Could she really go through with this? Could she really walk away from him and lean only on the weakening foundation that was struggling to hold her up on her own? Could she survive a day knowing that he wouldn't be there? Making her feel the kind of safety she had only found in his arms?
It was all slipping away. Every single excuse she had made while back at his place. She couldn't do this. She knew that now as she looked across at him. His face was the perfect portrait of sorrow mixed with the sharp undertones of anger. She knew that she had upset him, had ripped him apart in the way only someone holding his heart could. She couldn't leave him like that, thinking that maybe she just didn't love him anymore. He had to know that she did love him, more than life itself, more than she had ever found it in herself to love anybody. She had showed him the dark and broken crevices of her soul, had bared to him the deepest sorrows she had kept locked away for years. He had to know the depth of her feelings for him, that she would die for him no questions asked. And if staying beside him, trusting the road they were on, was the only way to prove it than that was exactly what she would do.
Finally the car went into park and Jared killed the engine. He sat back, the keys tight in his grip. There was a breath waiting to be exhaled but he kept his lips pressed together to restrain it. He slowly trailed his eyes to her, not wanting her to see the brokenness in them. He didn't want to force her to do something she didn't want to do. Or make her change her mind on something she had set herself on. But he also certainly couldn't just stand there and let her walk away without her knowing that everything between them wasn't wrong, that he was going to make it right whether she stayed or not. He wasn't going to let her walk away without the whole of his heart resting permanently and eternally in her hands.
"Jared..." She called his name out in a whisper and he shut his eyes on it like the very softness of her voice soothed the pain he was feeling.
But he shook his head. "Not yet Rowan...." He said before opening the door and letting himself out. He went around to her side and opened her door. He offered her his hand and helped her out before he walked on ahead of her.
She could feel the tensity filling the air around them, blocking out the cool Summer air and the bright white of the sun. He stopped at the front door, reaching his hand out and placing it hesitantly on the knob. She slid her hand in his free hand, interlacing her fingers with his. He let out a shaky breath and pressed her hand into his before he opened the door and walked inside. She let him lead her further in until they got to the living room of sorts.
Each time she had been in this area she had been unable to take in the sheer creativity echoing around the room. The writings on the walls from various people, the artwork, the light coming in through the windows. It was like a shelter away from the world, the lack of inspiration on the outside. She was amazed by how it all looked, by being here. But the pain that was erupting between her and Jared dampened the experience just like the time before.
What caught her eye immediately was the woman, Bianca, sitting on one of the chairs. She had her legs crossed, the skirt she wore hiked up her thighs. She looked up at Jared with a mix of surprise and expectancy. Shannon was standing to the side, his head lowered and a kind of knowledge regrettably alive in his eyes. He knew something that he didn't want to know, knew something that he didn't want to get out. He looked up at Jared, his own sympathy going out towards him.
"What are you doing here?" Jared demanded, letting Rowan's hand slip from his.
Bianca smiled widely and then stood from her seat. She looked behind at Rowan and gave her the same smile as well. "You brought your little girlfriend. I'm honored."Her silk voice was hardened by the sharp tone she was taking hold of.
Jared folded his arms across his chest and let out a sigh. He was trying not to be affected, hoping with everything he was that he wouldn't be emotionally broken in front of her. Not this time. Not with Rowan here with him.
"Are you going to ask for a divorce, baby?" She reached her hand out and lightly touched his arm. "After everything we've been through?"
He flinched away from her touch and held his hand out to stop her. "I should've asked you for it a long time ago."
"But you couldn't bring yourself to do it, could you? Even though you had a girl hidden away." She threw a glare over his shoulder at Rowan who stood behind him unsure of what she should do in this moment.
"I'm going to have the papers brought up...." He was avoiding her eyes, not wanting to feel the power that she had over him again, not wanting to show his own weakness that he felt every time he was in her presence.
"But what about Italy? Jared, you couldn't have forgotten about that..."
Shannon looked up at Jared and then to Rowan. "Bianca, don't." He blurted out, looking to Bianca.
"Why? Because we might hurt the little girl's feelings? What about my feelings? He's my husband!" She shouted out, throwing her hands down to her sides with her rising anger.
"Not anymore Bianca...You told me to leave, you disappeared...Do you know how long I waited for you? How long I looked for you?"
"And all of that is erased because of her?!"
"Because of you!" Jared replied sharply, stepping towards her, blocking her view of Rowan. He shouldn't have brought her here. He knew that Bianca was going to say something, was going to let out what had happened in Italy. He should have protected Rowan from all of this.
Bianca lifted her hand up to his face, letting her fingers brush lightly across his face. "And Italy, Jared?" She whispered, her eyes bringing tears up to the surface.
He moved back away from her touch, closing his eyes on his mistakes. He couldn't look at Rowan, couldn't even let her face cross his mind. He couldn't even imagine how much hurt she would feel after learning everything.
"I wonder if she knows..." Bianca moved away from Jared and walked over to where Rowan was.
Rowan met her eyes with uncertainty. She glanced over at Jared who wasn't looking back at her at all. She swallowed harshly, feeling a foreboding sorrow building up in the room.
"Know what?" She forced out with a quivering voice.
Bianca laughed, tossed a look back at Jared. She looked back at Rowan, that perfect smile still painted on her lips. "When Jared came to Italy, honey it seemed like he just couldn't let go of the past, of what we had."
Rowan saw Shannon's gaze shoot to Jared, his shoulders tense. Jared was looking down, his face a mask of lack of emotions. She turned back to Rowan, her own heart breaking. "What do you mean?"
Bianca reached her slender hand out and lightly touched Rowans arm. "We slept together, honey. I guess there's just something about me he can't resist."