Silence, p.48

Silence, page 48

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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The next day I was unbelievably happy. Cole sneaking over was amazing. We’d just had a BBQ dinner and then gone up to my room after. Jasper sat down on the end of my bed, and I sighed.

  Last night I’d heard him come home in the early hours – not too long after Cole snuck out. I nudged Cole lightly, prompting him to ask. “Ouch,” Cole shouted dramatically.

  “Oakley, stop beating up your girlfriend,” Jasper teased.

  I grinned and pushed myself up to face Jasper. I wanted answers. Cole rolled his eyes and sat up, pulling me onto his lap. “She wants to know what happened with Abby,” Cole said bluntly.

  I gave him a flat look; he was supposed to do that a little more tactfully.

  Jasper frowned and looked… shy? No way.

  “Of course she does. Look, I don’t even know myself,” he admitted. “She wants to get back together. Part of me wants that… I don’t know if I can trust her.”

  I couldn’t blame him for that. I doubt I’d be able to trust someone after they let me down.

  I don’t trust Dad anymore.

  “What did she say? Did she explain?” Cole asked.

  Jasper nodded for a long time, lost in his own thoughts. “Yeah,” he finally said. “She told me that after our argument, she went to the party and drank too much. She was hurt, angry and just wanted to get wasted with her friends. She ended up in his room. They… well, you know the rest.”

  He looked down, his face twisted in pain as he remembered back to that time. “I keep thinking that maybe we can try again, but is there really any point if I’m constantly thinking she’s shagging someone else?”

  I shook my head. Jasper’s happiness meant a lot to me, but she hurt him a lot and I wasn’t convinced that they’d work.

  “You just hate her,” Jasper said. I hated her less than I did since she apologised and explained, but I could still remember how heartbroken he was. I’d never forgive her for hurting him so badly.

  He shrugged. “In the end we decided to try and be friends. We’ll see if anything can happen in the future. I don’t know if we’ll even be able to be friends or not, but I don’t want to be angry anymore. You know what I mean?”

  I knew exactly what he meant. That’s why I was letting Julian into my life. Well, sort of letting him in. If he spoke to me I’d be civil, but I certainly wasn’t ready to be besties or even trust him.

  “Anyway, I’m not sitting around here moping all day. I have a date with a cute little brunette tonight. Later,” he called, looking over his shoulder as he walked out of my room.

  I grinned. Jasper’s back.

  “Your brother’s a weirdo, babe.” Cole laughed, shaking his head. He was weird, but he was still the best brother ever.

  Cole pushed me down on the bed, taking me by surprise, and peppered little kisses across my cheek and along my jaw. I wrapped my arms around his back and closed my eyes. That felt so good.

  Pulling away with a triumphant smile, he arched his eyebrow. “You’re getting carried away and it’s making me get carried away. We’re not alone, remember?” He blew out a breath that made his hair kick up. “I’m gonna sit arms length away and we’ll watch TV,” he said.

  I loved that I affected him so much he had to sit where he couldn’t touch me to stop him from pouncing. He made me feel amazing.

  Shortly after Cole left with his family, Dad knocked on my half-open door. I nodded for him to come in, not that he wouldn’t anyway. I pushed myself up and pressed my back against the wall as he sat down on my bed.

  I bit down on my lip nervously, not liking being alone with him.

  “How are you, sweetheart? Okay?”

  I nodded, wondering where this was going. He never just popped in for a chat.

  “Good.” He turned his body, so he was facing me more. Over the past year, he had aged so much. Grey hairs dominated the previously light brown ones at the side of his head. The lines around his eyes had multiplied and deepened. Every day he looked more and more like a middle-aged man. I wondered if he felt that, too.

  That he was losing his good looks and possibly his charm with it.

  I wish.

  “I’ve been thinking about us taking another little trip.”

  My blood ran cold. I felt it drain from my face. I clenched my hands into fists to stop them shaking.

  No, not this. Not again. No, no, no.

  Tears sprang to my eyes, welling up and making my vision blurry. I wanted to run, to get as far away as I could as fast as I could.

  He held his hands up. “No, sweetheart. I want us to go. To reconnect. Just us, I promise.”

  My heart rate slowed slightly, but I still couldn’t relax. I didn’t want to go anywhere with him.

  What’s going on? Why does he want this? Why now?

  “Do you remember when you were younger and you would ride around on my back, laughing as I bucked you off onto the sofa? Or when I would come home from work, and you would run out of the front door to greet me?”

  Yes, I remember, but that was in a different lifetime.

  Nodding my head slowly, I forced myself to take deep, even breaths. Thoughts of Frank and his overbearing frame looming over me filled my head. I could still smell his whisky tainted breath and feel his rough stubble scratching against my skin.

  My lungs burned as I tried unsuccessfully to get enough air.

  Breathe. You’re fine. It’s over. You’re fine.

  “I know things have been hard, but I want to change that.”

  Hard? Hard didn’t even begin to cover it. No word was big enough to describe what he had done. How badly he had let me down and betrayed me. I’d trusted him. He was my hero. I’d looked up to him and loved him so much. He’d ruined that. He’d ripped apart my faith in him and ended my childhood.

  “Oakley, I want that relationship back. I want us to do things together, watch a movie, or go for a bike ride. I want us to do normal father-daughter things. Most of all, I want my little girl back.” His eyes filled with tears.

  Was this genuine or not?

  I swallowed a sob and wrapped my arms around myself. Don’t trust him, a voice niggled in my head. But I wanted to. As much as I shouldn’t, I wanted all of those things. I wanted to be one of the girls I used to watch dragging their dads around shops. I wanted a normal life.

  I didn’t want my dad to just be a monster.

  But could he change? I wanted him to so badly it hurt.

  Give him a chance.

  I could have it all again. We could work at getting back to normal. I could forget the past, put it all behind me to get my family back to how it was. We’d all be happier. Mum and Jasper would be happier.

  Peering up into his eyes, I saw how broken he was. Real emotion or fake? I could usually tell, but I wasn’t sure this time. He looked genuine, but maybe I just wanted him to be so much that I was missing the trap.

  There’s no trap.

  But there might be.

  You’ll never know if you don’t try.

  If you repair this you could get your voice back, pretend you were just scared, and make everything right for everyone again.

  “Oakley, my business isn’t doing well at the minute. I’m afraid it will fail. I don’t want to fail at another thing in my life. I don’t want to look at us as a failure anymore. Let me make it up to you. Let’s draw a line in the sand, put the past behind us, and be a proper family. You, me, your mother and Jasper. I’ll never be able to fix the past, my mistakes, but I can change going forward. I want us to be a happy family again.”

  Do it. For everyone’s sake, do it.

  “Please, give this a chance. Let us get to know each other again. Let me be your daddy again.”

  Searching his muddy green eyes for any hint of a lie, I sagged. We had to try.

  For Mum and Jasper. And for the chance at a normal relationship with Cole.

  Gulping, I nodded, and he smiled. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you for trusting me to repair what I broke
. I won’t let you down again. Now, get some sleep, sweetheart, it’s late.”

  As he walked out of my room and closed the door, I ducked under my covers.

  Confused by my own conflicting feelings for my dad, I curled into a ball. In the past I’d loved and hated him. He was my dad, and I wasn’t sure how to give up on wanting him to be better, wanting our relationship to heal, wanting my family back.

  Despite everything, I wanted to love him again.

  You’ll never be able to love him, even if you get your voice back, not even for your family.

  Maybe not, but I can pretend.

  I’m very good at pretending.



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