When Lightning Strikes

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

Chapter 29 (v.1)

Submitted: July 24, 2012

Reads: 575

Comments: 19

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Submitted: July 24, 2012

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A/N: I just realised that WLS only has a few chapters to go (that's like less than 5 or even 4!) :O I can't believe I'm already here, so I'd just like to say thank you so much for all your support! I know these past few chapters have just been a rollercoaster, but there's closure soon, so sit tight! xoxo

In a span of about a month, my whole word had been turned upside down. All my values and beliefs had been questioned. Nothing seemed real anymore.

I couldn’t believe my own parents turned against me. They hated me. How could I even live here?

It seemed like my whole life was full of melancholy. My head hurt. I rubbed it a few times, before rubbing my eyes. It was late and I didn’t find anything good in staying up. I dressed myself in my pyjamas and brushed my hair carefully, before turning off the lights.

It felt too dark. I didn’t like it.

My eyes were closed, but I couldn’t sleep. The only thing on my mind was my parents. Their disappointed stares haunted me all over again, especially my dad’s. His downturned eyes and disapproving made me want to hide away. This wasn’t how everything was supposed to turn out …

Thud!

I flinched. What on earth was that? My heart leapt in my throat as I squinted in the darkness and saw an object flying toward my bedroom window.

I hastily toppled out of my bed and made my way towards the window. I couldn’t help but gasp when I saw the figure down below, standing on my front lawn, throwing pebbles at my window. Out of all the windows he could have gone and wrecked …

I unlocked and slid open my window as wide as it would go. Immediately, the throwing of the pebbles stopped. “What do you think you’re doing?!” I half yelled, half whispered. What if he broke the glass?!

Jason gave me an easy smile, his perfect white teeth flashing in the darkness. Although his face still seemed a little hollow, his whole demeanour had changed. I wonder what had gotten into him.

“To visit you, of course. Open the door!” he instructed.

A sigh escaped my lips. He could not be doing this right now.

Very carefully, I pushed down my window again. A sudden creak made me freeze. I didn’t want to wake my parents. Imagine how disappointed they’d be if they caught me with Jason at this time of the night.

As I slipped out of my room, I tried my best to tread lightly. There were some floorboards which made the same awful noise as my window. Luckily, I knew which ones they were and managed not to make a commotion. By the time I reached the landing, I had calmed down a bit.

My fingers pried open the lock and the door swung open to reveal Jason. I closed my eyes briefly before opening them. I would not do anything rash. As if it would stop me, I crossed my arms. To Jason, it probably looked like I was hugging myself from the cold.

Before I could ask him what he wanted to talk about, Jason gasped out, “I thought about it!”

My eyebrows furrowed. “What are you talking about?”

His eyes were bright, as if he had come to an amazing epiphany. “Aubrey would want me to be happy, and my happiness lies with you.”

I melted. Really, I did. He was just so sweet. But this couldn’t happen. Not now, not ever. “It’s wrong, Jason, so wrong. You understand don’t you?” I murmured, with my eyes downcast. “You were supposed to marry my sister. Imagine what people would say …”

He grabbed me by the shoulders, making my eyes meet his. Those deep blue swirls were so hypnotic. “I don’t care about what others think! I only care about us. I love you and if you love me too, there should be nothing stopping us from being together!”

I stilled. My heart rate had increased greatly from his little speech. “You … you love me?”

Jason’s mouth opened and closed a little, as he realised what he had just admitted. It was adorable, as he resembled a lost puppy. His cheeks turned a shade darker, although one could hardly make that out in the dimly light hallway. “I ... I guess I do. I mean, I’ve never stopped thinking about you and ... well, I realise now we can be together, Gracie!”

He then reached for my hand and I yanked it away, making him frown a little.

“We can’t Jason. We can’t do this,” I stated clearly, waving my hand between him and I. I needed to make it clear. “Ever.”

His face fell and all I wanted to do at the moment was to launch myself into his strong, capable arms, but I knew I could not.

“Why not?” he asked, almost desperate. I had never seen him like this. “I know you loved Aubrey, but you can’t hold onto her forever …”

I was in disbelief. How could he just stand there and talk about my sister as if she didn’t matter? As if she couldn’t hear this conversation right now from above? Fire raged through my body.

“Aren’t you even a little bit upset that your fiancée has died?” I wasn’t supposed to sound angry, but it ended up sounding like a snap.

Jason seemed a bit offended by my question. “Of course Gracie! But I’m not going to sit around and mope!” I flinched slightly, knowing that the jab was aimed at me. I mean, what had I been doing lately? I’ve been staring at Aubrey’s old photos, having nightmares about her … “I’m just looking on the bright side. Maybe you should too.”

How could he look on the bright side at a time like this?! There was no bright side that I could see.

“What has brought on all of this anyway?” I asked, slightly confused. The last time I had seen him, he was nothing like this.

A soft smile graced his face. “My parents have helped me through it all – my mom especially. She made me realise Aubrey would want me to be living my life and not mourning.”

I recoiled at the word ‘parents’, only because my relationship with mom and dad wasn’t that good at all. In comparison to Jason’s, it was awful. However, I didn’t want to grace him with my problems, so I didn’t mention anything. I needed to get back onto sorting everything out.

This was for my parents. This was for Aubrey. Last of all, this was for Jason.

“Jason, let me make this very clear,” I said firmly. “I can’t be with you, not now, not ever. My sister died loving you! How can I betray her like that by being with you?!”

“You were already betraying her when she was alive,” Jason pointed out bitterly.

It was as if something finally snapped inside of me. That comment brought out all of guilt I had been trying hard to bury. Now, anger vibrated through my very bones. How could he say that? Didn’t he know me at all?!

My voice came out as a hiss. “You ruined everything! My life was perfect before you came!”

The lines around Jason’s eyes tightened as I said this. His whole body tensed. “Well I hate to break it to you, Gracie, but life isn’t perfect!

The sudden sting of my slap silenced him completely. His expression was dumfounded – shocked that I was capable of such a thing. In the back of my mind, I was too, but there was no time to dwell on that.

“Get out.”

He seemed taken aback by my sudden threat. “Gracie …?”

“I said GET OUT!” Didn’t he get it? This was his entire fault. “I never want to see you again! Clearly, you never cared about my sister at all!”

Jason’s eyes flashed angrily. “I do care about Aubrey. I always will, if you didn’t see at the funeral? But no, you weren’t listening to my speech at all, were you?!”

“GO JASON!”

“You can’t get rid of me, Gracie,” he replied with a hard edge to his voice.

“I SAID, GET OUT!”

We stood there for a few seconds. My chest heaved from trying to gather breath and my heartbeat was dancing wildly, full of adrenaline. Meanwhile, Jason simply stood there. Shock, hurt, confusion and finally acceptance slowly danced across his face.

“Fine. If that’s what you want.”

I nodded stiffly, reconfirming that I did want him to leave. Although part of my heart screamed not to let him go, the other part despised Jason for coming into my family’s life.

“Goodbye Gracie,” he whispered.

With one last intense, knee-weakening gaze, he turned on his heel and walked out of the house, leaving me alone to break down in the darkness.

* * *

I bit my lip and stared hard at the road laid out before me. I shouldn’t be concentrating on negative thoughts while driving. I was already rather hesitant when behind the wheel, so anxiety wouldn’t help.

Once again, I replayed the events of last night in my head. I couldn’t believe it had really happened. Had it been the right thing to do?

I winced as I recalled myself shouting at him. Usually, I never used that sharp tone with anyone. Briefly, I shut my eyes before opening them again. How could I have done such a horrible thing? Would shutting Jason out of my life become a decision I regretted?

It felt like I already did.

I felt so horrible. I felt like a monster. All the thoughts about everything being Jason’s fault had slowly melted away after all the guilt.

Inhaling a deep breath, I took a right turn into Ruby’s street. Rows of different coloured rectangular townhouses greeted me. There it was – the lemon yellow one with white trim and an overgrown garden full of rotting flowers.

The gravel crunched under my boots as I made my way to the door. I knocked twice before it opened. Ruby greeted me and I was forced to go relax on the couch, while she made us both some hot cocoa. I was really here, seeking sanctuary.

After waking up this morning and hearing my parents watching television downstairs, I couldn’t bring myself to face them. I was sure they had heard the fight last night. No one could possibly sleep through that. It was at that moment I had decided to come to Ruby, the one person I could always count on.

“Do you want some marshmallows?” I heard her ask, as I was studying the few photographs in the lounge.

“Yeah sure!”

Once Ruby walked back into the room with two steaming mugs, my angst slowly started to melt away. It was a nice feeling. I had been trying hard all day to lock up the horrible memory and push it into the distance, but it hadn’t worked.

“So what happened? I’m guessing it’s something bad …”

I nodded. “My parents found out about me and Jason.”

Her warm brown eyes widened and she gripped her mug tighter. “Are you serious?! How did they react?”

As I told her the story, she had many mixed emotions. For most part though, she was extremely shocked. I didn’t tell her much about the fight, though. I didn’t feel like it. I guess it seemed like the secret world of Jason and I would always remain exactly what it was – a secret. Having other people know felt like I was being exposed.

“I never thought they would react like that,” she murmured, her eyes downcast. “You don’t deserve any of this.”

I laughed bitterly. “That’s where you’re wrong. I should have stayed away from Jason. None of this wouldn’t have happened if Jason and I met.”

She frowned, not liking the choice of my words. “Don’t say that. Don’t tell me you regret meeting him?”

“I don’t know what to think anymore.”

At this, my best friend was silenced. She stared hard at me for a few seconds, before looking away and letting out a small sigh. “Oh Gracie, I wish I could help you.”

My heart fluttered at this. This was why I had come here. If Ruby refused however, I would have to go back home to where my parents were disgusted with me. I did not want that.

“You can.” Immediately, my back straightened. “I came here to ask something.”

Ruby gave me a comforting smile. “You know I’m always happy to help out.”

“I was wondering if I could … stay here for the night?” Hastily, I added, “I just can’t stand being in that house. It’s torture. I feel sick every time I’m remotely near my parents, and now I can’t even pass by Aubrey’s room without wanting to cry.”

Ruby’s eyes brightened considerably. “Of course! Stay here! I don’t care if you stay here forever! Why don’t we get your room set up? You can use the guest room!”

Feeling relieved, I smiled widely. “Thank you so much!”

I watched as her demeanour changed. Animated, she started on all her plans. “I’ll clear out the boxes in there and store it in the attic. Then we can get cleaning and bring out the air mattress for you! Then we’ll go shopping for all the necessities …”

She rambled on for a while before I calmed her down. During that time however, I pondered on her words: ‘I don’t care if you stay here forever!’

Maybe this was what I needed. A move away from my parents, from Jason. Ruby’s house was further out and I wouldn’t run into them as much. The initial thought of a sleepover transformed into a short-term stay.

From then on, my mind wasn’t on my complicated life. Instead, I was focused on setting up my temporary room at Ruby’s.

I remembered that I had taken my dad’s car, so Ruby brought her Peugeot with us. I had dropped the car I had originally come in at home without notifying my parents, and then joined Ruby.

Together, we shopped around at the square, looking in the furniture and decorations store. I had already packed some of my most important items into a bag, so I only needed a few other necessities.

We ended up purchasing some bed sheets, a new pillow case, a pine table, two sets of apple green curtains and a scalloped mirror. However, our best buy was the new wallpaper: a soft robin egg blue colour with white feathers. Some of the furniture initially in the guest room was left there, such as the vintage armchair, the Klimt’s ‘Kiss’ artwork and the quilted rug.

By the end of the day, my room was complete. It didn’t have everything, but I was still grateful for it, because at the end of the day I knew one thing. I did have someone.

JASON

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RUBY

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