I watch Lucy playing with Carly. That girl has something on her mind. Her eyes keep flicking over to her phone on the coffee table an expression of... Fear? Worry?... in her eyes.
Even during dinner, she was laughing and talking with Mark, but she hardly ate anything, spent the whole time picking at her food. I frown and look over at Mark who glances at her.
Honestly, if she doesn't want Mark to worry about her, she has got to start learning to control her expressions. I'm sure no one's fooled.
"Sure hun. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye!" Hanging up, I push open my car door and get out. Sliding my shades on, I watch Lucy sitting at a table inside the cafe, playing with a straw. Shaking my head, I walk up to the cafe and push open the door, stepping in. I push mu shades up on top of my head as I walk towards Lucy.
She jumps, clearly not having heard me walk up behind her, but as I watch her closely, I notice her stiff posture, her fingers busy tearing a tissue to shreds.
She glances back and forces a smile, "Lily! Hi!"
"What's up?" I ask, sitting down opposite her. Setting my bag down on the seat beside me, I rest my hands on the table, studying her expression.
She shakes her head, "Nothing. You?"
I nod absently, "I'm fine. But things aren't so good."
"What do you mean?" She asks, looking down at the table, tracing a pattern in the wood.
"Oh, she's good. She knows where I'm going."
"Well, first of all, I know for a fact that my best friend's hiding something from me. Secondly, it might and might not have to do with my brother Andrew, who by the way, you're dating. Thirdly, having either of you upset, upsets me. And it's much worse since not either but BOTH of you are upset."
"Oh." Lucy still doesn't look up and I sigh.
"Spill it Lucy Sheldon. You've got two minutes."
After a slight pause she looks up, "It's nothing. Things are just a bit tense at home."
I frown, worried. "What do you mean? How's everyone?"
"They're all fine, it's just... I don't know Lily."
"Then why are you ignoring Andrew?"
Blowing out a breath, she looks around the cafe, at anything but me. "I'm confused."
"About?" When she presses her lips together I sigh, "I don't want to get between the two of you. I'm not in an easy place you know? But Lucy, whatever you do, please think carefully before you do it. I don't want you to regret anything at the end."
Switching off the stereo, I open my car door, reaching for my bag. Getting out, I sling my bag onto my shoulder and close the door, locking my car. As I turn around, I look up to see Andrew standing at the end of the driveway. I take in a sharp breath, remembering Nick's last text, last night.
Good girl, I knew you would listen to me. Now just break up with the asshole and I'll be happy.
Gulping, I watch as Andrew walks up to me, measuring my expression. He comes to a stop a few feet away. I run my tongue over my lips, my heart pounding. I've missed him so much. In the last three days that I haven't seen him, it's like I've been suffocating. As I look at him, my heart painfully twists and it takes everything I've got to not fly into his arms.
"Lucy, what's going on? Why are you avoiding me?" He asks, his voice soft.
That's it people!
Yup, I am so tempted to stop right here, but that would just result in me being threatened, so... Let's see what happens, yeah?
"Andrew, I... I..." I shake my head, nothing coming out.
"What is it? Did I do something?"
"No, it wasn't you. I promise."
"Then?" When I don't reply, he groans. "Lucy, please, talk to me. I'm going crazy here!"
I swallow the lump in my throat, "I wish I could tell you..."
He frowns, "What? Why can't you tell me?"
I shake my head, "Andrew, please. I... I can't do this." Turning around, I run over to my door and thankfully, it's unlocked. Opening it, I slip inside leaving him alone on the driveway.
I just stand there, worried. Sighing, I turn around and walk towards my car, rubbing my eyes. I must have slept for about an hour last night. Getting behind the wheel, I start the engine and look towards Lucy's house. As I drive home, her face keeps flashing in my mind.
She looked scared. I take in a deep breath, my hands tightening around the wheel. Unless she opens up to me, I can't do anything. Absolutely nothing.
Saturday morning, I spend lying in bed, doing nothing. When I finally summon the energy to get up, I freshen up and head downstairs to see Mom in the kitchen.
"Hey, lazy bones. Finally up!"
Smiling, I sit down at the breakfast bar as Mom places a cup of coffee in front of me.
"Any plans for today?" She asks, sitting down opposite me.
"You're not seeing Andrew?"
I shake my head, avoiding her eyes, "No."
"Why not? He hasn't been around all week. Is everything alright?"
I nod,"Yes Mom. He's... he's just been busy with work." I hold back the wince as his face flashes through my mind from two days ago. I haven't heard a word from him since.
"Oh, okay." She pauses, sipping her coffee, "Can you stop by the store for me?"
"Umm..." I shift in my seat, "Sure."
"Your Dad wants to spend time with you this afternoon before he leaves."
"Leaves? What do you mean leaves? I thought only you were going to go visit your sister."
"I am darling. Your Dad's flying to Vancouver tonight. Something about a new golf resort opening and an old friend of his flying in from Mumbai."
I gulp. Crap. "When's he coming back?"
"Tomorrow night. Why? Do you want me to stay?"
I shake my head, even though the thought of spending a night at home alone scares me. "No! Go! I just thought he was staying. I'll go and get the stuff." I slide off the stool and take the money and list Mom hands me.
As I start driving down the neighborhood, I see an old mustang behind me. I can't really make out who's behind the wheel and for a few minutes, I don't care. But when it starts becoming apparent that I'm being followed, I start panicking.
Taking a deep breath, I remember a few things Mark had thought me when I was learning to drive years ago about shaking a tail; losing someone who's following me.
I deliberately turn onto a highway, even though the store's in the other direction. The road will be more full and I'll be able to lose the guy; who is more probably than not Nick. I drive, keeping the car behind me, my heart pounding like crazy, until there's a sudden break in the traffic and I slide between two cars. I make a few more turns, sliding between cars until I drive off the highway and back towards the convenience store near home.
He's nowhere in sight. Sighing, I pull into an empty spot at the store and fingers clasping my handbag, walk inside. It's like I've switched to zombie mode. I walk through the store picking up the things, not aware of my surroundings. In ten minutes, I've got everything Mom wants and I'm at the check out. Paying the bill, I step out and head towards my car.
I spend the afternoon with Dad, watching TV and just talking, something we haven't done in a long time. When he gets up to go get ready with Mom, I stay in the living room staring at the TV.
I can't call Lily over because she's spending the night at her boyfriend since her parents are also out of town attending a wedding. I could go over to Mark. But that would mean getting watched by him all night. And Brian's there so that'll make it worse. Because you'd have to double the concern levels.
Sighing, I take in a deep breath as my mind flits to Andrew. I close my eyes, imagining him holding my hand, hugging me. I painfully swallow the lump in my throat, thinking, have I completely ruined all my chances?
Mom and Dad leave around eight and I find myself wandering around the house, holding my phone. I could pay a visit next door.
Slipping on my sandals, I lock the front door and walk across the combined driveway towards Nessa's parents' place. I have dinner with her parents and then go back home, not wanting to intrude on their night. Making sure the doors are all locked, I head upstairs. I stand in Mark's room's doorway, looking around his room for a few minutes.
Smiling, I glance around. The window he used to use to climb into Vanessa's room. The tree's branches are cut now. I remember Dad asking Mark if he was fine with it before he'd had them cut last fall. His room's still the same. Pictures of Nessa decorating the bulletin board above his desk. A picture of Carly and Craig's sitting on his desk. The only thing's changed are the toys piled at the corner of the room and a small chest containing clothes for Carly and Craig for when they stay over.
Too bad not everyone's love lives work out so great. Sighing, I walk towards my room, planning on changing and catching a bit of TV before going to bed. After changing into a green tank top and black shorts, I switch on my laptop and my screen's immediately filled with IMs from Lily.
I've stopped looking at the messages on my phone. All they do is ruin my day and at the moment I've got about 15 unread messages. I quickly type back a reply to her, assuring her I'm completely fine and telling her to have fun tonight.
"Andrew..." I gulp as his face swims into my mind and quickly sit up. Reaching up, I wipe the sweat off my forehead. What was that about. I take in a shaky breath, trying to remember what the nightmare was about but all I'm coming up with is Andrew's face.
I reach for my water bottle and after gulping down some cold water, lie back down.
An hour later, I'm still not able to sleep. "I'm really losing it." I mutter, getting up.
Switching on my room light, I start pacing up and down my room, way too energized for 4:30 in the morning.
"You have to take a chance Lucy. Life's a risk." Vanessa's words suddenly come to me, making me freeze in my room.
"Darling, you have to move on. I know it'll be hard, but you have to believe that not everybody is out to get you." Mom says.
"Lucy-kins, you know I'd stand between anyone who'd want to hurt you. No one scares your big brother and I want you to know that you can always come and tell me everything, alright?" Mark asks me, an incident from years ago when I was much younger returning.
"Lucy, when I'm with you, I feel so... happy. It's like I'm complete. And you're very important to me. I want you to know that."
A sob escapes my lips as I remember Andrew saying that to me last week. I finally let the tears free and fall onto my bed, crying. When I'm finally able to catch my breath, calm down, I sit up, making a decision.
I need to speak to Andrew.
"Mmmmmm... Lily, get it!" I mumble in my sleep. Turning around, I bury my face in my pillow just as the bell rings again this time, not stopping. Ugh. Who the hell..? Sitting up, I realize that I'm home alone. Great. Maybe I should just ignore it. Groaning, I get out of bed and walk downstairs. "Coming. I'm coming."
Rubbing my hand through my hair, I unlock the door and open it, not bothering to check who it is. I don't think an armed murder would announce his arrival.
My jaw hits the doorstep when I see Lucy standing in front of me. I rub my eyes. I must be dreaming but she's still standing in front of me.
"Why are you here?"
She stares at me and before I know it, she's in my arms, crying. That's probably when I realize that no, I'm not dreaming. My arms come around her and I pull her inside, kicking the door closed. I hold her tight, relieved because she's with me and she's alright. At least physically. But as I listen to her sobbing, my heart breaks.
"It's okay. Lucy, please." I kiss her head. "It'll be okay darling. Don't cry."
She stops crying, but her body's still shaking. As she pulls away, I reach down and lift her up in my arms. Walking upstairs, I head into my room and sit down on my bed, still holding her in my arms.
"What for?" I ask softly.
She sniffles, "I was so mean to you and you were only worried. I'm sorry Andrew."
"It's okay darling. It's alright."
"No, Andrew, I-"
I shake my head, wiping away her tears. "It's fine. But just tell me what was wrong. Please?"
She looks down and I lean in and lift her face up towards mine. She looks so vulnerable. Leaning in, I press my lips to hers. She responds immediately and that reassures me slightly. Holding her close, I move away, pressing my lips to her forehead.
"Andrew, there's something I need to tell you. Before.. uh... last year, I... I started dating a guy. And..." She gulps, glancing away.
"Lucy?" I bite my lip, wondering if I should tell her, "Uh, you don't happen to be talking about... ummm... about Nick do you?"
She looks up at me quickly. "How do you know?"
I sigh, looking embarrassed. "When you first ran away from me when I kissed you... well I was driving Lily nuts and she kind of told me. Not the specifics, but just that he was... controlling."
She lets out a laugh, "If controlling was all he was! Andrew, he was sweet at first, said all the right things, was the perfect gentleman. But then his true colors started coming out I guess. In front of everyone else he was great but when it was only the two of us.."
She shivers, "He used to hit me. Like, if I disagreed about anything, then it'd be a slap or he'd really hit hard."
When I wince, she looks at me and slides off my lap. Turning around, she looks at the floor. "He'd threaten me that if I told anyone then I'd be done for. And when he got drunk," she takes in a shaky breath, "That's when it would be really bad." As she looks down, I swallow the bile rising in my throat. Gritting my teeth, I get up and walk to the other side of the room, trying to control my anger. "He'd do... things. He'd force me to do it." I take in a sharp breath, my hands curling into fists. If I ever set eyes on him, he is going to be sorry.
"And then one night, he was really drunk and he wasn't thinking straight, not like he ever did." She huffs a chuckle, trying to lighten the atmosphere. "And I just got pissed off. Slapped him and told him to leave me alone and all. He was unconscious in seconds so I left. Mark found me walking home, told me to get in. I went home and told Vanessa everything and the next day Mark filed a complaint and had a restraint put on him. When his family found out, they left town." There's silence in the room until she breathes out, "Until now."
I spin around, "WHAT?!"
"Yeah. He's here Andrew. And I think he's following me around. He hasn't come up to me and I haven't seen him. He told me to break up with you and that if I'm near you, then... then..." A sob escaping her lips has me rushing across the room to her. "He'd hurt you."
Replies to comments
MaieJuneJuly - I know I know, but you still love me! Enjoy!
PH - Sorry, sorry! Here you go!
Tee - So... does this mean you still don't like me? I don't hate you! Lol, and you never did anything! Sorry, I had an exam today but hopefully it'll be up Tuesday! Nah, I didn't feel bad. I enjoyed your comment. Haha, I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
Priya - I like that, 'story of cliffhangers' now suspense and drama go together like peanut butter and jelly. So sorry, can't do one without the other. Hope you enjoyed! Thanks a lot!
Hajar - Yes yes... I got your whole analysis on Nick. What'd you think? Haha I know right? You gotta love Brian!
Nicole - I'm so glad you enjoyed! Thanks so much! Well, I'm not going to let anything slip! You'll have to wait and see!
Charise - Yeah, I got it. I'm glad you liked it! Thanks!
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LJ - Aaaw, so sorry! Thanks a lot!
Mari - So you didn't cry? I was worried you'd cry all weekend! :( Lol Uh-Oh, will I then be blamed for sanity - Knapping? That's not even a word! Anyway, hope you're still sane!
Nicole - Different person? Anyway, you'll have to wait and see!
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Macy - Now, are those words true? Lol, they better be! Thanks anyway! Breathe.
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Lucy - Yeah, I forgot! Hope you enjoyed!
Hey guys! Hope you all enjoyed! Lots of love!
Together As One - Chapter 18Enjoy! 15+ comments!
By Sammer A