When Brick returns home from his latest trip away, he is greeted with far more than he bargained for. Instead of happiness to be back home, he is left with a deep seeded need for revenge…
Driving home from his most recent assignment, all Brick could think about was seeing his girlfriend’s face. They had been apart longer than he would have liked this time, and then on top of his extended traveling time, his flight home had been delayed. He had been hoping to originally catch Genie before she had left for her shift at the hospital, but he knew, after calling her from the airport, that she was already on her way out. Instead, Brick was hoping to at least have something special waiting for her when she returned.
As Brick turned on to the long driveway towards his home, he felt a rumbling beneath his car. His Audi began to vibrate and he could feel trembling through the steering wheel and into his palms. He would have chalked it up to a minor earthquake if he hadn’t also heard an explosion and began to see flames spring before his eyes. He realized then, that his house would be no longer.
Brick drove down the drive as far as he could and then proceeded to climb out of his car to watch the remains of his house crumble. He silently began to thank his lucky stars that Genie was already at work. At least knowing that, he could breathe calmly.
And then he heard it…
At first it was faint and he figured it to be nothing. Then he saw it. A shadow within the bedroom window. Then a body slamming into the glass. Pounding to break free and screaming through the smoke induced coughs, Genie was starting to succumb to the disaster she had been caught in. The house was toppling down around her and the flames were breaching the barrier she attempted to create inside her room. Genie knew it was over and calmly stopped fighting. She glanced out the window and banged on it one last time, while cursing it for always being broke. She saw Brick outside of the window and gave the smallest of smiles, and then while staring at his face, She embraced herself as the flames came closer and her screams filled the air once more.
Brick watched her burn in that fire. He stood there, his mouth agape with her screams flowing through his ears and piercing his heart. There wasn’t anything left that he could do. Even if there was, his body was too much in shock to even move a muscle. His eyes couldn’t even be averted from her flame covered body as skin began to melt from her bones. He was scarred, every part of him. He knew he should have been the one in that fire and even though he wasn’t, It was almost as if he was; for most of his soul had just evaporated with hers, as her body turned to dust.
Falling to the ground upon his knees, Brick just stared upon the flames whilst the smoke began to limit his breathing and ability to see. He barely even noticed the sudden restrictions until sirens began to fill the void of silence in-between the crackling noises of the fire. With both Genie and his house gone, there was only one option left for Brick. He had to flee. The sirens were getting closer and he couldn’t afford to be found alive. Someone had wanted Brick dead and he was going to give them that. At least the illusion.
Once his enemies had fallen for that illusion, he had every intention on shattering it. By any means necessary, Brick would have revenge. He had a burning heat building within him now; one he cared not to control. That heat inside had taken his soul and he vowed to have that heat take theirs.
Where were you when my tears were falling and my heart was breaking.
Where were you when everything within me could only feel aching.
Where were you as I thought your name within my head.
Where were you as I lay alone within my bed.
Where were you when the times really mattered.
Where were you when everything was shattered.
Where were you when I inhaled my last breathe of air.
Where were you, that’s right, you’re never there.
“If you can guess what I have in my pocket you can have it.”
I scoffed, “Why would I want what’s in your pocket anyway? It’s probably just trash”
“Ehh, wrong. Not trash. Care for another guess?”
I stared at him in disbelief and shook my head “That wasn’t even a guess Lucas. It was a statement clarifying why I wasn’t playing your stupid game. ”
“Well it’s not trash so you have no reason not to play. So come on, just take a guess.”
“I swear Luke, some days you are just so annoying. Fine…. your wallet. ”
I threw my hands on my hips and glared at him. “What do you mean no? I can see your wallet bulging out of your back pocket. So hand it over. Rules are rules,” I started grabbing for his back pocket but he was trying to keep me at arms length.
“Whoa now, I wasn’t talking about that pocket.”
“You never designated a specific pocket. Any pocket is fair game. Better hand it over Bucko.”
“Ugh, fine. It’s not like there’s anything in it anyway. You know I don’t carry money.”
He shook his head and pulled his wallet out to give me.
“A quick laugh at your driver’s license picture would cheer me up though,” I chuckled and snatched his wallet quickly before he changed his mind.
“I bet you just find that hilarious. I’m glad I can entertain you with my poor photogenic qualities. ”
“As long as it makes you happy dear. Are we done playing now or will you continue to keep me guessing?”
“Why are you always so damn difficult Lacey?”
“I don’t call that difficult, I call it practical. It’s a waste of time. If you wanted me to have something I shouldn’t have to guess for it.”
“How old are you again Lace? I swear all of the fun has been sucked out of you ever since…” He stopped mid sentence, thinking better of it, but it was already too late.
“Go ahead. You can say it. Ever since I found out about my mother. You’re right too, I just can’t help it. It’s always in the back of my head that I will no doubt turn into exactly what she is. It’s always going to be there Luke but you don’t have to deal with it too. Maybe it’s good that we know about her now so that you have your chance to get out while you can. ”
“Lacey, hush. This was obviously the wrong way to go about things. I guess it’s what I get for trying to think outside of the box.” Lucas dropped to one knee and then reached for my hand. “I know what you found out bothered you. I know that you are afraid. But I’m not. You are not her and you never will be. I have absolute faith in the person that you are and in what you strive to be. I want to be with you despite your fears because I know it’s not you.”
“But what if it is me.”
“Baby, it’s not. But, if something were to happen I would still stand by your side. Nothing would make me run from you. I want you forever, in spite of all that I already know. Your flaws and your perfections. I love you no matter what and I would love to spend the rest of my life proving that to you,” He reached for his pocket to pull out a small box. He opened it and tears immediately fled from my eyes. At the same time, I also started laughing, and I couldn’t stop. Lucas just stared at me in shock. He was hurt that I was laughing. I needed him to understand why.
I knelt down with him and took both of his hands. “I don’t mean to laugh but I was just thinking about what I now know was a previous proposal. I feel like an idiot for not playing along.”
“I feel like an idiot for trying to be cryptic. This way was better. So Lacey, now that you know what was in my pocket, would you like to wear it?”
I put my arms around his neck and whispered “yes” into his ear. “On one condition though.” He pushed me back so he could see my face and then raised an eyebrow to get me to continue. “No more guessing games, alright?”
He chuckled And pulled me in for a hug. “Done.”
“You finally killed me”
“I killed you? Really? You’re standing in front of me looking pretty alive to my eyes”
“You would say that. Just because someone is physically in front of you doesn’t mean their soul is present.”
“So the fact that you are a soulless bitch is my fault how?”
“Dammit Jake, you just don’t get it. You never did.”
“Then why put up with something that bothers you so?”
He was right on so many levels. Why do I continue to fight over the little things that bother me? Why not just walk away so those things are no longer there? The answer to that is why I’m still here. Some days I feel dead inside but the answer has always been enough to hold onto hope that the dead could once again rise.
“Because I love you. I fucking love you. Despite every little thing that you have done or not done, to hurt my heart, it still loves you. I still fight because you say you reciprocate that love. Maybe this makes me the idiot here but I believe if that’s true, than you would want to fix the parts that are harming me. I hold onto hope that you would want to help mend the pieces you’ve had a hand in destroying.” A tear rolled down my cheek even though I tried to reel it back in. My emotions were an uncontrollable wreck. “I can ask you to change but it’s useless unless you actually want to. You should want to though. You should want us to be happy.”
“I do want us to be happy. I want you to be happy because I do love you. Leah baby… We aren’t happy. Love does not create happiness. We’ve had our problems. The same ones repeatedly. I’ve tried to change. I’ve tried to give you everything you’ve wanted but I can’t make it last. I am but one person and I can only do so much. You have always been the center of my universe but baby, you aren’t the entire thing. If you could be, I’d make it so, but the universe is filled with other obstacles. Our obstacles are different from each other so it’s hard to imagine what we both go through separately but I know it’s not the same.”
Jake was trying to hold back his own tears as he reached for the side of my face. “If we both cannot change at the same time, for each other, than maybe our love shouldn’t be the only answer.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that we aren’t happy. You are never satisfied with what I can offer you even though I’m trying my hardest. You deserve to be happy and if that means cutting me out of your life for someone else that has the ability to give you what I can’t then that’s what should happen.”
“So you’re done fighting?”
“That’s the thing Leah, we shouldn’t have to. Not like this. I don’t want to let you go but what we’ve been doing lately is just going in circles. Accomplishing nothing but hurting each other.”
“You know that I would rather continue to hurt daily than to lose you. ”
“I know you would. That’s why we are still here like this. That’s not healthy. Like you said, it’s killed you. I want you to live, I want to bring you back. I just don’t think I can. You’re putting too much into me and nothing into yourself.”
“I want it to be you,” Leah breathed.
“Wanting and needing are so very different things. I want it to be me too, but maybe it shouldn’t be.”
I collapsed to the ground in defeat. I didn’t know what to do anymore. He was right. He’s always been right. We both had our issues but I always expected him to change without changing myself. I expected him to be my only savior and relied on him to stay breathing. What I should have been doing was saving myself. Putting time and energy in other things that mattered like he would do. I made jake my everything, my entire universe instead of just the center. Whenever he left me for his obstacles, I was left with nothing. My nothing was what has killed me. Not him.
“You’re right Jake, it shouldn’t.” I sighed loudly and looked up into his eyes. “I hate that it takes arguments like this one for me to see what’s really going on around me. It’s not just you. Most of it is me. I’ve been living for you and only you and have been expecting you to do the same. It’s the wrong thing to be doing on my part. I’ve been too afraid of losing you that I’ve been holding on too tight. I’ve always been and all or nothing type of person. It seems that has done nothing but isolate me. I don’t want us to go our separate ways. I want to fix this. Fix me. The thing is, I don’t want you to feel like you have to take responsibility for it all.”
“Okay… What do you want?”
“I want your help. I want to do it together. I need to be able to see outside of you. I don’t want the only way to be able to do that is for you not to be there though. So I want your help if you are willing to keep fighting with me. I’m not willing to let you go so I hope you are willing to stay.”
“What keeps this from happening all over again? From us falling right back into the same routines of not giving each other enough or giving each other too much?” He asked.
“Nothing does I guess. There is no such thing as a guarantee in a relationship. Things happen. Emotions get in the way. The difference is that we are both aware of the issue. If we both try to be patient with one another and open to our mistakes and learning curves then maybe it will make things easier. Make us happier to know that we are trying for each other. I never want to stop trying.”
“Okay. We try. We fight. I will do what I can to continue to help you and us. You really need to cut me some slack though.”
“I know. I’m so sorry for all of this. You’ve been my whole universe instead of my stabilized center. I’ve ignored everything else when I shouldn’t have. Help me change that. Make me see that I won’t lose you by letting other things in and accepting that you already do.”
“Baby I’ll do my best but most of it will be a fight you need have within yourself. I’ll be here though. You aren’t losing me. No matter what obstacles occur, the fact that you are my center will never change.”
He reached down for my hand and pulled me up to his chest. In his arms once again, I knew that this was right. I would fight a million times over to continue to feel this, right here, for the rest of my life. Even if it meant fighting an internal battle daily. I at least knew I wouldn’t be alone and all I had to do was remember that.