Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chapter Twenty

The next morning I woke up and Jace was not in his bed. I ran to the bathroom to hop in the shower and nearly had a heart attack when I ran into Jace in the shower. "Sorry you startled me," I said laughing. "What are you doing?" I asked him. "Well, we have no hot water. I called the landlord and he said he would send someone in a few days," Jace stopped working to stand up and look me. "That means it'll never happen," he grinned.

I let Jace continue to work and I went into the kitchen to start breakfast. Jace made me dinner last night so I decided to treat him to my famous waffles. I was somewhat of a natural cook and happy to show off my talents a little.

Jace finished fixing the shower and joined me for breakfast. After we were done eating, Jace tried his hand at fixing the television while I did dishes. Neither of us talked, as usual, and I was okay with that. The silence between us was already comfortable. I was very happy with my new life.

The day progressed normally. I worked my regular shift and Jace played the guitar all afternoon. He had an indie/alternative feel to his music that I just loved. After work, Jace told me he had an interview at a dance club called The Brightmore and he asked if I would join him. Knots formed in my stomach. I had only been to the library, diner, and work since I left Matthew. I didn't want to risk running into him. I declined politely but Jace was insistent. "Look, I'm kind of a homebody like you are, and for good reason. Truth is, I don't want to go by myself," he explained. I could relate to that. I sighed. "Let me grab my coat," I told him. 

The Brightmore was amazing. The lights were pulsating and the music was so loud I could feel it. I smiled when I walked in. I use to love places like this before I met Matthew. I was glad a little piece of me still felt that way.

After Jace had his interview, we hit the dance floor for a few hours. For the first time in forever, I was actually having fun. I had a few drinks and let the music take me away. It felt good to let my walls down. Eventually though, I tired. I offered to go grab us some more to drink.

I stood at the bar and ordered our cocktails. I sat there, smiling, reflecting on how much fun I was having when I heard a familiar voice behind me. My throat felt like it was closing. I began to sweat and my breathing became irregular. couldn't be...

I casually glanced over my shoulder and felt my heart sink. It was Matthew. My insides coiled and my heart rate accelerated. The bartender handed me my drink. I took it with shaking hands. Just act normal and get the hell out of here, I told myself.

I took a sip to wet my dry mouth and turned to leave. You've got me kidding me. Jace had introduced himself to Matthew and was asking for his autograph. I heard Jace talking about playing a gig here in a few weeks. Matthew, as he always was, played the charismatic good guy. They talked about guitar brands for a few minutes.

I brought the drink to my mouth and walked past them, hoping to get by unnoticed. I heard a man's voice call my name. My fake one, fortunately.

"Lily!" shouted Jace. I stopped and slowly turned around, keeping my head down. "Hey! Look at that! Matthew Hamming is here! Come on, he said he would give you an autograph too," Jace said as he grabbed my hand and started leading me over towards Matthew. I stopped him dead in his tracks and pulled my hand away.

I looked up. Matthew was distracting himself with some bimbo in a mini. I couldn't keep it together any longer. I dropped my drink and put my hands up to cover my face. "Jace, I need to get out of here...right now!" I shouted.

"Lily, are you okay," he asked, his voice filled with concern. He put his hand on my shoulder. "Look, whatever this is, I can help. Just tell me what's wrong," he said comfortingly.

I shoved his arm off me and I continued to freak out. "What's wrong is you shouldn't have pressured me to come here!" I screamed at him. He looked hurt but I was too panicked to stay and comfort him. Fear dictated my every action at that moment. I looked up and Matthew was gone. I knew I had to get out of there.

I ran to elevator. "Hold that door!" I shouted. An arm stuck out of the elevator to stop the door from closing. I froze in my tracks. Matthew was staring straight at me. If I turned around and ran, surely Matthew would know it was me. I couldn't draw that kind of attention to myself.

I slipped quietly inside the elevator and turned my head away from Matthew. He glanced at me but his face showed no signs of recognition. The elevator smelled like day old liquor. Matthew could hardly stand up straight. I had a feeling he was so drunk he wouldn't even be able to recognize me with my blonde hair.

The elevator doors opened and I was the first to exit. As soon as my feet hit the lobby I took off in a sprint. I ran all the way home, never once looking back.

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