Written by Princess Juliet
Jayden was slightly flummoxed. Well, totally baffled by the sudden change in Atarah�s mood.
He wrapped his arms around her and gently patted her on the back in an attempt to console her.
�Why is she crying?� He wondered in silence, �Did I hurt her with my words in any way? Or was I too forward in asking her out?� He was in an extremely confused state of mind and just stood there listening to her soft, muffled sobs.
�I�m so sorry, Jayden.� Atarah couldn�t stop apologizing, for she was burdened with guilt. It felt like a big rock was in the middle of her chest and that made her a nervous wreck.
Feeling helpless, she clung to Jayden more tightly and sobbed uncontrollably into his chest. �I�m….so…sorry, so much sorry for…for betraying…you.� Her voice was barely a whisper Jayden had to strain his ears to catch her words and their meaning.
Betrayed? He slowly released himself from the hug and gazed down at her, his eyes searching her face for a hint, clue or something. �What did you do, Tarah?� He demanded and Atarah flinched at the acidity in his voice.
�I didn’t do…�She started to reply but he gripped her elbow, cutting her off abruptly.
�Don�t you dare lie to me, princess?�The warning in his voice was plain, but Atarah understood him clearly. She swallowed down a lump in her throat and tore her gaze from him.
�I�ve been lied to my entire life and I hate the sh*t. So please, tell me the truth,� Jayden begged, �What exactly is going on with you?�His voice was heavily laced with emotions and Atarah was forced to look back at him, her cheeks wet with tears.
�I�m so sorry, Jayden,� She apologised for the umpteenth time and Jayden just nodded his head, waiting for her answer.
�You did what?� He cut in impatiently and Atarah was left with no choice but to tell the truth. �I kissed your brother. �She gasped the words out haltingly and Jayden�s face became dark on hearing that.
He looked towards the second parking space and was in time to see Greg�s car rocket out of the school gate. He blinked hard in disbelief, �You kissed my brother, Greg?� He didn�t know what to think and was quite mortified and shocked, even dumbfounded at one stage. �Tell me this is a joke, Tarah.� He couldn�t bring himself to believe the nonsense, �Please tell me this is not true.�He stared deep into her eyes without blinking.
�I�m so sorry……�Sobs welled up in Atarah�s throat, forcing streams of tears from her eyes. She attempted to hold him, but Jayden took a step backwards and glared at her in disgust. �Don�t.�He warned icily and Atarah shook her head vigorously, her heart palpitating wildly in fear.
�I didn’t do it with my right mind, it happened so fast and I was so confused…..� She tried to explain but Jayden wasn’t ready to listen to her. He climbed into his car and slammed the door shut.
�Please, please just hear me out, please.� Atarah banged on the tinted window, desperately but Jayden completely ignored her. He was tired of being lied to, tired of the betrayals, tired of all the lies.
With a heavy heart, he jammed his boot on the accelerator and sped off the tarred road leading to the hospital, his heart was thumping loudly against his ribs and his mind was a complete blank.
He got to the hospital in no time as the roads were nearly empty of traffic. And when he pulled into the parking space, he alighted from the car banging the door shut and walked into the building and straight to Greg�s office.
Without knocking, he barged through the door and found his half-brother sitting comfortably behind his desk, with a few jottings on slips of papers before him.
�Why dude?� He confronted him immediately and Greg looked up at him, surprised, �Why did you do it?� He yelled angrily, banging his fist down on the desk.
For a moment Greg looked at him confused, and then asked, �What did I do?�
�Atarah,� Jayden grunted out the name and he almost choked on his saliva, startled. �Why the h**k did you kiss her?�
�It was a mistake bro,� He chuckled lightly, trying to make light of the situation but Jayden wasn�t ready to listen to that bullshit.
�A mistake you say?� He scoffed disdainfully, �How could you, Greg? How could you do that to me? You knew I like her, I told you all about my feelings, right? Gosh!� He ran a hand through his hair in total confusion and began to pace up and down the office room restlessly. He was trying to keep his anger in check as he didn’t want to quarrel with his brother because of a woman, a loose woman who couldn’t control her loose self. D**n!
�Yeah, but I never knew she was the one,� Greg said defensively and Jayden paused in his pacing and just stared at him.
�I never knew she was Joanna, my childhood friend.�
�Joanna?� He lifted his brow in silence wonder and Greg seeing his curious, puzzled look slumped back in his seat and let out a deep sigh.
�Her mum used to be mum�s personal maid and that is how I knew her……� He began to explain…..�She used to be sick then, so sick that I thought she was gonna die, but look at her today.�He smiled dreamily into space and Jayden turned his head away, stricken with a new feeling of jealousy.
He was in love with her, no doubt about that! But was just too angry to admit his feelings.
�She survived it, hurray!� He drawled sarcastically and Greg looked at him rather too seriously.
�She claimed someone visited her in the hospital on that fateful day, she said he held her hands and gave her the strength to fight and blah blah blah nonsense! But I don’t seem to get it,� He put on a confused expression and whispered, �she thinks it is me.�
�What?� Jayden’s head snapped up and he looked at him in disbelief, �Meaning you are that Gwapo?� He spoke slowly through his daze and it was Greg�s turn to be surprised.
�How do you know that name?� He asked and little by little, the realisation dawned on Jayden, hitting him deep down.
Atarah mistook him for Greg! Greg is the one she�d thought was in the hospital with her! He initiated that kiss and she couldn’t say no because she was caught up in a stupid love triangle! Jeez!
In a split second his disbelief changed to anger, a raw one and he pounced on Greg, grabbing him roughly by the collar, surprising him. �You conniving bas***d,� He surveyed him coldly with eyes that spat venom, �how dare you take advantage of her?�He accused, and without waiting for his response punched him hard in the face. �That is for messing around with my girl� He whispered through teeth that did not move.
Greg felt a sharp cut, and the warm blood trickled slowly down his cheek. �What the f**k, Jay.� His eyes snapped wide open in shock, he�d not expected that and Jayden gave a quick, bitter laugh, he felt so relieved after doing that.
�And this is for cheating on Nancy,� He raised his hand to strike him again, but paused when he heard quick footsteps behind him.
�Dad,� Greg called out in relief and he slowly turned around dropping his hand to his side, his dad and stepmom were standing right behind him and were watching them with wide, frightened eyes.
�What is going on here?� Trent demanded, looking at his sons but Jayden wasn�t ready to answer that question, he wasn’t even ready to talk to his father.
He stormed out of the office without a word and walked down the hallway and outside to his car boiling with rage. When he climbed into the driver’s seat, he stepped on the engine and pulled onto the road, driving slowly.
His phone suddenly rang, startling him and he fished it out of his pocket to check out the caller and noticed it was Atarah.
�Oh no!� He wasn�t ready to talk to her yet, so he tossed the phone on the passenger seat and made a quick u-turn and sped down the highway leading to the mansion. His mood and his day were completely ruined.
Atarah was downhearted, completely devastated over all that had happened and just sat there alone on the park bench beside the school library and was staring blankly into space.
Her mind was all over the place and her eyes were all sore from crying, she was caught up in the web of her own mess.
�What am I going to do now?� She flipped her phone over and over in her hands absentmindedly. For one crazy moment, she considered ringing Jayden up again but then quickly bunked off the thought. �It is not like he is going to pick up anyway.� So with a deep, long sigh, she rose to her feet slinging her handbag over her shoulder and started towards the school gate intending to return home.
�Atarah,� The sudden sound of Hilary�s voice made her stop walking and she swore silently under her breath before turning her head in that direction, Hilary was bouncing towards her with a bright smile plastered across her face.
�Hi, Tarah,� She greeted waving her hand and Atarah forced herself to return the smile. �Hi, Hilly,� She looked uninterested, as though she would rather be somewhere else and Hilary being so smart didn’t fail to notice that.
�Are you alright?� She asked, even though she already knew the answer.
�Yes,� Atarah lied without hesitation, �I just need to take care of some stuff at home,� She began to walk away in the opposite direction but Hilary quickly caught her arm and stopped her. �Is the fight with Jayden that serious?� She whispered close to her ear and Atarah’s dull eyes widened in surprise, �how did she know about the quarrel?� She wondered
�I was standing on the pavement close to the parking lot and I saw everything,� Hilary explained seeing her surprised look and Atarah nodded her head slowly, finally understanding her.
�So tell me,� Hilary pursued, �what happened between both of you? Why was Jayden looking so angry? Why did he drive off like that?� She was curious to know.
�I cheated him,� Was Atarah’s simple response to her question and this made her even more curious.
�How…why….when… I mean, are you both dating?�She asked in a rush and Atarah let out a quiet sigh before muttering dreamily. �I wish.�
�Hmmm,� Hilary stroked her chin thoughtfully for a few minutes and then asked, �but you like him right?�
�No, I love him.� Atarah was blunt with her feelings and Hilary winked at her and smiled a slightly mischievous smile, that was the response she�d wanted to hear
�Don�t worry, I�ll ask my boyfriend to talk to him,� She promised and Atarah couldn’t be more pleased.
Her face broke into a bright smile and tears of relief welled up in her eyes. �Thank you, thank you so much.� She beamed with happiness and was hopeful.
�Or better still,� Hilary made no attempt to conceal her smirk.� I will give you the address to his family mansion…….�
�Really?� Atarah looked at her in genuine surprise.
�…….That�s if you want it.�
�Of course, Hilly.� She replied rather too excitedly, �I�ll be more than pleased.�
�Alright, it is a deal then.� Hilary was happy to see her friend happy and with a small satisfied smile, she interlocked her fingers with hers and said, �Let�s go grab some food.�
� I�m filled up, thank you.� Atarah wanted to decline but then her stomach grumbled loudly. They both laughed. �C�mon, let�s go.� Hilary laughed the loudest and Atarah reluctantly agreed, she couldn’t just say no to her.
They both went down the narrow path leading to the school cafeteria and ran into Nancy right at the entrance.
�My oh my, look who we have here,� Nancy grinned and sarcastically did a slow clap. �The prom crown thief herself and her……�She slowly shifted her gaze to Atarah and her eyes stretched wide with recognition. �Jayden�s P.A?� She couldn�t hide her surprise and Atarah nodded her head in response. But before she could say anything else, Hilary butted in with a wicked smile, �She�s also his modelling partner and the soon-to-be female face on the cover of the Hobsons hospital�s magazine.
�What?� Her comments left Nancy speechless with rage and she looked at Atarah with a penetrating gaze.
Hilary laughed at this. �Let’s go, Tarah.�She urged Atarah ahead with a gentle nudge, �The fairy princess is about to explode,� and openly mocked Nancy as they walked past her.
Nancy was so furious and couldn�t hold back her anger any longer. �You b**ch,� she screamed so loudly, attracting attention to herself.
Atarah turned around and met her burning gaze but she didn’t flinch. The raw emotions she saw in her blue eyes were similar to the rising anger she felt in her chest. They were both jealous.
Alone and restless, Jayden stared miserably up at the ceiling. He was completely exhausted but couldn’t sleep.
The pain he felt at his brother’s betrayal was still heavy on his chest and he desperately wanted to forget all of it and just cool off for the day. �Maybe, I should just take a stroll.� He considered this idea for a few seconds and then decided to go with it.
Slowly, he climbed out of bed, reached into his closet for a black jacket and then proceeded to wear it over his white linen shirt when the door suddenly creaked open.
He whipped around, startled and saw Nanny Evie standing in the doorway with a large brown box in her hands.
�Evie,� He called out in surprise and Nanny Evie forced out a small smile, trying to hide her nervousness. She was equally surprised to meet him at home as she had just wanted to drop the box and leave quietly, �Aren�t you going to work today?� She moved closer and dropped the box on the bed.
�No,� Jayden shook his head absentmindedly, his whole mind and attention was on the box, �What is inside it?� He asked curiously and Nanny Evie drew in a deep breath.
�Your mum’s important stuff,� She replied in a tiny voice and Jayden glanced up sharply, his gaze searching her face. �My mum?� He wanted to be sure he heard right and Nanny Evie nodded her head slowly.
�Your dad asked me to burn all of it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.�She explained, her eyes filling with tears but Jayden said nothing.
He simply sat on the bed and slowly opened the box, looking into it. It was filled with pictures of him and his mother and a shiver ran down his spine as he remembered the beautiful memories he�d shared with her.
Unable to control his emotions anymore, he began to close the box but stopped when his eyes caught sight of an old-looking envelope hidden underneath one of the pictures. He took it out and Nanny Evie immediately turned around to leave.
�What is this?� Jayden�s voice stopped her and she sucked in her breath as she turned back to him. �It is the last letter your mum received through the postal mail.� She told him and he curiously lifted his brow, �but she never got the chance to read it.� She added and Jayden was so shocked to hear this.
With trembling hands, he drew the letter from the envelope and unfolded it.
�Do not trust anyone, Mrs Hobsons because you aren�t safe. This is the only help I can render to you.� He silently read through it and a dull fury swells over within his chest as the realization flooded over him—-His mum didn’t die in childbirth, she was murdered.