All I could hear were the heart-wrenching words spilling from Edward’s lips. Despite the tears rolling down his face, he kept speaking. He was not giving up on us. How could I have done this to him… to us?
“Jayden, I don’t know what’s going through your mind at the moment, but I’m not going anywhere until you tell me why you’ve really had this sudden change of heart,” he said shakily but firmly. “I can’t believe it’s to do with your assignments and reading. I know you can cope with the pressure of work. It’s got to be something else.” He briskly wiped the tears from his face with the back of his hands.
He was trying to be strong, but I could see he was about to fall to pieces in front of me, and deep down I knew I couldn’t do this to him. I wanted to take him in my arms and tell him how sorry I was. I didn’t want him to leave me, but after treating him this way, I deserved all the heartache I was going to suffer.
I stood in front of him indecisively, pondering what to do for the best. Should I tell Edward and risk his safety and maybe even his life, or continue with this ridiculous masquerade and suffer the consequences for the rest of my life? Could I be that selfish as to choose the first option?
I obviously let my nonchalant mask slip for a moment and Edward saw the cracks appearing in my story. He was intelligent enough to work out I was giving him a load of bullshit. He knew how I truly felt about him. We’d already promised each other our always. He knew we were soul mates destined to be together forever. Yet I may well have just jeopardized our chance of future happiness.
Edward appeared to be summoning up his strength and fighting back more tears. “Fuck, Jayden, tell me what’s really going on. You’re not jealous that I was talking to my mother for so long, are you? No, of course you’re not. Something must have happened in the bathroom—did someone try it on with you?” He was desperately thinking aloud.
I shook my head, still unsure whether to tell Edward the truth.
“Come on, babe. Please tell me what’s going on.” Tears continued to roll down his cheeks.
I couldn’t bear to hurt Edward any longer and see him in such agony. “Jedd,” I said in a hushed voice, “he’s down the corridor in the bathroom.”
Edward looked shocked as he stared into my eyes. He knew I was telling the truth this time. “And he’s threatened to do something to me if you don’t go back to him, is that it?” Edward hissed, wiped his eyes with his sleeve, and made his way angrily to the door with clenched fists by his side.
“Edward, please, I don’t want you to face him on your own. He’s so strong and I don’t want you to get hurt. Let’s call the police or something,” I blurted out.
Edward stopped in his tracks. “I know you’re trying to protect me, sweetheart,” he said softly now. “Is he still waiting for you to return to him in the bathroom?”
I nodded. “I think so.”
“Is he armed with any sort of weapon?”
I shrugged and suddenly felt even more fearful. “I don’t know… I didn’t see anything. Edward, please don’t face him on your own.”
Edward thought for a second or two and then dragged his fingers nervously through his hair. “Okay then, just in case he is, and just for you, Jay, I’ll call the police and Ellis.” He paused as he paced back and forth thinking. “Can you round up some guys from this corridor and get them to keep Jedd in the bathroom until the police or Ellis arrive?”
From the noise coming from different rooms around us, I knew there were quite a few people about, so I agreed and hoped I could find several willing helpers. “I should be able to get at least two or three.” I silently prayed the police would arrive promptly and only hoped the situation didn’t deteriorate because of my foolish actions.
Edward was picking up his phone as I left my room. I headed in the opposite direction to the bathroom and burst into the kitchen. Fortunately, I found the two guys we’d seen earlier who had held the door open for us. There were also a few others I had chatted to over the past few days including the guy I thought might also be gay. I quickly explained my predicament and, to my relief, they were more than eager to help me. We all made our way to the bathroom just as Ellis and Seb arrived, and before I knew it, they surrounded Jedd and pushed him face down on the floor with one big brute of a guy sitting on top of him holding him firmly in place. The others held his arms and feet as he thrashed about violently.
Things happened quickly after that. The police arrived and I was asked to explain what had happened to a police officer. He wrote down all the details I offered him. While I was talking, Jedd tried to break free of his hold and lashed out at one of the officers. He was immediately handcuffed and led away to the waiting patrol car cursing and shouting obscenities at me and to everyone around him.
I thanked everyone profusely for their assistance and offered to buy all the guys a drink later on in the week. I was desperate to get back to my room to see Edward, but they kept me talking for a while longer. Seb and Ellis had long since disappeared and I hoped they were calming Edward down.
Finally making my way back to my room, I felt nervous and embarrassed about facing Edward because I wondered what his reaction to me was going to be. I’d been a total wimp in the hot-air balloon, but my response to Jedd’s threats was despicable. I could see that now and I wanted to apologize for my inconsiderate behavior.
To my surprise, instead of Edward, Ellis was now sitting on my bed. I scanned the room, but it was obvious Edward was no longer there. My heart skipped a beat as I took in Ellis’s stern look.
“Seb’s taken him back to the house,” Ellis answered my unspoken question, maintaining the thunderous look on his face.
I had broken my promise to him and hurt Edward by my foolish words and actions. After all this, it looked like I’d lost my Edward anyway.
“Edward explained everything to you then?” I asked, fighting back sudden tears.
“What the hell were you thinking, Jayden? Why didn’t you just phone us straight away instead of saying all those things to Edward? Do you know how much you have hurt him? He’s so broken now—it will take him ages to get over this.” Ellis was visibly shaking with anger.
“I was trying to protect him and all of you,” I protested. “Surely he knows I didn’t mean all the things I said to him?” My legs felt weak and I thought I was going to throw up, but instead I burst into tears.
Ellis’s demeanor didn’t change. “He is heartbroken, Jayden. I think you should give him a few days before you try to speak to him again.”
“What?” I screeched through my sobs. “I’ve got to see him today, to make everything right between us again.” Adrenaline coursed through my veins. I may not have fought for him earlier, but by God, I was not going to lose him now.
“I don’t think he wants to speak to you,” Ellis said coolly.
I was determined to see him. “Ellis, I’m going to see him tonight whatever you think he wants.” Fuck, why couldn’t I have been this forceful with Jedd? Then we wouldn’t have been in this whole mess to start with.
“If I take you to see him, you’ve got to promise me one thing, Jayden.”
“What?” I barked at him and rubbed away the wetness dripping from my nose.
“Promise me you’ll never, ever hurt him this way again. For fuck’s sake, talk to him, Jayden, don’t shut him out and try to deal with everything yourself. You’re partners, so damn well act like a couple and talk things through.”
Ellis was offering good advice. Something I should have thought about earlier this afternoon before all this damage was done.
I eventually persuaded Ellis to let me go back with him to see Edward. He held me tightly for a few minutes and I began to hope that I could repair some of the damage I’d caused.
Ellis drove sedately as if he was purposefully trying to delay our reunion. I completely understood that he was still angry with me and it would take time for him to completely trust me again.
As we entered the house, I expected to receive a cool reception from the other guys, but nothing prepared me for the total lack of warmth I felt as I walked in. Edward had some true friends here who really cared for him and I had jeopardized my friendship with them as well. Only Aiden gave me a faint smile. I only hoped I could restore their trust and faith in me over the coming days and that we could become firm friends again in the future. More importantly, though, I had to claim my boyfriend back.
“Where’s Seb?” Ellis asked as we entered the lounge area.
“He’s upstairs with Edward,” Jack informed us. “Seb’s been in his room for over an hour now and Edward still won’t come down.” Jack turned and growled at me, “What have you got to say for yourself, Jayden?”
“Leave him alone for now,” Ellis intervened. “He’s had enough grief from me this evening.”
Jack tutted loudly and walked over to Zachary, who wrapped his arms around him and kissed him on the side of his head.
“Is it all right if I go up to see Edward?” I asked Ellis, although if he’d refused, I’m sure I would have gone anyway, kicking and screaming if need be.
Ellis nodded, so I made my way to Edward’s room taking two stairs at a time.
I tapped on the door and opened it cautiously. Seb was sitting on the edge of the bed stroking Edward’s hair. He looked up as I entered the room, but only glared at me without saying anything. Edward was lying face down with his arms wrapped around a pillow.
Seb continued running his palm over the back of Edward’s head, soothing him. That was my job—I was the one who should have been doing that for him.
I shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other when he didn’t move away from Edward. I felt the strong urge to pull Seb away from him and scoop Edward up in my arms.
“Can I speak with Edward?” I asked instead, trying to speak as gently as I could manage.
Seb thought for a moment, but didn’t leave his side. “Edward, do you want me to leave?” he said, still stroking his hair. “Or do you want me to ask Jayden to leave?”
I felt my heart was in my mouth as we waited for his reply. I don’t know what I would have done if Edward asked me to leave.
Edward mumbled something into his pillow and Seb leaned in closer. “Can you repeat that, baby?”
Baby! What the fuck? A surge of jealousy rushed through me.
Edward turned his face sideways so he was facing away from me, but I heard him say, “Can you give us a few minutes, Seb?”
A few minutes! That won’t be enough time. I wanted the rest of my life with him, not a few measly minutes. Was it Edward’s turn to tell me goodbye?
Seb slowly eased himself off Edward’s bed and made his way out of the room without saying a word to me, only giving me a look that said, ‘don’t you dare hurt him anymore’. He closed the door quietly behind him, leaving us alone at last.
Edward didn’t turn to look at me. In fact, he didn’t move at all. My heart pounded in my chest as I moved cautiously over to him and perched myself on his bed next to him. I wanted to stroke my hand over him just as Seb had been doing, but I held back for some reason.
Edward’s face looked red and blotchy and his eyes were fixed firmly on the wall next to his bed.
“Edward… I’m so sorry,” I started, “please forgive me.” I wanted to hold him so much.
Edward didn’t move or say anything.
“I’m sorry I let you down and hurt you. I didn’t have time to think things through properly. I was so scared.”
“It was so easy for you to say those things to me. You were going to leave me, Jayden,” he murmured.
“Oh, baby, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was trying to protect you, Edward. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to you.” My tears were falling once more.
Edward rolled over towards me so he was lying on his back. He avoided my eyes and stared at the ceiling instead. His hair was totally disheveled and his eyes were puffy and red.
“I’m so sorry,” I said again. “Surely you know I didn’t mean anything I said to you. I just had to make you believe the story I was telling.”
“You wanted to end our relationship. I really thought I’d lost you this afternoon. Do you have any idea how much I’m hurting at the moment, Jayden?” he said and finally turned to look at me.
“I’m hurting, too… I hope you can forgive me because I honestly don’t think I could live without you, Edward.” I tentatively reached out for him and stroked some hair out of his eyes. I placed my hand on the side of his head and rubbed his temple with my thumb.
“I don’t want to go through this ever again,” he warned me.
“I promise I’ll never hurt you again. You are everything—you are everything to me. I love you so much, Edward.”
“You love me?” he said almost in disbelief.
I nodded and smiled at him. “Edward, words can not express how much I love you.”
Edward looked deeply into my eyes for a few tender moments.
“So show me how much you love me, Jayden, and that I can trust you,” he whispered. “Make me forget about the past. Make love to me.”