We Can't Run From Fate

Jack had never given much thought to the mark on his wrist, the one that told him he had a soulmate out in the world. He was always more the one night stand than soulmate kinda guy. One thing he never expected though was to find his match in Alex Gaskarth, a twenty something single dad just trying to give the best life he can to his daughter.

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18. Chapter 17

On the day of the last court appearance Jack was glad to see Alex a bit calmer than previously. He was more chatty on the drive over and there was a hint of a smile on his face. Jack hadn’t told him about what he’d done speaking with the Taylors, he hadn’t wanted to upset him. He was dreading seeing them again, their stupid smug looks that Jack wanted to just slap right off their faces but it wasn’t the time for that. He had to go get through the next couple of hours, for Alex’s sake.

 

They entered the courtroom the same as they did before, following behind some official why Alex held tightly to Jack’s hand. Mr and Mrs Taylor came in a moment later and Jack had to try not to tense his grip at the sight of them. He hated them with every fibre of his being, they were horrible people who didn’t deserve the world they lived in. The Judge began talking but Jack wasn’t paying attention, he was staring at Mrs Taylor who turned to face him and gave him a smile, turning his insides to ice. He was only able to turn away when Alex’s grip on his hand got tighter.

“Here I have the social services report done on the home of Grace Amelia Gaskarth,” the Judge said, holding a file.

This is what Alex had been so scared of, the words written on those sheets of paper could ruin his whole life.

“It says the home of one Grace and Alexander Gaskarth though small is perfectly equipped and clean, Grace had her own room where there is space for her to play, she has her own bed and storage. It means the standards is every way possible.”

Alex lets out a small sigh of relief and Jack gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.

“...The relationship between father and daughter is one build of true love and respect, she looks up to him like he’s a hero and he treats her like a Princess.”

The words make tears appear in Alex’s eyes and he has to blink them away, he did it, it’s going to be okay. He had to resist the feeling to kiss Jack, he had been right all along.

“It seems that Alexander is a model father and that your accounts of him were false so before we charge you with lying to the court, do you have anything you wish to say?” the Judge asked the Taylors’.

Jack had to try not to smile but as Mrs Taylor stood there was something in her manor that said she wasn’t quite ready to give in yet.

“It is true our statement was a lie but only because Jack threatened us!”

The whole court was silent for a second, Alex just stared at Jack with his mouth open, not knowing what to say or think.

“In your own words Mrs Taylor, what happened?” the Judge asked.

“Jack came to our home, he demanded to speak to us then he threatened us to leave him and Alex alone. We argued then he stormed off into the night.”

Jack’s mouth had gone dry, that wasn’t what happened, they were twisting his words to try and get things their way, how could he not have seen this coming?

“Please tell me you didn’t, tell me you never went there,” Alex whispered in his ear, the pain in Alex’s voice broke Jack’s heart.

“Thank you Mrs Taylor, Mr Barakat do you have anything to say in your defence?”

Jack stood up, stilling holding onto Alex’s hand, he had to swallow hard just to make his mouth form the words.

“I was there, I did go to the Taylor’s home…”

As soon as he said the words Alex let go of his hand, pulling apart from him and looking away.

“But I never threatened them, yes we did argue but never did I once say I’d hurt them, never.”

“What did you argue about?” the Judge asked.

“I asked them to stop this, they’ve put Alex through enough and I wanted it to be over. They refused and said they would continue with the case,” Jack said.

The Judge continued talking but Jack was having trouble focusing with Alex still refusing to look at him. He felt like he’d made the biggest mistake of his life and that when Alex walked out of the door he wouldn’t be coming back. Instead he watched the Taylor’s lawyer walk up to the Judge and say something in his ear.

“We’re going to take a short recess, be back in ten minutes.”

The Judge banged his hammer and everybody left, Alex was first out the door with Jack hot on his heels.

Once they were alone in a corridor Alex turned to face him, his anger evident.

“What the fuck did you think you were doing?! Don’t you realise what you’ve done?” He yelled.

“I’m really sorry Alex…”

“Honestly Jack, why did you do it?”

“Because I didn’t want to see you hurt anymore, you don’t deserve that,” Jack said.

“And this is helping?” Alex asked.

“I was trying to protect you… I was just trying…”

Alex sighed and looked up at Jack, his frustration slowly draining away. He knew what Jack was trying to do, he understood where he was coming from but it didn’t mean there wasn’t a chance he’d ruined the whole thing.

“I’m sorry Alex.”

Alex wished he could think of something to say when the gong rang, the one telling them their time was up and they had to go back to t the courtroom. When Jack turned to walk back Alex grabbed his wrist.

“Stay.”

Jack bit his lip and nodded. Alex didn’t say anything he just walked back toward the doors of the courtroom, giving one look over his shoulder as he went.

 

Jack paced outside the courtroom doors for what seemed like hours. He had no idea what was going on inside and not knowing was eating him up. He’d just wanted to make things okay and yet there was a chance Alex was going to come out of those doors in tears and it would be all his fault. Jack tried sitting down but he couldn’t stay still, he was fidgeting and his hands shaking. He tried staying out the window to distract himself but he couldn’t get his mind to leave the courtroom, the outside world might as well not have been there for all Jack could think about. After what felt like forever the doors finally opened, Alex was the first one out and he was crying. Jack’s heart shattered, fell to the ground like a piece of broken glass. He’d done it, he’d truly gone and fucked everything up. Jack felt collapsing on the floor when Alex came over, wrapping his arms around his waist and burying his face into Jack’s chest. Jack pulled Alex close and pressed his face into the boy’s hair.

“I’m so sorry Alex, I’m so sorry.”

“Jack?” his voice cracked.

“I’m sorry.”

“Jack, we won.”

“We… We won?” Jack asked in disbelief.

“It’s okay, we did it,” Alex said, a smile spreading across his face.

“How did… Why were you…”

“It’s over and you were right, it is okay.”

Jack smiled, a great big smile before putting his hands on Alex’s cheeks and kissing him. They were only broken apart by the sound of someone clearing their throat, Jack opened his eyes to see Mr Taylor standing next to them.

“What do you want?” Jack asked.

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

Jack was about to reply but before he could the man was gone.

“What was that all about?” Jack asked.

“Let’s go and I’ll explain,” Alex said.

 

Back in the car and Alex was like a whole different person, he was full of life again with a smile on his face. Jack had never been happier to see that beautiful smile.

“So, what happened in there?” Jack asked.

“Mr Taylor dropped the case, he said he didn’t want to continue and that they’d put my family through enough. He said they would respect my wishes to stay away from Grace and that was the end of it,” Alex explained.

“Why? Why did he do that?” Jack asked.

“I’m not sure, I think maybe it finally dawned on him what he was doing. Or rather what his wife was doing. Whatever it was that made him change his mind, I’m thankful for it as it just saved my family.”

Jack smiled, part of him hoped it was his own words still ringing in Mr Taylor’s ears that made him change his mind but he would probably never know.

“What did Mrs Taylor think of all of this?” he asked.

“She only said one thing actually, she said I was lucky to have you,” Alex replied.

“Oh..”

“I never thought I’d say this in a million years, but she’s right. I am the luckiest man in the world to have you by my side,” Alex said.

“Does that mean you… You forgive me?” Jack questioned.

“Of course I forgive you, I’m sorry I yelled at you but I was so scared and I didn’t take you back in because I didn’t want you there in case it was bad news… I guess I was trying to protect you too.”

Jack took his hand off the wheel and grabbed Alex’s hand.

“You know I love you Alex.”

“I love you too, if you weren’t driving I’d kiss you senseless,” Alex teased.

“How about this, go back, change out of these ridiculous not skinny jeaned outfits, pick up Grace and go get some ice cream?” Jack suggested.

“That sounds perfect,” Alex beamed.

“Perfection for my love, coming up,” Jack said, bring Alex’s hand up and kissing the back of it. Because Alex did deserve the everything and Jack sure as hell was going to give it to him.

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