When Lightning Strikes

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

Chapter 17 (v.1)

Submitted: April 17, 2012

Reads: 626

Comments: 19

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 17, 2012

A A A

A A A

The whole three hours at Rodger’s was a nightmare for me. Everybody except me and Aubrey were gulping down Corona’s or taking shots. They were all having fun chatting and playing on the x-Box, while I felt like puking, and not because I was drunk. I felt Michelle’s glare every time I glanced at Jason. I was paranoid that she would suddenly announce to everyone in the room what a horrible sister I was, or that she’d whisper everything in Aubrey’s ear. Then my sister would turn to me, eyes filled with anger, hurt and betrayal.

I was itching to grab my sister and drag her away. I didn’t want her anywhere near Michelle.

I would also have to talk to Jason, but I couldn’t around everyone else. I needed somewhere private, as we couldn’t risk someone overhearing us.

Once Jason dropped both Aubrey and I home, I rushed inside and took a calming, warm shower. I was going to visit him after this. I couldn’t let Michelle’s threat slide. We needed a plan, a solution … anything.

“Going somewhere?” Dad asked as I jogged downstairs. I had changed out of my day clothes and into a fresh pair of jeans and a light top. He saw the car keys jangling in my hand and frowned. “Do you want me to drive you?”

I shook my head quickly. I didn’t need him bombarding me with questions. “It’s alright; I’m fine on my own.”

His eyes narrowed, scanning my face. Then, they widened as if he had just had a revelation. “Oh god, Cee. Please don’t tell me you’re not …”

My heart stopped. He knew? Was it that obvious?

“I will kill that Frenchie! I can’t believe that good for nothing moron is trying to seduce my girl into a night of fun! Oh no, I don’t think so! Not on my watch!”

Mom suddenly came into the room, alarmed by his raised voice. “What’s wrong?”

I burst out laughing because I found this situation so funny. I was so relieved that he hadn’t suspected that I was meeting up with Aubrey’s man and yet I found it humorous that he thought I was seeing Vince in secret. If only dad knew the truth … he would blow up even more.

“Have you gone bonkers, Cee? This is no laughing matter!” Dad insisted.

Mom’s lips curved up as she realised that I wasn’t running off into the night to secretly visit Vince. “Honey, I think you’re the one who’s a bit crazy.”

“Say that again,” dad dared.

She laughed louder. “Stop being ridiculous, Ken. Clearly she’s not going to see Vince. Just look at her, she’s laughing at you.”

Dad looked up into my eyes and indeed saw the truth. His cheeks flamed red, which made me giggle. I loved him so much.

“I assure you, I’m not seeing Vince. It’s really over between us. I don’t like him more than a friend.” It was strange how I got over him so quickly.

Dad looked immensely relieved and mom placed a kiss on his forehead. “So where are you going then?”

No way was I going to tell him the truth, but maybe I could make something up which had to do with the Levine’s. Ah yes … “I’m visiting Delilah. You know Jason’s little sister? When I was doing teaching experience, she was in my class.”

Mom’s eyes lit up. “Oh, she’s just adorable! Say hello to Camille and Warren for me too!”

“Of course.” I think they were Jason’s parents. “See you guys!”

As I drove to their house, I thought about how I would approach Jason with the subject. Would he be as scared as I was? Would he tell Aubrey or threaten Michelle back? No, he was too good to that.

I parked my mom’s car on the driveway and after a few seconds of breathing exercises, I hopped out. I trembled as I walked up to the front door. Their doorbell was within my reach. All I had to do was press it …

“Hello.”

I jumped, startled. It seemed that the owners of the house had seen the car outside. Mrs Levine stood there smiling kindly at me. Her dark blonde-brown hair was tied up in a simple bun and she wore a button-down top with capris. She reminded me of my mother somehow, especially with the tentative smile. No wonder they got along so well.

“Hello. I’m not sure if you know me, but I’m Gracie Elwood – Aubrey’s sister.”

She ushered me through. “Of course I know you. Do you remember my mother, Felicity? She’s convinced you’re a supermodel with your looks.”

I laughed. Jason’s mother was easy to talk to. “She’s a charming woman.”

“You don’t need to be nice for the sake of it,” she said, grinning. “She’s sometimes crazy and very straightforward.”

I shook my head. “No, I really do like her. I’d like to meet her again. It’d be nice.”

She laughed, her twinkling voice resonating throughout the house. “You are too sweet, Gracie. I’m guessing you’re here to see Delilah? She talks about you a lot.”

Speaking of the angel, she came from upstairs in a sky blue dress, her long braided hair swinging about.

“Miss Elwood!”

I scooped her up and gave her a kiss on her cheek. “You can call me Gracie, you know.”

She buried her face into my shoulder. I guessed she was becoming shy again. “Okaaaay,” I heard her say.

“Call me Camille by the way. Would you like something to eat or drink? I’m preparing dinner right now and we’d love it if you could stay as well.”

My grip on Delilah’s hip tightened as I carried her into the kitchen. “Thank you for asking me. I’d love to stay for dinner.”

As Delilah played with the strands of my hair, Jason came downstairs. I wanted to look away so bad, but I couldn’t. My eyes zoomed onto his wet hair, floppy and dark from a shower. Small droplets of water rolled down his tanned, bare chest, making him the sexiest thing I have ever laid my eyes on. Oh my. I couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping and the widening of my pupils.

Jason! I never raised you to be so rude! We have a guest!” Camille waved a hand at me. “Go and put on a shirt and then come back to down to greet her!”

I watched as he blinked stupidly at me. Of course it must have been a shock to him to see me here.

“Uh … yeah I will. Sorry ma.”

Oddly, I found it rather endearing that he called his mother, ‘ma’. The way he said it sounded so natural and cute. I wanted to pinch his cheeks.

Camille rolled her eyes. “Both of my boys are the same. They walk around the house without a shirt on all the time and I wonder why. I have a feeling they got it from their father though.”

Sure enough, her husband walked in from the backyard shirtless too. I burst out giggling. The Levine’s were so entertaining that I longed to be a part of their family too.

“Why are you-” Camille looked towards the source of my laughter and scowled. “Oh for the love of god! Put a shirt on Warren, we have a guest! Stop embarrassing me!”

Mr Levine smiled sheepishly at his wife and dropped a kiss on her cheek. She swatted him away with her spatula. He then turned to me and his smile widened in recognition. “You’re Aubrey’s sister, aren’t you?! She talks a lot about you. It’s nice to meet you. As my wife said, my name’s Warren, so don’t hesitate to call me that.”

I gave him a smile. “It’s great to meet you too, Warren.”

After talking with the two for a bit and sharing a brownie with Delilah, Jason came back in. I felt my heart skip a beat. Looking fresh after a shower, I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and inhale his woodsy scent and shampoo.

“Hey ma, Gracie and I need to talk so …”

Camille seemed surprised by the turn of events. I guessed she didn’t know that we were close. “Oh, sure thing! I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”

I surrendered Delilah to her mother and proceeded to follow Jason out of the dining room and up to his room silently. Once he closed the door, he told me to take a seat. He was already occupying the mesh spinning chair at his table, so I hesitantly sat down on his double bed. I looked around and found myself smiling. His room was neat for a guy. His bed was made, his desk was organised and there wasn’t much things left around on the floor, other than an old shirt in the corner.

“Why are you here?”

I looked down at my hands and fidgeted. “I have something important to tell you.”

A twist of pain flashed across Jason’s face. “Did I hurt you in any way? I’m really sorry. I feel like a real ass you know.”

I shook my head. “It’s not that.” Before I knew it, I relayed everything that had happened today with Michelle. His first response was to swear under his breath, but then he kept his emotions under control, except for the regular tightening of his lips. He didn’t like this at all.

“Typical Michelle,” he muttered. “But then again … it’s good to know that she’s loyal to Aubrey.”

“You’re thinking of Michelle’s righteous traits at a time like now?”

He cracked a smile. “Right, sorry. Onto business, what do you think we should do?”

I rolled my eyes. “Well obviously, we’ll have to tell her. Imagine how well it’d go if Michelle beat us.”

Jason nodded, agreeing. “We have a fair amount of time to figure it out though …”

“Yes, but it is better if we drop the bomb earlier,” I pointed out impatiently. “If we tell her too close to the wedding and she cancels it, it’ll be too much of a hassle, right? I don’t want it to be an inconvenience so we should tell her before the invitations are sent out at least.”

“Huh, I didn’t think of that. Smart.” He stared blankly at nothing. “We’ll give it a few weeks then. Soon. I feel awful keeping this from her.”

I blew out a sigh, happy that at least we were deciding to tell her ourselves. I had been half-scared that Jason would insist to keep it from her and find a way to stop Michelle, but that wasn’t like him.

“So, as friends shall I help reduce your stress? A back massage perhaps? You look like you could need one.”

His mischievous grin made me giggle. This wasn’t right, not right at all, but I couldn’t help it. I warned, “As friends.”

He settled in behind me on the bed and I tipped my head back in delight as his hands began to relieve the knots in my shoulders. I hadn’t even known they were there until now.

“You’re actually good,” I commented, somewhat surprised to be learning something new about him.

“My parents always liked massages and as a kid, I would do it. I found that I was actually alright,” he explained.

I nodded and it soon became quiet. My focus became to relax as his fingers and palms slowly and sensually kneaded my upper back. It felt so good. I could melt into a puddle of goo.

“You’re birthday’s coming up soon isn’t it? It’s on next Sunday, right?”

I frowned, realising it was. I had been so preoccupied with my messy love life that I had hardly any time to remember that I was turning twenty-one soon.

Curious, I asked, “How do you know?”

“Aubrey mentioned it. Are you doing anything?”

I heaved a sigh. Usually I liked to do something fun, but with everything going on, I didn’t feel like partying. I wanted to sleep and never wake up. “I might just stay at home. I don’t know, have a day to myself? Although I doubt Ruby would let me do that.”

“Speaking of Ruby, how are you going? I mean, are you over Vince?”

My heart rate increased at the tone of his voice. It sounded like a soft inquiry, but there was a rough edge to it, as if he didn’t like talking about Vince.

“I don’t think about him much anymore. I think you know why,” I murmured. As soon as the words left my mouth, I bit my lip. Oh why had I said that? I would just embarrass myself, letting Jason know that it was him I thought about instead.

“Why? He’s … oh …”

My throat became thick. “Yeah …”

Jason shifted behind me and asked if my back felt better. I flexed my right shoulder and was satisfied. The tension felt like it had left.

“Thank you for that.”

I turned around so we face each other and my breath hitched as I realised that we were closer than friends should be. It seemed like hours as we simply stared at each other, memorising contours on our face. The pull to him was undeniable. It felt like I couldn’t let go. Did he feel that too? Or did he feel that with my sister? I had to know, even if we didn’t have a chance of being together, I just had to know.

“Jason?” I whispered, liking the way his name sounded on my lips. “Can I ask you something?”

He smirked. “You just did.”

I rolled my eyes. He could be such a smart-ass sometimes. Lucky for him, he wasn’t just annoying when he did it, but adorable. “Do you … do you have feelings for me, truly? I just want to know generally how you’re feeling about this whole thing.”

He stared at me intently. “I love Aubrey.” My heart broke from those three words. I confirmed everything. “We’ve been together for a long time now and I still do. Maybe not as strongly as before, but I still care for her deeply. Also, I’m not sure if you know, but she’s fragile and … I have to be there for her.”

My eyebrows furrowed at the firmness in his decision. I was baffled. Aubrey wasn’t vulnerable. “You’re wrong, she’s-”

“Trust me. She may seem confident but on the inside, she’s insecure. Aubrey calms down around me, she needs me. I’ve always been there for her and I can’t just bail on her now, when she’s so happy. The wedding is … she says it’s going to be the best thing that’s happened in her life.”

I was starting to turn slightly irritated. So he was with her because he had a hero complex? I didn’t find that hard to believe. Jason was too kind for his own good.

Stop it! I quickly chided myself. This was my sister we were talking about. If she needed Jason then I couldn’t ruin her happiness. How could I take the most dependable person from her life? How selfish would that be?

“And then there’s you.”

As the words left his mouth, my head snapped up.

He laughed bitterly. “Beautiful, strong you. You’re entirely different from Aubrey in every way and I can’t help but be dazzled. I admire how you’re always looking on the bright side. You love children as much as I do and you genuinely care for everyone. The way you gave up Vince to your best friend so easily astounded me. You’re so selfless and …”

He was choking up.

“I can never have you. You have to know that Gracie, because I don’t want you hurt. Yes, I do have feelings for you. I can’t deny that, but I need to be there for Aubrey. I can’t bring myself to break her.” He paused. “Unless of course, she doesn’t want to be with me after we tell her about us …”

I nodded, feeling unshed tears threatening to arise. Maybe telling Aubrey about us was a good thing – then she might reject Jason and we could date. “It’s ok, I get it. Just like Vince, I’ll have to give you up too.”

Jason sighed and came over to me, slipping his arm around my waist. I was rather relieved that his look wasn’t one of pity. I could never take that. He moved a strand of my hair and tucked it behind my ear gently. His hand lingered on my cheek and I revelled in the touch of his skin so close to mine.

“You’ll grow out of your feelings for me, Gracie. You’re young. Like I told you once, you’ll find the man you’ve been waiting for. Believe in it.”

“But I want that man to be you,” I whispered, feeling foolish and whiny.

Jason didn’t stop a goofy grin from taking over his face and I had to laugh softly. “I do too.”

Those words melted my heart. This was our time together. I’m not sure why, but I felt at peace. We were accepting that we were falling for each other, but couldn’t be together. Without thinking, I leaned my head on his shoulder. This gave me all the comfort I needed.

“This sucks.”

A full, blown laugh came from Jason. I smiled, liking the idea of him being happy.

“I know, but we’ll get through this.”

He squeezed my shoulder and in return, I tipped my head back to kiss his cheek. Under my touch, he stiffened and licked his lips. My eyes trained onto the movement of his tongue darting back into his mouth and my heart quickened. He seemed to be thinking along the same lines because without warning, he crashed his lips to mine.

I moaned in the back of my throat. Our kiss wasn’t as soft as before, but rather more forceful and passionate. His tongue explored my mouth, making me melt in his arms, and when our tongues met and danced, I felt my body come alive. No other person had ever bee able to invoke such a sinful and mind-blowing experience.

This kiss was even better than that last. How was that even possible? This man was just too –

“Dinner’s ready!”

Jason and I immediately sprang apart, flushed from kissing and desire. My heart was beating rapidly in my chest as Stella stood in the doorframe with wide eyes. Behind her was Cale, who looked equally as surprised. I was mortified.

“Oops!” Stella exclaimed. “Uh ... never knew things were getting hot and heavy in here! Sorry!”

The door slammed shut as they rushed off.

I turned to Jason. It was funny, but I wasn’t panicking as much as the first time we kissed. Maybe it was because I knew that we had feelings for each other. I wondered if Jason would tell me ‘sorry’ again.

Jason seemed to read my mind because he smiled. “Let’s go down before Stella comes in again.”

He gave me his hand so I could pull myself up and together, we headed downstairs and into the dining room. I wished I could have held his hand longer, but obviously we couldn’t.

When we first entered, my cheeks flushed as I remembered the looks on Cale and Stella’s faces.

“Don’t worry, we won’t tell a soul,” Stella assured me, quietly enough so that Mr and Mrs Levine couldn’t hear. Her eyes twinkled excitedly at the new development and I groaned. Trust her to think about match-making when Jason was engaged to someone else.


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