Jared sees Skyla off to Chattanooga at the airport; Jared admits to Skyla that he is in private counseling; they have a long text conversation. (Almost the entire chapter is Jared/Skyla.)
A BEAUTIFUL LIE
“So I'll see you when you get back, right?” Jared asked Skyla sadly. They were in the airport and her flight was an hour away. He was carrying her bag through the airport and they stopped outside her terminal to wait.
She turned and gave him a long hug. “Shannon plans on me not being back home until I have the baby.”
“What if I come with you?” he asked her, grabbing her hand.
“I would love it,” she told him, kissing his cheek, “but I don't want you to have to do anything special for me.”
“I'd do anything special for you. Please, just... let me come out there with you,” he begged her.
“You can come out there later. I have to talk to my parents first,” she explained to him. Before she could finish what she was saying, they called her flight and she stood up to leave.
Jared gave her a kiss and stopped her from leaving by holding her hips. “I'm going to miss you, you know,” he told her quietly. “I'll be out there soon, okay?”
Skyla hugged him tightly before she left. “I'll keep an eye out for you.” She grabbed her bag and headed toward the exit. Before leaving, she looked back at Jared and gave him a tight-lipped grin. From her seat on the plane, she could see Jared waving at her sadly. She sighed heavily and leaned her head against the window until her flight landed in Atlanta for the switchover flight to Chattanooga. The weather was much cooler here, and it was lightly raining. Skyla checked the temperature on her iPhone and saw that, with the light rain, it was seventy-two and dropping. After she claimed her luggage, she reached into her bag and grabbed a sweatshirt of Jared's she had stolen from his closet; as she waited the hour for her next flight to start boarding, she thought about what she was going to tell her parents. Speaking of parents...
Skyla dialed her mom's phone number and waited for her to answer. It took her a few times before finally getting her mother and not her voicemail.
“Hello?” her mother answered angrily. Skyla hoped she had not called at a bad time.
“I'm going to be at the airport soon,” Skyla told her mother.
“Well, you'll just have to get a taxi or something. I can't bring you home right now. I'm preoccupied with something at the time,” her mother said. Skyla sighed and hung up her phone. Guess I'll have to call a cab when I get to the airport, since my mom is too preoccupied right now. Skyla had just put her phone in her pocket when her switchover flight was called for boarding. After she found her seat, she settled in for what would feel like a few minutes but was really just like an hour and a half in the air from Atlanta to Chattanooga. She missed Jared a lot, and the sweatshirt she had on made the separation between them more bearable. She pulled a sleeve up to her nose as her eyes teared up and she inhaled his clean scent on the sleeve; soon the captain told them they were going to Chattanooga and she pulled out the BlackBerry he had gotten her. She checked it to see if he had messaged her recently and, sure enough, he had. She hit 'reply' and tapped out a message to him:
“So I'm about to be in Tennessee :-( ,” she said. “I stole one of your sweatshirts, is that okay with you?”
“Of course. I miss you so much. I was going to buy a ticket out there for tomorrow but Shannon won't let me come now :( ,” he replied immediately.
Skyla bit her lower lip and felt her emotions begin to get the better of her. “Why, what happened?”
“I have to go to private counseling two times a week because I hurt myself, and Shannon won't let me do anything until I'm straightened out. That means I can't fly out there to see you :( ,” he replied. Skyla could sense the depressed tone of his messages, and felt sad.
“But that doesn't mean I won't find a way to get my ass out there soon. I made you a promise,” he quickly sent her.
“I'll call you later, okay? I was waiting on the plane to land, and we're about to. I have to call a taxi and everything,” she sent him. The last thing she wanted to do was stop texting Jared, so she stuffed her BlackBerry in the pocket of her jeans and grabbed her carry-on.
When she walked into the airport, she noticed the sunset through the opposite window. She walked over to a chair and sat down and pulled out her BlackBerry and a phone book. She quickly found a taxi service that went through her neighborhood and called the number. After a lengthy conversation, she had a cab on the way and her luggage claimed. She stood outside the airport with her bags and sent a text to Jared.
“I'm here. I'll call you as soon as I get home, I promise. I have a taxi on the way here to pick me up and everything,” she sent him. She waited about ten minutes for a reply from him, and there was none. A minute later, she was stuffing her bags into the trunk of the taxi and giving the driver her address as she called her mom to make sure they hadn't moved since her last visit.
“What is it now, Skyla?” her mom answered.
“We still live in the same house, don't we?” she asked.
“Yes, Skyla. If you lived here, you would know that. You aren't bringing anyone with you, are you?” her mother asked. Skyla rolled her eyes and shook her head, wishing her mother could see her; instead the taxi driver just chuckled at her reaction.
“No. Absolutely no one came with me,” she answered.
“Okay. See you later,” her mother said.
Yeah. See you later, Mom. I don't know why you're acting the way you are, Skyla thought. As the taxi pulled up to her house, she asked the driver to help her get her bags out and if her key didn't fit, then to take her back to the airport. She tried every single key on her keyring and none of them fit. She walked to each of the houses on either side and tried her keys there and none of them fit.
“Okay, you can take me back to the airport. It's obvious I'm not welcome here,” she told him. She felt her throat begin to tighten up and fought off tears as she watched the scenery pass by. She pulled her BlackBerry out and texted Jared again.
“I'm home, but I'm heading back to the airport; my keys didn't fit in my door or in any of the other doors so I'm on my way back,” she sent.
“I'm so sorry I never replied. I didn't have my phone with me, and I really wish I could fly out there and help you!” he sent. Skyla felt a tug at her heartstrings... should she fly back out there or somewhere else?
“Do they have you restrained, like a house arrest ankle bracelet or anything like that?” she asked him.
“No, why? What do you have planned?” he asked her.
“Care to meet me somewhere? ;-) ” she hinted.
“Houston.” Skyla stopped texting him and paid the driver. “Thanks. I know where I'm going now.”