When Lightning Strikes

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

Chapter 23 (v.1)

Submitted: June 02, 2012

Reads: 635

Comments: 20

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 02, 2012

A A A

A A A

Days passed by. Whenever I came downstairs for breakfast, mom would tell me that Aubrey had eaten early. If I needed a ride to Mercer, she would be at work already, claiming that the boss wanted her to go in early. When I walked into her bedroom to talk, all that greeted me was dust.

Not seeing her around was a big blow to me but I deserved it. I always wondered whether she was constantly cursing me and Jason or if she was on the road to forgiveness. I would shake my head bitterly when I thought of that question. It was ridiculous. This was huge. Kissing a sister’s fiancé was not something to be taken lightly.

My parents had obviously noticed the drift between me and my sister, but I found it funny that mom hadn’t overheard our conversation. Both have asked frequently but I always kept my trap shut. I couldn’t tell. I’d be an embarrassment to them. Who went around stealing taken men for themselves? And anyway, it might force my parents to take sides. I didn’t want another detachment in the family.

Also, a few days before, I had received a text message from Michelle, actually thanking me for telling my sister the truth. It was a rather bizarre moment for me but I appreciated the small amount of gratitude.

It was two weeks after I had told Aubrey the truth when I first glimpsed her. She had just arrived home from work late at night, but her shoulders were slightly hunched and her lids were heavy with drowsiness. I couldn’t bring myself to even take a step forward.

Although I convinced myself I was doomed for life, things slightly improved. Aubrey was finally able to tolerate being in the same room as me, but I longed for us to be able to smile at each other and talk about our day – something that most people took for granted. I would do anything just to have a simple conversation with her.

I hadn’t seen Jason for a while either, but I knew that Aubrey was on speaking terms with him … though it wasn’t necessarily a ‘friendly’ conversation. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I’d hear Aubrey talking in hushed whispers, telling him that she needed more time to think. So they were on their way to solving the problem.

Meanwhile, my sister couldn’t look me in the eye. I felt utterly useless and horrible.

Before I knew it, the seasons were shifting. Temperatures dropped, the icy wind would blow against my face and hair even in the afternoon and the crisp leaves of trees were falling, leaving orange and brown all over the lush lawns of fresh grass.

The coldness matched my mood perfectly. It felt like I was slowly starting to slip into depression. Ruby was always trying to boost my happiness level. Sure, venting it all out to her, leaning back in a bubble bath, reading magazines and shopping helped, but she could only do so much.

Now, it was my turn to cheer her up. It was only yesterday that she found out. Ruby had decided to take my advice and ask him out. She had been chewing on her nails all day, expecting a no … and she got it.

I had been outraged when Ruby told me that part, but she had shushed me to tell me the reason: Vince was flying back home to France today. That meant they couldn’t date.

“He said that he really liked me but that he couldn’t lead me on,” Ruby had explained, swiping at the tears dripping from the corner of her eyes. “I was right. It would just hurt us more if we started dating and then all of sudden, he has to go back, and you know that long-distance wouldn’t work. It would just be too hard.”

But, she had promised Vince that she would see him off. He had invited me too and so hence why I was sitting in a cab.

I peeked out of the corner of my eye and held in my sigh as I saw Ruby staring wistfully out of the window. I rubbed her arm soothingly and she turned to me with a gentle smile.

“I’m going to have to get over him, aren’t I?”

My heart went out to her. “Oh Ruby … you know everything will be ok.”

She pushed back her fiery hair and took deep breaths before saying, “Alright, let’s go.”

We halved the cab fee before hopping out and going through the revolving doors of the airport. Coming back here reminded me of when I had come back from France – when things between my sister and I were bright.

“Where do you think he is?” Ruby asked, craning her neck to look over passer-bys. “You don’t think he’s gone do you?”

I shook my head, firm that he hadn’t. Vince wouldn’t just leave without telling us. “I’m sure he’s here somewhere. Let’s go and look near the check-in hall.”

We hurried through the crowd and I heard a squeal come from Ruby’s lips as she spotted him. Standing by a pillar was my ex, who I hadn’t seen for long time. His curls fell over the right side of his face and his full lips were pursed. His eyes were wandering around the place, probably looking for Ruby.

“Vince!”

I slowed down while Ruby did the opposite. She dashed over to him, flustered.

“Hello Ruby.” His gaze then wavered to me and I gave him a reassuring smile. “Hello Gracie.”

I hadn’t seen him for so long. All those memories of us resurfaced but this time, I didn’t feel like running back to him. Instead, I saw them as simply memories – ones that would be tucked away in a little box and when needed, would make me smile. Jason ruled my heart now.

I decided to let Vince and Ruby have some quality time together so I took a walk around the airport. On the way around, a mini coffeehouse caught my eye. People lounged on vintage couches reading books while waiting for their flight. Others drank coffee and munched on sandwiches. Seeing the menu made me thirsty, so I decided to purchase a hot white chocolate. I held it between my two hands and took a sip. It felt like heaven.

I glanced down at my watch. It was time. My feet picked up its pace to reach my two friends.

“I should be going now,” I heard Vince say as I neared them.

I stopped in my tracks and watched the two embrace. Ruby buried her face into his shoulder while Vince had his arms wrapped around her back. His lips brushed against her forehead and I heard Ruby sigh contently. They looked so adorable together. This was so unfair. Why couldn’t Vince live here?

After they untangled away from each other, they both spotted me. I gave them a small smile and walked forward. “I guess this is it, hey?”

Vince smiled softly and brought me in for a hug. “I am going to miss you too.”

I laughed. “Same here.”

Both Ruby and I stood silently as Vince took a hold of his luggage and walked towards the gates. My arms quickly took a hold of my best friend as her body started to shake.

“Au revoir.” He left us with his melting smile.

“There he goes …” Ruby crossed her arms and held herself. “He’s really gone.”

My grip on her shoulder tightened when I realised a glistening drop of tear escaped. “It’s alright, Ruby.”

She wiped the offending tear with a hand. “You’re right.”

We stood rooted to the same spot for a few minutes before moving. A narrow book shop caught Ruby’s attention and she suggested that the both of us look for an epic book to read, so we’d get our minds away from boys.

Why not? I loved reading and a new book was definitely needed on my shelf. The woman behind the counter smiled at us upon entering and told us about the sale on romance books. While Ruby headed for the non-fiction section, I stopped by the back wall full of fictional books and skimmed through the spines. My fingers found a historical romance about Anne Boleyn. I contemplated on buying it but it didn’t have a happy ending. Everyone knew her fate.

Right now, I needed a happy ending.

My heart pounded as I read the blurb of another historical novel on the bottom shelf. It sounded so much like my situation: a girl falling for her sister’s fiancé. I felt the need to hug it to my chest and cry for her, because I related with her so much. Even if Lucy wasn’t real, I could imagine the two of us connecting – sitting in comfortable, soft couches, sipping on hot chocolate and pouring out our feelings. If anyone could read my mind, they’d think I was absurd.

I felt the need to purchase it but a sudden nagging thought told me to flick to the last page. After all, I didn’t want a heartbreaking story. I wanted a desirable Disney ending.

My fingers flipped through the pages. It landed on the last page and I shivered.

Because of my idiocy, everything had been destroyed. Friendships, family … even my own beloved kingdom. Love had created chaos and now I had to watch as my kingdom burned down to the ground, engulfed in the fiery flames of the enemies. There was no hope, no joy, no faith. From heaven, I watched and mourned as the sweet songs of sorrow leaked through the cobblestone streets and up into the stormy sky …

Goosebumps broke out over my skin. The main girl died. Whatever punishment was in store for me, I hoped it wouldn’t be as unkind as death.

* * *

Once I reached home that day, Jason contacted me, saying that he wanted to meet up. I texted him back, asking where he wanted to go. In the end, he decided that he would just come over.

My insides were fluttering. I hadn’t seen Jason for so long and to say I that I was nervous was an understatement. Every night, his perfect face and consumed my thoughts but it didn’t compare to his physical presence. Before his arrival, I had changed out of my pyjamas, cleaned the house and paced up and down the hallway. When I spotted his car parking by the curb, I flew over to open the door.

I couldn’t contain my excitement. My heart soared when he finally stepped out of his tinted car. Little details registered into my mind – the trim he had gotten, the new coarseness of his jaw and his eyes: they were darker and empty – a mixture of blue and black.

“Gracie,” he breathed. Those haunting eyes widened as they scanned slowly over me.

I fiddled with my thumbs. “Hi Jason.”

We both watched each other yearningly. My mind became foggy as earlier and happy memories overwhelmed me. I missed our conversations and jokes, the contentment and euphoria I felt when I was with him, his assuring touch, those explosive kisses …

The moment broke when he blinked. He attempted a smile. “So are you going to keep me out here all day?”

I laughed softly. It was more like him to joke, but everything seemed strained. “Come on in then.”

Jason tentatively stepped in and his gaze travelled over to the charcoal grey couch – the spot where our first kiss happened. His eyes clouded over and it seemed like he was thinking of the exact same thing I was.

“Would you like a drink?” I offered, feeling rude for leaving him to stand there. I motioned for him to follow me into the kitchen. “We have juice, water, coffee …”

“Well, I’d certainly love a cup of coffee.” He sat himself down on the kitchen stool. “If it’s no problem …”

As I pulled open the cupboard, I gave him a smile. “Of course not.”

I turned my back to him as I started up the coffee machine. I was extremely glad for the loud churning because it stopped us from having an awkward silence. After pouring him a cup, he thanked me again and started sipping. I looked out of the kitchen window to avoid his gaze.

“So … how are you?”

His lips tightened slightly. “So and so.”

I didn’t how to reply to that, so I decided on a different, more straightforward approach. “Why are you here, Jason?”

He looked mildly surprised by my demanding tone and cleared his throat. His eyes were still wide as he explained. “Well, I came here to see how you were doing …”

“And you came over to tell me something,” I guessed, sensing that this was indeed the truth.

He let out a chagrined smile, confirming my suspicions. “Well yes … but I honestly did want to see you. How are you?”

A sudden small flame of indignation flared through me. So he only decided to check up on me now? What about the past few weeks? He certainly hadn’t bothered then. A sinking feeling told me that he was probably busy pining over Aubrey. I breathed in through my nose before letting it out. I needed to calm down. Arguing wasn’t going to solve anything. Oh, if only one of us didn’t exist. It would make everything so much easier.

“I’m fine thank you.” My fingers found the counter and started tapping on the marble. “So what news do you have?”

He took another gulp of his cappuccino before placing it back down on the counter. “Well … Aubrey and I have been talking lately. We sorted it all out.”

My head snapped up. Here was the news I had been waiting for. I had no idea what to hope for, honestly. My heart was a puddle of confusion.

“She’s forgiven me, Gracie.”

I stared unblinkingly at Jason. She had really forgiven him. But the question was whether they were now friends or still something more. My fingers gripped the counter as I found it hard to breathe. In and out, I chanted to myself. In and out …

“We’re getting married.”

~ I was originally going to leave some chapters before having Jason say that, but might as well say it now! Are you surprised? :) I think most of you expected a showdown between Aubrey and Gracie, huh? ;P xoxo


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