I squeezed her waist and whispered so only she could hear me, “I won’t take your grandson away from you Mom, promise.”
“Oh honey, I’m glad for that, but that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m hurting for you Harper, I love you as if you were my own daughter.” She kissed my cheek, then the three of them left, leaving Chase and I alone in the room.
“Don’t. Call. Me. That.” I hissed through gritted teeth.
“Harper please, I messed up.” A choked sob escaped and his tears started falling harder. “I don’t remember anything, you have to believe that I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“Why her Chase? The one person I hate! How could you do this to me? How could you do this to our baby?!” I fell into a chair near me and kept my eyes on him.
“I didn’t. I mean I don’t know, I don’t remember anything! I was at the party and the next thing I know I’m waking up to Breanna and Konrad screaming at me and Trish is in my bed with me. But I swear I wouldn’t touch her, I wouldn’t touch anyone. I love you!”
So the tramp got back in his bed after we all left, completely distraught? Classy. “You really expect me to believe this? You know how I feel about her Chase, and then you invite her to a party I just happen to not be at? Everyone thinks you came back to me last night, and yet she walks out of your room this morning wearing your shirt and you were practically nak*d in the bed?”
“I didn’t invite her, she invited me over again and I told her no with the excuse of the party. I didn’t know she was going to show up.”
“Why did you have to have the party as an excuse? Why can’t I be excuse enough? You should have told her a long time ago that she needed to stop, that you were in a relationship and going to be a father and her flirting with you wasn’t okay! Instead, you let her continue to flirt with you and invite you over to her place in the middle of the night. When I was around she would be hanging off your arm, and you think I’m going to believe that you didn’t sleep with her when I wasn’t around?”
“I thought she was gay! But I wouldn’t sleep with her baby you have to believe me!”
“You’re still sticking with that? That is exactly why I don’t believe you, you can’t even tell me the truth when you know I’ve seen the pictures.”
His face fell, and eyes grew wide, “What pictures?” He whispered horrified, when I didn’t answer he shot off the couch, his deep voice so loud I almost covered my ears, “WHAT PICTURES HARPER!?”
“Come on Chase, they were taken with and sent to me from your phone.”
He yanked his phone out of his pocket and checked it for a minute, “I don’t see anything.” He mumbled.
I powered up my phone and waited for it to stop chiming from the dozens of texts and voicemails I’d received from Chase, Bree and Mom. When they were done I opened the texts from Chase and scrolled through the ones he had sent me after waking up this morning, until I got to the pictures. I held my phone out and waited for him to come get it. He took it with a shaking hand and after a moment that felt like a lifetime sucked in a sharp gasp.
“Oh God. No. No, no I wouldn’t.” His legs gave out and he hit the ground hard.
“Well, you obviously did.” My voice was shaky, but I kept myself calm.
“I don’t remember this, I wouldn’t do this to you! You know I love you!”
“Maybe you were just that drunk.”
“I didn’t drink last night, I swear! Ask Bree!”
“Chase,” my voice was low, almost soft, “just stop lying to me.”
“I’m not lying!” He scooted closer to me and placed his hands on my thighs, “Please believe me!”
I removed his hands and took a deep breath, “Chase, if you still want to be in the baby’s life, I would love that. But I can’t continue to be in this relationship, besides, we both know it has been doomed from the beginning.”
“No it hasn’t!”
“I can’t trust you Chase. Especially after this.”
“Harper. We. Are not. Breaking up.” He gripped my hands in his, his whole body shaking. “I was going to propose to you after graduation tomorrow!”
I recoiled at the thought of him asking me to marry him while he’d been cheating on me. “We need to.” I continued, “You obviously still want to live your old life, and I need to not have to worry about what you’re doing when I’m not with you.”
“I don’t want my old life! I don’t want anything without you! You are my everything Harper. You and our baby are my everything.” His head fell into my lap while his body was overtaken by sobs.
I sat there silently and ran my fingers through his shaggy blond hair until he calmed down and looked back up into my face, “Maybe sometime later, after you’ve had a chance to think about what you really want, we can give us a shot again.”
“Princess please, please don’t do this. I can’t lose you.”
“You don’t have to,” I whispered, “we can remain friends, you can be at all the appointments and I will continue to live here if that’s what you want. But Chase, you have just shattered my heart, over what will probably only be one night with Trish. Because of that, I can’t be yours right now. I can’t be the naïve girlfriend at home with a baby, while you’re off with other women.”
“I won’t be, I only want you.”
I sat there a moment, concentrating on deep breaths in and out, “It’s going to take a lot for me to believe you again Chase, but I’m willing to give you the opportunity to earn my trust again. We’re going to have to start over as friends though.”
“I don’t want to be your friend Harper!”
“It’s that or nothing Chase.” I tried to keep my tone composed for the both of us.
“Baby I’m so sorry. I promise I wouldn’t have done that to you, I don’t remember anything from last night.”
“I told you, I’ll give you a chance if you want it. But I need a few days before we can try to be friends. I really – I’m hurting Chase, I feel like you just confirmed every fear I’ve ever had of being in a relationship with you. And I’m still not sure how to begin to deal with this.”
He kissed me firmly, and cupped my face, “I will get to the bottom of whatever happened. I love you Harper, more than you could ever imagine.” He brought his mouth to mine again, and I let our lips move against each other for a few moments. I couldn’t help it, I didn’t know if or when we would have this again.
Chase’s phone rang, snapping us out of the moment. He started to press ignore, but did a double take and answered, “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO ME?! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU’VE DONE?!” He stormed off into the kitchen, face bright red from anger, “No! You just ruined my life, do you understand that?! Don’t f**king apologize to me! Harper is the only person you should be apologizing to, but understand that if you ever contact her, or me for that matter, again, I will make the rest of your life a living hell!” He ended the call and threw his iPhone against the wall, shattering the case and sending pieces towards me. “Oh God, Harper. I’m sorry!”
I shrunk into the chair when he came near me, he still looked like he was about to kill someone. When he saw my movements, his face fell, his anger quickly fading.
“I have to go, before I mess this up more.” He brushed his knuckles along my jaw, “I’m sorry for everything. I can’t say that enough Harper, I’m so, so sorry. Please don’t end us though, I will earn your trust again somehow, just don’t do this.”
“Don’t make this harder for either of us, you know how I feel. Let’s give it a few days, and we’ll see if we can start again as friends. No matter what happens to us Chase, I want you in his life.”
“I love you Princess.” With tears falling freely from his eyes, he kissed me quickly and walked out the door.
I didn’t realize it was over and people were gathered around us until Bree pulled me up so I was now standing. We looked at each other, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do. Mom was gripping both of our hands like a lifeline while Dad was standing behind her, holding her upper arms tight enough to support her. Some of their extended family came up and we all broke apart to accept hugs from them. I didn’t know who most of them were, though they all knew me. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church anyway, but when they looked down, or placed a hand on my stomach, new rounds of hysterics would burst out of them. It seemed too much to bear to everyone that I was holding the only piece left of him in this world. Chase.
It had been four days since the accident.
Four days since he told me he loved me, and I didn’t say it back.
Four days since he died.
Twenty minutes after Chase left, Mom, Dad, Bree and I were sitting around the kitchen table talking through everything that had happened that day. Everyone was more shocked than I had been, but then again, they hadn’t been there for every maddening moment of our relationship throughout this last school year. Bree’s phone rang, and I knew it was Konrad by the way she answered it. I glanced at the clock, he should be back with my car soon from dropping Brandon off at Chase’s house.
“No,” she whispered, face drained of color, eyes wide, “no you’re lying. That’s not funny babe.”
I tilted my head towards the phone and almost jumped out of my chair when she screamed bloody murder.
“Breanna!” Claire hissed, “Calm down!”
Bree was now staring at the phone, horrified, “We have to go!” She screeched and ran out of the kitchen, “WE NEED TO GO!”
The three of us stayed at the table until we heard the front door slam shut and her car start up. Bree was screaming from the car for us to hurry, fat tears falling from her eyes. Robert opened the driver door and pulled her out, depositing her in the back seat which I slid into after.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! DAD GO!” She screamed, cradling her head and rocking back and forth slightly.
I rubbed my hand across her back, and after I shared a confused look with her parents, he finally backed out of the driveway.
“Breanna honey, where is it I’m going?” He was talking soft and melodic, like she was a patient and he was the therapist.
She rattled off an intersection through her sobs.
Mom turned around from the passenger seat and pulled Bree’s hands from her face, “Breanna, you’re being dramatic, calm down and tell us what’s wrong.”
Bree’s phone rang again and she pushed the talk button, but didn’t say anything. I grabbed the phone and managed to get it out of her death grip, checking the screen first, I brought the phone to my ear and spoke, “Uh, Konrad? Wha –”
“He’s not waking up! I can’t get him out, there’s blood everywhere and he’s not waking up!”
“The ambulance is pulling up, you need to hurry!”
I heard him screaming for whom I’m guessing were the EMT’s, and then the call ended. I realized then that we could hear sirens from the car as well and looked up to see we were only a few blocks away now. Bree was still harshly whispering unknown words.
“I think he might have wrecked my Expedition?” I guessed, still confused. Then it hit me. Brandon. He was supposed to be taking Brandon home. Oh God no. Please no. Don’t take him from me.