**FINAL CHAPTER!** Jared apologizes to Skyla- for everything.
A BEAUTIFUL LIE
“What?” she asked Shannon, and pulled away.
“I'm only telling you that Jared loves you because I know for a fact he loves you. He told me. And I'm only telling you this because it's the truth. He loves you. I did, but I was bluffing. Okay?” he said. He felt a tremble come through her arms and struggled to hold her up. “Skyla. Please, I'm telling the truth.”
Skyla took a shaky breath. “I believe you, it's just... When he told me we should take a break, I thought he didn't...”
“Just go on back home for a bit and we'll come and get you before Thanksgiving,” Shannon told her. “That way you can spend the holidays with us.”
Skyla looked down at her worn out sneakers. She can go home and be with her family. She hugged Shannon tightly. “And Jared has no opposition to this, at all?”
“No, he doesn't. If you don't believe me then we'll go back and ask him,” Shannon said. He started dragging her along behind him. “Grab your bags, because once we go back you're going home.”
“But then I get to be with you guys for Thanksgiving?” Skyla asked him before heading upstairs.
“Yes. We'll come and get you for Thanksgiving,” Shannon told her as he gave her a little push. He followed her upstairs and grabbed the bags she wasn't able to carry. As he led the way back downstairs, he could have sworn he heard Skyla ask him a question. “What was that, Sky?”
“I didn't say anything,” she said as she put her phone away. She had just answered a text she had gotten from Jared and was more than anxious now to get back. But first things first... “Shannon? Why are you so anxious to get rid of me?” she asked him.
“I–I'm not. I swear it, Skyla,” he stuttered, standing in the hall facing her. “I swear!” He could only watch as Skyla ran out the front door into the rain that had just began to fall. He began to follow her but stopped when he got lost in the dark. He had no choice now except to call Jared.
“I need your help,” he told him, out of breath. He slumped against a tree and struggled to catch his breath. “Skyla's run away.”
“Where to? And why?” Jared asked him. He had just finished taking a shower and was busy getting ready. He was positive he knew why she ran away, just not where to. “If she calls you before I get there, call me back okay?”
“Okay. I'll keep searching for her.” Shannon hung up his phone and started running again. After more than thirty minutes of searching he called Jared back and told him to come and help him.
“I'm already on my way,” Jared told him. He headed downstairs and heard a tap tap tap on the door. He spun around and saw Skyla standing outside the door, drenched. “You know what? Scratch that, okay?”
“Okay. I'll be there soon,” Shannon told him. He grabbed his keys and hurried out the door. Before shutting the door he turned and grabbed an umbrella out of the umbrella stand and the bags Skyla left behind and dragged them out to his Jeep. He got into the front seat and listened as the ignition roared to life.
“Thank god she's okay,” he repeated to himself quietly as he drove down the road.
Inside the house Jared wrapped a dry towel around Skyla's shoulders and hugged her tightly. “Why are you here? You were going to be on a plane home tomorrow.”
“It's Shannon, h-he's too anxious to see me go,” Skyla gasped. She was soaked to the skin and freezing; Jared grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around her to help keep her from shivering. “It's like he doesn't want me here.”
“I don't want you to leave, Skyla. Damn, I'd go crazy if you left me again,” he told her, hugging her close. “I made the biggest mistake ever. I'm so sorry.”
Skyla let a small sob escape. “Thank you. That's all I needed to hear.” She wrapped her arms around his neck, drenching his shirt.
Jared stood up and rearranged the towel and blanket over Skyla's shoulders. He helped her to her bedroom, where he helped her find a change of clothes. When she sneezed, he turned around from finding her a pair of pajamas and looked at her.
“You need to get warm,” he told her. He threw an old shirt of his, a pair of his old pajama pants and a change of underwear on her bed beside her. “Here's a change of clothes for you; I'll step outside while you change.”
Skyla watched as Jared walked outside her room and closed the door behind him. She grabbed the clothes and changed quickly; as she sat and waited in one of the three black velvet chairs in her room, she heard a second voice downstairs along with Jared's. She got up and went to the door to listen, only realizing that she would have to go to the top of the stairs to listen in.
“Shannon,” she heard Jared say. “She's here. Drenched, but here.”
“Thanks. Here's her bags; what's she going to do?” she heard Shannon ask Jared.
“She's staying here,” Jared said. Skyla moved closer so she could hear better. “I asked her to.”
What little bit of Shannon's face Skyla could see looked surprised. “Tell her I'll see her tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay. And I'm sure she will appreciate you bringing her bags,” Jared told him. “See you later, okay? It's late, and she needs some rest.” There was a small pause, during which there was a loud clap of thunder overhead. Skyla yelped and ran back into her room; she heard something hit the floor downstairs and Shannon's voice let out a loud “Ow!”
“On second thought, you can stay here,” Jared told him. Skyla backed away from the door and ran over to her bed; she sat cross-legged under her covers as Jared knocked on her bedroom door.
“Come in!” she called. She leaned against her pillows as Jared walked over to her and sat down. “So, how's everything going?”
“Great, now that you're back,” Jared told her. He leaned in and kissed her. “Say, what do think about going to Colorado for a bit in a month?” he asked her.
“I would love it!” Skyla said excitedly. “When do you think we can go?”
“Either in November or December, and we can even go over Thanksgiving or Christmas.” He pulled her covers over them as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “You talk like you've been to Colorado before. Have you?”
“A few times. My parents took my brother, sister, and I when we were in school. And sometimes we went other places, too,” she told him.
“So which do you prefer, snowboarding or skiing?” he asked her. Skyla looked at him and grinned broadly.
“Snowboarding, surfing, skating. Just in case,” she told him.
Jared looked at her and pulled her close; he kissed the top of her head before snuggling as close to her as he could. “Let's discuss this later, okay? You you can catch a cold soon.”
“Deal. But what does it matter if I'm going to go to Colorado anyways?” she asked him.
“Hush and go to sleep.” Jared turned out the light. “Goodnight, Skyla.”