Jared finds out something shocking.
A BEAUTIFUL LIE
Jared waited until he was positive Shannon was asleep and grabbed a backpack, stuffing his clothes into it. The last thing he put in the bag was a picture Skyla had made of them together. He kissed it and slung the bag over his arm. His carry-on was a simple laptop bag, consisting of his laptop, his toothbrush and toothpaste, and a change of clothes. He sneaked out of the house and hailed a taxi to take him to the airport. He sent a text to Skyla, letting her know he was on his way to Houston.
“Sky?” he sent. Just a reply from Skyla would be better than nothing at all. He missed her so much. And yet, he lied to her about hurting himself...
“Yeah?” she sent back. He felt relieved to know she was okay.
“I lied. I didn't hurt myself. I'm so sorry.” Jared felt ashamed of himself.
“What? I can't believe you!” was the angry reply he received. When he tried to send her text messages trying to get ahold of her, she never replied. He put his BlackBerry in his pocket and laid his head against the window.
I should have never told her, he thought as he tried to take a nap. Within a few hours he felt someone shaking him, trying to wake him up while he was dreaming.
“Jared,” he heard someone say softly. I'm tired, let me sleep!
“Jared!” another voice said, more angrily than the first voice. “Are you okay?”
I'd be better off if you would just let me sleep!
“Can someone get me another wet rag, please?” the first voice asked someone else at random.
“Yeah, sure. Anything else?” a third voice asked hastily. He could barely hear it, but it must have been coming from a distance.
“No. But if I need anything else I'll holler, okay?” the first voice said. Jared felt something cool on his forehead and his face. “Jared? Come on, wake up. Just wake up, please.”
No... I have to apologize to Skyla first, Jared thought. He felt beads of sweat break out across his forehead. But I've done so much...
“Jared, please, wake up!” the first voice cried. The person had grabbed him by his shoulders and shook him hard.
Jared's eyes flew open. He swallowed a few times and leaned up to look around him, seeing a concerned-looking Shannon and Skyla beside him in the studio. God am I in trouble. And why am I on the floor? He looked at Skyla's face and stared at her.
Skyla didn't say anything as she stood up and left the studio, but the look on her face had said everything. Jared laid back down on the floor and sighed.
“What happened?” he finally asked Shannon.
“You got knocked out,” was Shannon's simple answer. “And Skyla freaked out when we told her. Dude, you were out for quite awhile.”
Jared asked him no more questions. Instead, he tried to get up to follow Skyla. “I want to check on her. See if she's okay.”
Shannon held him back. “Jared, Skyla has no reason to–” he began.
“Yes she does. I want to talk with her,” he interjected angrily. He grabbed the back of a chair and began walking toward the door. He held onto the wall as he grabbed the handle and pulled. His trip upstairs was a long one, as he had to take each step at a time and frequently grabbed the railing. When he finally reached Skyla's room, she was curled up in the velvet chairs with her back to him. He sighed and hobbled over to her. “Skyla...”
She turned away from him. Every time she breathed in, Jared heard a sniffle like she was crying. Skyla grabbed another National Geographic from in between the cushions and began reading it; she heard Jared hobble over to one of the other two chairs in front of her as she flipped through the magazine.
“Skyla. Please talk to me,” he asked her. “I'm weak enough as it is.”
“I don't want to talk to you right now,” she told him.
“Why not? What did I do?”
Skyla punched him on the arm. “Just being you.”
Jared smiled. “So tell me, really–how long was I out?” he asked her. “Shannon said I was out for awhile, but I don't know how long that is.”
“Eight hours. I already bandaged myself.” She held out her arms to show him the gauze-and-tape wrapped words that used to be there.
“So... you aren't pregnant?” he asked her dejectedly.
“Uh, no. Maybe you should eat before doing anything else.” Skyla left to get him something to eat.
Jared walked over to her bed and flopped down on the pillows. His head was hurting like crazy, and he desired nothing more than to just sleep for days. As he was drifting off into sleep, he heard Skyla's footsteps coming toward the door.
“I have a couple of bottles of water, a banana, and some other stuff for you,” she told him. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I'm just tired.” Jared grabbed a bottle of water and gulped it down. He then grabbed an apple and bit into it, eating the entire thing down to its core. “Thanks, I was starving. Have some, if you want.”
“No thanks. Tell me, why did you think I was pregnant?”
“I don't know. I guess my brain dreamed it all up while I was knocked out,” Jared said sheepishly. “I'm sorry.”
Skyla brushed her fingers through his hair. “It's okay. Just rest for a bit. I'll be here if you need anything, okay?”
Jared nodded and snuggled back into her pillows. They smelled just like her, ocean breeze shampoo and all. He fell asleep with her running her fingers through his hair and humming a tuneless song. When he woke up a few hours later, she was still sitting beside him, twirling his hair. She stopped when she saw him stirring.
“No, no, please continue. It feels good,” Jared mumbled. He snuggled against her and went back to sleep.
Skyla stood up and walked to the other side of the bed. Jared sensed she was gone and opened his heavy eyes halfway. “Don't worry, I'm just moving to the other side,” she told him quietly. “I didn't want to disturb you. Just go back to sleep.”
“Sky?” Jared asked her. “If I was knocked out and dreamed up shit over the past few hours, how do I know that this, us, we aren't a dream either?” Skyla couldn't answer him.
Jared stared her down. “Skyla. Please. Tell me.”