hey everyone so this is a new chapter of my story Astray with is on my other FF account- Sweeney7760 which I am unfortunately locked out from so if you are new and havent read it i would suggest doing so first because this is wayyyy into the story. Anyhoo hope you enjoy
He could still remember the timid smile she bestowed him as he took her hand in his. How it shook ever so slightly when a nervous laugh spilled out of her peachy lips when he placed the ring on the delicate finger. She was so beautiful even in a dress that was simple, made of pure satin, the exact colour of a snowdrop. She seemed to radiate, he couldn't take his eyes off her. That someone like her had chosen him. Out of all of the people in the world, he was the one that she would call her husband.
Robbie sat at the bottom of the bed, his hands toying with a soft yellow blanket. No tears had graced his face. To put it simply, he felt empty. He couldn't quite believe the circumstance that he found himself in. How could it be possible that after all this time, Cat Valentine would manage to complicate his life? To him, the girl was like a snowstorm. A blizzard that without warning would blow into his path. It amazed him how something so beautiful could be so dangerous.
Now he was left with a choice, a choice he felt he had make too often. Would he put her in front of his own needs again… did he even have the strength for the heartache again?
In this moment all he wanted to do was hold his daughter. Obviously she was too young to even comprehend what was happening. But when she heard this story when she was older, when she asked why her mother and father had problems. She had to know that it was nothing to do with the love that the both of them had for her. That sometimes the complexity of this situation was often too much for even Robbie himself to comprehend.
He stayed like that for what felt like an impossibly long time, his fingers still absentmindedly grazing over the fluffy yellow material of his daughter's blanket. His mind wandered, searching for some sort of a solution where everyone could end up with a happy ending. But in his heart he knew that he could never meet this expectation; because to please one you must hurt another.
He was guilty of this. It wasn't that long ago he had made a promise to help reunite a lost girl with her birth mother. Maia had trusted him and he had betrayed her. He knew where her mother was and he could have done the right thing, could have given her the closure that she wanted. But he had been so hurt by Cat, so utterly devastated by her actions, that he selfishly pushed Maia away.
It wasn't the first time this thought had occurred to him. Throughout the years, she would occasionally drift in and out of this thoughts. He wondered what kind of woman she had become. Had she taken there last encounter to heart? He would have done it different. But he couldn't tarnish what little she knew about her birth mother. But if he had known then what he did now, would he have thought that?
He just didn't know.
Angrily he scrunched the yellow blanket in a ball and tossed across the room where it managed to get caught in a photo frame. He watched as the smiling faces of his family in the frame came crashing to the floor, watched as glass cracked and burst into a thousand tiny pieces.
As the word fell out of his lips he heard a small gasp, his eyes drawn to the sudden sound.
Cat lingered by the door as though she was unsure if it was a smart choice to actually enter the room. The atmosphere was tense and they knew they could both sense it. After a moment, she made her decision. She bravely entered the room and sat beside him cross-legged on the floor.
He glanced at her, noting how her head was dipped, how she used her hair as a shield from his cold glare.
"I'm so sorry." She spoke quickly, as if her words would be less painful if she said them fast enough, "I just—I wish you had never met me. That when we were in school we were nothing more than two people who passed each other in the hallway and said hello to each other just to be pleasant."
"Why?" he asked, although he wasn't sure if he wanted the answer.
"Then you wouldn't have been involved with all this." She admitted, "You could have had a life that you deserved. That didn't revolve around me. Selfish me who was such an idiot. Who got herself pregnant and ran away."
"No" she shook her head violently, "I'm right, I know I am. It's my fault. Everything was my fault."
He had merely glanced away for a second, but she was already out of the room. He followed after her even though he could already guess what she was doing. He watched as she for the second time during her stay, pulled the drawers open and flung what little clothes she had into an open bag on the bed. She carelessly dragged her nails across her face as she pulled her stringy hair out of her face, a small cut forming below her eye as she did so.
He didn't mean it to happen, never intended it happen. Without a second thought, he grabbed the bag from the bed and held it above his head as he walked down the hall.
"Give it back Robbie!" Cat pleaded as, like a child, she jumped and whined as she tried to cling onto the small bag that was just out of her reach.
"Why so you can do what always do?!" He said scathingly, "I am sick of this Cat. I have tried to be patient. I have tried to be kind. But you don't want to help yourself."
"I know!" she screamed like a demon as she clawed for the bag, "I hate myself. Ever since I put my trust in a man who broke me completely, who I let do horrible things to me, I just can't bring myself to even pretend anymore that I am something I am not. "
"Don't" she pleaded as she pushed him away, "I didn't even try to stop him, I said no. Why wasn't no enough Robbie? Why didn't I scream, or push him away or do anything? I just froze, I just let it happen."
Without uttering a single word he let the bag drop to the ground and pulled her into his arms, hoping that he could express everything in this single embrace. He didn't know how to make it better, if it was even remotely possible if he could. This man had stripped Cat of her innocence and was the cause of her demise.
"Cat" he said hoarsely, "You have to let me help you. All I have ever wanted to do was help. I can't do it alone, you have to let me get you help. I couldn't live with the guilt if you left me and I didn't try everything to make you stay. You've broken my heart once already, please don't do it again."
"I don't know if I can Robbie." She said as she dabbed her eyes dry using the edge of her sleeve, "It's not that simple."
"Cat." He sighed deeply, considering his next move, "You won't let me take you to the police but please let me take me somewhere, anywhere that isn't this house."
He extended his hand out to her and waited. She stared at his open palm, her eyebrows furrowing so slightly as she considered his request. Robbie wasn't sure what to expect or how she would react. But he had to try, he was completely out of options.
"I don't know if I can be helped." She said sheepishly, "But I want to try."
With that she took his hand, grasped it tightly and gave it a small, reassuring squeeze.
Absentmindedly she tapped her pen against her notebook as she stared blankly at the board in front of her. Normally her psychology module enthralled her, she loved learning about human behaviours and the theory behind how people become the way they are. But today her brain felt fuzzy as if everything she heard just rattled about her mind, became scrambled and lost all meaning. She glanced around at the students around her, some were subtly texting below their desk, others clearly gossiping as their eyes darted back and forth between their peers.
She gave her friend Lilly a sour look as she broke her from her trance. Lily was grinning madly as she pointed down at the boy three rows down, "He keeps glancing up at you."
Maia rolled her eyes as she suppressed a smile, "I could care less Lil."
"Suit yourself." Lilly cocked an eyebrow as she happily slammed her book shut, "More for me."
Maia laughed breathily at her friend as she grabbed her bag and walked alongside her up the steps and out of the auditorium. Maia felt as a hand graze her arm as the dark haired boy in question brushed past her. She gave him a wicked smile and wave when he predictably glanced back to see if she noticed the subtle contact. He held door open to allow the girls to step out into the sunshine, Maia gave him a wink as she pulled her sunglasses down from her hair, covering her deep brown eyes.
It's not that she didn't appreciate male attention. It was always entertaining to flirt with the boys on her campus. She would allow them to buy her drinks, to dance with her. Maybe if she was feeling particular generous, she would even kiss them goodnight. But never any more than that.
She noted how all the boys seemed to like that, how she was an impossible conquest that they all seemed to think she was a game, a prize to be won. But in truth, she was scared to get close to anyone. She despised what came with it all it; the feelings and the wild emotions. Maybe it was cynical that she was only nineteen to think like that but she had seen what heartache looked like and she never wanted to experience it. People let you down and you shouldn't make yourself vulnerable to them.
She learnt that a long time ago.
She felt the buzz of her phone in her pocket and fished it out. She glared at the glowing screen that illuminated the face of her once favourite singer. Lily squealed and bounced up and down.
"Maia!" Lilly squealed and bounced up and down, "Tori Vega is performing tonight downtown! Una just said she has two spare tickets, they are ours if we want them! Oh my god we have to go!"
"There is no way I'm going to that."
Lilly pouted, "But why?!"
"She is so outdated" Maia argued, "she hasn't brought out any new songs that are anything to write home about and have you seen her videos behind the scenes after her shows she is such a bitch, all judgemental and snooty."
Lilly scoffed as she tapped on her phone and walked, a skill Maia mused, was necessary if you wanted to keep up the hectic social media life that Lilly had, "God you sound like you know her."
Maia smiled knowingly, "Nothing like that. I'm just good at reading people I guess."
"You are so cynical." Lilly stated.
"Oh please! You know you love me." Maia said devilishly before blowing her a kiss, "I gotta run, said I'd meet a friend for coffee."
The breeze tousled her lightly curled brunette hair as she dashed away from her friend, already late for her meeting. Her hand quivered nervously as her mind drifted to the person she was going to meet. She was still unsure if she made the right choice in agreeing to go, but she had allowed herself to be worn down. Curiosity had won over her trepidation. If she hadn't of been running so late maybe she would have paid more attention as she foolishly stepped onto the road without a second regard to the consequences. She looked up just in time to see the large SUV barreling towards her. She barely had time to register the harsh, sharp blare of a car horn. Panic flushed down her body like hot spring water as she stood there, in the middle of road as rigid as a plank. It was then she was felt the grip of a strong arm around her waist that pulled her back and cushioned her fall onto the cold pavement.
With some effort, she managed to shakily bring herself back up to her feet, her face flushing as she saw all the concerned faces looking her.
Guarding her chest with her arms she averted her gaze as she spoke to the person who saved her, "I am so sorry." she said to the man who groaned as he got to his feet as dusted off his suit, "I should have been paying attention."
She turned around and continued on her path as she rushed into the crowd of people, hoping to get lost inside of it and avoid the judgement of the crowd that had watched her almost kill herself with her own carelessness. She was startled by the hand that grasped her arm lightly in an attempt to get her attention.
"Hey sorry you ran off so quickly!" The man said, his breathing quick from the light jog he had to do in order to catch up with her, "Are you sure you are okay?"
Maia regarded him with caution, a innate reaction that she couldn't help. He was extremely handsome in his custom made suit, his fine brown hair styled and his face freshly shaven. Either he was already successful or he knew how to dress like someone who was. When she realised she was staring she could feel her cheeks burn more than before but something about him made her feel strange... she couldn't pinpoint what exact emotion. Just like in class earlier, her mind was a muddled mess once more.
"Oh- I am so sorry!" she apologised profusely, "It's just the crowd made me feel like the idiot I am and I wanted to get away. Honestly I can't thank you enough for pulling me back."
He smiled warmly as he extended his hand to her, "How about we start again."
She accepted his hand shake as a courtesy, "Maia"
"Pretty name." He reached into his inside pocket in his jacket and handed her a small business card, "I'll be seeing you Maia."
She glanced down at the card, smiling at his confidence, "and what makes you so sure... David?"
He shrugged as he took a step away from her, "There is something about you. You're a risk taker."
She grinned back at him, "You have no idea."
She walked away without a second glanced, turning the small rectangular card in her hand. Everything about him warned her not to trust him. She should do the smart thing and throw out the card. But he was right, Maia thrived from thrill and the euphoria that came with it. She threw caution to the wind and pocketed the card, wondering when inspiration would strike and she would use her trump card. Still smiling from cheek to cheek she placed her phone by her ear and waited for the agitated voice to answer.
"Yo it's me." her voice bored, "Yeah I know I'm late I was almost in a car accident."
"Jesus, Jade seriously?" Maia rolled her eyes and spun around on her heel as she came face to face with the raven haired beauty for the first time in years, "What are you doing now, following me?"
Jade slowly exhaled her cigarette as she slowly dragged her eyes up and down Maia, as if she was sizing up her prey, "Still as mouthy as ever Maia. You better watch yourself, some day your mouth is going to get you into trouble."
Maia bit her tongue in an attempt to suppress another snarky comment. It was strange, seeing her after all of these years. Maia had expected Jade to be different, she had heard through social media that she had become a mother. She thought that maybe this would have made her soften, but she was a brazen as the day Maia had said goodbye to her.
"What do you want with me Jade?" Maia questioned, "Why have you been so keen to meet up with me?"
"Let's not do this out here." Jade ordered as she stamped out the remains of her cigarette, "My office is nearby."
Jade's office wasn't exactly how Maia would have imagined it. It was very light and clinical. Bland and white she had always imagined Jade as the type to have a dark office, with a padlock on the door to deter unwanted people from bothering her. Perched delicately on the side of Jade's sofa, Maia sipped on her coffee slowly as she watched the older women bark orders at her petite and frankly terrified assistant. Maia's stomach did an uneasy squirm as she watched the woman berated the quivering blonde receptionist who was frantically scribbling notes which as far as Maia could see made no sense at all. A part of Maia hated Jade, because she had once admired her strength. When they had first met Jade was one of the first people to give Maia the harsh truth about her mother and for the most part she had tried to help as best as she could. But when it came down to it, when Maia needed Jade the most, she had betrayed her. Maia had pleaded with her to be the one adult in that situation to see sense, but she didn't. She was one of the people on her list who let her down.
The door finally clicked shut and Jade's grunt of annoyance preceded her slamming of her office door before she slumped down on the chair opposite Maia.
"I need to fire that girl. Can't even take messages properly." she moaned, "it's not that hard is it."
"Jade." Maia said sternly as she set her half empty cup down, her pink lipstick printed on the side of ceramic, "What do you want?"
She smiled, "Oh I wanted to give you a belated birthday present."
"I don't want a present from you."
Jade made a dismissive noise as she rose to grab the package from her desk, "Nonsense! I knew it wasn't a good idea to contact you when you where still a minor but you are 19. So old now, with so much freedom."
Jade dangled the gift in front of the teen mockingly, "Come on I know you're curious. How could you not be?"
With a scornful stare, Maia snatched the gift from her and tore it open. Maia glared at the book she now held, the best selling novel that was sweeping the nation. That Maia had refused to even consider because it was written by Jade herself. Her stomach churned as she calmly set the book down on the coffee table and gave it a gentle push towards Jade.
"I especially don't want that."
Jade cocked her eyebrow," Why lil red, you scared?"
Maia scoffed, "Of what? A book made up of complete fiction."
"How do you know that if you haven't read it?"
"I know enough about it." Maia stated, "I lived it Jade and it didn't have a happy ending. But all I hear about when people bring it up is how those two where meant to be. Absolute bullshit. That's what your story is."
Jade pushed it back to her, "Take it anyway. Its a signed first edition. Help with those student loans if you ever wanna sell it."
"If I take it will you leave me alone?" Maia bargained, "This was a mistake I don't want you to try and find me again."
Jade let out a dark laugh, "Oh my goodness have we not all heard that one before."
Maia dug her nails into the palm of her hands, hoping the pain would stop tears springing into her eyes,"Why are you such a bitch Jade?"
"Same reason you are Maia." Jade said smugly, "Because we are too guarded. I wrote this in the hope she would read it."
Maia bit her lip, unable to stop her eyes this time from overflowing with tears, "I don't want to talk about her."
"I lost someone in all this too Maia." Jade retorted, her voice trembled slightly, "I lost my best friend and I won't stop. I can't. Not until I know she is safe."
"Did you just bring me here to hurt me all over again." Maia demanded as she grabbed the book and headed for the door, "I am so sick of thinking about my past. I got closure the day Robbie left me back home. I don't have a birth mother. She let us go Jade. You need to do the same."
She slammed the door, satisfied with how it caused the whole wall of tinted glass to rumble along with it. As far as Maia was concerned Jade West was officially dead to her. She could feel her heart battering against the book that she was holding so close to her chest. She jammed her fingers on the elevator frantically, hoping this would speed the process.
"Are you ok?" the receptionist called over to her, "You seem flushed. I could get you some water?"
"No, no" Maia insisted faking a smile, "I'll just take the stairs I'm in a hurry."
She took the stairs quickly, her breaths quick and frantic, the room suddenly void of all air. She had lied to Jade. She knew this book, knew it all too well because she had read it as soon as it came out. Maia always had a problem indulging in curiosity, even when she knew all it was going to do was hurt her. Every chapter she read was like a reopening an old wound. But she couldn't stop herself from carrying on. It was as if she was reading a mixture of personal diaries of the people she knew... or thought she did. How she had listened to just about everyone rave about how the characters in the book where so full of pain, how sad they must have been. Maia would just shake her head, smile sadly and change the subject. How could you ever tell anyone that this book was an expert of your life. That you personally knew the author of the book and she had based it off the life and times of her birth mother and that the baby mentioned in the book was you, that the sidekick of the whole story is you?
The answer was simple: you couldn't without people thinking you are an insane, attention seeker that only deserved pity.
The fresh air slapped her in the face as she leaned against the wall and tried to gain composure. She hated looking weak but her breathing wouldn't regulate, if anything nothing was going in, only out. She allowed herself to slide against the wall to the ground her head resting against her knees as she screwed her eyes shut. For the second time today, she was making a scene and drawing attention to herself. Two things she despised. She waited, praying silently that no one would ask her what was wrong.
She could sense a presence lurking over her and listened intently as the a deep voice chastised someone close to them, "No we can't just walk past and not say anything!"
Her eyes stinging with tears Maia slowly looked up. Her stomach twisted, her heart felt like lead, her toes tingled with numbness as she stared back at that face she recognised so well.
Because it looked almost exactly like her own.