Thank you for the reviews everyone! Also, I'm sorry if I have disappointed anyone of you with the whole Neil planning to get back together with Rose. I promise I'll make it up to you! ;)
Aaand, readinglover, I'm thinking you'll like this chapter. :D
Things Get Out of Hand
Quinn bit her lips. Oh how she wished now that she could swap bodies with a random someone in the city and deal with something else other than what was going to befall her soon!
"Go on, tell Mom and Dad, if you can," Heather said gently.
"I can't," Quinn said. "I…I will. But not now," she added hastily in case Heather got any other ideas.
"When exactly? It's better to tell them now than later when it's too late."
"Too late? Too late for what?" Quinn asked.
"Too late when they know that you and Neil was all act on their own," Heather shrugged.
"They wouldn't know," Quinn said.
"They would if I told them. You can't expect me to keep my mouth shut now that I know," Heather said in a matter of fact tone.
"You know-all my life, I've covered for you. Know why? Because I care about you. I would have never wanted you to look bad in front of Mom and Dad. Why can't you do the same for me?"
"You are telling me this Quinn? After all your moral talk I've endured for years and I finally embrace them? No. I wouldn't just sit and watch you play with my family's emotions."
"Dammit, Heather! It's my family in question too! I just can't tell them all now! I need some time."
"Time for what?"
Heather gave Quinn a pitiful look and turned towards her mother who had just peeped into the kitchen to find her daughters talking.
"Why don't you ask Quinn, Mom? She can tell you better," Heather said, folding her arms.
Mrs. Monroe gave Heather a confused smile and stepped into the kitchen.
"What is it, honey?" she asked, placing a hand on Quinn's shoulder.
Quinn was close to hyperventilating. She didn't want to lie. She had lied enough. Maybe Heather was right. It's better to get it out all into the open and get it over with. It didn't matter if it made her a bad person in front of her family. What mattered was that by admitting the deceit she had subjected her family to, she would not have to pretend anymore.
"Mom," she spoke out, and she thought her voice belonged to someone else. It was just a whisper.
"Yes?" Mrs. Monroe leaned in to listen.
"I'm sorry," Quinn said.
Her voice trembled and her eyes remained trained onto the floor.
"What happened, Quinn dear?"
Mrs. Monroe's face had been etched with worry. What could have happened that Quinn had to look so guilty and sad? Her fingers gently stroked through Quinn's hair and she waited for her to continue.
Somehow Heather wasn't helping her now. She just stood watching the drama unfold. What a traitor!
Quinn cast a sideways look at her sister, and Heather shook her head.
"I lied to you-to all of you," Quinn said. "The truth is-Neil's not my boyfriend."
"What are you talking about, honey?" Mrs. Monroe's hand stilled in its motion of stroking.
"It's true," Heather said.
Finally found her voice now, huh?
"Neil is not Quinn's boyfriend. It was all a set up. She thought she should bring along a boyfriend so that all of us think that she is finally over Will. So she made the thing up."
"Not all of it."
The interruption caused the three to look up.
Quinn wasn't expecting him. At all.
Heather scowled at the intruder, and Mrs. Monroe just looked puzzled.
"It's true that Neil isn't Quinn's boyfriend. But that doesn't mean she made the whole thing up. She is going out with me," Liam said.
"WHAT?" Heather cried.
"Hold on," Mrs. Monroe asked, feeling more and more confused. "So Quinn lied to us about seeing Neil but she's actually seeing you?"
"Yes, that's correct," Liam nodded.
Quinn's mouth was hanging open. Why was Liam doing this to her? Why was he telling another lie for her?
"That's-" Quinn opened her mouth to call off the bluff but Liam cut in.
"We have been having some issues for a while. We had a major fight and we stopped talking. Quinn didn't know what to do when Adam called her to the family gathering that day. So she called up Neil. Neil felt bad for Quinn so he agreed to come as her fake boyfriend. I came along today, because Quinn and I have talked out our problems and we wanted to tell you all everything but Quinn was afraid that all of you would not approve of what she had done. But Heather overheard us talking about it just now and Quinn didn't have any other option than to tell you right away."
Quinn was looking directly at Liam, her face pale and free of expressions.
What the hell did Liam think he was doing? Was he trying to do her a favour? And by doing this he was putting her into more trouble! How would she call off the lie now?
Liam nodded at her and smiled.
"Mrs. Monroe, if it's anyone's fault, it's mine. I should have-"
"Wait a sec!" Heather interrupted. "Earlier today, when I asked Quinn if you are single or not, Quinn replied in the negative. How do you explain that?" She narrowed her eyes at Liam and gave her a challenging look.
"That's because Quinn and I are going out, Heather. How can't you not figure that out yet?" Liam said flatly.
Quinn actually wanted to laugh out even in that dire situation. Yes, someone needed to tell Heather off! Lately, she had been trying to be a very annoying nosy sister!
"I…well, this is awkward," Heather said. "Should've figured out when you were latching that chain onto her neck. Well, now that everything's out in the open, let's go and tell Adam and Dad, shall we?" She spared Liam a smile that looked more like a grimace and stalked out of the kitchen.
"Quinn…" Mrs. Monroe touched Quinn's arm. "You should have told us earlier. But, well, it's fine. You did what you thought was right at that moment although it wasn't the best of things to let us believe that Neil is your boyfriend. And Liam, whatever the reason was for that disagreement between the two of you, I earnestly hope you have resolved it entirely and you wouldn't upset my daughter again."
"Yes, of course, Mrs. Monroe," Liam said instantly. "That argument we had was the single most heart wrenching thing that happened to me after my Dad died. So, I'm not planning to do that with Quinn or with myself again."
How effortlessly he lied!-Quinn thought.
Mrs. Monroe patted Quinn's shoulder. "I will go see if Heather's making a huge deal about everything or not. It would have been better if both of you had told us earlier than Heather knowing it all beforehand. You know, she can be very…difficult, sometimes."
Quinn nodded feebly and gave her amazing mother a watery smile. She hadn't realise she was crying. Her mother had been so understanding throughout the whole thing and it killed Quinn to think that she was allowing another lie to brew and deceiving her family once again.
Mrs. Monroe offered Liam a smile and ambled outside.
Quinn brushed away the tears from her eyes and glared at Liam.
"Thank you, Liam. Thanks a lot. You have just made it all the more difficult for me to deal with this!"
"Listen, Quinn, I know this wasn't a right thing to do. But this buys you time to sort out your priorities. With Neil thinking of getting back together with Rose, you really didn't have much choice. You have to tell your family sooner or later. But I helped you out now so that you don't come off being a pathetic, desperate person who just wanted a boyfriend to show off."
"Isn't that what I actually did, Liam? And when I finally tell them, isn't that what they are going to think of me? So why come to my rescue? Why tell another lie to save my ass? Why put me more into turmoil?"
Liam hated that expression on Quinn's face. Just a few minutes ago, her face was blank, and that was better than the expression it was bearing now. Quinn looked torn, ashamed, almost defeated and weak-like she couldn't prevent yet another lie. And all because he tried to be the knight in shining armour.
Why was he such a dick?
"Quinn, I thought it would help the situation. You know-everyone would be upset if they found out now."
"You ruined everything. I was about to tell Mom…" Quinn trailed off. She sighed and walked out, leaving Liam feeling pissed at himself.
Everyone in the living room had grown quiet.
Mr. Monroe cleared his throat to dissolve the tension.
"Let's not ponder over it now," he said. "Quinn, honey, don't beat yourself up over it anymore. We are all fine with it."
"Although, it would have been cooler if she was dating Neil instead of Liam," Adam added. "No offence, Liam."
Liam exchanged glances with Neil, who was sitting stoically still and giving Liam a 'you're-so-dead' look.
"It's okay, Adam," Liam smiled. "I'm really sorry that a simple argument between Quinn and I caused so much…confusion."
Quinn managed a smile. "It's getting late. I think we should go." She looked over at her mother.
"Oh well," her mother smiled at her. "If you must. You know-I'm still waiting for you to come back, Quinn. If you want to."
"I want to," Quinn nodded. "I really want to. I'll come back permanently by next week, I promise."
Mrs. Monroe hugged her daughter then. Although the atmosphere had turned gloomy for a while, it looked like everyone had taken it well (Heather of course kept grumbling and muttering things like-'this doesn't feel right') and was giving her the warm treatment they always did.
After saying goodbye to everyone, Quinn, Liam and Neil walked outside.
Neil held the front door open for her instinctively, but she shook her head.
"I will take a cab back to my apartment," she said.
"Quinn, if you aren't coming because of me, then I will go off separately. You go along with Neil," Liam said.
"Thanks for trying to be overtly generous and screwing everything up again and again!" Quinn said in a quiet but angry voice. "I don't need any more favours!"
"Quinn, Liam, stop. Whatever happened couldn't have happened any better. For the time being, can we just forget about it? Please? Quinn, hop in. Your family is going to think something's up. We'll drop you off."
Quinn hesitated for a while and stepped in the front seat. Then she realised that she wasn't doing the whole pretence of being Neil's girlfriend anymore. So she stepped out again.
"I'll take the backseat," she said, as she moved past Liam who was planning to sit in the back.
Now he had lost Quinn for real. There was no way she was going to think nice of him again.
The last of the cardboard cartons were filled and ready to be loaded into the cargo waiting downstairs.
Quinn gave her apartment one last sweeping look and tried to take in the loss of livelihood it now held.
She was leaving it for good.
She wanted to return to her family home so badly that as soon as she had returned that night she had started packing.
She hadn't talked to Neil or Liam after that night.
The drive back home was terribly uncomfortable. No one spoke. And Liam didn't try being his sardonic self. As soon as they had arrived at her place, she had opened up the door and walked away without another word. She hadn't regretted not saying goodbye.
She had been pissed as hell at Liam. And she didn't want to bring herself to think that her one stupid wish to make her family believe that she was dealing really well with her sister dating her ex could bring such a monumental change in her relationship with the two brothers.
It was her fault entirely, for dragging them into her lie. She was a coward. She could not deal with her own miseries alone. And now it had all gone horribly wrong. She didn't know if she could look at Neil and Liam again without feeling guilty of dragging them into her personal life.
But right now, she couldn't bring herself to talk to any of them.
She felt desperately lonely once again. After Will had dumped her, she had left her family behind to be by herself and deal with the pain alone. And now that she had gotten herself two friends-Liam and Neil-fate had to be brutal to her again.
To think that she ever had a crush on Liam, and she even kissed Neil and thought he was incredibly good-looking.
Her life was now just a meaningless tangle. Sure, her family hadn't fussed over the whole thing, but it made her feel even more upset than if they had. Because now she hated herself for going back again, seeking some sort of comfort in her family home, since she couldn't bring herself to talk to any of the two brothers. She was distancing herself from them and that antique shop of theirs.
She sat lightly atop the carton and bit her lips. Why did she always run away when things upsetted her? Why couldn't she just face her problems?
There was a knock on her door which had been left open since her things were being carried down now and then.
"Miss?" the man at the door asked. "Can we take that down?"
Quinn stood up and nodded. The man, followed by another man came in and dragged the carton downstairs.
Three days. Three days she hadn't talked to Neil and Liam.
She didn't know when they would talk again-if ever.
"Liam?" Allison snapped her fingers in front of him. "Where did you get lost?"
She laughed as Liam turned to look at her abruptly.
He shifted slightly away from Allison in the couch, and that made Allison scoot closer to him.
"I've been noticing that you are spacing out now and then. What's the matter?" she asked, brushing his arm with her fingers.
"Nothing," he said.
"There's obviously something you are keeping from me. What is it? Won't you tell me?" she asked.
"There's nothing, Ally," he said. "I'm sorry I can't stay for the entire movie. I am feeling very drowsy."
"Stay over then," she smiled, leaning in to kiss his neck.
"Not today," he said. He pulled away Allison's hand from his arm and stood up.
"You're leaving?" she asked. "Liam, the movie's gonna end in like twenty minutes!"
"Allison, I'm just not feeling up to it," he said. She nodded as if a realization had suddenly hit her.
"Don't think I haven't been noticing how you are pulling away from me lately," Allison said, as she stood up too. She folded her arms.
"No, Liam-save whatever crap you are going to come up with!" she said. "I've known you long enough to know that you have probably found another girl who interests you more and you are going to dump me soon enough."
Liam opened his mouth to protest but Allison was indeed right. The only trouble was that the girl in question was never ever going to speak to him again.
"I thought so," Allison said when Liam didn't break the silence. "Let's make this easier for both of us, okay? I don't want to see you again, Liam. It's over for us. You can show yourself out."
Liam gave her a dazed slash disbelieving look and Allison rolled her eyes.
"Yes, I just dumped you. Haven't you ever been dumped in your life, Stuart?" She shook her head and said, "chauvinistic douche!"
She walked up to the door and held it open for him.
Liam shrugged and gave her a weary look before seeing himself out.
What a break up!
That's about it! What did you think of it? Please let me know!
And thanks for reading!
P.S: I have changed my penname from ScarletScars to Elusive Lucidity. I hope it didn't cause you any trouble! :O