Even If.

"You'd love me? Even if it's not you who I choose?" I whispered to him.
"Even if," he swore.

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11. Eight.

Song for the chapter: Fix You by Coldplay. Play the song when you see the # sign.

________________

"How are you feeling?" Jack asked me, though I could hardly see his face in the darkness.

"I'm fine," I lied.

"No you're not," he chuckled and walked with me into my house.

"I guess you're right on that part," I smiled weakly.

He flicked on a light, but decided that the light was too bright, so he turned on a couple of lamps around the living room and front room, making me feel cozy.

Once the lights were on, he looked at me, now sitting at my kitchen table, red-eyed, and exhausted, he shook his head and began rummaging through my cabinets.

"What are you doing?" I chuckled.

"What you need," he pulled out two plain white mugs and hot chocolate mix, "is hot chocolate."

I smiled at his weirdness, but let him continue, for two reasons. One being that he looked cute while doing it, and two being that hot chocolate was exactly what I needed.

We stayed silent while he pulled out a sauce pan and filled it with milk, turning the heat up, letting it boil. I watched as he arranged everything with delicate care, making sure not to spill hot chocolate mix or break the mugs as he went along, and I realized that I was sort of like the mugs at the moment. He needed to deal with me delicately, or I would break, and then, all I'd be to him would be a bunch of shattered pieces that he'd have to step over, careful not to hurt himself.

After a few minutes of him getting everything ready, he poured the hot chocolate into the mugs, grabbed a handful of little marshmallows out of my pantry, and sat me down on the couch.

Once I was seated, he grabbed a throw blanket out of the blanket chest and spread it over the both of us, and we drank, and I refrained from thinking of too much.

We were silent, but the silence wasn't awkward, it was comforting.

After a couple of minutes, he spoke up in a soothing, soft voice.

"What are you thinking of, right now?"

I sighed. "I'm just tired of being a bunch of broken pieces."

His brow furrowed in confusion, and he waited for an explanation.

"You know, that Tyler Knott Gregson poem?" I asked him, and he shook his head.

"'I am so tired of feeling like a shattered vase across a slippery floor and I am so tired of watching you tip toe around the pieces so you do not cut yourself on me,"' I recited in a small voice, staring down at my hot chocolate.

Jack didn't say anything, so I continued.

"I told everyone else about my situation at school, but I didn't tell them the situation with my mom," I told him, and he raised an eyebrow, a look of worry flooded over his features.

"When I was little, my life was normal, just like everyone else's. My family was slightly poor, but we were getting along. I remember my mom taking me along with her to her favorite libraries and book shops and reading her favorite books with her before bed, though I never understood them," I smiled at the memory,"and every night, I would sit with her in our big brown leather recliner by the fire, no matter how hot it was outside. She would read me poetry, and classic novels, and some writing of her own. Though she never thought she was any good, her works and the things she read to me, inspired me. I used to think that someday I would be a writer, of some kind, just like my mother. She was beautiful, but I remember thinking she looked prettiest with her hair up in a ponytail, wearing casual clothes, when she was with my father. My father was very handsome, and I remember I had a friend and her mom was single, and she was always calling up my dad, asking him to go on lunch dates with her, and I used to think it was strange when other ladies on the street and in the stores looked at my dad like he was the cutest guy they'd ever seen. His hair was slightly shaggy, making him appear younger then he actually was, and he wore those glasses that guys wear now as a fashion statement. And he loved my mom. We used to go on picnics, and I remember my dad tucking me in every night, and walking me to school every day, no matter what the weather, so we could have extra time together, before he went back home to write. He was a writer too, though I never really got to read any of his books, because I was too young, but he must've been a good one, I just know it. But when I turned ten, my dad ran off with some other girl he knew from college, leaving me with my brokenhearted mother. There were days when she was so depressed that she couldn't get out of bed in the mornings, and there were days when she cried so hard that she'd end up getting sick. Then she started drinking more than her average glass of red wine for dinner, and she started turning to more heavier things, like beers and vodka, and she used to tell me that when she drank, it made her forget all about daddy, and all the bad things, so I let her keep doing it. After awhile, she started forgetting what day it was or to feed me dinner, until it got so bad that she would sleep for almost a whole day straight, leaving me to fend for myself. I used to call my daddy in tears when she wouldn't respond when I talked to her, and he just told me that he would keep sending us checks, so we could get through everything, but I haven't heard from him in person since then. He stopped sending checks when I was 15, and so I asked the librarian if she had any work. She was a good friend of my mom's and I called her Nan, even though we weren't related. She let me work and I made enough money for us to scrape by. Add in everything I was dealing with at school and with my health, my life pretty much sucked. I counted the days for when I could leave the house and go to university. The only thing that got me through was my music. I used my dad's old guitar and put some of my mother's old poems to lyrics, and that's what started everything. Soon enough, I taught myself how to compose, and I started doing that. That's why music is so important to me. And that's why I don't talk about home."

When I was done, he looked appalled. But after I noticed his expression, he softened and moved our cups to the floor, pulling me closer. I curled up in a ball and leaned against him, and he rubbed small circles on my back and kept me close to him.

It was then that I realized I was crying.

I tried to stifle it, embarrassed, but I just couldn't keep it in. I gave in to the sobs that I'd been holding in for years. How I cried earlier was nothing compared to this.

I kept my arms around Jack's waist and my head on his chest. I could feel the soft fabric of his shirt pressing against my forehead, and I breathed in the scent of his cologne. He continued to hold me close and run his hands along my back, comforting me more than anyone could.

I cried. And I cried. And I cried until I ran out of tears to cry. And once I was done, I turned my head up to look at him.

#

"Are you going to run for the hills yet?" I asked, exhausted.

"What?" he sounded appalled at the question, "I would never."

"Aren't you disgusted? Aren't you scared? I tell you everything that appears in my nightmares, I tell you that I used to starve myself to lose weight, I tell you that I wanted to end my life only years ago. Why are you still being so nice to me? I'm not good enough for you, Jack. You have so much going for you, and you shouldn't have to waste your time tip toeing around my broken pieces," I said, ashamed.

It was then that he cupped his hands around my chin and lifted my head up to meet his.

And he kissed me.

The moment his lips touched mine, every doubt in my mind disappeared.

The kiss was electric. I felt tingles run up my spine as I sat up so I could kiss him deeper. One of his hands stayed on my cheek while the other hand was on my back, steadying me.

At first the kiss had started gentle, almost as if he thought I would break if it was any deeper, but suddenly, it was like neither of us was holding back anymore. We both let go.

That was when the electricity was replaced with a fire.

I felt energized; like I could do anything. Like I could be anything.

We kissed like we invented it.

When we kissed, minutes felt like seconds, and I could've stayed like that for hours.

But, of course, everything has to end.

I pulled away and looked deep into his eyes, trying to comprehend what just happened.

"Elizabeth," he said gently, and I was surprised at the sound of my full name. It didn't seem to fit me, but then again I don't even know who I am exactly, so how would I know?

"Elizabeth," he said again, snapping me out of my thoughts, "I will never leave you. Ever. Don't you even think that for a second I would ever be disgusted by you. I won't leave until you tell me to."

Until you tell me to.

5 words that brought the thought back that sometime soon, I would inevitably have to make a choice between Jack and Finn.

"I know that, Jack. It's just..." I trailed off, trying to find the right words.

"It's just what?" He coaxed while tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear.

"My biggest fear," I trembled, "is that someday you'll see me the way I see myself. And I don't ever want that to happen."

"Beth, I think you're beautiful. I think you're incredibly smart. I think you're amazingly talented. I think you're cute when you're embarrassed. I think you're funny. I think that I like you a lot more than I actually should. And since I think that, it's a fact," he smiled and I giggled while hitting him softly on the shoulder.

"My point is, that you are the closest thing to perfect that I've seen. And I know you've been through things that no one should have to go through, and I wish that I could just take all the pain away, because seeing you like this breaks my heart. But you're being too hard on yourself. None of this was your fault, and you need to cut yourself some slack, because you shouldn't have to beat yourself up. I don't want you to, because you don't deserve that. I know I can't physically take away the pain, or the bad things, but if you show me your broken heart, and tell me what makes you tick, then I promise that I'll do my best to try and fix you," he said, never escaping my gaze. I could feel the tears stream down my face.

"No one's ever said something like that to me before."

"Well they should," he smiled.

"I'm sorry I'm putting all of this on you," I apologized.

"Don't apologize, I'm extremely glad you did."

"I'm sorry for crying. I usually don't cry, but there's been a lot going on," I sniffled.

"You know Elizabeth, crying doesn't indicate that you're weak. Ever since birth, it's shown that you're alive."

*-*

"Here's your hot tea. Cause that's what you are. A hottie," Jack said while setting a cup of tea in front of me. I laughed and rolled my eyes.

"You're an idiot, Jack," I shook my head with a smile.

"You love it," he grinned back.

The mood of the night completely turned 360 by then.

"Where's Zeus?" Jack asked.

"He's sleeping outside. I checked on him while I was in the kitchen, and he's fine. He's got food, water, and a bed. I'll get him out tomorrow and take him with me when I go street performing," I informed him and he nodded.

It was silent for a moment while we were sitting on the floor in front of the couch, sipping our hot tea, enjoying each other's company.

Suddenly, Jack asked something that surprised me.

"Beth, what are we going to do?" 

He said it with a sigh of weariness, and even though he didn't say the words exactly, I knew what he meant.

At the beginning, Jack, Finn, and I just thought that this would be fun; a joke. We just wanted to get to know each other better, but things changed, and now, here I was, seeing both the twins with them fully aware of it.

And I was falling in love with both of them.

Which is the problem.

And Jack knows this.

I didn't even have to ask him if he knew that I had feelings for the both of them, because I knew he knew too, I mean, he lives with Finn. Who knows how much they talk about me, or if they even talk about me at all.

"You know Jack, I have no idea. Maybe if we make out for a few minutes, it would help us figure things out," I smiled cheekily, making him grin. He set his cup of tea down on the coffee table in front of us and I did the same and scooted closer to him. He exaggeratedly puckered his lips, making me smile into our kiss.

I really like kissing him. I could literally just kiss him every minute of every day and never get bored.

As we kissed, I ran my fingers through his hair and the back of his neck, and I could tell he loved it by his reaction in the kiss. We kissed with urgency, almost as if we both needed this physical attention.

I broke it off, and he smiled.

"I think that definitely helped us figure things out," he grinned.

"Definitely," I grinned back.

*-*

I woke up and could hear Jack in the kitchen, making quite a racket with the pans. I stretched out to realize that instead of being in my room, I was on the couch, sprawled out, covered up with a beige throw blanket.

I tore the blanket off of my legs and walked into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes and yawning.

"Good morning," he said cheerily as he saw me.

"Good morning. When did I black out on you last night?"

"About 6. I noticed you were getting tired, so I let you have the couch and slept on the recliner. I wanted to make sure you'd be okay today," he said, and I was overcome with warm feelings. I've always dreamed a guy would do something like this for me, and here he was.

"You didn't have to do this Jack," I shook my head, even though I was tremendously glad he did.

"I wanted to. And besides, I probably would've fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed if I had driven home. I was clearly just being a responsible adult," he said sarcastically with a wink.

"Really? A responsible adult?" I smiled, eyeing the apron of mine he was wearing, with ruffles different shades of pink running down the front, and a pocket that read "Kiss the cook". Then I eyed his messy hair and some flour on his cheek.

"I am a very responsible adult. You see, I saw you didn't have any flour or basic cooking supplies, so I went to the grocery store and picked some up, and now I'm making you blueberry pancakes, so you shouldn't complain, or I might keep all of these to myself," he joked, gesturing to a neat pile of pancakes on a plate in front of him.

"All right, all right, don't get your knickers in a twist," I said and grabbed a plate of pancakes, added butter and syrup, and sat down next to Jack, who had done the same.

We ate pancakes together.

You would think that after spending most of the night up talking to each other that we had run out of things to say, but that was the complete opposite with Jack and Me. We were always coming up with new things to talk about, and both of us added in stories of our own and jokes at the appropriate times, and even with a simple conversation about blueberries, I could learn something completely new about him.

For example, the night before, after we had kissed until 5, I confessed that I was craving blueberries, so we got up and started eating some.

First we talked about the brilliance of the tiny, blue colored berry, and then it lead him to a story of his own.

"When I was a little kid, even before I went to school, my mother always tried to get us to try new things and keep a wide palette. Almost every day began like this: Finn and I would wake up, eat breakfast, and then we'd all do something fun together that usually involved playing games outside, though on special occasions, she'd take us sight- seeing, or to a fair, or a park. After hours of being outside, we'd all come inside, and have a bowl of blueberries. I have no idea why we did it, but we did, almost every day, have a bowl of blueberries, because they are my mother's favorite," he had told me, and I had smiled right after that he had confided with me the little nothings that made him so much of a something.

Anyways, so Jack and I can make conversation easily.

"I like your hair when it's messy," I stated while shoveling blueberry pancakes into my mouth.

"I like your hair when it's messy," he smiled back.

"I like it when you cook for me, because you know I'm not very good at that," I laughed.

"I like the way you look when you first wake up. You're very adorable, you know."

It was then that I realized that I wasn't wearing any makeup, and my hair was messy, and my breath probably smelled like death.

But I didn't care.

When I was with Jack, I could tell that he liked me, warts and all, and he didn't care what I looked like. He liked me for me, which was quite refreshing.

"Thanks, old pal. So, what's on the agenda today?" I asked him as I finished my last bites of pancakes.

"Finn and I are having a very important JacksGap meeting today. Super confidential stuff," he said sarcastically, "what about you?"

"Street performing. I'm broke and I need to pay next month's rent," I laughed, and so did he.

"Maybe I'll get to see you later," he said hopefully.

"Maybe you will," I smiled back.

___________________

Author's note:

Haiiiii guyzzzzz! 

I'd just like to say thank you guys for voting and commenting! I went from, like, 8 votes, to 20 in a day, and I know that may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for me, it was huge!

I think I made up a new system. Here's how it goes.

I'm going to try and update my story every Friday. It might be very late on Friday, or early Saturday, but I think that would be the easiest time for me to finish things up!

I hope you liked this chappie! It got a bit emotional and there was plenty o' physical attention *wink wink* but I wanted you to see how Jack and Beth's relationship is growing.

I would love to know who you guys are rooting for to win, Jack and Beth or Finn and Beth? Let me know in the comments.

I'll tell you guys a little secret:

I have no idea who I'm going to make Beth choose. 

Every other thing in the story I have planned out, but I'm torn over who Beth is going to choose.... so tell me in the comments who you think Beth should choose in the end and why she should choose him and you MIGHT influence how I end the story.

To the right I have a GIF of Jack being frEAKING ADORABLE.>>>>>>

Have a great weekend guys! Love you all and thanks for reading my story!

Vote and comment!

Stay safe!

XOXO,

Hannalizzy.

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