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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10. Chapter 9

Jack stood facing the rows of flowers, each brighter than the last. He was trying to decide which would suit Alex best, ones sweet like him or as beautiful as his eyes. If he didn’t pick soon he’d be late, the sun was setting and time was ticking away. Alex had text him out of the blue asking to meet in the park by his apartment, Jack was agreed to meet him even though it meant blowing off work. It didn’t matter though, he owned half that bar it wasn’t like they could fire him for missing a day, Eliza would probably just snap him about responsibility and make him wash the dishes for awhile.

Finally Jack picked a bunch of red roses, paid for them with a little extra and began his walk to the park. It had been nearly a week since Jack had seen Alex and he was excited and maybe even a little nervous. After the conversation with Zack, Jack had come to a choice about his life and what he wanted. He liked Alex, more than he ready to admit and he liked Grace, he couldn’t get one without the other so he was going to have to learn to cope.  

As Jack entered the park it didn’t take him long to spot Alex, sat alone on one of the benches, he saw Jack approach and stood up to greet him.

“Hey.”

“Hi ‘Lex, I hmm brought you these.” Jack said, holding out the sweet smelling flowers.

“Oh thanks.”

Jack smiled as Alex held the flowers, his cheeks blushing nearly as red as the petals themselves.

“Look Alex, I wanted to say sorry for the way I acted before. I shouldn’t have cut contact like that; it wasn’t fair on you or Grace. I promise to try better in the future.”

“That’s it though isn’t it Jack? Trying isn’t enough.”

“What... What are you saying?” Jack asked.

“Zack told me, he told me everything you said and it’s not enough”

“I don’t... I don’t understand.”

“I get that it’s hard with Grace, you weren’t expecting to have to deal with a child but Jack you’ve got to understand, I have to put her first. She doesn’t have a mom, she’s only got me and I need to make sure she has the best people around her and you’re well...”

“I’m what?”

“You’re not there, with a child like Grace or any child you can’t just walk in and out of their life whenever you feel like it. You’ve got to be there all the time and just trying isn’t going to work.” he explained.

“I still don’t know what you’re saying.”

“I’m saying I’m putting her first, she’s my daughter and I have to do what’s right for her... Even it’s not right for....Me.”

“Alex...”

“I’m sorry Jack.”

“Alex, please. I want to do it right, I want to make this work, please.” Jack begged.

“I can’t take that risk; I can’t put her feelings on the line for my own gain.”

“So you’re just going to walk away? What about this?” Jack asked, holding out his arm where the music note stood out against his skin.

“I don’t know how soulmates work; maybe they don’t see the circumstances in which we’re in. If things were different I think we could have worked but they aren’t and we won’t.”

“You don’t know that!” Jack cried.

“No I don’t, but I have to believe it. I’m trying to make this easier.”

“Easier would be not walking away, don’t leave ‘Lex.”

“I’m sorry, I should never have agreed to this, I was stubborn, I wanted us to work but we were always going to end up here.”

A tear rolled down Alex’s cheek and Jack had to fight the impulse to wipe it away. He didn’t want to lose Alex, he didn’t want it to be the end but a father’s love for his daughter was one he couldn’t match.

“Is this it then?” Jack asked.

“I’m afraid so, I had the best time with you and I don’t regret what I’ve done but in the end she has to come first.”

Jack wanted to say he understood, that Alex’s decision made sense but all he knew was that Alex was walking away and there was nothing he could do about it.

“I don’t regret it either; I’ve never felt like this about anyone before....”

“Me neither.”

Alex reached up to touch Jack’s cheek, wiping away the tears Jack didn’t realise had fallen. Alex’s fingers were cool on his skin, he wanted to grab hold of him and never let go.

“Can I kiss you? One last time?” Jack asked.

Alex nodded and closed his eyes, letting Jack hold him and then gently pressed their lips together. Jack tried to ignore the fireworks that are going off inside as he felt Alex against him, tried not to think about the softness of Alex’s lips or the salty taste of his tears. He tried not to think about it being the last time.

Alex eventually pulled away, wiping his face on his sleeve and trying to sniff away his remaining tears.

“I guess you want your flowers back now.” Alex said, going to hand them over.

“No, you keep them. They remind me too much of....”

Jack couldn’t finish the sentence but Alex got the message and held the flowers to his chest. They stood there in silence, neither having anymore to say but not wanting to walk away.

“How’s Grace?” Jack asked finally.

“She’s fine, she misses you though.” Alex replied.

“I’ll miss her too.”

“I am sorry Jack, if I knew... I would never have...”

“But the point is you did, you did and now I don’t want to let you go.”

“I wish things didn’t have to be this way, I want to have you both but every time I try you just prove to me that I can’t.”

“Can’t I try one last time? Let me make it right.” Jack begged.

“You know I can’t do that.”

The sun was almost gone and Jack knew their time was running out. There was still so much he wished he could say but words failed him.

“I guess this goodbye then Jack.”

“Please don’t let it be.”

“I’m sorry.” he apologized again the word did nothing to help the hole growing in Jack’s heart.

“I don’t know how to say goodbye.” Jack said.

“Well you just said it.”

Normally Alex’s humour would raise a smile from Jack but not then.

“How do I say goodbye to all our maybes, what ifs and should have beens?”

“I don’t know.” Alex answered.

“Don’t make me so this.”

“G...Goodbye Jack.”

Alex voice cracked and Jack was sure he was trying to suppress a sob. If Alex started sobbing Jack wouldn’t be far behind.

“Bye ‘Lex, tell Grace when she turns twenty one I expect to see her in the Rockwell.”

Alex gave a weak smile through his tears and hugged the roses tight to his chest, making some of the petals fall to the ground.

It took a few more moments of silence before Alex was finally able to make himself turn around and walk away. Jack was left standing in the middle of the park, the street lights the only thing lighting up the otherwise dark sky and the rose petals on the ground the only reminisce of Alex.

 
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