Promises

18 year old Maya faces the death of her Nanna, the most important person in her life. New love interest Nathan brings back a spark into Maya's life. She quickly falls in love with him; They both make promises but who will be the one to break theirs? Read on to find out how Maya deals with the challeneges thrown at her.

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15. Fight Fire with Fire

Chapter 15

You can’t fight fire with fire; and whatever I was dealing with right now was the fire-breathing dragon descending from hell trying to throw me off with its flames. We have choices in almost every situation. My choice was either to make a big deal out of Chloe being pregnant presumably with the guy I had fallen in love with or just take it easy and also move on. And even though in that moment I felt like I was on top of the world making the decision to be cool about it, everything came spiralling down very quickly.

***

‘Hey,’ I said. I’d just walked through the door of my house to find Chloe and Nathan sitting in silence exactly where I had left them. Jade and Anaia were nowhere to be seen.

‘Anaia had work in the morning so she left early.’ Nathan cleared his throat. ‘And Jade said she felt sick after the alcohol she drank.’

‘Cool, cool...’ I disregarded his comments, and instead devoted my attention to eyeing up Chloe. She had her arms and legs crossed, and the dirtiest look on her face when I had walked in- I think her and Nathan must’ve argued. But now, her body language was more relaxed, her face rested and she was mindlessly tapping on the wooden table.

Attempting to break the awkwardness in the room, I slipped out of my jacket and back into my seat.

‘We never got to finish dinner,’ I declared. ‘I hope you don’t mind if we at least eat dessert.’

I reached over for the silver platter with a large, dome-shaped lid on top. I lifted the lid off by the dainty handle to reveal a layered chocolate fudge cake. Chloe’s pupils grew to the size of large beads and I could have sworn I saw her drooling.

‘Pregnancy cravings?’ I grinned.

‘Call them whatever the heck you want to, all I know is that cake is definitely the highlight of this day.’ She giggled.

Nathan watched me cut the thick cake into three large slices, spreading them out onto the china I had stolen from Nanna’s cupboard at her home. He tucked into the creamy fondue on top and we sat in silence for a while.

‘So, Chloe, how many months pregnant are you?’ I wondered. She suddenly shot her eyes at me, a large piece of cake in her mouth. We all laughed and I patiently waited until she had chewed it.

‘Five months, actually.’ She replied.

I had to take a second look; she was wearing a body-con dress and her stomach looked nothing like five months. I guess she read my puzzled face because she continued, ‘ Oh, I know it’s super flat. I work out a lot, even now. I heard it makes the birth easier.’ She smiled and proceeded to stuff her thin cheeks with cake.

Nathan had been checking his phone, which I had always frowned upon at the table. I decided not to say anything until his face changed dramatically into one of shock.

‘Is everything okay?’ I asked.

‘Our flight back to Melbourne has just been delayed by a week,’ his face looked as if someone had slapped him with a wet fish. ‘There are serious thunder storms on the journey and our airline doesn’t want to risk any accidents happening.’

‘But- Nathan, we haven’t got anywhere to stay... And, and... We can’t afford to get a hotel room here for another week, the prices are sky-high...’

‘You can stay here with me.’ I suggested. Both of them turned their heads in my direction. Chloe’s cake almost fell out of her mouth- apparently my friendliness came as a surprise.

‘Seriously, don’t act so shocked. I’ve got a big spare bedroom upstairs, you two can totally stay for the week.’ I gave them both a convincing smile.

‘Are you sure? I mean, with my pregnancy, it’d mean the toilet flushing at random points in the night, Nathan constantly running out for pregnancy cravings-,’ Chloe began.

‘No worries.’ Nathan grinned. ‘Maya has dealt with much more than that.’

‘Yeah, besides it’ll be fun having some company around. You’re both welcome, honestly.’

‘Oh, Maya, thank you so much!’ To this, Chloe got up and skipped over to me to pull me into a rib-crushing embrace. ‘You have no idea how helpful you are.’

***

The first night of their stay was definitely the best. We’d put a comedy on and ate the leftovers from dinner. We must’ve sat on that sofa until 6am because by the time I went to pull back the heavy curtains, a bird flew past my window. I turned to smile at Nathan and Chloe but saw they were comfortably snuggled under a blanket, both fast asleep.

***

‘Good Morning, Chlo.’ I whistled when a tired Chloe stepped into the kitchen, lost in her dressing gown. Upon hearing me call her ‘Chlo’, she glanced threateningly at Nathan, who nervously smiled at me. I turned back to face the stove and rolled my eyes, which even surprised me. Hello, Ms Attitude.

‘What’s for breakfast M?’ Nathan asked. He’d been sitting at the kitchen island for an hour or so sipping on his third cup of coffee, answering e-mails from work.

‘I made pancakes with bacon and popped out earlier to get freshly-squeezed orange juice.’

‘Sounds amazing!’ Chloe seemed to have gotten back into her old self. ‘Oh, Nathan, I’ve got to meet an old friend in the evening.’

‘Hmm? Who?’ He asked, puzzled.

‘Uhh, Stella- an old college friend of mine. We haven’t seen each other in a long time and she messaged me to meet as soon as she found out I was here.’

‘Alright, do you want me to drop you off?’ Nathan offered.

‘No,’ She snapped. ‘I-I need to get some fresh air, I’ll take a train. Besides, I don’t want to disturb you.’

‘Oh, really, Chloe, I don’t mind dropping you off.’ He reassured.

‘I said I’m fine. I need to go into town to pick up a few bits and pieces seeing as we’re staying for longer, but I’ll be back in a few hours.’

She swiftly kissed him on the cheek, grabbed a stray pancake off the plate and went upstairs to start getting ready.

‘That was weird...’ I said to Nathan. He seemed absorbed in his work again, so I sighed and laid a plate of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon in front of him, slamming his laptop shut. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and gave me that smile of his that I missed the most.

‘Eat them before they get cold,’ I reminded him, slowly walking away. As I turned away, he slapped my bum playfully and I heard him laughing even as I went up the stairs.

***

I was chilled in the bath tub in the evening when I heard a knock on my bathroom door. I put my glass of wine on the side and went to open up.

‘Nathan?’ I questioned.

‘I’m getting in,’ he said, and stripped his clothes off and jumped in. I followed, but making sure I covered my chest with my knees as I sat down. He took a swig of the wine straight from the bottle and leaned back against the tub.

‘This is totally platonic right?’ I asked confusedly.

‘If you want it to be...’ He said, slightly ignoring my comment and moving forward in the water, kissing my neck. I let my head fall back in appreciation, closing my eyes as he tenderly gave me love bites.

‘No, wait,’ I pushed him away.

‘Is something wrong? Do you not want this?’

‘Of course I want this, but I don’t want to be your booty call for when Chloe isn’t around.’ I scoffed. ‘Nathan, I can’t do this. I love you!’ I shouted.

‘I love you too! You can’t even begin to imagine how much I’ve missed you... your touch... touching you... your energy, your voice. Can we please go back to our moment?’

So I rolled my eyes but nonetheless pulled him in even closer than before and bit my lip slightly then kissed him with every emotion I’ve felt since he’d left.

Suddenly, his phone was ringing. He reached out of the tub to find it in his trouser pocket. He answered to Chloe, and put her on the speaker.

‘Nathan? NATHAN! Please come get me, I don’t feel well, I feel sick, my belly hurts, I-‘

Chloe continued hysterically sobbing into the phone. He finished speaking to her, told me he’d make this up to me and left the bathroom still pulling his shirt over his head. I listened to his car door slam shut and him take off.

I was left alone once again. I took the finishing gulp of the sweet, red wine and wiped my eyes, leaving lines of trickling mascara on my cheeks.

‘That god damn b*tch,’ I muttered.

***

‘Hello ma’am, this is the Woodgrange Hospital staff speaking. Is this Ms Maya Trevino?’

‘Uh, yes, has anything happened?’ I answered, panicking.

‘We just had a young male admitted to our one of our wards. He’s been in a serious car accident, and the last place his GPS tracked as ‘home’ was your house. Do you know Nathan Lewis?’

A sudden jolt of fear paralysed every inch of my body.

‘Ma’am? Miss, is everything alright?’

‘Yes, uh, I’ll be right there.’

I hung up the phone, grabbed my jacket and in a split second was in my car, starting the engine. I drove like a maniac, speeding and swerving- what if something happened to him? Something really bad? What about Chloe? Where was she?

I arrived at the front desk of the hospital.

‘I’m here to see Nathan Lewis.’ I blurted out, almost completely out of breath.

‘Are you Miss Trevino?’ the nurse behind the desk asked.

‘Yes, where is he?’ I shouted impatiently.

‘Right this way, please.’

I followed the nurse down several corridors and two flights of stairs to a unit for severe injuries. The whole time, my blood was pumping a hundred times faster and my heart racing like faster than ever before. I ignored the two girls conversating outside of the ward, and ran in to see Nathan plugged up to multiple contraptions, asleep. I gingerly walked over to him and took hold of his hand. It was cold as ice and I dropped it in shock. It fell with a heavy thud but he didn’t stir.

I gulped.

‘Is he...’ I began, mortified.

‘No, ma’am. He has slipped into a mild coma, but he isn’t dead.’

Tears began streaming down every inch of my face. I couldn’t quite control my breathing and my chest felt heavy; the nurse took my hands and sat me down in a chair next to Nathan’s bed. The window beside the chair had a brief view of the ocean, to which I tried hard to pay my attention to. I didn’t quite remember taking the plastic cup of water and downing it, but the cold liquid felt like acid, burning my throat.

‘Ma’am, would you like for me to call someone?’ she asked.

‘No, I’ll be fine.’ I croaked.

The nurse backed away, out of the room. I spotted her in the corridor, discussing something from a clip board with a doctor. A few times, she looked over at me sitting in the chair, curled up and terrified.

I edged the slightest bit closer to the bed, just close enough to rest my hand on Nathan’s forearm.

‘Nathan, baby... what have you done?’ I began sobbing again, but this time it was shortly stopped when I overheard the two girls say my name.

‘...But what about Maya?’ one of them said, just loud enough for me to hear it. I suspiciously rose from my seat and crept towards the door. I poked my head out to see a head of tight, blonde-brown curls and another one of blonde locks. Toni and Chloe.

‘What the hell are you two doing here together?’ I demanded.

‘Oh, Maya... We’re so sorry.’ Chloe cried. ‘Should I explain?’ She asked Toni. But before the girl could reply, I snapped.

‘You best explain this to me right now! What the hell are you two doing here?’ I screamed.

‘You need to calm down if you want Chloe to explain any of this,’ Toni spat, shooting me daggers.

I took a seat right next to her, crossed my arms and legs and put on my ‘I-have-the-power-to-kill-you-right-now’ face to show her I was listening.

Chloe took a deep sigh, and Toni squeezed her palm affectionately.

‘You see, Maya, Toni and I have been together for four years-’

‘WHAT?!’ Now, I wasn’t expecting that.

‘-But the problem was that my father is extremely homophobic... in his eyes, Toni is just my best friend.’

‘Okay, how is any of this relevant to why you two are here?’ I said annoyed.

‘Just shut up and listen, Maya! Let Chloe speak!’ Toni roared.

I sat back in my chair, making myself comfortable.

‘All my life, I’d wanted nothing but to work in Melbourne. My dad took me on holiday there once, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I knew my dream was to work for Nature Magazine, and my dad knew about this all along.’

‘I’m listening,’

‘Well, Chloe and I met at College,’ Toni smiled. ‘I’d always encouraged her to work hard for her goals. But the only way her dad would let her work all the way in Melbourne was if she found a boyfriend there and moved in with him.’

‘Yeah, my dad always believed a successful woman like me should have a strong-minded man who could support her.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘And because I wanted this job so badly, Toni and I came up with a plan. I would go to Melbourne, pretend to fall in love with the first loser I met and make my dad happy all while still being able to love Toni.’

‘But, when Nathan told Chloe he was planning to come back here for your birthday, we had to come up with a plan. I started dating you around the same time that Nathan booked the tickets to come here.’

‘I’m sorry, I still don’t understand how or why this is relevant. So you never loved Nathan?’ I asked.

‘No, I had to play along because it was the only way to make my dad satisfied.’

‘Our plan was perfect,’ Toni stated. ‘I would date you, and try to convince you into going abroad for work. If only Nathan hadn’t planned to come back, we would’ve made you and him get back together and make it look like Nathan cheated on Chloe.’

‘But we needed more time for my dad to really believe I loved Nathan, so we got scared that if he went back to his hometown he’d fall in love with you again. I had to keep him around somehow...’

‘So you faked a pregnancy.’ I said in disbelief. ‘Nathan told you about our dead baby and how much it affected him so you knew he wouldn’t dare leave you if you had a baby coming on the way.’

‘Smart girl!’ Toni cheered. ‘I guess you did get a little brighter from all those classes I signed you up to.’

I shot the dirtiest look at her face, shutting her up.

‘The point is, I got really worried after last night. When you asked me about why my stomach was so flat, I knew you didn’t believe I was really pregnant. I had to make it look like I was, hence the mood swings and my so-called ‘stomach pains’. I never wanted it to end like this, Maya, we really are sorry.’

‘We didn’t know it’d ever end like this. The plan was to fly Chloe out to Melbourne, make her fake-fall in love with some loser, move in with him, I would then find his ex girlfriend and convince her to work abroad. She’d go to Melbourne, make him cheat, and we could blame the guy for cheating in front of Chloe’s dad. It seemed perfect.’ Toni explained.

‘Well your ‘perfect’ has got the only man I have ever loved in a coma, fake in love with a woman who never wanted him.’

‘We’re sorry, Maya, honest.’ Chloe apologised.

‘You can take your sorry and shove it up your-‘

‘Also, I can’t wait around for Nathan to wake up. I decided that I’ll go home tonight and tell dad about Toni and I.’

‘I’m sure he’ll understand, princess,’ Toni put her arm around Chloe. I looked away. What kind of sociopathic women thought of things like this just to avoid their homophobic parents and get a job?!

‘Both of you can rot in hell.’

I went back into the ward and took my seat next to Nathan. After all this, Chloe wasn’t pregnant. But how was I supposed to explain this to him once he woke up?

I did something crazy; I started speaking to Nanna. She was there next to me, I could feel it.

‘Nanna?’ I asked the thin air.

‘Nanna, I am so hurt. So hurt! I love this man so much. I can’t take seeing him like this.’ I began crying again, this time trying to get the last few words out. ‘He still had wherever I went saved as ‘home’. I was always his home, even when he was thousands of miles away. And now... I can’t do anything to help him.’

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