Chapter Thirty Six - Undecided
I didn't hang up, not after I heard the voice. It was low and taunting, "Where are you going princess, the fight has only just begun." I heard a cry escape her lips and the phone was overpowered with shuffling and static. I repeatedly called her name desperately but there was no answer. Still on the line, I zoomed out the door. I was racing against the clock. Frantically, my hands fidgeted as apprehension took its toll. I didn't know what was going on.
My hands shook unintentionally as I finally clicked the button to allow the doors to my car to be unlocked. I literally jumped in, shoving the keys into the ignition before I wasted no time in starting the car. Within seconds I was on the road. It was dark so my head lights were on. I blinked several times in attempt to shut my brain up as it glided over scenarios surrounding the possibility that I didn't get there in time.
What if she is hurt? What if she is being raped? What if she is being used against her will? What if they are tampering with her innocent complexion. I was not in a positive frame of mind but I knew one thing was certain, that if anything happened to her -a scar on her upper cheek, her clothes torn, a bruise beneath her eye, a hair ripped from her body- ANYTHING, I would not be able to live with myself.
Knowing where the cops usually hide at this time of night, I fought with myself in slowing down the speed. The risk of being pulled over and further wasting time was one I was not prepared to take. I remember the roads like the back of my hand so I subconsciously took the correct turns. My mind travelled to her. Her soft brown eyes that set me in a trans every time they smiled, her mouth that drove me crazy, her small hands that fit like a glove in my own.
If anything of her were to be damaged tonight, I'd eternally blame myself. I'm not gonna lie, the drive was agonizingly long. The longer I sat there, the harder my shoe pressed on the accelerator. Every second I spent sitting in this car could be a second that everything went wrong. It was torture.
I continued to hear his voice. Who ever 'he' was, he will be sent home with a black eye and bruised balls. That I can promise. I shouldn't have shouted at her like I did earlier today. I should have just listened to her. To be completely honest, I did have intentions of going to the fight but only to see Chase. I had to pay him for.....helping me out. I didn't want Al to see and quite frankly I know the conditions of these fights. They aren't soft play.
What I couldn't wrap my mind around was why she was at the fight anyway, after I specifically told her not to? I just cannot fathom the reason as to why she would go. I had my keys ready in my hand to go over to her house and apologise, when I heard all the commotion I froze. She informed me that she was in the entrance and a part of me was relieved but then I was frozen again when this man spoke to her.
She told me she was scared, that's when I was more than scared, more than frightened, more than afraid. My hand rested on my phone as I called out her name desperatly. I heard movements and then a lot of cheering. The fight (I assume) was well underway and my heart was hammering inside my chest. "Slay the wild beast," the crowd chanted.
"What's your name darling?" The words were slightly muffled but I heard the same low voice.
I allowed the ominous feeling consume me as her hopeless, vulnerable voice whispered, "Alex."
My foot slammed on the accelerator as I called into the microphone: no reply. I decided to take the risk of hanging up in hope of ringing again for her to answer. She was on speed dial so I waited impatiently as it rang and rang, and soon rang out. With the last strand of hope I redialed. My phone shook in my hand as it rang and then finally, it was answered.
"Al, Alex are you ok?" I pleaded desperately into the microphone.
A crashing sound amplified through my ear and my head dropped in dismay. All hope was lost because she dropped the phone.
I was still an hour out until I arrived at the arena so I decided if I listened to the radio and got lost in the song, then maybe my brain would stop tearing me apart. I turned the volume up at the sound of Secondhand Serenade's song Fall for you. This was the first song I ever played and sung to Al. So my attempts at having the radio direct my mind away from the topic of Al was not working out, at all.
Once again I was drawn towards the thoughts that scared me. I wondered what was going on at that moment. Was she in danger? I glanced down at the glowing digits, I noted that there were only around twenty minutes until I had reached my destination at the arena. My stomach was swelling at the thought that soon I would find out the condition of Al. Whether she was hurt, safe or damaged.
The majority of the roads were clear, I mean no one really drives on the highway late at night. I half regretted driving my car, if I were on the motorcycle I would have been there by now. What if I got there and she was still mad at me? What if she were to blame me for anything that happened? I genuinely sound like a girl by over thinking this but when it comes to Al I tend to do that.
As I made the last few turns I could hear the rumble from the area. Already there were piles of cars parked eight streets away from the area, thus giving me an indication that it was a full house to tonight. All the more to worry about. Clearly, there were no available car spots in the car park but it wasn't like I was planning to stay long. Pulling up in front of the main doors, I killed the engine and my shaking hand opened my door.
I took a second to lock it before I turned around and walked in a very fast pace to the looming doors of the arena. "Oi Luke," a familiar voice called and I contemplated stopping to take time and talk to Chase.
"Chase." I greeted poorly as I turned around to face me. At first I let out a long breath that was held for the majority of the car ride, next I sort of ran, I ran to where he was standing and allowed relief to wash over me.
She was standing there, a towel blanketed around her petite frame. She shuddered in the cold and I so desperately wanted to give her a reason to never to be cold again. I admired every square inch of her face, thankful that there was no make up smudged or any signs of tugging at her hair. It was then that I took into account how different she looked. I noticed her hair was clearly different with shots of blue among the brown strands. I then noticed her outfit, tight and edgy.
I felt somewhat guilty that I was attracted to her in this state, when I don't know if she was hurt. What a douche bag right? Admiring her good looks as she could have potentially been assaulted. A weak smile formed on her lips which I mirrored. I didn't know if she was still angry at me so I didn't know whether to hug her or not. Fighting my own thoughts, I took a step closer and gently pulled her body into mine.
Once again she shuddered. At first it was just me holding onto her but then slowly she succumbed and wrapped her arms around my body. "You came," her voice croaked into the fabric of my shirt.
"Of course I came Al," my own voice was squeaky and unsteady due to all the anxiety.
I pulled away, still holding on tight of her arms. I searched into her eyes for any signs of trauma before I asked. "I got her just in time." Chase said after he cleared his throat. He was standing behind us, his hands in his pockets.
"What happened?" The desperate words fell off my tongue. Her eyes darted anywhere but to me, she inhaled a shaky breath as she closed her eyes before she parted her lips.
"The guy, he picked me up off my feet and threw me over his shoulder. he was clearly drunk as he was stumbling through the crowd. He took me to the front and placed me down. His hands only made it to my hips before Chase stepped in." It felt like the scene at Coles with Colton all over again.
I wasn't there to save her.
Sucking in my pride, I thanked Chase for the deed he had done. He assured me that it was no problem. I was hesitant in wrapping an arm around Alex's shoulder. I think after all the events that occurred she discarded her anger towards me which I was grateful for.
"Have a good night Chase," I said as I stopped closer to him. I shook his hand and slipped the money into his palm. He nodded and wished us a safe drive home.
"Thank you for dropping everything to come and get me," she said as we walked towards her car.
"Always." I told her solemnly. She nodded and I inquired if she was capable of driving home. I wouldn't allow it myself if I had the choice but there was no way of getting her car home. She assured me that she was more than capable.
I held her door open as she stepped into her car. "I'll see you at home," she said as I began closing her door.
"Yep, see you at home." I replied. I listened as her engine came to life and I watched as she drove out of the arenas car park.
With my hands stashed in my pockets I advanced towards my own car. Hopping in I took a moment to thank God that she was ok, that Chase was there. After that, I placed the key in ignition before peeling out of the car park and relaxed for the drive home.
It was only five minutes after I pulled into my driveway that Brooks joined me as well. I listened as his car came to a halt and I listened as his shoes hit the rain stained driveway. On the drive home I was reflecting on the emotion Brooks displayed when he saw me. When he got out of the car and stormed towards the arena, he was more than worried, more than scared.
When he saw me a flicker of relief was screened before he was just overwhelmed with sympathy and compassion. I noticed his hesitance towards him, most likely because of our argument earlier. I didn't know if I was still angry at him, I mean he basically raced against the clock to see if I was ok. I knew he cared about me and I cared about him so no, I was no longer mad at him.
"Come on slacker." I teased as he advanced closer to him. He smiled sweetly at me as he climbed the driveway. When he reached me I wrapped an arm around his waist and he tugged me closer. His hand rubbed up and down, allowing the friction to keep me warm.
"Are we good?" His words cut through the fresh air.
"Yes Brooks, we are good." I informed him and his smile grew to reach his ears.
"So Brooks, why did you call me?" I inquired as the question was on the tip of my tongue. I thought it was quite coincidental that I was looking for him in the arena and then he called me. I unlocked the house and we stepped inside to be greeted with the sound of something screaming their plastic lungs out.
"I called you because I was having troubles with Annabelle, usually after I sing twinkle twinkle little star to her she's fast asleep but tonight she was screaming and I couldn't shut her up." Luke explained and I rolled my eyes.
"Pull the batteries out," I suggested in a bored tone but he just gave me an unimpressed look.
I unravelled the crying plastic baby and held her in my arms. A moment later the crying became unbearable so I handed Annabelle -in a giraffe onesie- off to Brooks. Immediately his arms conformed to her tiny body and he gazed down upon her.
"Can you pat her backside and rock as though you were on a rocking chair," I instructed and he began to smirk.
"Now I'm a professional at that Al, as you would know," he paused and his smirk grew. "I'm a professional at rocking back and forth."
Upon instinct my arm swung out and I whacked his arm, with a red mark remaining behind like a sun burn. His smirk didn't waver which slightly annoyed me. "You suck," I groaned rolling my eyes.
"No Al, you suck." Clearly it had double meaning, that little-
"I'm glad you are safe." He stated, instantly making the conversation from childish to serious.
"Brooks," I said in a soft voice. "You're so-"
"Cute?" He offered.
"Is that what they are calling immature now days?" I joked and he smirked at me. God, I never thought I'd say that I missed that smirk, yet here I was thinking that exact thing.
"So what do you think?" I asked motioning towards my body- my new look.
"Gosh Alex, not everyone wants to suck you." Brooks said in a falsetto voice, mimicking what I said when we only met.
"Shut up, you like it right?" I asked somewhat nervously.
He smirked as he placed his hands on my hips, slowly bringing me closer. "I love it," he said as leaned in a placed a soft kiss on my lips which made me feel completely warm and mellowed out inside.
After we got Annabelle to complete her misery crying we called it a night. As I trotted up the stairs I reminded Brooks about the workshop I would be attending tomorrow on History. I applied three months in advance and tomorrow was the first lecture so I needed to make a good impression to the professors. Brooks agreed in helping me get ready tomorrow which I was grateful for.
Luke stopped at my bedroom door where he was designated to sleep in with Colt. Before his hand pried on the door handle I slipped my hand in his and he turned to face me. "Could you sleep with me?" I requested.
"Sorry Al, I had you once, I'm not going back for seconds." He was joking but he still deserved a smack on the arm.
"You fool, I meant sleep as in sleep. Got it?" He wore an amused look and nodded at me. I slipped him into my parents bedroom and from there I just collapsed from sheer exhaustion. Brooks gathered my entire and helped me under the sheets. placing an arm around my waist I cuddled my back into his back. Content with the sensation erupting in my stomach, I was asleep almost instantly.
I found myself waking up in an awkward position. My arm was outstretched over Brooks' face and my knee was digging into his firm stomach. Not to mention his fingers in my mouth. Prying his fingers out of my mouth, I slowly slipped away to the edge of the bed to ensure that he didn't wake up. Successfully I managed to slip out and progress to the bathroom where I intended on having a shower.
Sufficiently, I cleaned my body although I was fairly groggy. I made small steps back to my parents room where I -while Brooks was still asleep- then got changed into a random pair of leggings and a singlet. As quiet as a mouse, I crept out of the room and made my way to my room. Thankfully, Colton was already up and downstairs making breakfast so I managed to get the majority of my clothes out of my bedroom and carry them back to my parents room.
I decided on a pair of straight black pants but I was struggling on finding a shirt which would be suitable for the lecture. "Brooks can you help me?" I whined, poking his body for him to wake up.
"Sorry," he whispered, wiping the corner of his mouth because I suspected there was drool.
"Which shirt, this one?" I asked, finishing buttoning the remainder of the floral red shirt.
"Or this one?" I asked, unbuttoning the previous shirt and then placing a different plain white button up on.
"Is there another?" He asked and I moved to put a baby blue button up on.
"Can you try the red on again?" He requested so I leaned to place the red shirt again before I realised what he was doing.
"You were just getting me to take my shirt off again and again weren't you?" I asked, placing my hands on my hips with half my shirt on.
"Maybe," he said with bright red cheeks and a smirk. "But really, the red one."
"Are you sure?" I asked, straightening the shirt on my body.
"I'm sure." He said causing me to sigh with relief.
"Why don't you finish getting yourself ready and I'll go get us breakfast?" He suggested, hauling himself out of the bed and I nodded.
"Sounds like a plan." I replied.
He walked up to me and smiled. Placing his hands on my cheeks, he leaned down and placed a kiss on my forehead. "Good morning Al," he smirked.
"Good morning," I said with a cheeky smile as I dazed up at him. A part of his shirt had rose up so in my peripheral vision I was admiring his torso, although he had no idea.
"How does McDonalds sound?" He inquired as he began advancing out the bedroom door.
"It sounds magnificent." I replied and he nodded in satisfaction. Spraying on some squirts of the new perfume I received as a present from Tara, I then trekked the downstairs and into the kitchen.
I observed as a very shirtless Colt was whistling as he fried eggs and bacon in a pan. "Didn't you pack enough shirts?" I teased as I poured myself a glass of water.
"And good morning to you too Ally," he said as he shot me a smile before averting all his attention to the pan before him.
"Morning Colt," I said after gulping. Followed by this, I moved to the lounge room where I descended into the couch and began to watch Disney Chanel. The shows screening now are clearly not as entertaining as the ones screening now. Deciding not to well on the past, I just drowned out the voices from the tv and sort of just sat content in my own world.
Not much longer Brooks arrived with our breakfast. I guess that's why they call it fast food. He placed pancakes before me while he got the big breakfast. Immersed in the glorious smells, I tucked into the meal and devoured the three pancakes.
"Thank you," I said gratefully as I wiped the maple syrup from the corners of my mouth.
"You're very welcome," he said with a mouth pull of hash brown. Currently Brooks was sporting the messy bed hair and I must be completely honest and admit how attracted I was to him in that moment. Attempting to hide my fluster, I gazed to the stairs were a very grumpy Tara trampled down.
"Why is everyone up and happy at this ungodly hour of the mor-" Tara cut off abruptly mid sentence. Her eyes widened before her and I just stared at her.
"Mum? Dad?" The words escaped her lips and I followed her line of eye sight to find mum and dad entering the house- three days early.
"Hey," I said trying to sound as casual as possible. Getting up off my seat, I progressed to greet my parents and hug them.
"How was the flight?" I asked mum as I enveloped her in a hug.
"It was ok," she said in a tired voice which was completely understandable.
"How was Sydney?" I asked dad as I took the risk of pulling him into a hug.
"It was fine," he replied, equally as tired.
"What brings you home so early?" Tara asked as she helped herself to eating some of Brooks' breakfast.
"There was something that we needed to talk to you about." Mum said nervously.
"And you couldn't just call us?" Tara drawled and my eyes darted to my mum. She sighed heavily due to exhaustion.
"No Tara, your father and I need to speak with you in person." My mother said and I allowed nervousness to consume me. The way she spoke just made me so fearful.
Moments later, the four of us, Tara, Luke, Colt and I were all asked to take a seat on the longest couch in the lounge room. My fingers trailed along the Spanish furniture as I waited anxiously for my parents to join us in the room. The pair walked in, their heads low and they stood before us.
"As you know, we went to Sydney to attempt to salvage our marriage," my father began. "There we spent the time discussing the past two years and its hardships we reflected on the good times and then we tried to put the pieces back together."
Then my mother took over, "I've been thinking over my marriage with your father for these past two years. I know I can't just move back in and pretend to have everything back to normal because I frankly don't know what normal is. What I do know is that I would like to keep trying with your father." She paused.
"That is why, I will hopefully temporarily move out and your father and I will resume to dating again. If it gets to the point where I am in utterly love with your father just like I was the day we got married then we will recite our marriage vowels. Now girls this is where it gets tricky, I need you to listen to everything I say. I will be mobile into our family home on the outskirts of Melbourne, that is a three hour drive. Now this is where you have your choice,"
"You can either choose to live in this home with your father for the remainder or you can choose to come with me, three hours away from here and live there. I promise you that we are not having a divorce, this is just a temporary break before we return to dating and then hopefully moving in. We will give you sometime to discuss and make your decision."
The bomb shell was laid.
I sat there in complete silence and watched as my parents shuffled out. I ignored Tara as she voiced her opinions and I asked myself, what do I want to do? This was probably- definitely the hardest decision I would ever have to make. I evaluated the pros and cons of this whole situation.
Pros of moving in with mum:
- Every girl needs her mum
- The holidays will be here soon and it would be nice to spend them at the holiday house
- Somewhat fresh start
Cons of moving in with mum:
- Away from family and friends
- I'd have to move schools
- Away from Luke Brooks
Clearly I had a problem on my hands.
"Al, you aren't considering moving in with your mum, are you? A three hour drive away from here." It was evident that he was frustrated and irritated with the dilemma put forth.
"Brooks, I need my mum." I emphasized as I turned to face him on the couch.
"And I need you." He said, throwing his arms up in exasperation.
"It'll only be three hours away." I reasoned and his eyes widened.
"But you can just as easily stay here," I could see it in his eyes that he was desperate. He thought he was going to lose me. I didn't want to move away from Brooks but I couldn't stand being away from my mother any longer. Why was this so hard?
"Alex, I think I'm going to go with mum." Tara told me and I nodded.
I bit my lip and reconsidered the pros and cons. I felt a pair of warm fingers interlace with my own, I looked up and saw Brooks' eyes boring into my own. "I don't want to lose you Al, if you go I'm scared I'm gonna lose you." He admitted which made my heart twirl inside my chest.
"You're not going to lose me Brooks," I told him truthfully.
"So what will it be?"
"I don't know." I needed more time, but that I didn't have.
So while Tara was going off, excited about her decision. Elaborating on all the cute boys at the holiday house at summer time, what she was going to bring and how she would do her hair. I sat on the couch as the question gnawed at my brain. What was I going to do?
I was undecided.