When Lightning Strikes

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

Chapter 16 (v.1)

Submitted: April 11, 2012

Reads: 566

Comments: 16

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 11, 2012

A A A

A A A

Numb. That was what my mind and body felt like. To come to such a heartbreaking and shocking conclusion made me weak. I wasn’t really aware of the squeals and sighs over Aubrey. The only thought in my head was that I had to get over this little infatuation with Jason.

I couldn’t act like a little schoolgirl, shivering every time his presence was near. I had to let him go. Who was I to come in and ruin an engagement? I was insignificant, of course. They had been dating for a few years and I had only gotten to know him for a few days or weeks …

“Gracie, come so we can take a picture!” Aubrey called.

I tried to push my thoughts away as I slowly grabbed a hold of the skirt of my dress and walked over. Every step I took towards her hurt me. She looked so happy, so opposite to what I was feeling at the moment.

The guilt and the pain would eventually eat me up soon, I was sure.

“Say wedding dress!” Reinette told us, holding Aubrey’s phone.

“Wedding dress!” we all said, although I had only murmured it.

We were there for longer to decide what type of headpiece Aubrey wanted to attach to her veil. She chose a small elegant diamond-cut tiara. It suited her. After all, she looked like royalty. Also, Aubrey had already chosen her shoes and it had just been delivered to the store. We all gushed over the satin slip-on heels, encrusted with light gold jewels. Everything for the wedding seemed so expensive and luxurious.

“We have to meet the make-up artist,” Iris announced while we were surveying some bracelets. “It’s nearly twelve.”

Soon after, we were leaving and on the way to a salon another fifteen minutes away. I tuned out of the conversation throughout the car ride and focused my thoughts on Jason. I wondered if he was thinking of Aubrey or me. Maybe both. If he was truly the caring guy I knew, then the guilt would be a constant thought.

Aubrey’s make-up woman was named Sadie. She seemed to be quite experienced. You could tell by the way she handled all her brushes. As she powdered Aubrey’s face, she constantly talked and gave us handy tips. It was actually fun and took my mind of Jason a little.

“I want to be striking,” my sister said. “But classic.”

Sadie smiled and got to work on choosing colours for her eyes, lips and cheeks. We all were expected to contribute to the discussion; Aubrey had told us in the car. She wanted all of our opinions.

“I think this blue would look good with her eyes,” Michelle said, pointing to a light colour. “Maybe you could mix it with grey.”

Iris shook her head. “Aubrey wants classic. That blue is …”

“Too bright?” I offered.

She nodded. “Maybe we should use neutral colours.”

It took us a while to create a look, but in the end Aubrey looked regal. Her cheekbones were more enhanced, her skin seemed like porcelain and her eyes were wide and alluring. The final touch was some colour to her lips. We all agreed that her signature lipstick would make her look ‘striking’. Sadie carefully painted on a dark red and we all sighed happily.

The make-up reflected her well: fierce, bold and beautiful.

“I love it,” Aubrey told Sadie, smiling at her reflection in the vanity.

“What about your bridesmaids? Should we decide on something as well?” Sadie asked.

I was made to sit in the chair as we only needed one person to test on. I sat like a doll as Sadie mixed foundation into my skin.

“I think bronzer would look good with our dresses,” Iris exclaimed. “Our skin would be glowing.”

“Faux lashes as well,” Michelle added, pointing to a pack on the table. “And maybe nude lipstick. We don’t want to outstand the bride.”

Aubrey laughed, the twinkling quality of it making my hurt ache. She seemed so carefree right now. “You better not.”

The ending result was a soft look. My eyes had been dusted with gold and petal pink, along with extended lashes and my skin was shimmering. It would definitely go with my bridesmaid dress.

“So do you want these looks for the wedding?” Sadie asked, staring at my sister.

Aubrey pursed her lips and looked back at the photos on her phone, which Iris had taken. She nodded in the end.

“If I want something changed, I can always tell you, yes?”

Sadie smiled gently. “Of course. It’s been nice to meet all of you.”

Once we said our goodbyes, Aubrey rang the boys to see where we would meet up. They had decided on McDonalds for lunch, making Michelle huff.

“There are so many calories there,” she complained.

“There’s always the salad,” I told her, which earned me a glare. I knew models were supposed to eat healthily, but she took it to a whole new level.

The boys were already there when we arrived, taking up a very long table. Henry told us that whenever someone walked past looking for somewhere to sit, Rodger and Troy would glare at them, telling them to back away.

“Well how nice of you two to go to that extent,” Iris said as she slid in next to Aubrey. “I never us ladies were so important.”

Troy flashed a grin. “We’re gentlemen’s. Saving the ladies a seat is what we do.”

“I highly doubt it.” Michelle snorted. “You guys act like monkeys all the time.”

The two ‘gentlemen’ then gallantly decided to order everything for us. They committed the orders to memory and headed inside to the counter. While we waited for the food, Henry started a conversation with me.

“How was shopping?”

I shrugged. “The usual. We got our dresses, our shoes, our make-up …”

“Oh lord, enough of that.” He shuddered, making me laugh. “Although I do think that you must have looked stunning in your dress …”

I froze. This man was married. Why was he telling me this, especially in a flirtatious tone? Did this count as cheating? Oh my lord. Why was it always the taken men?!

“Um Henry …”

He winked and murmured, “Trust me.”

This puzzled me even more. Why did I need to trust him? What was he doing?

Jason cleared his throat from across the table, making me turn. He was giving Henry a disapproving look. His lips were spread out in a thin line and his blue eyes seemed more like ice than the sea.

“See?” Henry snickered. “He’s got it bad.”

My head snapped to his. I was shocked. What was Henry talking about? He couldn’t mean Aubrey, because he hadn’t even mentioned her name … but it couldn’t be me, could it? Jason only saw me as a friend, a sister. He was the one who told me that ‘we’ couldn’t continue.

“Henry,” I muttered fiercely. My eyes darted left and right, just to check whether anyone was listening in. They were occupied by Aubrey’s story-telling. Good. “I don’t know what you know, but you better stop right there.”

He seemed surprised by my sudden coldness and reluctantly, the wicked gleam in his eyes faded.

“Sorry,” he apologised.

I sighed and rubbed my forehead. “It’s fine. Just please don’t talk about it.”

Lunch was slow. I hardly looked up from my double cheeseburger and fries because I didn’t want to see Henry eyeing Jason knowingly, Aubrey’s love-filled gaze or Iris’s concerned glances. I was tired – so tired. I just wanted to go home and curl up in my bed. The shopping trip had been slightly less painful as Jason hadn’t been there, but now he was only a table away. I could lean forward and tentatively brush my hand against his, caress his cheek or stare into his hypnotising eyes. He was right in front of me!

And I couldn’t have him.

My older, beloved sister clung to his arm regularly and would whisper something in his ear. He’d smile gently and they’d share some knowing look, which disgusted me. She would also exclaim over how she was glad that mostly everything was finalised for the wedding and Jason would agree with her. Why did they act so lovey-dovey in public? Where was the fighting I knew which went on?

I felt my heart blaze with jealousy as she planted a kiss on his lips. ‘Aww’ went around the whole table, but I sat there silently staring. Those were the lips I had just kissed yesterday! Those firm yet gentle lips – perfection itself, and they were all Aubrey’s.

I excused myself from the table, unable to handle the hurt. My head was spinning by the time I reached the toilet.

Why did she have everything that I didn’t? Everyone was constantly saying that I had a great life, but look at my sister. Aubrey had that classic beauty and supreme confidence. She could persuade a whole parliament to agree on a law with her debating skills. Being a lawyer definitely had its perks too – her salary was high and she had a large amount of money in her bank account to buy brand name dresses and purses. Then, she had a loving fiancé. He was so perfect that I wanted to cry.

Me? I only went to the community college, instead of some fancy law school. People thought that being tall with long, golden blonde hair was pretty, but I didn’t think so. It was too stereotypical, too normal. I haven’t even met the man of my dreams, or maybe I didn’t have one. Maybe I would end up in a nursing home alone, imagining how my future would have looked like if I had done things differently.

For god’s sake, I had just come out from a relationship where we hadn’t loved each other. Vince had fancied someone else. It was expected, I guess. I was too plain.

I felt my heart becoming heavy so I excused myself to use the bathroom. Luckily, there was no one inside and I was able to stare at myself in the mirror without looking like an idiot. I told myself to breathe deeply. My life wasn’t over. I convinced myself that I would find someone else, just like Jason told me. If I could just hold onto that ray of hope, maybe I wouldn’t be so upset.

“Gracie? Are you in there?”

My eyes flew open. I didn’t dare believe it. Had Jason followed me?

“Gracie?”

I stormed over to the door and swung it open. It was him. What on earth was he thinking? Did he have no idea what would happen if someone caught us?

“What are you doing?” I gritted out. I wasn’t exactly sure why I was frustrated. Maybe all my thoughts from today had accumulated to this sudden anger, but at the same time, my heart soared. He was really talking to me. Nothing soothed me better than his smooth, deep voice.

“I just wanted to make sure you were ok.”

A flash of disbelief went through me. Was he joking?

“That’s it?” I demanded flatly. Bitterness was seeping through my voice. It seemed like he could bring out both my good and bad side. I was rarely this grouchy. “Well, Jason, I tell you that I am fine. You don’t need to check up on me, ever. Why don’t you go back to your Aubrey?”

He flinched from my harsh words. “Gracie … I understand why you’re angry, but please, I’ve never met a girl like you. I couldn’t help myself yesterday …”

Oh god. Did that mean he liked me? No no, I chanted to myself. I couldn’t let this happen. If he did have some feelings for me, I needed to end his hopes, no matter how hard it was. I had vowed to myself that I wouldn’t come between the engagement.

“Jason, I’m here to clarify everything.” I looked him in the eye, telling myself that this was for the best. Not time to back out now. “We can’t let this happen. The kiss was a mistake. I don’t have any feelings for you at all.”

Unfortunately, it seemed like he looked right past my words and into my soul. “I know you don’t mean that.”

Be strong. “You’re not the whole who controls my emotions.”

“But the kiss …”

A sigh escaped my lips. “Jason, just please. Nothing good will come out if we start a relationship. Let’s leave the kiss in the past.”

It was working. Jason’s mind seemed to be in turmoil. He seemed to be thinking about what was right and what was wrong.

Although I ached to be his arms instead, I suggested, “Friends?”

I watched as Jason’s eyes briefly closed. His long lashes cast shadows over the lid and I found myself closing mine too. If only I could step closer …

“Alright, friends.”

His words snapped me out of my dazed state. Right. We were friends. I couldn’t be dreaming and pining for Jason anymore.

“I guess that’s sorted then,” I said shakily.

To avoid suspicion, I walked back to the table first. Jason would stay longer and buy a strawberry sundae for Aubrey. When I sat down, I saw Henry glancing at me from the corner of his eye. The sparkle in his eye meant he knew what went down between Jason and me. It was hard to stop the sudden flame in my cheeks.

When Jason came outside with the sundae, my sister beamed and kissed both his cheeks. “You know me so well!”

“But do you know him well?” Michelle questioned slyly. Although it was a joke, I was left with an uncomfortable nagging feeling.

Aubrey laughed and linked arms with him. “Why yes I do, more than anyone else will ever know.”

That hurt. I wanted to be the one who knew everything about him: all of his secrets, whatever cute habits he had, his hopes and dreams, what cologne and aftershave he used …

“Alright let’s go back to my place for drinks?” Rodger suggested.

Everybody was up for it, except for me. I wanted to go home and snuggle in my awaiting, warm bed. Unfortunately, my ride was with Jason and my sister. I guess fate wanted me to remain more miserable. Aubrey and Iris quickly went to visit the bathroom before heading off while the boys headed back inside so they could buy themselves some ice-cream. I found it funny how boys were hungry all the time.

This left me with Michelle, although I didn’t mind. I knew she’d either ignore me completely or walk away. I was wrong.

“You better sort everything out.”

Shocked, I looked up and flinched at her narrowed eyes. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” She scoffed. “Don’t pretend to play innocent, alright? I saw you yesterday, making googly eyes at him before kissing through the front window.”

My heart was beating double time now. Oh no. Michelle knew? She was the one who had sent that text? If she knew, then she could easily tell Aubrey. After all, they were best friends and Michelle was known for her hatred for me. I couldn’t let this happen.

“How?” I asked, astonished. Oh my … the black car I had seen yesterday had been Michelle’s!

She rolled her eyes impatiently. “I was supposed to go house hunting with them. Aubrey told me to wait at her house, but I couldn’t go in there after seeing you two.”

My fear had come true. The secret was out.

“You should really close the curtains next time,” she suggested with a slight sneer.

“Please,” I whispered, feeling vulnerable and desperate as I did so. “You can’t.”

She leaned forward and eyed me cruelly. “Why not?”

I couldn’t believe this. She was playing games with me. “Look, there’s nothing going on between us. Don’t tell Aubrey. It’ll make her more miserable. Whatever happened between Jason and me is history.”

To my horror, Michelle cocked her head to the side and assessed me. Her green eyes were narrowed in slits and she eerily reminded me of a snake, ready to attack its prey. “I don’t think so. My best friend doesn’t deserve a cheating jerk or a lying bitch of a sister, so you will tell her. I haven’t said anything because I wanted to leave it up to you. You’re noble like Levine there, aren’t you? You like to do the right thing. Now’s the time to do just that. I feel generous, so I’ll give you until the week of the wedding to prepare yourself.”

That gave me two months. I sat there, stunned. She wanted me to tell my sister what had happened? But … she would hate us forever – both Jason and me. How could I tear apart everything?

We heard the voices of the others coming back, so she quickly leaned in to whisper sharply, “You will tell Aubrey because it’s the right thing to do, and if you won’t … then I will.”


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