouth with a linen napkin, Cecily slid from her crushed velvet seat and assumed the same path beaten by both Deanna and Jamie, as fast as her four inch heels would allow her without giving the wedding party the impression there was a fire. Just as she reached the double doors, the music faded and the presiding deejay of the night enthusiastically announced the cutting of the cake. A handful of guests who had been mingling just outside the ballroom came scurrying in her direction, leaving behind a virtually empty lobby. Cecily scanned the expansive atrium for any sight of Jamie. Her search was narrowed considerably at the burst of tittering laughter resounding from down the long hallway where the washrooms were located.

Heading to her left and rounding the corner in an almost breathless state, Cecily found just the man she was looking for. At this exact moment Jamie was more than a little preoccupied with both of his hands firmly gripping one of Deanna’s pencil arms, doing his best to coax her up from her rather unflattering position, sprawled on her back across a leather divan.

“Dee, you’re making a complete fool of yourself, here.”

His voice was filled with urgency and humiliation as he begged Deanna to get a grip. The intoxicated tart was beside herself in hysterics, like a two-year-old involved in a rousing game of peek-a-boo.

Both parties had yet to take notice of Cecily bearing witness to the whole charade when Deanna finally assented to Jamie’s wishes and erected herself.

“Oh, stop acting like you’re on the job, Mr. Hayworth,” she purred in a buttery voice. “I think you need to loosen up a little.”

It was just as Deanna collapsed into his tense body, roping her arms casually about his neck, that Jamie became aware of Cecily’s presence.

“Cecily,” he exclaimed, looking more horrified than if he were in the path of an oncoming car.

The crimson walls of the corridor happened to be lined with dozens of oblong slatted mirrors. Cecily was sure she caught sight in the reflection of one of those mirrors Deanna’s charcoal eyes glaring back at her, a malicious grin formed on her lips. This occurred just seconds before those same lips were pressed viciously to Jamie’s, her right hand snaking down to his crotch in the process. Cecily lingered just long enough to watch Jamie recoil, grasp Deanna’s arms and thrust her forcefully backwards in a struggle to free himself.

She was moving. Jamie was practically wailing her name from behind, but she was propelled continuously forward. She did not know what kept her in motion because she could not feel her legs, and she certainly was not conscious of her destination. The only thing she conceived was the need to escape.

“Cecily! Wait! Please!” Jamie’s voice rang out just feet away, signaling that he was in pursuit. Cecily’s pace quickened. The contents of her stomach churned upwards into her throat and she clamped a hand over her mouth as she searched in desperation down the maze of different corridors branching off the atrium for an exit. She spotted the giant glass doors leading out to the courtyard and approached them at a dead run, another pair of foot steps echoing behind her.

Bursting through the doors, she stumbled across a cobblestone terrace. Her feet slipped and dipped in between the crags several times, but she did not stop running until she reached the far end of the gated courtyard where she doubled over the fence railing, gagging and retching. For several seconds she could not find her breath, but the moment air graced her lungs, she only lost it again to body-racking sobs.

Cold water pummeled her head, dripping down her face and arms. She was conscious for the first time that it was raining heavily. It drenched her hair and dress and streamed into her eyes, but the natural instinct to shield herself from such unpleasant sensations was nonexistent. The storm raging within her was what she felt.

“Cecily, my God, are you all right?” Jamie’s blurred form appeared beside her. His suit coat was tented over his head against the fat drops. “She kissed me. You…I know you saw it, Cecily. You saw her kiss me, and you saw me try to stop her. She’s wasted. She…”

Jamie reached out his arms to bring the coat over Cecily’s huddled form, drawing himself very close to her.

“Get the hell away from me!” Revolted by the mere feeling of him at the moment, Cecily lashed out, shoving him in the opposite direction. It did not matter that her attempt was an incredibly weak one; Jamie was so completely floored by Cecily’s sudden animosity she was successful in making him stagger several steps back.

Thunderstruck by her own brash behavior, it seemed an eternity that Cecily watched Jamie stare back at her in utter dismay. In reality, it was only a matter of seconds between the ominous silence—shattered only by the roaring rain—and Jamie’s breaking point.

“GOD DAMMIT, CECILY!” he bellowed, fire in his eyes. His coat made a wet slapping sound as he dashed it to the ground. Cecily cowered against the fence. “I give up! I fucking give up! I surrender!”

“Four months, now. Four fucking months I’ve been…been bent to your god damn will. I came running every time you asked for me, and when you needed space I kept my distance. It killed me, KILLED me, Cecily, but I stayed away because I would do anything you ask of me. ANYTHING!”

“And it’s not good enough! Four months later and I haven’t won yet. I extend my hand in the most gracious way I know how; I try to show you that nothing that I own means one lick in comparison to you. I cut my heart out and hand it to you, bleeding, on a plate and you make me out to be a villain for it.”

“You’ve made it pretty obvious I’m in the wrong and that you deserve an apology. So, here it is: I’m sorry I’m not Landon and that I never will be.”

Cecily cupped a hand over her mouth in horror, stifling a fresh sob. Jamie’s rage faltered for a split second, but he persisted nonetheless. He spat out rain water with each harsh syllable.

“I apologize that despite everything I’ve ever done for you it couldn’t possibly make you feel the way about me that you feel about him. I’m sorry that when you lost him you lost the man you truly love, and I’m sorry that I am such a pathetic and hopeless excuse for a replacement. I only wish I didn’t love you so ridiculously much that I felt the need to bite the bullet for this long—to give, and give, and give even when I knew there was next to no chance I would get anything in return.”

“I’m tired, Cecily. I’m so damn tired,” Jamie murmured in a voice grown hoarse with screaming. He rubbed agitatedly at a vein which had popped to the surface of his scarlet forehead, his breathing erratic. “I’m tired of being persecuted for a wrong I will never be able to make right with you. I…” He laughed bitterly, gazing down at his white dress shirt so soaked through that the pink skin of his torso was visible. “I’m drenched. I’m going inside.”

Cecily watched Jamie turn on his heel and tramp back towards the hotel and she thought she might faint as she sensed her world just inches from crumbling all around her.

“JAMIE!” Cecily wailed, gripping on to a rung of the fence when she felt her knees buckle beneath her. Her scream was so blood-curdling, Jamie spun around instantly.

“Everything! You’re becoming everything to me! You’re the only thing that makes me happy anymore, the only thing that makes me strong. The reason I wake up in the morning is for you.” Her tears ran more heavily now than the rain down her face. Her vision was so clouded she could only make out Jamie’s silhouette before her. “If…if I let you give me that money, if I let you do something that selfless and loving for me, then that would be it. You would be my…my life! I can’t let that happen! I can’t!”

“Why? Why not, Cecily?” Jamie demanded advancing towards her. “Why can’t it be that way? What have I done to you that you can’t let me in?”

“It’s not you!” she cried.

“Then what is it?”

“It’s…because…because, what if I lose you? My God, Jamie what would I do? If you became my everything and then you left me. I lost Landon and…and I loved him, but I am in love with you. He didn’t mean half of what you mean to me. I can’t live without you. I can’t lose you, Jamie. I can’t! Please, understand Jamie. Please!”

The moment Jamie’s powerful hands encircled her arms, Cecily submitted herself to exhaustion and allowed him to catch the full brunt of her weight, cradling her feeble body in his arms. “I can’t, I can’t,” she repeated mindlessly into his chest.

Jamie hushed her in a tender voice, his anger melted in an instant.

“Cecily, listen to me, you’re not losing me. I’m not going anywhere, I promise you this.” His deep voice vibrating in her ear slowed her racing heart. Her wrenching sobs subsided to hiccupping breaths. He continued to reassure her with these same words as he gathered up her body as limp as a rag doll.

Cecily began to shiver violently as she was carried towards shelter; Jamie, silent, embraced her tighter against him in response. She felt his warmth radiating through his damp clothes. She gazed up into his stolid features, stoic yet tender. In her mental disarray, Cecily imagined herself but a helpless baby completely subjected to Jamie’s will. It did not embarrass or shame her; it brought her an undeniable feeling of peace.

In the wake of their bitter fray, in her moment of incredible weakness before him, Cecily yearned only for simplicity; she yearned for the world they shared to be black and white. Devoid of complications, made only of Jamie and Cecily and love.

She squeezed her eyes shut against the icy droplets of water and nuzzled her face into his shoulder, inhaling his soothing scent. She breathed him in greedily, over and over again.

In and out.

In and out.


© Copyright 2018 Megan Maydell. All rights reserved.

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