Broken Silence, page 3part #2 of Silence Series
“That’s what Ben said. ”
“It’s been too long. This isn’t healthy. Whatever you decide, I’ll be here for you, but you have to decide soon. I hate seeing you like this. I’ll leave you to sleep. ”
She left my room, closing the door behind her. I thought about her words. ‘Get her back or move on’. I tried the second option, but it was too hard. She didn’t break up with me because she didn’t love me any more. If she had, at least I would know we had no chance, and I could move on.
Oakley left because she couldn’t be here, and knowing that made me unable to move on.
We approached our old neighbourhood and so many memories flashed through my mind. Most of them included Cole and things we had done together. My heart skipped. I was so close to him. We turned the corner and his house came into view. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach. My old house was just past his, but I refused to look at the place I grew up in.
“Oakley, you can say no if you want to,” Mum started. She lifted her foot off the accelerator and the car slowed. My eyes widened as I realised what she was asking.
“What are you doing?” I asked, trying not to show the panic in my voice.
“We’ve not seen them in almost four years. I’ve missed Jenna,” she whispered. “Honey, if you don’t want to, we can do it another time. I will understand. ”
I knew she didn’t mean to make me feel guilty, but that was exactly what she had done. It was my fault that she missed them. My fault that she hadn’t seen her best friend for four years. Gulping, I tried to push my fears away.
“No, it’s fine. I miss them too. ” I could suck it up and let her see her friend again. Cole’s probably not even in. “Jenna wouldn’t be happy if we were in the area and didn’t call in, anyway. ”
Mum smiled at me in the mirror as she stopped outside their house. “Thank you. ”
Jasper knocked on their door, enthusiastically. He was obviously as excited as Mum to see them all again. I was terrified and felt like running as I heard someone on the other side of the door.
Thankfully, it was Jenna. She gasped in surprise and threw the door wide open. “Oh my God!” she shouted. Mum stepped forward and they hugged, laughing like teenage girls. It was nice to hear Mum laugh like that again.
“When did you get back? How long are you here for?” Jenna asked, ushering us inside. She hugged me and then Jasper with as much enthusiasm as she had Mum. Why was she asking that? They knew. My heart dropped as I realised she hadn’t received Mum’s email.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mum frown.
“Didn’t you get my email?”
Jenna huffed. “No, our internet’s been down for a while now. I’ve told David to fix it, but you know what he’s like! It’s so good to see you again. ” Oh God, this isn’t good. “You look great, Oakley. You’re so grown up,” she said, pulling me into another hug.
I smiled, trying to hide the panic rising inside. Cole couldn’t see me for the first time like this. A surprise visit was the last thing he needed.
Jasper laughed humourlessly. “She’s still just as immature. ”
“Coming from you, Jasper? Really?” I replied. Jasper was a man-child and one of the most immature people I knew.
He narrowed his eyes and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. He shoved his hand in my hair, ruffling it up.
“Get off,” I shouted, batting his hand away with my own. Now really wasn’t the time to mess around. I needed to find out if Cole was around so I could figure out how to meet him again for the first time. There was no getting around the fact that we would meet, but I wanted to do it properly.
I shoved Jasper, and as I looked up, I froze. It was too late to leave. Cole stood in front of me, staring open-mouthed. No, no, no! My heart soared. Seeing him again was such an incredible feeling it took my breath away. He hadn’t changed much. His hair was the same style but an inch or two shorter. My memory hadn’t done him justice at all.
Beside him was a girl I didn’t know. I felt a chill, and my heart plummeted to my toes. His girlfriend? Of course. I knew he probably would have found someone else, but I sure as hell didn’t want to see it.
Jasper let go, and I almost fell to the floor. My legs were weak. I wanted to leave before this girl was confirmed as his, but I couldn’t move.
“This is awkward,” Jasper muttered under his breath. I wanted to hit him, but I still couldn’t move. The girl, who I unreasonably hated, clearly recognised me. She looked at me with wide eyes, surprised to see me too. Did Cole talk about me to her? Was I the bitch ex who left him and she the angel of a current girlfriend? That wouldn’t be far from the truth.
“Oh my freakin’ God! Oakley!” Kerry screamed, bursting into the room. She bounced over to me, and I was wrapped in her iron grip. Ben stood behind her, looking between me and Cole. “You’re really back! I can’t believe it. How long for? God, I missed you. ”
I mumbled a breathless hello as she squeezed the air from my lungs.
“Ooh, you have a sexy husky voice!”
I didn’t really know what to say to that, so I said nothing. It must be so strange for her to hear me speak. I hadn’t seen her since everything had come out.
“Ben, say hello,” she ordered and before he could, she continued. “Oh, and this is Chelsea, our friend. ”
I smiled at Kerry and her not so subtle way of telling me Chelsea wasn’t with Cole. Relief flooded my system. “Hi, Chelsea. ”
“Hey,” she replied.
I looked back at Cole, who was still a statue. He hadn’t looked away from me this whole time, and I didn’t know if that was a good sign or not.
“I wonder if it’s possible for this to get any more awkward,” Jasper said.
I glared at my idiot brother.
“Beach party, Jasper,” I hissed. “Beach party. ”
He shot me a dark look but backed down as I knew he would. It worked every single time I needed him to shut up.
“What happened at the beach party?” Kerry asked.
“Nothing happened at the beach party!” Jasper yelped. “Now, come on, let’s leave Cole and Oakley to talk. ” And to think I had gone twenty years without having any real murderous thought about my brother!
“Sure. I wanna see your mum anyway,” Kerry said and ushered them all into the kitchen.
I chewed the inside of my cheek and desperately tried to think of something to say. Something that wasn’t, ‘I love you. Please forgive me. ’ Giving myself a little pep talk in my head, I took one step forward. It was only right that I was the one to speak first.
“Hi,” I whispered.
His lips pulled up into a small smile.
My stomach flipped over. I had missed the sound of his voice so much. Let’s face it, I had missed everything about him.
With that brief exchange we fell into silence. I stood still and stared at him, and he did the same. There was so much I wanted to say that I couldn’t figure out what to open with. His eyes bored into me with such intensity I felt naked. Looking at him again, I had no idea how I managed to leave him behind.
His eyes flicked over my shoulder, and he glared at something behind me. I looked around and saw Jasper and Kerry peeking around the kitchen door. It was Jasper’s idea to give us some privacy, yet he was the one snooping.
Cole looked back at me and nodded towards the French doors leading to the back garden. I moved towards the door, and he followed. At least he was coming too and not just telling me to get out…
He closed the door behind us and sat on the step from the decking to the grass. I sat beside him and looked forwards, too scared to make eye contact straight away. When his aftershave mixed with his natural scent hit me, I felt safe again – something I hadn’t felt in four years.
Finally, he turned his head and looked at me.
“How long are you back for?” His question wasn’t what I had expected first.
“Um. I’m not sure. It depends on the trial I suppose. ”
He frowned, looking out at something in the garden. What? “I didn’t think you were coming back for it. ”
I shrugged. “I wasn’t going to at first. But now I feel as if I have to. You know, to put it all behind me and move on. ”
Maybe I shouldn’t have come back? Was I just making this harder for him?
“Sorry, we should have called first. I didn’t want us to meet like this. I wanted you to know before you saw me. Mum did email Jenna, but your internet’s not been working so obviously you didn’t get it. I’m sorry again, we should have made sure…”
“It’s fine,” he said, laughing and shaking his head at me. I had missed the sound of his laugh too. I could hear it in my head, but the real thing was so much better.
“Just haven’t heard you ramble like that since we were little kids. ”
I nodded and smiled, relieved. “So what was university like?”
He raised his eyebrows. “You really wanna talk about school?”
Not really, but school was a safe subject. I nodded, wrapping my arms around myself, now feeling the cold.
Cole sighed sharply. “Uni was fine. The course was good. Could have done it anywhere. ” I dropped my eyes to the floor. Could have done it in Australia, he meant.
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. What’s Australia like?” he asked, changing the subject. The small talk thing was awkward; we were way past that and I could tell he wanted to say something else. There was a million other things I wanted to say.
“Hot. ” Beautiful. Tranquil. Safer.
“You’re cold now,” he said, nodding towards the goose bumps that covered my arms. I should have dressed for the English weather better. He pulled his hoodie over his head and handed it to me. I bit my lip and took it. Our fingers brushed against each other’s making my heart skip a beat.
“Yeah, England’s not so hot. Thanks for this,” I said and put it on.
His mouth thinned as his expression turned serious. “Do you know when you have to give evidence?”
“Not for a few weeks yet. ”
He nodded once. “You staying at Ali’s?”
I turned my nose up. “Yeah. ”
“Lizzie’s still the same then?” he asked, chuckling.
“Yep. She calls me now too, wants all the ‘goss’ on Australia’s ‘hot’ surfers. ”
Cole frowned. “Right. Surfers… Wait, can you surf?”
I laughed and shook my head. “I tried once but it didn’t go well. I practically drowned and had to be pulled out of the water. Jasper’s pretty good though. Surprisingly. ”
It was strange that he could do it. Jasper could drown in a puddle but ride a wave like a pro!
After a few minutes of awkward silence, Cole said, “You finished school in Australia then?”
“You really wanna talk about school?” I asked, using his words.
His mouth twitched into a smile. “Touché. ”
“I did, but I had to stay until I was seventeen. ” I had never liked school and having to stay for another year wasn’t ideal. Although I was never bullied in Australia so it wasn’t that bad.
“That’s rough. ”
I nodded, chewing on my bottom lip. “Please just say whatever is on your mind, Cole. ”
“I honestly don’t know where to start. ” He lowered his head, looking hurt. It made my heart ache. I was responsible for that look. “You made the wrong decision. ”
I tried to force down the lump rising in my throat. “I did what I thought was the best thing for you. I didn’t want you to have to give up everything. ”
He scoffed and shook his head. “But that’s exactly what you did. For fuck’s sake, Oakley! How many times did I tell you how much you mean to me? How much I love you? How you are everything to me? I don’t get how you came to the conclusion that I was better off without you!” Present tense. He said everything in the present tense. Did that mean he still felt it?
“I’m sorry. I thought you’d be fine and that you’d get over us and go to the university you’d always wanted to. I thought you’d find someone else and be happy. ” As much him being with someone else would hurt, if he was happy, I could deal with it.
“Well I didn’t. I’m not fine. I’m not over you. There’s no one else, and I’m not happy. I haven’t been properly happy in four years… but thank you for letting me go to university,” he said sarcastically. The snippy tone in his voice broke my heart. I had never heard Cole like that before. I didn’t blame him, but I hated it.
I found it harder to breathe as I replayed his words in my head, even though I was hurt at how he had said it. There was no one else, but he wasn’t happy. I opened my mouth to say something but couldn’t find the words.
“I guess it doesn’t matter to you though. You’ve got your perfect little life half way around the damn world. ”
That snapped me out of it. Australia was pretty perfect to me but my life sure as hell wasn’t.
“You think I have a perfect life? You think I don’t feel the same way? For God’s sake, Cole! There’s not been one second that I haven’t thought about you. Every single thing reminds me of you or something we’ve done. Every morning when I wake up I still expect you to be there, and every morning you’re not it breaks my heart. ”
“You did it, Oakley! You. I wanted to come. ”
“I couldn’t ask you to move to the other side of the word. ”
“I would’ve moved to the fucking moon!” he shouted. I flinched. “Why can’t you understand that? You knew I wanted to be with you, so why did you do it?”
I groaned in frustration and blurted out, “Because you deserve better than me. ”
He fell silent. My words hung over us like a dark cloud. Cole finally spoke first. “What? What do you mean?”
I lowered my head and wished I hadn’t said anything at all.
“Oakley?” he prompted.
Sighing, I turned my head, looking away from him. I didn’t want to see his face when I confessed what I really thought. I knew now that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, but it didn’t change how I felt about myself.
“You deserve someone that isn’t like me… someone that isn’t used, dirty and—”
“Don’t finish that sentence,” he snapped, making me jump. I kept my eyes firmly fixed on one particular blade of grass that was slightly longer than the rest. “Look at me, Oakley. Please. ”
I took a deep breath and followed his instruction. He was closer than before. His eyes pierced into mine. My breath caught in my throat, and my heart went wild. I didn’t really expect him to kiss me, but I wanted him to so much.
His face slowly softened. The hard line of his jaw disappeared. “What happened wasn’t your fault,” he said.
“I know, but I can’t help how it makes me feel. ” I blinked a few times to stop the tears falling. The only time I had admitted that out loud was in therapy. It wasn’t something I spoke about with Mum or Jasper because I didn’t want them to feel guilty.
“Cole, please. I can’t talk about this now. ” Seeing him after four years and having that conversation so soon was too much. I seriously didn’t want to get into what they did or how I felt about it.
He sighed heavily, and I could tell he wanted to talk about it. He probably wanted to try to make me feel better. “Okay,” he said. I knew he would let it go for now, but he would definitely bring it up again.
“I’m so sorry, Cole. I really did think I was doing the best thing,” I whispered. By leaving I had thrown away my chance at a future with him b
Cole laughed, but there was no humour to it. “You know how many times I wanted to come out there?” He ran his hands through his short hair, tugging it lightly. “I shouldn’t have listened to you. I tried to date again, but I compared every woman to you, and no one ever came close. ”
A metallic taste filled my mouth. “I’m sorry,” I repeated and wiped my eyes.
“Doesn’t matter any more,” he muttered.
That was a lie. It still mattered, and he knew it did.
“It does matter,” I said. Fresh tears rolled down my cheeks, and I swiped them away.
He rubbed his hands over his face roughly. “I can’t do this, Oakley. ”
I nodded. It was too much for me too. Before I completely broke down and cried like a baby in front of him, I got up to go to find Mum and Jasper.
I needed to leave; this was all too hard. Just as I opened the French doors, Cole said, “Do you regret it?” I turned back to face him, and he continued, “Not letting me come with you?”
“Every day,” I replied and walked into the house.
I wanted him back. I wanted to put everything right, but I had no idea how that would be possible, or if he even wanted me to. He was still too angry to forgive me, and I wasn’t sure if he could ever get past it. Whatever happened though, I knew was still completely in love with him.
I watched her walk back into the house, and I couldn’t move off the step. She’s back. My heart threatened to leap out of my chest. I can’t believe she’s here. All I wanted to do was kiss her. The door closed, shutting her off from me, and I felt sick. Jumping up, I followed her into the house.
Maybe I shouldn’t have said all that, but I needed to tell her. I hated when she was upset, and knowing I’d caused it made me feel like shit, but at least it was out there.
Oakley stood with everyone else in the kitchen, her back to me. She was taller, just a little though. Since she now wore make-up, she looked older. I suspect if she took it off she would look exactly the same. She still had the angelic face and soft, smooth skin. Her hair was down to her waist and streaked with lighter blonde highlights.
“Where’s Mia?” Oakley asked my mum. The sound of her voice made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. She really did have a very sexy husky voice. I wanted to grab her, carry her to my room, lock the door, and make up for lost time.
Other author's books:
- Broken SilenceSilenceThe CellarPlayers, Bumps and Cocktail SausagesLie to MeSilent NightReliving Fate
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