The faint scent of lilies ran through my nose and I sprang up, quickly looking to my left and seeing that Faline was gone. I looked around the room and saw nothing, as if no one had been there or came home with me last night. My legs still hurt a little as I sat in my bed, looking around more and seeing that she hadn’t even left a note, a number, nothing. ..So that’s what that feels like..
I got up and stretched, picking up my phone from the ground and checking my contacts, wondering if Faline might’ve added her number in, but she didn’t. I hated how she had just upped and left, I wanted to find her and get her number so I could at least keep in contact with her over the summer.. I couldn’t believe I was even considering inviting her home with me, but it’s not like I’ll even have a chance to now. I was completely oblivious to the time, checking my phone once more and seeing that it was 10:15am and I had only 15 minutes to get to my last class of the semester. Shit! And I never got around to doing that homework or even asking Auturo to do it for me! Shit, shit, shit!
I hurriedly grabbed the pants I had worn yesterday from the floor and threw them on, then ran to my dresser and grabbed a pull over and threw that on too. I stumbled around my entire room trying to put my shoes on and I raced out of the house, noticing that no one else was there and I wondered if they had gone home or were maybe still in class. I got to my last class in record time and took my final, honestly hoping for the best since I hadn’t done my homework. I knew that even if I passed this, I would probably still fail, but I tried my best anyways and I thankfully had time after my final to get the homework I hadn’t done and I finished that, too.
I got out of class and let out the biggest sigh of relief I could muster.. The professor held me after class and talked to me about my grades and I thought he was going to say that I failed, but he actually told me how impressed he was with the amount of work I had turned in the past week, and because I did so much extra credit he said that I passed. I thanked him and left, standing outside of the building and I texted Auturo.
“Thanks man.. You really pulled me out of the shit and I passed because of you. I owe you big time.”
A few moments later, he texted back, “You’re welcome, and yes, you DO owe me. I won’t help you next year. Ass.” I let out a chuckle and put my phone away, relief pouring over me as I stood there for a moment and let it all sink in.. I passed.
I decided to wait until later to go home, I wanted to try and see if Faline had any classes today and she was bound to pass by the center of the college grounds sometime. I hoped. I was still angry with her for leaving and not at least waking me, I hated what I was feeling and I wanted to know why she felt she needed to leave, especially for how fun last night was. Did she not feel the same? Was she more drunk than I thought and was ashamed to wake up next to me? My body started to get warm as my anger grew and I tapped my foot impatiently after an hour of just sitting there, waiting.
I sat there for a few hours, the sun started to set and I wondered if Bettie would come out of nowhere again like she did yesterday and yell at me, but thankfully she never passed by. All I wanted was to see Faline at least one more time before I left, I hated that I had no way of contacting her.. That was the first thing I should’ve done last night when she finally told me her name at the fire; name and number, I always try to remember that for the good ones, but I let this one slip. I eventually grew more angry with myself than her.
I sluggishly got up when I had admitted defeat in ever seeing Faline again, my stomach growled and I made my way over to a bakery. I got a bagel with cream cheese and I thought I would see if the barista knew who Faline was. “Hey, do you know a girl named Faline..? Glasses, red-head, green eyes?” I wondered and I watched as she thought for a moment.
“..No, sorry, doesn’t ring a bell,” she replied and I nodded in acknowledgment, taking my bagel and walking over to a table to take a seat. Well, it was worth a try..
I ate my bagel slowly, taking my time as I sat there in mourning, sighing constantly to myself at how stupid I was to let this one get away from me. Never once has that happened, and of course it’s just my luck to not get any information from the one girl I’m actually interested in getting to know. Now I’ll never get to. I guess when it comes to the important stuff, I really am absent minded..
I finished my bagel and it was a little after 6:30pm when I decided to go back to the frat house. I hung my head as I walked, continuously looking to my phone and checking it for, well, nothing.. I was surprised that Bettie hadn’t texted me at all, but I was more so relived at the fact, finally my phone wasn’t blowing up from an annoying girl; all I wanted was for Faline to have taken my number before she left this morning and I wanted her to text, call, something. Why was I worrying about it so much? It was strange for me to be so interested, but I had never been on the receiving end of heart ache after a one night stand, and I had to admit, it really sucked.
I got home and ran into Sabastian; I felt like it had been forever since I last saw him wandering around the house. “Hey, you on your way out?” I asked, watching as he smiled and nodded.
“Yeah, passed my last class and I gotta get to the airport right now. Got a four hour flight back home.. Did you pass?” He wondered and I smiled as well.
“Yup, thanks to Auturo.. Where is he anyways?” I asked.
“Probably still in class, he takes a lot more than we do. But, I gotta run,” he sticks out his hand and I shake it, “See you next semester for the last year?”
“Yeah, see ya next year,” I replied and he nodded, grabbing up his luggage and leaving.
I made my way to the kitchen and saw Dean who had a huge smile on his face, “Woo HOO! I passed!” He began and he held up his hand for a high five and I laughed, accepting it and he hit my hand a little harder than I would’ve liked. “Sorry, man.. I’m just excited! Did ‘ja pass?” He asked.
“Yeah, Auturo did a lot of extra credit for me and I even passed my final with a 92%.. I don’t even know how I did that,” I said with a smile, chuckling at myself.
“That’s awesome.. Auturo helped me, too, probably not as much as you, though,” he teased and I shrugged, admitting that that was a pretty accurate assumption.
“Hey, do you remember anyone leaving this morning from my room? Cute red head, the one from the party a few weeks ago,” I wondered and his eyes lit up, giving me hope that she might’ve said something to him.
“Ohhh, yeah.. I remember! I couldn’t believe you got her..” He said with disbelief and I put my hands up, wanting him to continue instantly.
“And? Did she say anything? Leave me a note, or number?” I asked with hope and Dean shook his head.
“No, she didn’t leave anything for you. She came out and I was making breakfast and she smiled like she was nervous, then kind of just slipped out the back door without saying anything,” he replied and I sighed, “Why? You usually never care.. Though, well.. I can kinda see why you wanted at least a number,” he continued.
“I know, right? I’m so pissed at myself for not getting that..” I replied, sighing once more in defeat, but continuing, “You going home now?” I asked.
“No, I’m staying until tomorrow, I still need to pack and get ready, plus I don’t live too far from the college, so there’s no rush to get home. But, hey, I know you’re leavin’, so you have a good trip back, and I’ll see ya next year, huh?” He said with a smile and I nodded.
“Yeah, see ya man,” I replied and he patted my shoulder as he walked passed me and went upstairs.
My phone started to ring and I quickly pulled it out of my pocket in hopes it would be Faline, but it wasn’t; it was Anya. Why is she calling? I’m leaving to come home in less than a half hour.. “Hello?”
“Hi, Jason.. Are you done with finals? On your way back yet?”
“Yeah, I’m all done.. I’m leaving in about 20 minutes. What do you want?”
“..Jeez, just checking up on my baby brother whom I haven’t seen in for-ev-errr..”
“Sorry.. You know what I mean.. But, what did you call for?” I corrected myself.
“Uh-huh.. Well, I also called to let you know that you should go by Hitomi’s when you get home, Helena is super sick and she needs a pick me up to get her mind off of it all.. She adores her Uncle Jason, anyways, it would be great if she saw you,” Anya said with a loving giggle and I smirked. I never minded talking to Anya, the more she matured, the more and more her voice got closer to sounding like Mom’s; there were some subtle differences, but it was still nice listening to her, not to mention Anya looked just like her, too.
Helena was my niece, Hitomi’s little girl, “Is she okay? Is she in the hospital or anything?” I asked.
“No, not right now.. She’s been in and out of it the passed week, but she’s home with Hitomi and John now..”
“Well.. Alright, I’ll stop by there first thing when I get back.. You going to be there? Or Julia?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there, but I’m on call at the hospital, so I might be gone before you get here. I don’t think Julia will be there, too. What is today, Friday? We’ll probably just see her on Sunday, on the anniversary of the fire..”
I paused for a moment, thinking of my mother again and my heart fell into the pit of my stomach; I hoped I was able to go alone to the grave like I wanted.. “Jason? You there?”
“Yeah, sorry.. I”m going to go pack, I’ll see you in a few hours maybe..” I reply.
“Alright, see you later hopefully. Bye Jason,” she said with a sweet tone and I said goodbye as well. Anya was still as nice as ever.. I grew worried for my niece, deciding to hurry up and pack as quick as I could so I could get to Hitomi’s.
I was mad while leaving, I really didn’t want to leave the campus until I had seen Faline again, but I had no choice, I had to leave and visit Hitomi and Helena or Anya would be on my case. I’m not even home yet and there’s already so much expected of me.. Julia’s not even going to be there, so why do I have to be? No.. I shouldn’t think like that. I know how much Helena likes me and seeing her might even calm my thoughts down since I couldn’t get my mind off of Faline. What if I was never going to see her again? I don’t even know if she’s a Senior or not and this was her last year.. What if it was? What if I wanted one last fling, but so did she, and now she wants nothing to do with me just like how I did to Bettie and all of the other girls? The mere thought of this woman getting the better of me made me uncomfortable and angry.
I load my things into the truck and take one last look at the frat house, wondering if I should go back and check my room one last time for any clue I could maybe find that Faline left behind. But, as I look to the house, remembering last night and this morning, it seemed as if she made it a point to not leave any trace of her behind besides the floral scent of her perfume. I sighed, getting into the truck and beginning my long, 3 hour drive home, guessing that I’ll get home around 9:00 or 10:00.
The moment I finally get home I walk over to my couch and collapse on it; the car ride was exhausting and I don’t feel like unloading my stuff yet. The only thing that was exhausting about the ride home was that I still couldn’t get Faline out of my head, replaying last night over and over again was beginning to make me angry, too. Why the hell did she leave? Why couldn’t she have woken me up at least..? Faline’s words echoed through my ears.. “I don’t think you could handle it,” she said.. And she was right, I couldn’t.. I wanted to see her so badly. What was worse about coming home was that I had decorated the entire house with mom’s favorite paintings that she kept in the garage.. I loved and hated looking at them.. I let out an aggravated sigh, my phone then beginning to ring and I pulled it out of my pocket quickly, but let out another sigh when it was Hitomi calling.
I stood to my feet sluggishly and answered, “Hello?”
“Jason, are you home yet? Anya just left, but said you were going to stop by.”
“Yeah, I’m back.. And do you still want me to come over? It’s kind of late.. I could just stop by tomorrow.. But, how’s Helena?”
“No, it’s alright. Helena is running a fever and I can’t get her to sleep.. She’ll probably be up for a while if you want to come by?” I thought for a moment and let out a light sigh.
“Yeah, I can still come by.. Just let me shower real quick and I’ll be over.”
“Alright.. Have you talked to Julia lately? Anya and I can’t get a hold of her.”
“Mmm nope.. I haven’t talk to her in a long ass time,” I said with a somewhat sad chuckle after.
“That’s not surprising.. But still, it’s weird for her to not at least answer Anya.. Why don’t you go over to her place tomorrow and see if she’s still coming on Sunday?”
I sighed, “Yeeaahh.. I guess. When are you guys going to the cemetery Sunday?”
“Anya and I are going around noon, Julia’s supposed to come with us but like I said, I haven’t heard from her.. You should come then, too.”
“Hitomi, you know I like to do that on my own.. Besides, I have an appointment already to see Miss Hughes Sunday morning, I don’t know when I’ll get out of it..” I add, hearing her sigh on the other line.
“You’re still going to her? It’s been so long, Jason.. Do you really still need help with Mom and Dad’s death?” She asked with concern and I grew frustrated, not wanting to tell her the real reason why I still see my psychiatrist from when I was younger. But, she didn’t know that it wasn’t my psychiatrist I was talking about..
I walk over to the window, looking out to the city not too far from my house, “I’ll just talk to you when I get there, alright? Let me get ready, jeez,” I replied and she let out a groan.
“Fine, whatever. I’ll see you soon.” -click-
I took a shower and changed, soon making it to the city and I couldn’t get used to this feeling.. I never could. I hated coming back to Bridgeport; there’s too many bad memories here. The distinct smell of the city is what bothered me the most; it always reeked of piss and old newspapers; I think that’s the reason why I didn’t live within the city itself. To get to the city, I had to drive down a road that leads to a street that goes to my old house; well, it’s not there anymore, they built a new house over all the fire wreckage, but seeing the actual street name when I drove passed it made me sick to my stomach. It takes me about fifteen minutes to drive to Hitomi’s and she buzzes me in right away.
Hitomi unlocked the door for me before I had got up there and I walked in, seeing her by the kitchen table and she smiled, “Hey, long time no see!” She said happily and I smiled.
“Yeah, too long,” I replied and she pulled me into a hug, holding one another for a few seconds and soon releasing. “Where’s little sickly?” I wondered and Hitomi chuckled, looking behind her and pointing her out.
“Helena, your Uncle is here,” Hitomi cooed sweetly and I watched as she looked up from her toy and bounced excitedly on the floor.
“There’s my pretty niece!” I say with excitement and she giggles when I lift her up quickly and toss her in the air. Helena is so lovely; she got Hitomi’s hair, and her eyes are a mix between Hitomi’s blue eyes and John’s brown ones. They’re really wild to look at, she’s going to be a knockout when she gets older, and I’ll be right beside her to knockout the boys that ever try to mess with her. Uncle Jason, Body Guard, hmm.. I like the sound of that.
“My gosh, you’re hair has gotten so long, girl! How are you feeling? Any better?” I ask with a smile, checking her temperature on her forehead with the back of my hand and she coughs a few times; she isn’t too warm anymore.
“Yeah, I feel better! I still have a cawff though,” she replies and I chuckle.
“Well, hey.. When you’re feeling better, how about I take you out? It’ll be fun.. But until then, you have to think and decide what you want us to do, okay?” I asked and made an exited expression, watching as her eyes lit up and she made the cutest face.
“Yeah, okay! I wanna get ice cream!”
“Then that’s the first thing on the to do list,” I agree and she smiles.
I loved talking with Helena. She was Brave and Excitable and she always loved to spend time with me since I would let her get away with things that Hitomi and John normally wouldn’t. I like to think I’m a fun Uncle. It amazes me that so much time has passed as I look at Helena, letting it sink in that Hitomi is married and has this little girl, Anya is a surgeon and who knows when she’ll start having kids.. Julia? Eh, she’s not a ‘children’ type of girl. It stills hurts to think about Dad, what he had done to Mom, and what he had tried to do to us.. Helena is my niece for Christ sakes, how could a father do that to his wife? His own children? I would never do something so.. Insane.
Hitomi came out of her room and I walked over to her, “I’m stealing her whenever she gets better,” I say with a smirk and Helena giggles.
Hitomi smiles and nods, “Yeah, that’s fine, I’ll call you when she’s better,” she answers, then gives me a sly grin and I raise a brow.
“Nothing.. It’s just.. It’s nice to see you with a kid, thinking about settling down and having some of your own after college?” She wondered genuinely and I smirked.
“Not this again..” I requested and she rolled her eyes, agreeing to not talk about it in front of Helena.
“About Sunday though.. I’m going to my appointment around 11:00am and I don’t think I’ll get out by noon, so you guys just go without me. I’ll go later, I promise,” I begin to change the subject.
“You know, you don’t have to keep wasting your money and going to her, you can always talk to one of us. We went through the same thing, Jason, you don’t have to do this alone with a stranger,” she replied and I let out a gentle sigh; if only she knew..
“I’ll think about it, alright? It helps, and it’s hard talking to you guys because we went through the same thing,” I answered, hearing her let out a sigh as well and eventually nodding.
“Okay, do what you want.. Just know that we’re here, too, okay?” She added and I nodded in acknowledgment.
“How’s John? Where is he?” I wondered.
“He got back from the Army a few days ago and caught Helena’s bug, so he’s sleeping it off right now. I’m surprised I haven’t caught it yet..”
“Well, let’s hope you do so I can take her off your hands sooner,” I tease and Hitomi chuckles, hitting my arm lightly and I laugh.
“Your Uncle is so silly!” Hitomi said to Helena and poked her nose, us watching as she laughed in my arms.
“Hey, I should get going,” I begin and Helena hugs me tighter, “You need rest, Helly, I’ll see you real soon though, okay?” I ask and look to her, watching as she nods and yawns, a few coughs following after as I hand her off to Hitomi. I give Helena a quick peck on the cheek and look to Hitomi, “See ya, Sis,” I say and make my way towards the door.
“Bye, Jason,” Hitomi replies and I leave.
I get home and go upstairs to my room, reminding myself why I both love and hate coming home as I look around my room at all of my mothers favorite paintings that were salvaged from the fire. It calmed me to look at them, but they also made me uncomfortable; a constant reminder that she’s gone. All that my mother ever did was love each and every one of us unconditionally, and she fell by the hands of her lover, her husband, the father of her children.. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why.
I get ready for bed; I’m exhausted and just want this weekend to be over with already.. I come home to visit my parents graves, but there’s other reasons than just that. There’s so many things that I genuinely miss when I go to college.. I do miss my sisters.. I miss my niece, I miss being able to visit mom whenever I want, I miss being able to spit on my fathers grave. But, most of all, I had to admit that I missed Lana, even for how bumpy our relationship has been. But, I’ll try my hardest to not get on her bad side; I had gotten on that side once before and she threatened to keep Lucy away from me, my baby girl that no one in the family, nor any of my friends knew about. I like to keep my Bridgeport life away from my college life. But, I’d hate for Lana to find out about my promiscuous nature while I’m away, then she probably would take Lucy away from me and take away the days I had with her. I just wished that I could get Lucy without having to see Lana; we weren’t even officially together, it was more of a friendship with benefits, that also somehow ended us up being parents, too. I looked around the room at Lucy’s crib and her toys, not ever wanting to see my room without any of it; it would be so empty and baron without her things here..
Even for not living directly in the city, I can still hear how loud and lively it all is. It’s so much more different sleeping here than at the college; it’s so noisy here and so calm and quiet there, I found it hard to sleep on nights that we did’t have parties so I had background noise.. I was so used to hearing the sound of the city life my entire childhood, even until I went to college, so it was weird having a quieter surrounding. Mom and I would always go to the city together; it was the only time I ever really had with her without Dad being there since he hated going to the city. Those are some of the best memories I have with my mom..
I had never dreamed of starting a family, I wasn’t very fond of the idea of having children. But, when I first met Lucy, I fell in love. My mother would’ve loved to have seen Hitomi get married, have her first child, and I knew she would be ecstatic to see me have my first child.. I had always known her to love children, and had Dad not put an end to everything, I’d probably have at least 4 more brothers or sisters. Ever since I had Lucy though, my entire perspective changed and I wanted even more kids, but not with Lana, and not until I got out of college.. It was hard enough trying to focus on that all while trying to make sure I was keeping good terms with Lana while I was gone, it was stressful trying to keep everything balanced. As much as I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Lana, I couldn’t wait to see Lucy on Sunday. I just wish I could take Lucy and never see Lana again.. The only ‘relationship’ we could even consider labeling what we used to have together was not a good one. I met her when she came into Mrs. Hughes’ office, her mother, to drop something off and I was around 15 when we started hooking up. Only during the summer breaks from school would we ever have contact with one another. If she was my girlfriend, I feel like we’re the same person, and for how much I’ve technically cheated on her is an almost endless list, I don’t doubt that she’s been doing the same. Yet, it confuses me on why now, ever since we had Lucy, which was also around the same time that Hitomi had Helena, she makes it a point to start fights with me as if we were together, and as if I should care, but I don’t. I only care about Lucy, my family, and now.. My most recent encounter, my red-headed beauty, Faline.