Bianca laughed out loud, that wicked smile stretching on her perfectly full lips. “Well say something honey!” She declared, gesturing with her arms about her.
Jared rushed to Rowan then, pushing past Bianca after having been frozen in his place. “Rowan, look at me.” He ordered softly. He took hold of her shoulders and lowered himself to meet her gaze.
“Let her alone Jared! She just found out what an incredibly beautiful liar you are!” Bianca said, lightly touching him on his back. Her touch was gentle but it seared through his very skin.
“Leave him alone.” Shannon said from behind, taking Bianca’s hand in his forcibly.
“Don’t touch me!” She yelled out, pulling away from him.
“Rowan…sweetheart look at me. Please.” Jared softened his voice, and tried his best to block out the commotion behind them. The tears falling from her full lashes killed him and the silent trembling way she stood there ripped him apart.
Rowan slowly looked up at Jared, pressing her lips together and trying to resolve all of this in her head. She wasn’t sure what she would say, how she would say it or what she even wanted to say. What was the right thing to say in this moment? When confronted with the man who had not only taken her out of the darkness she had been forever plagued with but who had also plunged her straight back into it?
“It never happened…she’s lying. Rowan please she’s lying.” His voice grew weaker, his hands took on a gentle trembling as they held onto her shoulders.
She watched the light glisten in the blue of his eyes, saw how he pressed his lips tightly together with his pressing emotion. Hi hair was a mess tied at the back of his neck, the cold air circling the room mussing the loose wisps of hair. He was the most beautiful and intriguing man she had ever seen in her life. He had way about him that made everything he did and said the most amazing thing in the world. She was in love with him, there was no going back. She could still feel the intoxicating gentleness of his kiss, could still fall into the comforting touch of his hands. He was everything to her and yet that everything was now crashing down in front of her. Someone had woken her up from the most blissful dream she had ever been given. That was exactly what she had to treat all of this as: a perfect dream that could no longer be hers.
“Rowan, did you hear me?” Jared asked, looking deeply into her gentle eyes wishing that none of this was happening. Wishing that she hadn’t been pulled into this moment with him. The wish was there in the center of his mind, that he had met her at another time. That Bianca had never happened, that Italy had never happened, only Rowan had happened. But how does one rewrite a mistake already made? How does one go back and change the past? The pain? And everything that laid in between?
“It doesn’t matter.” Rowan finally whispered, her voice tearful and hoarse. She ran her tongue across her lips, taking the tears stained there.
“Of course it matters, Rowan. It matters because it isn’t true.”
“It doesn’t matter because she doesn’t love you Jared!” Bianca declared, stepping beside him.
Jared tried not to notice her, not wanting to see the bane of his world, the one thing in his life he would go back and change. He kept his eyes on Rowan, wanting that dreadful look of pain to disappear from her eyes, that tense sorrow to vanish from her face.
Rowan glanced at Bianca, taking her in with a harsh swallow. She wasn’t sure what she should do in this moment. What was there to do when she knew what was right and what was wrong?
“It doesn’t matter because it isn’t wrong.” She forced her words out, not wanting the tears to fall anymore than they already had. “It wasn’t wrong…She’s your wife.”
Jared let out a heavy sigh, lowering his head and letting his hands grip just a little tighter. Bianca smiled beside him, a flash of victory overwhelming her gaze.
Jared looked up at Rowan finally, uncertainty all over his features. “Rowan, please. That’s going to change, I love you and I’m not going to let this happen.”
“Then you change it, Jared…” She whispered touching her hand to his before she pulled it off of her.
Jared looked at her helplessly, there was an emptiness in his gaze, a dark one that seemed to refuse to free him. “What do you mean?”
She gave a kind of smile, trying to make her tears disappear as she looked at him. She could have just fallen into him right then, could have lost herself in the sweetness of his love but it was broken now. She believed him that nothing had happened, that whatever went on in Italy was nothing that could have hurt her. But she also knew that change had to happen, that his divorce with Bianca had yet to happen and perhaps there had to be a reason for that. Maybe there was a point of breaking from Bianca that he had yet to come upon, maybe there was a state he had to come to before anything new started again. It was a desperately hard fact to face but she knew that she had to.
She gave no other answer. She merely turned from him and slowly walked out of the house. Everyone’s eyes followed her out, no breathing seemed to be coming. The soft click of the front door closing was all it took to shatter Jared’s heart.
Shannon glanced around, his eyes weary as he watched his brother hang his head in a desperate amount of pain. He went out the front door as well hurriedly. He caught up with her where she was walking down the street towards her place no doubt.
“Rowan wait!” He called out, lightly grabbing her arm and turning her around to face him.
“Shannon please…” Rowan pled, her tears a helpless stream from her eyes.
“You can’t leave him like this…don’t.” He could see how much her decision had hurt her and the thought of her suffering confused him. Why had she walked out?
Heavily she sighed, taking her arm back from him. “I have to.”
“You don’t have to do anything….he doesn’t love her, he loves you and you know that.”
She wiped the tears from her face and nodded. “I know and I know nothing happened in Italy…but there was one thing that’s true that Bianca said before.”
“What was that?”
“That she knows him, that in some small way he might need her.” She wanted to cut herself off because the thought of her walking away and losing him forever scared her. She tucked her hair back behind her ears and lightly touched his arm. “Maybe you’ll let him know that I’ll be waiting no matter what? That I’ll be there when everything changes?” She sniffed back her tears but couldn’t prevent a few more from coming.
He held her eyes for the longest time before he nodded. “Alright.” He replied finally.
She gave him a grateful half smile before she turned around again and walked away.
Shannon looked up at the house and thought to go back inside, thought that he could help in some way to get Bianca out but he knew that Rowan was right. This was something that Jared had to do on his own. There were some things that Jared had to admit to himself and free himself of. No matter how long or painful it would be.