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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7. Chapter 6

It had been three days since Jack heard Alex’s secret and well... He missed him. His phone had been silent and Jack found himself constantly checking it. He wanted to hear from Alex but he knew he didn’t deserve that. He knew how much of an ass he’d been but truth was he was scared. He’d never had a deal with children before and well he didn’t know how. The idea scared him, he didn’t want a family. He just wanted to have fun.

When Jack’s phone finally buzzed it had been five days. Alex’s name flashed across the screen but he didn’t pick it up straight away. He waited and it buzzed again, Alex’s name still on the screen with a message underneath. Choosing instead to pick up the tv remote and flick through the channels. Jack wasn’t sure he was ready to see what Alex had to say, he missed Alex more than he wanted to admit but part of him was still mad. Finally his phone started ringing, a picture of Alex lighting up. He couldn’t avoid the boy forever and it was obvious Alex wasn’t going to give him any peace until they’d talk.

“Hey Alex.”

“You took your time.”

“So did you,” Jack replied.

“Look Jack, I know that I should’ve told you about Grace but I was scared,” Alex admitted.

“It was a bit of shock, I thought there might be something you weren’t telling me. But I thought you were fucking someone else, I never expected you to have a kid.”

“Well I do, I’m sorry for the secrets and I guess I hope we can move on.”

“I don’t know Alex...”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t do kids,” Jack said, running a hand over his face.

“What are you saying?”

“I don’t want kids, I’ve never been a family person. Hell until you came along I’d never been on a real date. I like being free.”

“Are you really saying this? I like you Jack, I’ve been having the best time and you’re going to throw it away because I have a daughter? A daughter you won’t even meet.”

“I can’t Alex, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry that’s all you’ve got? It was your idea to even try this!” Alex yelled.

“I know and if I knew I wouldn’t have! I should never have started.”

“You regret us just because of this one thing?” Alex asked in disbelief.

“We both thought the whole soulmate thing was bullshit, what did we think would come of it?”

“I don’t know I was starting to...” Alex couldn’t finish, he couldn’t tell Jack how he was feeling.

“Sorry Alex.”   

“Fuck you! You’re not sorry.” Alex snapped.

“I have to do what’s best...”

“Yeah for you! Try thinking of someone else for a change. Either grow up or fuck off.”

Alex hung up the phone, tears in his eyes as he threw his phone across the room.

Jack lay back against his couch and thought about what he’d just done and who it really was best for.

 

 

Jack knew there was only one person he could ask about Alex, the one person who as far as Jack was aware knew everything there was to know about soulmates. The person who’d explained the whole thing to Jack as a child, his mother.

He pulled up outside his childhood home, taking a deep breath before stepping out of his car. He didn’t want to admit it but he was nervous about what she was going to say, Jack knew he liked Alex but the whole child situation had thrown him.

“Hey Jack, what can I do for you?”

Mrs Barakat was sitting at the kitchen table when Jack arrived; even after he’d moved out he’d not given up the key to his past home.

“I need some help.”

“I’ll make some tea and you can tell me all about it.”

Jack smiled, tea, it was his mother’s answer to everything. She’d always made tea when someone was upset, whether it was May after a breakup with her boyfriend or Joe losing the football. Jack sat down at the table and watched as his mum made the tea, placing a steaming mug in front of him.

“So, what’ve you done?” she asked.

“Well... I’ve kind of met my soulmate.”

“Jack what’s wonderful!”

“But...But he had a kid.”

“And?”

“He had a child, an actual little girl and I don’t know... I don’t know if I can do that.”

“What did you say when he told you?” she asked.

“I just... hmm kind of walked away,” Jack mumbled, trying to hide his face in the mug.

“Jack Bassam Barakat! I brought you up better than that!”

“I know, I’m sorry but I didn’t know what to do. I still don’t,” he said.

“Oh Jack, what exactly is the problem?” she asked, reaching over to rub his arm.

Jack went onto explain what he’d said to Alex and the argument that had over the phone a few days earlier.

“Oh Jack... Look, no one can force you to be with someone you don’t want to, even a mark on your wrist. But you do owe that boy an apology, even if that’s the last you see of him you need to at least say sorry for your actions”

“Yeah I guess I do,” Jack sighed.

“You’ll figure out what’s best.”

 

After Jack had finished his tea and his mum had finished filling him in the latest events of his family he was driving back toward his work. But his mums words were still going around in his head, what was best? And for who? Jack found himself driving past The Rockwell and carrying on down the street. He knew Alex had taken the bus from Second Street to Fifth so he must live around there, guaranteed it was midday on a Thursday so chances are Alex wouldn’t be in even if Jack could find his address.

On the corner of Fifth Street there was an apartment block, before Jack knew it he was stopping in the parking lot and hoping out. He went up to the door, next to the window there was a long list of buzzers and names. One of them was Gaskarth. He pressed it and waited, no idea what he was going to say. Nothing happened; there was no buzz at the other end. Jack sighed and began to walk away, if he was lucky he’d still be on time for work. He didn’t know what had made him want to search out Alex so suddenly, just to see the boy and somehow find the words to apologize.

Jack was nearly back at his car when a buzzing sound made him turn around.

“Hello?” a voice cracked through the speaker.

“Anyone still there?”

Jack ran back and pressed it again.

“Alex?” he asked.

“Sorry Alex isn’t here, I’m his friend,” the voice answered.

“Oh...”

“He’ll be back soon though, are you a friend?”

“Yeah, kind of yeah,” Jack replied.

“Would you like to come in wait?”

“Okay.”

There was another buzz and the door opened. Taking one last look over his shoulder Jack entered the apartment block and began climbing the stairs to the door marked 103. Jack stood outside the door, unable to knock. He’d come so far, why couldn’t he go in? Alex wasn’t even there but it was like once he stepped through the door there was no going back. The other option was to just walk away, walk away from Alex and his little girl, but he thought he finally knew what was best, what was better and walking away wasn’t the answer.

The door was opened by the man who was obviously Alex’s friend, a big guy with dark hair, tattoos but kind green eyes.

“I’m Zack,” he greeted, holding out his hand.

“Jack.”

“Oh, so you’re Jack?” he asked, leaning Jack into the apartment.

“Yes?” Jack answered, unsure of what he was being asked.

“Does Alex know you’re here?” Zack asked.

“No.”

Zack just raised an eyebrow and sat down on the couch, Jack did the same. Silence fell over them; Zack just ignored Jack’s presence as Jack tried to take in his surroundings. The place was small and somewhat cramped, two couches, a tv and lots of kids toys seemed to take up the space that was a living room, a kitchen was next door with a hatch that lead through and there was a hallway which Jack assumed lead to bedrooms of some sort.

“Alex will be back soon,” Zack said.

Jack just nodded and Zack went back to looking at his phone. It was probably only five minutes before the sound of the door opening but to Jack it felt like twenty.

“I brought pizza rolls I hope that’s...”

Alex stopped dead when he walked into his living room and saw Jack sat on the couch.

“W...What?”

“Daddy?”

Grace was sitting in Alex’s arms and looking at the strange man with suspicion.

“Hmm Grace, why don’t you go show Zack your drawing? Daddy has to do something.”

Grace happily hopped out of Alex’s grip and took Zack by the arm leading him down the hallways and away from the boys.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Alex hissed.

“She’s beautiful.”

“What?”

“Your daughter, she’s beautiful, she looks just like you,” Jack said.

“Well thanks but that doesn’t explain what you’re doing here or even how you got here,” Alex demanded.

“You’re lucky Gaskarth is an uncommon name,” Jack answered.

“Will you just get out? This is my only day off and I’d like to spend it with my daughter.”

Jack stood up to leave, Alex looked like he was about to cry and Jack wished he had the right words.

“I hmm... I came to say sorry,” Jack said.

“Sorry?”

“Sorry for being a giant jackass, I shouldn’t have walked out on you like that.”

“Thanks,” Alex said, surprised by Jack’s apology. Maybe he’d been too quick to peg Jack as an asshole.

“I really am sorry, it just surprised me and I didn’t handle it well. I still don’t know how well I’ll be with kids, I know it won’t be easy but I’m willing to give it another go if you are? I missed you.”

Alex looked at Jack in shock and something else, was it pity? He’d missed Jack too, even if he hadn’t wanted to admit it, he’d wanted to hate Jack for walking out but couldn’t.

“I missed you too.”

Jack stepped closer to Alex, closing the gap between them. He placed his hand on Alex’s cheek as a tear ran down it. Jack leant in and gently pressed his lips to Alex’s, Alex straight away kissed back, his hands reached up to Jack’s hair as Jack’s found his waist.

They were only broken apart when a little voice said.

“Daddy?”

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