My mother was coming over for brunch one Saturday, meaning she was coming to talk. Our best conversations were over special meals, and for this occasion I was making my Spinach lasagna. Needless to say I had a hunch on the topic of conversation that would take place; but there was more depth in the details that she didn't know.
As time went by, I continued to strive to be that caring girlfriend that Terri needed. But I was beginning to see another side to him that I hoped would only last as long as this 'phase'. I watched his obsession with going back to Afghanistan and his hatred for the people there grow. He was constantly reading up on their news on his laptop while we watched a movie together. Or he'd call his First Sergeant and argue that he needed to be on that next deployment if not sooner. His mind was always 'out there' and never next to me.
Then came the mood swings whenever he randomly saw something that triggered a memory. He'd turn stone cold and remain angry and unpleasant to be around. I hate to admit that my love for this person was fading. I wanted to stick it out as I had hoped to see some kind of improvement in time; but it just got uglier. And then I was getting tired, bitter and unexcited to see him; but I felt as though I owed him.
The kitchen timer rang, it was time to take out the lasagna and let it cool. My mother must have smelt it from down stairs as I instantly heard a knock on the door. She surprised me with some flowers for our brunch and I went to add them immediately to our table display. I loved my mother dearly as you already know, but when she spoke her wise words it was best that heeded to them. Though as I predicted, her worried mind didn't stay mute for much longer.
"How have you been sweetie?" She began.
"Well not to toot my own horn, but there are a lot of requests for my raspberry white chocolate and lemon cheesecake at the restaurant." I smiled, avoiding the obvious.
"That's lovely honey. I'm so proud of you for doing so well. But honey I worry for you every night. You look so tired every time I see you and I know it's not just from work." She said squeezing my hand on the table.
"Mom, I don't think I can do it anymore." I broke out of my thin shell and wept.
"Honey, no one is expecting you to be the hero and save him. We are all grieving over what's been happening. But you are MY daughter and I want what's best for you. And I believe this relationship is doing more harm than good."
"I would feel horrible to abandon him mom."
"You're not abandoning him. He will always have you around. We are his family and we will be here for him. But right now his destructive way of thinking is only wearing on you…I spoke with Devin and apparently everyone at your work agrees; you're not the same Brynn. It's affecting you too now."
I hadn't noticed that I too was being 'affected'? I guess it took an outsider to make me realize that, and if it was going to be anyone to tell me it had to be my mother; or else I'd probably get defensive about it.
"So you think it is okay that I break up with him?"
"Honestly, I encourage it."
"You don't think that would make it worse?"
"A little time and space will take care of that." She assured me.
I decided to go pay Terri a visit the next day. Now that I felt less obligated to this unhappy relationship I saw no reason to delay the inevitable; as cruel as that may sound. I updated Janet on every possible detail you could imagine between Terri and I; including the missing puzzle pieces of Aaron. She insisted on coming with me. You couldn't imagine the relief of her loyalty and support for me regardless the fact that Terri was still her uncle.
We met up with Isaiah at Camp Pendleton and Janet stayed with him while I met up with Terri; I was supposed to meet him in the cafeteria. There were a couple of Marines inside, so I thought maybe a walk would be a better option. I heard some more people coming and they had the worst vulgar English I had ever heard. I couldn't wait to see the creep that spoke like that; disappointment doesn't begin to describe my feelings as I witnessed Terri lead the pack.
He sat next to me like nothing; he didn't even notice my disgust. I didn't recognize this person and I didn't know how to go about this break up. To make matters worse, I committed the greatest mistake ever by starting out with the words that I chose.
"Terri, we need to talk."
Terri's face turned to stone. His eyes squinted and his lips pressed together hard. I suggested that we take a walk outside, but was stunned when he nodded and rudely motioned for me to continue as he took a seat.
"I don't know who you are anymore Terri. I want to be here for you but …I'm just not happy."
"So you think that the moment you are unhappy in a relationship you should just give up, because you are meant to be in a constant state of 'happiness'?" He argued.
"It's not just that, it's a few things."
"No, I get it. I know I've been distant and Ihaven't catered to you like I did before. But you will never understand what goes through my mind 24/7. I close my eyes and I see those …those…Cretans, and all I want is revenge; they're scum. I've been fighting around here for them to just send me back and kill them ALL!"
My eyes swelled as I heard him and saw the fire in his stare again. He was lost and I didn't have the strength for the both of us anymore.
"I think we need to take a break." I spoke softly a bit terrified.
"I'll do you a favor and leave now." Terri finished and got up to leave.
"Terri." I called once and then again.
He continued walking outside. I wanted to leave things better than this. It seemed that whatever I said as an explanation was a coward excuse to him. I ran after Terri and touched his arm but he swung it away.
"Just leave Brynn. Looking at you is only making me angrier."
"I'm sorry Terri." I said lowly, though I don't think he heard me. "Why are you so angry?"
"You'd never understand."
Terri saved me from my break up with Aaron, but now who would save me from my break up with Terri? I was relieved and regretful at the same time. I wanted to believe what I did was right and necessary but it didn't change my feelings. I refused to talk to anyone about it for the moment, except for Janet. She even offered to stay with me for a while, but I wanted to be alone for a while.
I must say I enjoyed having MY place; no one to bother me. Instead of showing up to work with a pitiful countenance I made sure to act like things were better than okay; It was the safest way to avoid unwanted conversations and questions. Devin on the other hand could never be fooled. And although he played along for a while he later made sure to corner me in private. Only this time I stuck to my story and said that Terri and I had ended things peaceably.
And slowly but surely I regained my strength and peace with the passing weeks. All I needed now was a new sense of inspiration.
Maybe I was starting to develop a 'wild' or 'free' spirit, but falling into a routine seemed more and more unsatisfying to me. Granted, months turned into a year and I had made quite the name for myself. My mother even challenged me to the idea of opening my own bakery in the future. With that crazy idea in mind I proceeded to further my degree in a broader culinary program; what was stopping me?
Within that years' time, believe it or not, Izzy was pregnant with her 3rd child. I never pictured her to be one to have a big family but it was certainly turning out that way. Rhea was talking like crazy, little Malory was barely learning to walk and now they were about to have their baby boy. Guess what they were naming him…Knox. Crazy I know.
Meanwhile, my predictions for Isaiah and Janet had seemed to backfire. He began dating someone else closer to his camp and Janet joined the Air Force branch whilst she finished her bachelor degree in nursing. I really hoped they would get together, but you can't force that kind of thing.
My 20th birthday was approaching and I was planning on taking a trip. I wasn't sure where to exactly but I felt the need for an escapade somewhere un-American. I don't know why I thought of Vancouver; perhaps it's because I had seen it recently in a movie and was captivated by the scenography. Fueling my impulsive desire I went ahead and booked my tickets before someone, or myself, could talk me out of it. I didn't invite anyone else either; I wanted to do this on my own.
So it wasn't so un-American, but it was still far enough to make believe it. I had made my reservations to stay at the Barclay Hotel in Downtown Vancouver. And without hesitation, the same day of my arrival, I bolted for Stanley Park. It was just what I needed. From the relaxing gardens, breath taking art works and totem poles; the air was definitely sweeter and …Canadian. I took silly pictures in front of the many sculptures and sent it to my mother and friends. I felt bad for taking off by myself…though that didn't last very long.
After I found a cute place to eat, with plenty of daylight still ahead of me, I walked the meal off and soon headed back to the hotel. I had taken myself on quite the honeymoon or so it seemed. Walking through these European looking streets and occasionally hearing French being spoken felt like someone else's dream.
My hotel room was small, but the view outside my window was spectacular. I moved the little table over to be able to sit and look outside. Only I mistakenly chose to make coffee and drank a cup not knowing it would soon be 9 o'clock. It might as well have been alcohol for I was feeling loopy, bored and vulnerable. And that's when stupid things happened.
I calmed my anxiety by making short phone calls to my friends and raved about how cool the city was thus far. Then I checked my schedule for the events I had planned to do this week; which included a yoga session in the park bright and early in the morning. Still the hours passed like minutes and I was wide awake. That's a scary time for me; my thoughts always seem to get the best of me and I do things I end up regretting later.
I took out a large envelope from my luggage bag, along with my laptop, and began to research a few things. By a few things I mean PMEL; the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Washington. I tried searching up anything I could possibly find on Brynn's Pearl and Aaron. I only found two articles, the one I had in my hands and the other was more of the same information. No updated pictures or personal facts.
I forced myself to go to bed; listening to my headphones and trying desperately to not stare at my phone to make that call.
I woke up feeling exhausted and not so excited about yoga. Luckily it was raining outside, it was spring time after all; which could only mean there would be no yoga class I assumed. When I looked at the clock it was already 10am; so much for another adventurous day. If I hurried I could still catch the continental breakfast. So I dressed in my sweat pants and hoodie to make a dash for the lobby.
Once I had satisfied my belly, I sat back and breathed in the lonely moment. I had been on a winning streak of doing things the minute I thought about it, and I wasn't about to stop now. I picked up my phone, I dialed and I waited…and waited; until I got his voicemail.
"Hi Aaron. Umm, gosh it's been a long time. But uh, guess where I am? Vancouver, Canada. Crazy huh? It's my birthday present to myself." I chuckled and hated how not smooth this was coming out. "Yeah, I'm staying at this nice hotel, Barclay. I don't know why I told you that but…umm yeah. I hope you are doing well. Okay bye." I hung up rapidly and hit my head on the table for talking like such a moron.
It had surely been close to a year and a half since I had last spoken with Aaron and that was the longest we had ever gone. I doubted he would call back or anything since I made it pretty clear that I didn't want him to contact me. I rubbed my face and made it back to the room. Today's weather required some minor adjustments, like an umbrella and closed shoes, but this girl was determined to go sight-seeing.
I took off for the streets, I planned to walk and see every little dingy and fascinating hole in the wall; even if I ended up with blisters at the end of the evening.
This fasting from Aaron was proving unhealthy. I didn't know if it was because April was dubbed mating season, but there were a lot more couples than I cared to witness. The sad part was the realization that Aaron would not call me back.
The next day I planned to go to the Vancouver Aquarium, maybe it was to feel somewhat closer to him. The further I explored the more my heart ached. I wanted to hear from him so desperately but my pride kept me from calling again.
My phone rang. Maybe I had summoned him with my thoughts…nope, but it was a relative. It was Lilah calling to wish me a happy birthday, as it was tomorrow. We had a fun little conversation as I walked and talked her through my aquatic tour.
I had to pause my tour on account of her taking another call momentarily, but I was already lost in a daze as I stared at the water tanks; remembering another time when the blue reflection covered my skin. We hung up and there I remained…immovable. Why was I torturing myself like this?
I pressed my hand against the glass, triggering another memory. I watched what seemed like a hologram of Aaron and I kissing with my back against the cold wall. We laughed and ran about the cool cave, and I knew how much I wanted him …and still do.
I was alone for a long time though I'd occasionally see the silhouettes of other visitors pass behind me; all but one. I sensed that person observing behind me. Perhaps they were just as captivated as I was, only for our own separate reasons. I looked back, hoping…but all I saw was an old man.
"Breathtaking isn't it?" He said with a smile.
I merely smiled back and nodded. How I wished it was someone else. I didn't want to leave there just yet; stepping back to sit on the bench behind me. My stomach hurt even though I wasn't hungry nor had any aches. It was sharp pull that connected with my heart. My face fell into my hands as I released more sorrow and frustration. I was starving from love; at least that's what if felt like. But I didn't deserve it. I deserved to be alone.
I felt a big hand touch my knee, frightened I looked up immediately in shock. Gasping and struggling to believe what my eyes were seeing I panted in the loss of air in my lungs.
"I'm sorry I didn't come sooner." He said.
"What are you doing here?" I wiped my eyes as if he had nothing to do with it.
"I heard your message, a little late but…"
"How-How did you know I was here?"
"I was on my way; I had Lilah call you to find out your whereabouts." He grinned.
"Ohhh." I looked down thinking that the call was somewhat suspicious with all her questions.
"Do you want to go for a walk?" He suggested while standing up and reaching out his hand.
I took it briefly as I got up and collected myself; I hadn't gotten over this hologram coming to life. He looked older and more handsome, if that were even possible. His hair was long and smooth slightly above his shoulders, with one side tucked behind his ear. He had a striped button shirt with dress pants and shoes; an attractive combination to say the least. I hated to be that close to him without permission to actually touch him.
"You look different." I said cracking a smile.
"Do I? It's the hair isn't it? You're not used to it." He replied tucking the other side as well.
"No, but it looks nice… Do I look different?"
"No…But you're just as beautiful as I remember. So I'm glad you haven't changed." He blushed while smiling and looking away.
I had the same reaction. I was enjoying this extremely slow walk as I held on to the strap of my purse. He kept looking to the ground and would glance over at me smiling, with his hands in his pockets. But what got me was his new tick of jerking his head slightly up to move his hair out of his face.
"So are you going to tell me why you called? I take it we are back to speaking terms?"
I laughed to myself. "Yes, but why didn't you just call me back? I take it you're not mad at me then?"
"Now why would I be mad at you?" He smiled showing those sweet dimples.
"For being such a jerk remember? And not talking to each other for this long."
"You were in a difficult situation, I get that. But I just hoped you would choose me." Aaron took a deep breath and looked around. "It's beautiful here isn't it?"
"It is." I said staring straight at him.
"I think you wanted me to come. Why else would you have called me knowing that I was less than 3 hours away."
"I did…want to see you." I admitted.
"Now it's my turn for some answers Brynn. What's this? Did you call me to be friends again or are you going to finally tell me the truth?" Aaron stopped and faced me with all seriousness.
I was at a loss for words. I couldn't just spit out the 'truth'. But so much time had been wasted…so much could have been avoided. I gazed at him with my mouth open, speechless beyond reason.
"Better yet, answer me this question. What does Brynn Rael want?"
"I don't know exactly what I want…" Aaron's head began to nod. "But what I don't want is to lose you again." I confessed.
That caught Aaron's attention; he looked up at me in disbelief. "Do you mean that Brynn?"
I shook my head confidently. "I like unconventional." I half smiled.
"So you can't live without me." He grinned arrogantly.
"Oh shut up!" I laughed. "Guess you haven't changed THAT much."
"No, I've only gotten better." He winked and bit his bottom lip. "Friends…again?"
"Yes please." I chuckled.
"So can I have a hug; maybe? Or is that pushing it?"
I nodded and just allowed him to throw his arms around me. I dare say it felt nice being 'back home'. But what would happen now? I believe that it was obvious the feelings we had for each other. But we couldn't just dive right in or continue where we had left off. A lot of things in our life had changed and so did we. This wasn't a game anymore and I believed the best solution was to start over. The best way was to start as friends no matter how insane the sexual attraction was between us. I believed we could do it right this time in our own unique way.
"You know, you're pretty crazy for driving up here and showing up just like that." I smiled and began to walk.
"Yeah I am pretty crazy…CRAZY FOR YOU that is." His cunning grin was enough to have any girl swooning.
"Annnnnd you are pretty cheesy as well." I rolled my eyes.
"But you LOVE it!"
Yeah I did. Because I loved everything about Aaron…and this is how things should have been all along.
(only based on looks)
Brynn - Lucy Hale
Izzy - Amber Heard
Jordan - Alex Pettyfer
Isaiah - Matt Lanter
Brenda - Lauren Graham
Aaron - Sean Faris
Lilah - Teresa Palmer
Mr. Brown - John Wesley Shipp
Mrs. Brown - Sienna Miller
Kyle - Zach Roerig
Janet - Bethany Joy Lenz
Gabe - Drew Van Acker
Devin - Brandon Beemer
Philip - Josh Lucas
Ruby - Emily Blunt
Mark - Beau Mirchoff
Kevin - Daniel Craig
Terri - David Entinghe
Ian - Henry Cavill
Ahh yes the ending to a beautifully complicated love story. But wait it doesn't end here. Coming soon... "Crazy For You." Part II
And sorry Team Terri, it just wasn't meant to be. But THANK YOU all for your amazing support and reviews :) It's been quite the adventure! And it's not over yet! -Ciao