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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14. Hasta La Vista

Chapter 14

Sometimes relationships are the opposite of a support system; something you can bounce back off. Sometimes relationships can be emotionally draining and make you feel small. And it’s interesting, because we always put down women who stay in physically/emotionally abusive relationships despite everything they’re put through, but it’s so much different when you’re in a place like that yourself. Imagine it being like a cage. You have a set of keys in your hand, but you’re hesitating, because surrounding the cage is nothing but darkness; the unknown. You’re not sure if you’d be better off staying locked inside or facing whatever’s out there.

I guess that’s why a year later, I was still seeing Toni. It’s insane, I know. This time last year I was so ready and determined to make her just a fling from the past. But it got worse, a lot worse than it had to be. She wouldn’t let me see Jade and Anaia as often, afraid that I’d cheat. I say this now and, I’m not deluded- I know it’s wrong. But like I said, I don’t know much about the outside world anymore and I’m still scared to leave.

Besides, I strongly agree with what Jade said- ‘Toni is just a rebound from Nathan.’ I mean, she’s not wrong. I don’t have any legitimate feelings for Toni. I never stopped loving Nathan, but I don’t know how to deal with that so I subconsciously ignore it and make myself believe Toni and I could ever last.

***

‘So, have you thought about what you wanted to do for your birthday?’ Jade asked over the phone. I stopped stuffing grapes down my throat and paused.

‘I don’t want anything big, maybe just a dinner party or something..’

‘Maya?’ Jade asked nervously.

‘Mhm?’

‘How would you feel about Nathan coming? Him and his girlfriend are in town for the weekend, maybe I could get them to come over?’

I paused to think for a second. Was I ready to see Nathan and Chloe, his new girlfriend?

‘Yeah, sure. Think of it like seeing an old friend. Invite him.’

Whatever Jade said was quickly interrupted by me hanging up because Toni had just walked into the room.

‘Who were you on the phone to?’ She asked with her eyebrows raised.

‘Jade wanted to know what I’ve been planning for my birthday.’

‘A night in, studying for your poetry class, I assume. We’re way too old for birthday parties, they’re overrated and huge time consumers. But, if you’d prefer to get drunk over getting a possible degree in Poetry and English Literature, that’s up to you.’ Toni grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and disappeared upstairs, undoubtedly burying her nose in a book. Funny how what once fascinated me so much about her, now seemed to be annoying.

I let out a heavy, exasperated sigh and stuck another four grapes into my mouth. I switched to the other side of the kitchen island and opened up Google on the laptop.

‘How to host a successful dinner party’ I typed, and bravely hit the search button.

***

‘Thank you so much for coming!’ I smiled sarcastically at Chloe, taking her coat and leading her into the dining room.

‘I just love the decor in here, it’s so modern and exotic!’ She cried excitedly, looking around.

‘Yeah, I actually moved in here not long after Nathan went to Melbourne.

‘Really? Wow, this must be a great area. Nathan told me all about how dangerous and boring his old neighbourhood was.’

‘Did he?’ I asked as I took my seat at the table.

‘So, Nathan, how did you and Chloe meet?’ Toni asked.

‘Actually, we met at our job. I’m the editor for Nature Magazine and Chloe is the photographer for the front covers, so a lot of our jobs interlinks. I quickly fell in love with this little American lady and so we decided to take it a step further.’

‘Oh, you’re from America? Where exactly?’ Anaia questioned.

‘New York. I loved it there, but there was always a part of me that loved the Nature Magazine, so my dad paid for me to go to its base in Melbourne and apply for a job there.’

‘Oh, that’s nice.’ I said, looking around. ‘Why don’t we start the meal? I’ve got roasted spring vegetables with a watercress dip.’ Jade made an appreciative moan as she reached across the table to grab some.

‘Uh, baby, could you pass me the salad dressing?’ Nathan asked. I subconsciously reached for the glass of salad dressing, but I suddenly jerked back into reality when Chloe’s fingers wrapped around the jar first. I smoothly made my hand change direction to make it seem as if all along I’d been going for the pepper shaker. However convincing my act was, Nathan still gave me the awkward side eye.

‘Excuse me for a second.’ I said, pushing my chair back and leaving the room. I power-walked into the bathroom. I leaned against the sink, looking at my reflection. Was I okay? Could I really take this? I heard someone coming up the stairs so I quickly wiped my eyes where the mascara had slightly rubbed off and put a big smile on.

Nathan pushed the door open. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. Before I had too much time to get lost in his smile that I once fell in love with, I looked down, pretending to straighten my dress out.

‘Are you okay?’ He asked.

Have you ever been perfectly fine until someone asks you that very question? Because you’re so not used to anyone wanting to know how you feel anymore, and it triggers every hurt from the past to flood right back?

Tears were rolling down my cheeks. My vision became blurry, and Nathan’s arms pulled me in for a hug. We stood embraced in that bathroom as if he’d never really left and I had an idea.

‘Nathan, I need to tell you something,’ I sobbed. ‘I never stopped loving you. Since the day you walked out of your home to leave for Australia, I haven’t been able to move on. You can’t just move on from someone like you. I love you, Nathan, and I’d be the biggest liar if I told you that I could go a day without you on my mind.’

Nathan looked right into my eyes. ‘The truth is, everything about us I fell in love with. You were always my rock, Maya. I still love you and I still care about you but you’ve got to understand that I’ve had to move on. i still love you, M, even though I don’t really show it.’

My eyes sparkled.

***

‘Where did you two go?’ Jade asked, stuffing turkey down her mouth.

‘Maya went to the bathroom and I waited outside, then we switched and came down.’ Nathan said casually, sitting down next to Anaia.

‘So, who wants cake? Extra sugary with triple chocolate.’ I announced.

‘Oh, no thank you, too much sugar is bad for the baby.’ Chloe smiled, rubbing her stomach.

‘Baby?’ I asked, dropping the cake platter. Everyone’s eyes were laid on me, wondering what was wrong. Muttering something under my breath, I grabbed my jacket and stormed out of my house. I was walking down the street, in the direction of the beach, when a pair of nervous heels caught up to me. Toni was tugging at my arm, attempting to get me to stop. I was so angry and heartbroken that I didn’t even look back until she screamed, ‘MAYA!’.

‘What?’ I snapped back. It was dark and freezing outside, so we were both shivering. She had her arms crossed and her hair a mess from running after me, but the look on her face could’ve killed.

‘Do you still have feelings for Nathan? Did you ever even stop?' She demanded.

‘I-I don’t know, Toni... Just go back inside. I need to think about everything that just happened- alone.’ I was about to turn back to carry on with my journey when she suddenly started shouting.

‘Stop believing everything Nathan says. I heard you! I was right outside. Do you realise that no matter what Nathan says, he’s still going to get on a plane, still going to go back to Melbourne, and still going to be the father of Chloe’s child?! He doesn’t really care about you, to him you were NOTHING but a silly teenage romance!’

I looked at her face- it was so full of rage. You know the best feeling is the one you get when you’re so done with someone that their pouring their opinion out to you doesn’t even matter anymore. You don’t bother explain yourself or fighting for them because you just don’t care. And that’s exactly how I felt.

I shrugged my shoulders and smirked. I once again tried to carry on walking when she shouted something at me.

‘Maya, I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep on loving someone who can only love me with half their heart.’

‘Ha, who said I ever even loved you in the first place?'

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