Could you say goodbye to the only thing you ever wanted?

January 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

Well, it has been a busy week. My son is about to celebrate his eighth birthday, so we have been getting ready. I have also been working on a new book which I hope to finish soon. I got some exciting news from my publisher recently that the 3rd book in the Club X series, Shadows of Ecstasy, would be coming out soon. As soon as I have a release date I will let you know. I hope that you are enjoying Choices. This is one of my favorite books.

Chapter 14

Scanning the road, Jackson parked the bike in front of the cabin.  Too many busybodies were home right now that might overhear what they had to say, so he grabbed her hand to lead her inside.  Once they were in the safety of the house, he turned to face her. 

“You wanted to talk…Talk.”

            She stared at him, not knowing what to say, how to explain.  She wanted to tell him everything.  She wanted to collapse against him, and feel his arms curl around her.  But she couldn’t.  She thought of the scholarship that waited for him.  If she didn’t stop seeing him, her father would ruin him.  She was sure of that.  Her father was not a man of compassion.  He did not have any sympathy for others.  Hadn’t he already threatened to run Jackson out of town?  He would do it.  There was little doubt of that. 

She couldn’t let that happen. 

She loved him too much to watch his dreams die.     

            Jackson would never let her father stop them.  He wasn’t the type of man to let anyone stand in the way of something he wanted.  He would gladly sacrifice his future to keep the promises he made to her.  Tears formed in her eyes.  She couldn’t let him give up everything to be with her.  She refused to be the selfish person her father was. 

There was only one thing she could do. 

            “I know that you talked to Leah,” she explained slowly.

            He lifted his chin.  “She made things seem pretty clear.”

            Squeezing her eyes shut at the pain, she forced herself to continue.  “Jackson, it would never work.”

            “Why?  Are you afraid you might have to get your hands dirty?”

            “No,” she cried out with a shake of her head.  “I’m afraid that I will ruin everything you’ve worked for.”  Her hand came up to cover her mouth, as if she could physically stop the words that had already left her lips. 

But she couldn’t. 

            “What are you talking about?  Ruin everything I’ve worked for?” he asked, his eyes narrowing.

            She turned away, afraid he would be able to see the truth in her eyes.  “I didn’t mean that.  It’s just… It would never work, Jackson.  You have to know that,” she reasoned.

            “Because of your father?” he challenged.

            “Not just because of my father, because of everyone. No one will ever accept us being together.”

He crossed the room in two long strides, his hands covering her shoulders.  He gave her a quick shake.   “I don’t give a damn what everyone will accept! But you do, don’t you?  That’s what this is really about isn’t it?  You care what all the people in this damned town think, and they wouldn’t take too kindly to you being with trash like me.” 

“No!  I didn’t say that!”

“But you meant it, didn’t you?” he demanded, giving her a firm shake.

Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes.  She wanted more than anything to tell him the truth, to make him understand that she was only doing what was best for him, but she couldn’t. 

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, her voice quivering.

Jackson pushed her away, storming to the other side of the room, his hand driving through his hair.  He leaned a hand on the wall as he stared out the window. 

For a few minutes, they didn’t speak. 

“It’s the money, isn’t it?”

She looked at him knowing that this one lie would forever damn her in his eyes. 

She also knew it was the only way. 

“Yes,” she whispered.

His eyes closed, and she knew it was over. 

All of her fantasies about Jackson Hart had just come crashing down.

The pain was so intense she thought for a moment she might die.  But death would have been a much better fate. 

“I’m sorry,” she said.

And, if nothing else, that was true.

 

They didn’t speak the whole ride back.  Clinging to him, she could feel the tension in his body.  She wished that she could hold on to him forever, but she knew she couldn’t.  She had already lost him inside that cabin.  That was the worst part.

 When she reached her locker, Curtis was waiting for her. 

“What took you so long?” he demanded.

“Sorry, I had to stop at the bathroom,” she explained a little too quickly.

“Again?”

“Yes, again.”

Later that night as she lay on her bed doing homework, all she thought of was what Jackson said.  The pain she had seen in his eyes made her want to die.  She tried to tell herself that it was for the best, that at least this way he would have a future, but deep down she was drowning.  How could she spend the rest of her life without him?  How could she watch him leave without telling him how much she loved him? 

A knock on her door made her sit up in bed.  “Come in,” she called out.

Curtis opened the door, tilting his head to the side with a sardonic sneer.  “Your boyfriend is downstairs,” he scoffed.

“What boyfriend?”

He snorted as he rolled his eyes.  “Derrick,” he bit back.

She pursed her lips.  “Derrick is not my boyfriend,” she refuted.

His harsh laughter filled the room.  “That’s not what Dad seems to think.  He seems to think the two of you will make the perfect couple.”

Climbing off the bed to stand in front of him, she put her hands on her hips.  “Well, I don’t care what daddy thinks,” she replied.

His lips tugged up on a sarcastic smile.  “Really?”

“Really,” she answered a little more firmly as she tried to pass him. 

He blocked the doorway, his arms crossed over his chest as he stared down at her.  She pushed him, barely budging him from the doorjamb. 

“Curtis, get out of my way,” she demanded, her temper rising.

He gave her a look of derision as he shook his head.  Moving to the side, he opened his arms wide.  “Go!”

She huffed in aggravation.  “God, Curtis.  You are such a jerk.”

She hurried down the stairs to find Derrick waiting in the foyer.  His head rose at her arrival. 

“Derrick, what are you doing here?  Were we supposed to go out tonight?”

“We are now.  There’s a double feature at the theater tonight, and you’re coming with me,” he explained with a boyish grin.

“I wish I could, but I have a lot of homework to do,” she answered a little too hastily.

“Surely your homework can wait, Mallory,” her father instructed. 

She spun on her heel to stare at him in shock.  The look in his eyes warned her not to refuse.  She turned around to face Derrick. 

“Alright, then.  Just give me a minute,” she said, before running up the stairs.

And so her life went for the next two weeks.  She played the part her father wanted knowing that the face she was putting on had nothing to do with the person she held inside.  She went out with Derrick almost every night at her father’s insistence.  In truth, she couldn’t even lie and say that it was a hardship.  Derrick was funny and charming.  Being with him was…easier.  He was accepted.  He was one of them. 

The more time she spent with him the clearer her father’s intentions became.  He left little doubt that he thought they were a good match, and he was doing everything in his power to make sure that they ended up together.  She hated going along with his plans, and the rebellious part of her nature wanted to fight him.  Still, she wouldn’t risk Jackson’s future just to prove a point.  Besides that, it seemed like everyone was happy that things were back to normal.  Even Leah seemed relieved.

“Don’t you have anything better to do than to watch your sister all day?  She doesn’t need a bodyguard,”Leah mocked.

Curtis sneered.  “I think I’ll be the judge of that.”

One eyebrow quirked up.  “You?  Curtis, you’re not qualified to make my cat’s decisions.  Why don’t you get out of here so I can talk to Mallory?” she prodded.

“Anything you have to say to her, you can say in front of me,” he warned.

A mischievious look covered her face.  “Really?  Okay,” she said turning to face Mallory with a wide grin.  “I was just going to ask if you have any tampons in your locker.  My flow is pretty heavy today…”

“Oh, gross,” Curtis choked as he walked away, his head held high.

Leah shook her head.  “Thank God.  I thought he would never leave,” she explained as she rolled her eyes.

She couldn’t help but chuckle at her friend’s antics.  Leah was not afraid of anything or anyone, and she proved it every day.  “What was all that about?” she asked.

“Did you hear about what happened out by the lake last night?”

“No.  What happened?”
            Leah looked both ways, before leaning in.  “I heard that Cherie Brightwater got drunk and did a little striptease for
Jackson.”

Her heart seemed to sink into her stomach.  “What?”

Leah offered her a tilted grin.  “I know.  Can you believe it?  She is such a slut!  Kendall Parker told me that some of the other boys stuck around to watch the show.”

It shouldn’t have hurt so much.

But it did. 

The fact that he was moving on so quickly made it cut even deeper.  She slammed her locker door shut, and practically ran toward the bathroom ignoring Leah’s call.  Once she was locked inside a stall, she let the tears fall. 

How had everything gotten so messed up? 

More than anything she wanted to confront him, but she couldn’t.  She didn’t have any right.  She had given up the rights she had when she broke up with him. 

At the sound of someone else entering the bathroom, she tried to calm herself.

“So, what did you do with Jackson Hart last night, because let me tell you the rumor is that you two slept together?”

“Let’s put it this way, Jackson Hart definitely lived up to my expectations,” she heard Cherie say.

“Meaning?”

“Meaning he is the only man in this school.  The rest of them are just boys.”

Squeezing her eyes shut, she shook her head as if she could block out the truth.

“But I heard he was seeing Mallory Westfall?” the other girl asked.

Her eyes shot open as she waited for the other girls’s response.

Jackson told me that she was all talk.  He said that it was never anything serious.”

Mallory barely heard the rest of the conversation as they walked out.  Her heart felt like it had broken into a million pieces.  She couldn’t believe that Jackson could be so cold.  Did he really mean that?  Did he really think that it had never been anything serious?  How could what they had together mean so little to him? 

Rushing through the other kids, she made her way to the parking lot.  She had to get out of here before she did something crazy like claw Cherie’s eyes out.

When she reached the curb, she saw him.

He was walking toward his motorcycle.  Knowing that she was about to make a fool of herself, she ran over to him.  “Jackson,” she called out.

He eased onto the seat, his eyes never meeting hers.

Jackson, we need to talk.”  

She could feel everyone watching them, but she didn’t care.  She had to know if he really said those things to Cherie. 

He reached over to the put the key in the ignition without looking at her.  “Careful Mal, people might think you know me.”

Her eyes narrowed.  “Is it true about you and Cherie Brightwater?”

A cynical smile teased his lips.  “Not sure why it would matter to you.  Don’t you belong to Lange?” he challenged.

 “I don’t belong to anyone,” she replied, her patience running thin.

His eyebrows rose.  “Really?  You sure about that?”

She pulled her lower lip into her mouth.  “Did you sleep with her?” she asked.

Suddenly, his gaze turned cold.  She forced herself to stand tall, even though, inside she was trembling.  “What I do is my business.  You made it very clear that you wanted no part of my life.”

“I didn’t think…”

“What?  That I would move on.  Why not?  You did.”

Tears formed in the corners of her eyes but she refused to let them fall.  “I just…” 

“What?”

More than anything she wanted to tell him the truth.  She didn’t want this.  She didn’t want him to be with anyone else but her.  “It’s not what I…”

“Well, look, here comes prince charming now,” he said, his eyes focused on something in the distance.

Jackson,” she said.

“Save it, Mallory.  It’s over.  It probably never should have begun in the first place.”

With that, she watched him start the motorcycle and ride away.  She barely noticed when Derrick joined her to offer her a ride home.  How had everything gotten so messed up?  The one thing she knew that she wanted was the one thing she couldn’t have.  Jackson hated her, and he had every right.  It was hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago she had promised to be his wife.  She had been so sure of herself. 

And now it was over. 

Everything she dreamed, everything she hoped for was over.    

Stay tuned for more of Choices…

 

 

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