In Love We Trust

Caught in the midst of an emotional and an unexpected break up, a move from home and a start of a new life, Jack Beckett is a rather lost soul. The love of his high school years, Lisa Linton, admitted to him that she's been cheating on him over the past few months. Now, in a new life, she's left Jack for him, away from her ex and away from the home they shared. Determined to move on but apprehensive of the realities, Jack and his newly found friends decide, purely for a laugh of course, to attend a speed dating event. The perfect opportunity for him to prove to himself and to Lisa that he's moving on, just like she has. However, wrapped in his angst, Jack Beckett decides to go along as a completely new character, he changes his accent, his hair, his clothes, his back story and even his name. Jack Becektt, for one night, becomes Gordon Bennett, a figment of his imagination that would have been an interesting experiment if he had not met and fallen in love with a girl who would return his feelings, Isabella Fazarri. In love but forced to live a lie, Jack battles over telling her the truth behind the mask, over whether she loves him or Gordon, and whether in love, we can ever, trust.

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1. Prologue

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” was all he had been able to manage in the face of recent revelations. Jack had read online, but had since forgotten that he had read online, that it ‘was a curious condition of the human mind, to react to the sudden exposure of truth with sudden disbelief.’ In the absence of recollection and the presence of misfortune, he had come to learn this for himself. He had realised that as rational, freethinking human beings, we choose whom we trust, and when an investment like trust is made in another as equally mistrusting human being, we are left but stunned when such a commitment is broken. Suffice to say that on this Sunday evening in central London, Jack Beckett felt rather rubbish.

 

In total there had been seven occasions, spanning an uneventful seven years, where he had failed to make any sort of meaningful conversation with Rob Brown. Despite their similarities, they were of the same age, of equal height, and both pupils to their local secondary school, the pair of them had failed to strike up anything that even vaguely hinted towards eloquent communication. Six out of the seven acknowledgements of each other’s existence were nothing but courteous nods of the head at each other, Jack considered that anything more would be crossing a line. He was not entirely to blame, for their social circles did not once overlap, Rob was this and he was that and neither would be. As a result of such a fundamental law, the time Jack spent contemplating Rob Brown’s welfare was minimal, to say the least.

 

But as it turned out, such lack of consideration was not wholly mutual. He thought about Jack with an uneasy regularity, a calculated and precision driven study that existed to undermine him. A mere stranger could have drawn upon their similarities, and Rob was a stranger to Jack and he was the polar opposite to Rob. Two years and twenty-four months, time that had since lapsed to become memories, had to pass for Jack to be made aware that the vague acquaintance Rob shared with his girlfriend was only vague in the sense that all affairs are unannounced. Affections that exist in a secret underworld below the streets of common knowledge.

 

 

“I know this is horrible, but you must know why we can’t carry on, right? You get why. ”

 

Lisa Linton had chosen her moment with a blend of narcissistic precision and selfish spite that was so unnatural to her that it only fuelled Jack’s scepticism regarding what she was revealing. Unlike his girlfriend, he had taken up his lifelong ambition of furthering his academic studies with a move to a university after compulsory education. With Jack out of the frame and his life totally transformed, Lisa had, in a teary and apologetic phone call, confessed what she claimed to have been no longer able to hide. Despite their relationship, Rob and Lisa had been on and off with an emphasis on being on, for the foregoing eleven months. She was sorry for keeping it from him, she was very sorry, but had not wished to see him hurt and, she reaffirmed, she had truly loved him and would never allow herself to forget her and Jack’s two years. Two years that belonged as much to her and Rob as it did to him. 

 

On that Sunday evening, the sound of shouting prised his eyes ajar. In haste he found himself squinting with narrow eyes that pierced the sullen darkness of the room, darkness that only exaggerated his confusion. Unwelcome noises in the night had become an unfortunate norm, a reality of the lifestyle he had decided to pursue. It was over a month since his separation from her and a move to one of the more prestigious universities Britain’s capital had to offer. If it were not for Jack’s own sombre thoughts concerning his ex-girlfriend then it was the drunken male voices that sung to him and the rest of Block A that kept him up every other night. Jack had adapted, a result of many torturing hours, to achieving sleep with a perilous phase of inactivity and ceiling staring. It was part of the process. A phase that leant itself all too kindly to unfavourable nostalgia. His thoughts and his wealth of memories were his only medium for understanding the realities of human nature that had become so apparent in recent weeks.    

 

 

02/01/2005. Both of them fifteen and both of them made to sit next to one another. The head of English, Miss Ralph, had conned herself into believing that removing her pupil’s the liberty of deciding who to sit next to would result in an atmosphere more conducive to the notion of learning, a notion that was becoming abstract in a school with freefall results. In practice, it was a teaching ploy that allowed for otherwise improbable friendships to flourish and prevail. Jack Beckett had spent the summer prior to that term, when over the noise of the class a voice had called out: ‘Lisa, Jack, over there please,’ obsessing in an odd and rather unforeseen way about that girl Miss Ralph had singled out for him to torment. A girl whom he had never shared a single word.      

 

It had begun in somewhat unlikely circumstances. Towards the end of every school year the teachers would hire out five or six coaches from the local area and, for a day out, take the pupils to an amusement park in the south of Durham, a congratulations for the hard work they had supposedly applied to the year prior to that day in summer, everybody’s favourite day. Often for Jack it was a peculiar outing and one of mixed emotions, he spent the time reflecting on the year that had left him and trying to visualise the year that now lay ahead. A frame of mind that fought with the screaming and wailing kids on the garish rides and a frame of mind he often tried to hold off until the two-hour journey back.   

But it was on that particular day towards the fall of the year that the inside of the coach became rapt with a stunning late summer sunlight, the sort of light that made everyone’s skin look healthier than it often was. It was an atmosphere that lent itself to young dreamers, those with an emphasis on innocence. Halfway back to school and with conversation drying up and becoming increasing desolate with Ed, his bus-buddy, Jack’s focus and his gaze, no matter how hard he wanted to resist, kept on falling to the girl sat parallel to him across the aisle of the coach, Lisa Linton. She stared hard at the countryside that sped past, the roadside trees casting a dance of shadows across her noticeably drained face. She was so obviously absorbed in her thoughts and was so clearly in a world that was hers that nobody spoke to her for the entirety of the journey. Lisa captivated him in a way that, in his youth, he had not once felt prior to that day in summer. He puzzled and he beat himself up over why she had not spurred such a response before, for he had seen Lisa around school a hundred different times and not once had he ever glanced twice. Jack knew she was shy, he remembered that from primary school. Lisa was the one who spoke little in class, not because of any lack of intellect but through an impatience to leave lessons that dulled her mind, a mind that was so very hard to entertain. Over the next two years, despite a poor first conversation: “Hello.”

“Hi.”

“I’m Jack…”

“I know.”

“Okay.”

They found a friendship and a mutual understanding of each other that blossomed with every late night phone call and after school meet-ups at the play park, of which there were many. A companionship that never, despite both their private desires, explored anything greater but only hinted at the want of it when the other so dared as to express a romantic interest in another person.

“Lisa,”

“Yes, Jack?”

“I think I like Lucy, like I rather like Lucy. Do you get what I mean, Lisa?”

“Hmm,” she raised her neatly plucked eyebrows, “God, yeah, well, that’s just typical isn’t it?”

“What do you mean it’s typical? Love isn’t typical.” A pause, and she tore at the grass that grew around them; bundling up the blades in her hands, she released them to the wind.

“I mean it’s typical because everyone likes her, how can anyone not like Lucy? She’s pretty and she’s popular. It’s a certain win-win, isn’t it?”

“Lucy and I get on really well,” said Jack, feeling the need to justify himself. “I’m not just part of the herd.” He was pleased she had responded with envy and not, as one may have anticipated, encouragement. 

“So?”

“So don’t you think it would be a good idea to make a move or something?”

“Oh, I guess. I don’t really know. I don’t really know much about this sort of thing.” He chose to ignore her self-defeating talk and attempted flattery with a nickname “Come on, Liz.” She hated that, she badly hated that. “It either is, or it isn’t?”

“I doubt she really gets you.” Lisa collapsed on her back in the field they shared and stared up at the blanket of grey cloud that hung, absent of life, above them. Jack gave in and soon joined her and together, for the first time, they lay side by side.  

 

It took until a year on from that moment they shared, upon a night of upset for Lisa, where the two of them came to realise that out of all who could comfort them, it was each other they craved. Crucially and perhaps more importantly, they realised the other wanted it too. 

 

“I couldn’t tell you because I couldn’t stand you being hurt. You’ve done so much for me and I know it’s unfair, but please, Jack…” “Please what? What do you want?”

 

Jack had a fortunate upbringing, with fortune and goodwill that was present throughout the majority of his childhood and adolescence. He flourished in a close-knit family unit, an only child with both parents at home, parents that were giving only in the best support and affection. There was no reason to complain. Yet, out of all the lessons that could be extracted from recent events, there was one that intrigued him. In life, one tends to find comfort in familiarity. It was clearer to him than it ever had been previously, the idea of how everybody builds upon and learns about relationships when they are children.  

 

As for him, he was an only child used to his parents always being at home, his father, after nineteen years of the same job, still worked in a home-office. There were very few family friends, no noticeable extended family and certainly no dinner parties. Coupled with the fact he spent nearly all his childhood school years in the company of one friend, still his best friend, Sam, he was a little wary of groups. Jack preferred a trip into town with one or two friends, not a group of ten, they usually made him bad-tempered and made him feel excluded. For this, university was not ideal.    

 

Despite himself, he had made friends in London, only two, but they were close now, and it was still very early days. Block A’s trio of recluses consisted, without the need for any sussing out, of Jack’s two friends and himself.  They were the sort to prefer watching a film than to go out clubbing, yet in a weird almost contradictory way Jack wished he could join the mentalists, the partygoers, the ones who shouted not spoke, whooped not clapped, fucked not hugged. There were times in his life when he had let himself go. He had been drunk once before, intoxicated to the extent he started doing and saying things that seemed totally irrational. Only once.  He was dimly aware of the frustrating logic behind every advice on break-ups, that every heart must be broken at least once, but like all young heartbroken nineteen year olds, he couldn’t realise it. His conscious was forever playing with regret. What if he had done that? What if he had said this? Jack saw it as a terrible burden on any tragedy, on any loss, that people started questioning outcomes that might have come about if they had followed an alternate strategy. It was an exercise only beneficial if the situation experienced is likely to ever be repeated, in the majority of personal and isolated cases, it habitually is not. A mental torture takes over the majority of thought, no matter how in the right an individual may be; he or she is always in the wrong, simply for not doing that. That one phrase, that one action which would almost undoubtedly have changed the course of events. He could not stop placing himself in fictitious realities, worlds where he would made everything right with the right words at the right time.    

 

There was shock because for months, for hours at a time she reassured his already untrusting mindset with talk about how much she adored him, how she could never picture herself with anybody else, how if it were only him and her forever, that would be fine, because nobody else mattered, not in that sense, he was all she ever needed and was ever going to need. Those sermons, the lectures at times, that Lisa gave she always gave with such conviction, such assurance and such unrelenting passion that Jack believed them, he fell for it all, he could never have expected her to lie about something so huge to him.

“Of course I love you, but it’s more complicated now, isn’t it?” “Is it?” “You deserve better, you know you do.” “What am I supposed to do then? Tell me.” “You will find someone, I know you will, you’re an amazing person. Just don’t screw it up like me. Promise me, Jack? Just, promise me.”

 

 

Their relationship, like many, had been sturdy for so long partly for the fact they saw eye-to-eye on a number of different things. Between them, they owned two separate personalities, but personalities that complimented one another and were satisfyingly alike. In his heart of hearts, Jack Beckett knew he was going to screw it up like she had with him. He just didn’t know when.

 

“I don’t owe you any promises.” 

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