Previous Chapter Summary:

After the dinner party hosted by Jon's parents, Rachel discovers a newfound assertiveness in her. She spites Lorraine by saying that she and Jay are officially a couple. Unfortunately this gets regurgitated through the grapevine and now she is also at the centre of gossip. And Jay's kissing her in front of a large crowd, one notably including Jon, doesn't really help much.

Chapter Twelve: Where Mysteries Lie

Time is a circle

Not a line

He didn't know what he was thinking. He just needed to shut her up – for a girl so quiet she could be awfully annoying and obnoxious at times.

He sent Jon one triumphant smirk, saw the desired hurt reflected in his cousin's eyes, and leaned down. Everything was going right, he was simply paying back what was long overdue, karma was in control, and Jay knew his revenge would taste sweet in the form of Rachel's surprised lips. He brought her closer and looked into her eyes, which were brown and clouded like thick, melted chocolate. He could barely savour it any longer and tilting her chin up slightly with one crooked finger, he brought his face down to hers.

Then everything was gone.

At first, I didn't realise what was happening. I was so deeply immersed in Jay's entrancing stare that I barely comprehended the foreign feeling. The feeling of Jay's lips on mine. My initial reactions were "He has a death wish!" and "Get off me!" but it was hard to distinguish which one came first as they both were, in a way, synonymous. I was ready to push him off me, I had a fist positioned against his chest and the bitter bile of fury coming from my chest. But as I opened my mouth in formation of an angry protest, I only deepened the kiss as Jay's tongue explored mine.

I became lost.

It was my first kiss after all and upon realising it, my brain went into a panic mode with angry thoughts of "Argh! He's stealing my first!" followed closely "Why...why … does it have to be him?" I was never a romantic, but nonetheless I wasn't exactly thrilled with a guy forcing his tongue down my throat.

Yet was it really like that? He wasn't really forcing, but exploring and with such grace coming only from experience. It felt kind of nice actually and a familiar tingle in my heart reignited again, a hesitant flame that burned until I became scared of its intensity.

I shoved him away from me, avoiding his eyes, and felt my heated cheeks. It was only then did someone turn the volume up and I realised with incredible self-consciousness of the eyes of the large crowd around us and the buzz of its voice.

"Oh my god!"

"So it's for real then!"

"Who ever would have thought?"

Some people even cheered and wolf-whistled.

But they were merely a blur to me, except for one face.

Jonathon Liams looked at me with this hurt and disappointed expression that could have shattered my heart if it wasn't already so broken up in the first place. His wide hazel eyes seemed to have lost their sparkle and when our eyes met, he couldn't look at me anymore. Instead he looked down at the ground and stumbled out of the circle, disappearing into the crowd.

I was confused and at loss of what to do. However Jay seemed to find a solution for me as he grabbed my wrist and lead me through the crowd. I didn't resist because the other, and worse, prospect was being left alone in a gossiping and unfriendly mass. So I tried not to look at those around me as Jay pulled on my wrist; eyes trailing the ground until a bright splash of light hit them suddenly and I realised we were outside and approaching the car park. I was so numb with the shock of what had happened that it didn't register in my mind of what Jay was doing until we were both seated in his Porsche. There was a long strained silence between us until I abruptly turned around in my seat and asked bluntly in one simple word.


Jay slowly dragged his eyes to mirror my own in such a careless way that the blue depths infuriated me.

A smirk twitched at his lips. "Why what?"

I exploded. "The kiss you idiot! Why did you do that!" It sounded stupid as it came out of my mouth and my cheeks would have tinged if they weren't already flustered with anger.

"Why did you do that!"

For the first time, James Richemont could not give a sufficient answer.

Jay merely shrugged and turned on the ignition.

"I reckon that's enough school for one day," he said casually as he steered his Porsche out of the school driveway.

I opened my mouth to protest but then again … what was I protesting for? Did I object to being taken away from Hillside's gossip mill who was now probably having their run of the century with this bizarre new "love triangle" between their two most adored bachelors and some loner girl? I couldn't go back, I wouldn't be able to stand the malicious whispers behind my back, the eyes burning into my skin. I had two free periods today anyway, and some break from this drama of my love life – or lack of – was well deserved.

Except not with Jay.

I glared at him and at the same time I noticed how a spark of silver flashed off his lip ring. I nervously licked my lips at where he kissed me and with a jolt, I realised that during the kiss, I didn't feel the harsh metal at all. It was as though it acted as a superficial barrier to his most intimate thoughts. That the real Jay wasn't as cold as he made himself seem.

I shook my head, clearing me of my reverie. "I want you to take me back to my house," I ordered him in my act of defiance.

He merely raised a cool eyebrow. "And whatever made you think I was planning otherwise?" Jay drawled.

I seethed but it took much effort, on my reluctant behalf, to put all the homicidal thoughts out of my head. The only reason why I succeeded was because the last thing I needed was to be turned into some femme fatale by the grapevine. Instead I ignored him during the entire car ride, choosing to gaze out of the window instead. The wind was blowing fervently outside and as we waited by a red light, a small red leaf on a gnarled, dark oak caught my eye. It was struggling vehemently against the crooked roots that bound it to the darkness, aching to dance with the wind that was so lithe and … free. I saw how with one fierce tug, the little leaf pulled itself from the withered tree and in another motion so swift and fluent, it became part of the wind. It was then that I came up with my definite resolution.

I was going to rid myself of any associations with Jay from this point forth.

I was going to break the twisted remnants of our relationship once and for all, severing the last of the inexplicable ties that managed to bind us together. I was tired of figuring what the hell everything meant and now I was going to do something about it. The wind had seeped through the gaps of my open window and it felt cool on my face.

So when Jay cruised to a smooth stop by my driveway, I swiftly got out and without even giving a further glance to him, I slammed the car door behind me.

Unfortunately this was not before a sapphire glint managed to catch onto the shiny surface of his Porsche and I saw the depths of his eyes once again. It was the essence of deception.

Muttering curses under my breath, my hands fumbled for the house keys and I eased myself back "home". But I barely managed a few steps forward when a voice sent chills down my back.

"Wh- Who's there?" Mother's voice rang through the deserted hall.

I didn't have time to answer before I heard the clank of expensive heels against the wooden floor and saw her beautiful face. I struck me there of how odd she sounded when she greeted me, as though her throat was constricted and strained.

She halted when she spotted me.

"Oh … I was expecting-"- she started but then her emerald eyes turned a deadly shade of green. "What are you doing here!"

I backed away as she advanced threateningly near, a sick sense of déjà vu washing over me like a black wave. I felt the cold glass of the window pressing against my back as I cowered from her.

"I … I…" My words were caught in my breath and I couldn't find a reasonable excuse to defend myself.

"You are not supposed to be here!" she hissed, getting nearer. "What are you doing? Sneaking about like a filthy rat, I suppose."

"No," I tried to sound less frightened but I was sure she saw through it. I trembled. "I…"

Then she raised her French-manicured hand and I braced myself, closing my eyes.

The blow didn't come.

The blow didn't come because there was some impatient banging on the front door even though we had a bell.

Mother looked as astonished as I must have been and raised an annoyed eyebrow at the disturbance. Not before sending a venomous glare my way, she strode towards the front door and opened it.

"Excuse me-" she began. I saw her eyes widen in shock and her previously angry red lips curved into an ugly fake smile. I dared to turn my head to look at the intruder … and my possible saviour.

It was Jay.

If I wasn't so numb, my jaw would have hit the floor. I assumed that he had sped away after I left his car but no, here he was carelessly handsome as ever, his dark silhouette leaning against the frame our door.

"James Richemont!" Mother tried to correct herself. "What a … a surprise to see you here."

"It shouldn't be much of a surprise," answered Jay coolly, surveying her with an unreadable expression. His sapphire eyes caught me standing behind Mother and he continued. "Aren't you aware that I am Rachel's boyfriend?"

"What, I mean, yes, why of course I knew," stammered Mother unable to tear herself away from her false pretence of politeness.

And I noticed that Jay was taller than Mother.

"Well in that case expect to see me around me often," continued Jay, not removing his gaze from her. "I was just stopping by to check if Rach was okay. She wasn't feeling very well today."

"Ah.." was all Mother could reply.

"Rach," Jay came over to me and slung his arms around my shoulders. "Let's go to your room."

"Uh…okay?" I said idiotically, still not adjusted to the rollercoaster of my emotions – from anger, to fear and now to absolute shock. Then it began to spiral rapidly downwards into shame.

We quickly climbed up the stairs and once we arrived at my room, I shut the door. I turned around to confront Jay and lost the courage almost immediately. My cheeks suddenly felt very flushed and I couldn't meet his gaze.

All I was thinking was how much did he see?

He had seen it through the front window.

Aurelin was backed against it and he saw the silhouette of a raised hand on the wall beside her. Before he could make a conscious decision, he was striding up the pavement and banging against the front door.

It was then, as his fist made contact with the hard wood, did he realise how furious he was. For some reason, that sight disturbed him and tugged at the memories that were still too fresh for comfort.

And now …

He was standing in front of this girl, this girl who, he didn't realise until a few moments ago, was so strong.

He surveyed her frame and somewhere inside of him approved that she looked nothing like Lorraine.

I didn't know what to do and I never felt so ashamed in my life. Sure I had told Jay that Mother hit me and yeah, he did seem sympathetic about it at the time. But it was for an illusionary night only and things like that were much easier to talk about in the shadows. To have proof in broad day-light was too real, too vivid for my comfort. It made the whole nightmare worse that somebody other than Lorraine and Mother experienced it because it meant that I could no longer convince myself that I was imagining it more terrible than it really was … because that person could prove it as otherwise and I wouldn't be able to handle it. A small part of me was still hoping that Jay hadn't seen a thing and that he was feeling incredibly hungry and invaded my house solely on that account.

Jay was wearing this intense stare that was starting to unnerve me.

"You were right," he spoke finally.

"A…about what?" I croaked out.

"The things you said that night when we were at my apartment."

I raised my eyes in disbelief. I didn't count on him actually remembering the incident. Our eyes locked and his blue eyes suddenly, and inexplicably, reminded me of raindrops. My own brown eyes started to water, but I did not break the gaze, because of this weird feeling I had as I stared into those shadowy orbs. The feeling swirled around me like water … it was like it was telling me that it wasn't my fault, so I had no reason to be ashamed…

A shrill telephone pierced the air and ruined the moment. As the ringing died away with Mother undoubtedly answering it, I felt embarrassed and my eyes were once again attracted to the carpet.

As I studied the patterns of my own carpet, I realised that I was failing terribly in my plan. I was supposed to ignore him, dammit! Inviting him into my room wasn't exactly termed as a smooth start to avoidance. Yet I didn't exactly invite him – he kind of invited himself…

"Why?" I demanded. "Why did you come?"

He looked surprised and he stumbled slightly, as if he was caught off guard.

"I thought it was obvious, Rach," his deep voice was barely more than a whisper.

He studied me closely before answering.

"It looked like you needed someone there for you."

Somewhere deep inside of me started crying.

It started off as a gasp of disbelief, then the realisation sunk in and the sobs came out. It came out in suppressed waves at first, but then it was louder, stronger and a distant wailing filled my head. I cocked my head to one side as if to tip the thought out, noticing how clear the sound was even if it was just in my mind.

Then I realised it was too clear, too defined for such and did not come from me. I cried in silence and this woman was on the brink of agonizing despair. I looked at Jay and saw through his puzzled expression that he had heard it to. Confusion plagued on me as I wondered who it was that was crying. There wasn't anyone except …

"Oh my God," I breathed in and pulled upon the door. Jay was right behind me.

Even before I cleared the steps, I knew it was her.

Mother was sprawled on the ground, sobbing hysterically into a saturated handkerchief, a discarded telephone on the floor not too far away. She looked a mess as her make-up was smeared like a perverse clown and her eyes were rolling in their sockets. The sight scared me and I felt myself back into Jay.

Then I caught the whites of those lolling eyes – which were hard to believe that only a few minutes ago they were hard crystals – and saw an emotion that I had never thought her capable of. I saw fear.

I knelt close to her, taking her hand gently into my own.

"Mother," I whispered. "It's … okay. What's wrong?"

Her eyes were blind as they met my own.

"The test was positive, it came back positive," she repeated compulsively under her breath. "Positive … positive. It came back … she came back."

Mother wasn't making any sense.

"Call the ambulance," I directed Jay who was already palming his mobile phone in his hand. "She's suffering from some sort of hallucination or fit. Hurry!"

At that moment, the front door burst open and a man strode past us, pulling me away from Mother. It was my Dad with worry etched over all the lines of his face.

"Rebecca, Rebecca," he was saying. "I'm here. I got your call." Helplessly, he grabbed her hand and tried to soothe her by stroking it. "It's okay. Everything's going to be alright."

But she didn't believe him.

She continued lying on the floor, sobbing frantically and acted as though she was possessed by something. As she trembled on the floor, flaying about slightly, she caught a sight of me and started screaming.

Dad rounded on me.

"Go!" he commanded, already pulling stunned Jay and me towards the front door. "Go!"

"But.." I protested weakly.

The door was already shut.

I heard Mother's whimpering through the wood and I found myself tangled in a deeper and thicker web of questions. What was going on? Nobody would tell me and somehow I seemed to be in the middle of all of this.

The wind slapped me across the face and it was with this strike did I realise what a foolish girl I was. My mind was cast back to that leaf, that redness in the midst of black. I thought it was free when it escaped from the ancient oak but now I knew I was wrong.

It was the wind that was forcing the leaf to break away from its protective branch and now it was all alone. It was stranded by the wind because it did not have the invisibility to be truly a part of it nor could it go back as it was so swept up. Lost in the wind, which breathed the secrets of troubled souls.

In this way, I couldn't give up the struggle, I couldn't just avoid certain people and hope for a return to normalcy. No, I couldn't leave all this mystery hanging. There was so much about and I was surrounded by it … with Jay, Jon, Dad, my dead mother and now even Mother. I was bound to my roots and this was where I should stay for I sensed how something was underpinning all of this. And it was time I learnt the truth. No pretences now, no hiding. I was going to get to the bottom of all of this, untangling the mysteries that the wind held to find the answers I needed.

I turned against the wind, ignoring its howls of protest.

Yes I've updated again! I really shouldn't be doing this now as I've got my yearly exams barely weeks away but I couldn't resist. Thanks for all my readers and guess what? I've been nominated for the SKOW Awards for this story under Most Memorable – Incomplete!! So if you guys have the time and like this story, check out this site under freewebs. Thanks so much for reading this and bearing with me!

gulistanlik: Wow amazingly close theory. Getting there ;)

RunBabyRun: Yep, I do have pics of Jay on my profile page so do check them out and give me a comment on what you think. I should be adding a new one of him there too.

Fairytale Gurl: Rest assured, none of my characters are shallow enough to be simply classified as a "villain". So thumbs up for Jon.

Emaryllis: Thanks for your review and I'm glad you're liking what I do!

jane speaks: Thanks! I really appreciate how you found Rachel's character identifiable with.

Silveralsa: I'm a bit short of time at the moment, but after I'm done with my exams I'll have a look in at your story.

xonea: thanks! I'm glad you like the pics!

MizSphinx: Yeah, lol, Jon is pretty hot in his own way too. I'm going to add a face picture of Jay soon so tell me what you think of that! Thanks for your review!

Faedora: Who did I use for Jon? Lol, he's pretty famous so I was surprised that people didn't seem to recognize him at first. Let me give you a clue: his initials are J. M.

noriepie: "He's more mysterious and she's going to find out all about his secrets and they are going to fall in love..." LOL! I love your optimism!

everlastingxwish: Humour, yes I've been thinking about that and I've written a couple of scenes with humour in them. Trouble is, that when I go to add them to the story, they don't really seem to fit in and they clash with the whole atmosphere/setting in that chapter. I'll try though…!

LozZie: Yes, I'm going to add another pic of Jay so you can see him better. ;)

Ms.Romantic: Merci pour la correction !

October Rose and Oooh.Look.A Cat: Eek! Yes, I thought the chapter would be out in under a week too, 'cept then my laptop crashed! Sorry!

acandycoatedmassacre: I hope you are still alive though I might have unintentionally killed you with my lack of updating!