CHAPTER THREE: I WISH I NEVER KNEW
I thought hard about whether I should answer or not, but I had been here for two hours now and still didn’t know if I wanted to hear what he was going to say.
“Hello?” I said, trying to sound normal.
“Where the hell are you? Georgina said you should have been home two hours ago! What’s going on?” Wow, he really didn’t sound happy.
Then again, what was it to him? We had only just started seeing each other. Why was he so insistent on knowing my whereabouts already?
“I’m at the student bar. I didn’t know I’d have to constantly update you on where I am? If this is what you’re going to be like, then I’ve been here before and I don’t plan on starting all of that again, so you can forget about us.” I hung up.
I could feel myself asking as flashbacks played in my mind of my past. I couldn’t get involved with someone like him. I hated his secrets and the fact that he wanted to know where I was. He seemed annoyed at me for not going straight home. I’m a grown woman!
I sat there, drinking alcohol and wondering why I was judging him based on things that happened to me in the past. Maybe I should give him a chance? The way he’s acted though just reminds me of my past and I really can’t be in a relationship like that again.
I have no idea how long I’ve been sitting there, drinking and thinking.
“You really have an attitude sometimes, don’t you?” Jackson’s voice came from behind me, making me jump.
He sat down opposite me and just looked at me. I waited to see if he was going to tell me who the two women were, but I don’t think he would just yet.
“Look, I’m sorry for flipping out when you weren’t there. Georgina said you always go straight home after university. Then she was rambling on about hoping you don’t get tracked down or something?” He looked at me, waiting for a reaction. I didn’t know what to say, so I stayed quiet.
“Yes, okay, I was out of line demanding to know where you were, but I want to know what she meant by you being tracked down?” He asked me.
“I don’t know, maybe you could tell me who Katie and Tallulah are?” I thought it’d be better to get straight to the point.
His face changed, he didn’t look happy. There was a mixture of sadness and hurt, followed by anger.
“What has Liam told you? He can’t just keep his mouth shut. I told him there was no need for you to know.”
“Liam didn’t say anything to me. He needs to learn to take private calls somewhere where he can’t be heard. If you seem to think there is no need for me to know about those two women, then you don’t need to know what Georgina meant either.” I snapped.
How can he sit there and ask personal questions about my life but get angry when I ask personal questions?
“Fine, I’ll tell you. But then I want to know what Georgina was talking about, okay?” He asked. I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell him but I nodded anyway.
“Look, Alena. If we want this to work, then maybe it’s a good thing being open with each other this early on. There seems to be a lot going on in both of our lives that are already pushing us apart. If we are honest, we can decide after if we want to stay together, or leave.” He sounded genuine.
“Okay, go ahead. You start.” I braced myself for the hurt that was about to follow. I wondered if it’d be his girlfriend or wife.
“So, Tallulah is my daughter. Katie is my little sister. The reason I haven’t mentioned them is that they both died.” Oh shit.
“My ex Caroline and I had a beautiful baby girl, she was born on Katie’s birthday. However, she was born early and didn’t take her first breath. Caroline didn’t cope well with it at all. One night, she and Katie were in the car and she drove straight into a wall. Katie died instantly, and nobody has seen Caroline since.” He looked hurt. I wanted to comfort him. I now understood why he flipped at Liam after his accident.
I had been sitting there, saying awful things to him and all this time he’d been bottling that up.
“We visited the graves today, it is their birthday. So, there you go. You can see now why I didn’t want you to know just yet. It’s not the sort of thing you tell someone straight away.”
“I’m so, so sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you into telling me. That’s an awful thing to have to go through. Is that tattoo for your baby?” I had to ask.
“The tattoo is Tallulah’s handprint, wrapped in a blanket. The blanket was Katie’s when she was a baby. She passed it on to Tallulah.” He explained.
I felt awful, I wanted to cry. Why was I such an idiot?
I wish I had never asked.
“So, go on. It’s your turn and you can’t turn around and say it doesn’t matter.” He looked at me, waiting for an answer.
I felt my whole body go cold and I started to shiver. I wasn’t sure I could do this; I didn’t ever want to talk about it. I looked at him, he was waiting. Where do I even start? I couldn’t find the words.
I felt a tear running down my cheek, my frustration building. He kindly sat and waited, clearly able to see that I was fighting a battle in my own mind.
“I was engaged to someone. He wasn’t a nice person at all, and the relationship got the point where he checked my phone constantly. Whenever I got a phone call I had to answer it on the loudspeaker. I couldn’t go out anywhere, eventually, I couldn’t even go to university without him. He’d accuse me of things and punish me. Georgina was the one who pulled me away from him, that’s why I flipped when I thought you answered my phone. It’s the reason I shouted when you demanded to know where I was.” I couldn’t go into any more detail without breaking down.
“Did anything else happen? He asked, pushing for more information that I wasn’t ready to give him.
“No. What now? Are you going to run away?” I asked. I wouldn’t be shocked if he did. I had acted like a bitch towards him.
“No, why would I? We both have pasts which we both tried to hide. But clearly, we can’t. We do need to talk a lot more about it. I honestly wouldn’t have acted like that today if Georgina hadn’t wound me up. She looked genuinely scared for you. You never said, why did she think you’d have got tracked down?” he asked, I had hoped he’d forgotten.
“He was locked up, but kept trying to reach me. He said he’d find me when he was released.” I explained.
My heart was breaking. Today wasn’t a good day at all. I just wanted to climb into my bed and shut myself off from the world.
He must have realised as he didn’t respond.
“Let’s get you home.” He said, standing up from the table and pulling me into a warm hug.
On the drive back, I felt like I had told him my darkest secret. I was scared he was just being nice to me to not hurt my feelings, and that he was going to leave me.
Walking through the door, Georgina ran to me and cuddled me.
“Alena! I was freaking out here! You should have known that I would have been worried!”
“She’s okay, no harm done. She just needed some space.” Jackson explained to her. She glared at him and Liam looked confused, he had no idea what was going on or why people would be worried after me staying out for just two hours.
“Oooh, I get it. You told her and now she’s freaking out that your ex is going to come back and get her!” Liam said.
Now Georgina was the one who looked confused.
She looked at me and I just shook my head.
“Look, I need to go to bed, I’m worn out. I will see you all tomorrow.” I walked off, not saying goodbye to Jackson. I walked into my room and cried myself to sleep, relieved that the day was finally over.
I have no idea what time it was when I woke up, my mouth was dry from the alcohol I’d consumed earlier. I walked towards my door and heard Georgina and Jackson talking.
They both sat there with a drink in their hands.
“You do realise she’s broken, don’t you? Max made sure of that before she got away from him. She got used to having no freedom and not having a say in where she could go. She didn’t see her family for over a year. She showed up at my house black and blue, covered in blood. That was the last time she saw him.” I flinched; I’d purposefully left out that part.
Jackson’s fist clenched tightly, he whole body shook with anger. He looked about ready to kill somebody.
“Didn’t she tell you all of this? Please don’t tell her I’ve said anything – I’ve put my foot in it now. She will kill me if she finds out.” Georgina said, realising she’d messed up.
“This Max sounds like a right piece of work. Where is he now?” Jackson asked.
“No idea, she changed universities and moved halfway across the country. I followed her. He got out about a year ago. She was an absolute mess.”
I didn’t want to hear any more. I walked back to my bed and went to sleep. I was worried about tomorrow, now Jackson knows everything. He knew I was lying when I told him earlier that there was nothing else.
I woke up, it must have been late as the sun was shining through the window. I was glad I didn’t have university today. I rolled over and nearly screamed, Jackson was sitting on the bed next to me.
“Good morning, beautiful!” He smiled. He seemed in a good mood, despite what Georgina had told him and the fact he found out I lied to him.
I felt awful. My head hurt, my eyes felt heavy like I had huge bags under them. I bet I looked disgusting. “I highly doubt I look beautiful,” I said sitting up.
“You do to me, I’ll just go and grab you a coffee.” He said while walking out.
I got up and walked into my bathroom. I looked in the mirror; my eyes were black from where my mascara had run last night. My eyes were red and puffy and my hair was all over the place! I looked awful. I jumped in the shower and quickly had a wash.
All of my worries disappeared when the hot water started running down my body, it felt amazing. I got out and wrapped a towel around me then walked to my bedroom.
I almost screamed again. I had forgotten that Jackson would be waiting for me with coffee.
“What is it with me scaring you? Do I look like a monster or something?” He joked.
“Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re far from monstrous; I just forgot you were here, that’s all.“ I explained, climbing onto the bed next to him.
“You look much better, I’m guessing you needed that sleep?”
“I certainly did. I’m so glad I don’t have university today. What time is it?” I asked, realising I hadn’t even checked yet.
“It's 13:30, you missed breakfast and dinner.” He smiled kindly at me.
“Oh, crap. I should get up, I have work today. Did you stay over?”
“I slept on the sofa as I was up quite late talking to Liam and Georgina. Georgina said I can sleep in your bed, but Liam said I had to sleep on the sofa!” He laughed.
“Yep, that sounds like them two, alright. They never agree on anything.” I couldn’t help but laugh along with him.
I finished my coffee and was about to get up when he pushed me down and straddled my hips.
My heart felt like it was about to explode through my chest.
“Do you trust me?” He asked, looking at me.
He must be talking about what Georgina mentioned last night.
“Well, you’re currently straddling me in bed, while I wear nothing but a towel. What do you think?” I answered playfully.
His lips pushed down on mine, kissing me fast and violently. His hand grabbed both of my wrists, pinning them above my head as he kissed down my cheek.
“I’ve been waiting for hours to wake you up. I told myself to behave but then seeing you with just a towel on, I can’t control myself.” He breathed into my ear.
His breath was so soft against my skin; it made my body shiver with pleasure. I arched my back to try and touch him.
He kissed down my neck slowly and taunted me, making me want more. His kisses started to move downwards, across my collarbone and down the centre of my chest.
His other hand removed the towel from around me, as his lips slid over to my nipples, slowly sucking one into his mouth before gently nibbling it, making me moan out loud.
I hear a knock at the front door, but don’t want to stop. His mouth was so provoking it made me need more.
I suddenly hear Georgina’s voice.
“Oh hi, Mrs Parker, what a nice surprise.”
I froze. Jackson must have noticed as he stopped and looked up at me.
“Oh, crap, my step mum is here.” I said, trying to push him off me which I failed miserably at. Jackson started laughing at my feeble attempt to escape.
He moved over so I could jump out of bed. I grabbed my dressing gown and threw it on.
“You should probably stay hidden, unless you want to climb out of the window and come back through the door!” I said as I turned to leave.
“Alena! Are you okay?” My step mum ran over to me and put her arm around me.
“Yes – why wouldn’t I be?” I looked at her with confusion.
“Georgina sent me a text yesterday saying that you had gone missing! She kept me updated and said she’d found you, but I still had to come and see you were alright for myself, especially after everything that has happened lately.” She cuddled me tighter.
“Thanks, Georgina,” I muttered under my breath. “Wait – what do you mean ‘after everything that has happened lately’?”
“Didn’t your dad tell you? Max showed up at our house looking for you a couple of weeks ago. He keeps coming back to check you’re not with us.”
I felt dizzy and sick, I needed to sit down. I felt weak. I stumbled and the last thing I heard before I passed out was Georgina calling my name.
I woke up distorted and confused. I sat up and saw Georgina, Jackson, Liam and my step mum looking down at me.
I wanted the floor the swallow me up, everyone was looking at me with so much concern; it was embarrassing.
“Are you okay? What happened? They won’t tell me, I just heard Georgina shout your name and I came through to see you on the floor! Somebody, please tell me what’s going on?” Liam said sounding really pissed off.
“Liam, just shut up. Not everything is about you.” Jackson said.
“And who exactly are you and why did you come out of my daughter’s room?” My step mum questioned. “I am her boyfriend. What made her pass out?” Jackson asked.
“Maybe she passed out from shock after you told her what’s been happening, Mrs Parker.” Georgina offered.
“Why, what’s been happening?” Liam asked again.
“It doesn’t matter right now. Darling, are you okay? Can you hear us?” My step mum asked.
“Yes, I can hear you. I’m fine! Just lack of sleep and too much booze probably.” I explained.
My step mum left after making sure I was okay. She made me promise to call her later to keep her updated on how I was feeling. I promise I would, and then I headed into my room with Georgina following closely behind.
“You told Jackson, didn’t you?” I asked her.
“I’m sorry – he said you told him everything. I didn’t think. I thought he already knew.”
“It’s fine. He knows now so he can leave if he wants to.”
“Don’t be daft. For some strange reason, he’s very attached to you. You both seem to be drawn to each other like a magnet. How do you feel about Max? Are you going to tell Jackson?”
“I don’t really know how I feel. I guessed he’d go to their house at some point. But I didn’t think he’d keep his eye on the house in case I returned, I’m really scared that he might have followed her here!”
“You have to tell Jackson everything. He might be able to protect you in ways that me and Liam can’t. Please do the right thing.”
“I really don’t want to tell him. This is all too much. We’ve only known each other for a few days. What if he thinks I have too much baggage and leaves me?” The door swings open.
“You don’t need to tell me anything, because I already heard. Weren’t you aware that you two were shouting at each other? Even Liam heard, and now wants to know everything.” He seemed so pissed off at me.
This was all one big mess. It would be so much easier if I had never met Jackson. He made everything more complicated.
“You’re coming to my house. I mean it, you’re not safe here. You will stay with me.” He insisted.
“No chance, she’ll be fine here. She has me and Georgina here to protect her.” Liam argued back.
Jackson turned to Liam and towered over him.
“So you think you can look after her and protect her then do you? You’ll know what to do if a man you don’t even know tries to grab her?” Jackson spat in his face.
“Enough! You two are just making things worse. Liam, you need to accept that Jackson is the one she wants and Jackson, you need to stop purposely winding Liam up! Look, we don’t know for certain that he followed her. If he didn’t follow her, then she’ll be living in your house for no reason.” Georgina started to reason.
They were all talking about me like I was a child, like I couldn’t speak for myself. I hated it when people did this.
“Guys, I’m okay here for now. Jackson, I promise we’ll call you if anything happens. I’m not leaving my life here for something that might never happen.” I explained.
“Okay, well, I need to go. I have work to do. If anything happens, call me straight away.” He said, looking at me before kissing me and walking out.
Georgina and Liam left the room, and then I lay down on my bed. The last few days have been awful, yet wonderful at the same time. I had no idea what was going to happen next, all I could do was wait.