Chapter Fourteen

"And these foolish games
Are tearing me apart
And your thoughtless words
Are breaking my heart
You're breaking my heart ..."

Foolish Games ~ Jewel

Belle just lay in bed, trying to compose herself, for an entire hour. She didn’t want to ever get up... but she knew she had to. They were leaving Edmonton for Calgary that very afternoon.

The thought of ten more days... ten more days of this, of living with herself like this... it made her ill. But she knew she couldn’t let go... she had managed to keep her head above the water, and she had to make sure it stayed that way.

She dragged herself out of bed and checked the clock. 7:28 a.m. Wing-Yee still wasn’t back yet? Her friend had been staying out later and later, wherever she was...

She got up and walked towards the phone, actually picked it up, but then placed it back down.

No,” she whispered to herself. “I am not going to call him. I can get through this myself. It’ll only make things worse...”

No matter how hard she tried to convince herself, she couldn’t draw her gaze away from the phone.

After sitting there struggling with herself for a few minutes, she gave up. She knew she would end up doing it eventually ... why not now?

She picked up the phone and dialed her partner’s room.

“Let Ross answer,” she prayed inwardly. “let him be out, so I can forget about it, so I won’t...”


She swallowed hard. It was her partner.

“Jason?” She knew her voice was shaking, but she didn’t care anymore.

The instant he heard her voice, he knew something was wrong. But he knew better than to question her... he’d vowed to let her decide what she wanted to tell him, and what she didn’t...

“Is Ross there with you?” she asked, her voice barely audible.

“No,” he replied, unable to keep his concern out of his voice. “He just went down for breakfast. Belle, are you--”

“I’m coming down there,” she interrupted. “Wait for me.”

Click. He was getting used to sitting in hotel rooms, listening to dial tones... waiting for her. Something was wrong. Very wrong. And he had a sinking feeling he knew exactly what it was...

The door opened and Belle entered, without even bothering to knock. Without a word, without a greeting, she looked up at him with eyes full of pain and he knew. It needed no explanation.

He felt his heart plummet and couldn’t hold her gaze. It hurt too much. He turned away.

“Please don’t turn away from me,” she pleaded. “Not now. I can’t... I need... Oh, Jason, just... hold me and tell me I’m not a horrible person.”

Her voice was breaking and she was obviously very close to tears. He couldn’t just stand there and leave her like that. Wordlessly, he took her in his arms and they clung to each other in silence, not knowing what to do, what to say, how to feel.

“Belle, you’re not a horrible person,” he finally managed to get out over the lump in his throat.

“Yes, I am,” she insisted in an anguished voice.

“You’re not,” he repeated. “You’re smart and beautiful and... the sweetest girl I know.”

“Oh, I’m not.” She was fighting back tears again. “Don’t. It just makes me feel like even more of a wretch when you’re so sweet with me.”

“If I really thought you were a horrible person,” he whispered. “Why would I be standing here holding you?”

“Because I asked you to,” she whispered back. “And you’re way too nice. But I shouldn’t have. I... it’s done. There’s nothing I can do about it. Except make sure things don’t get worse.” She moved towards the door, closed her eyes, and composedherself. “I... I’m gonna go...”

“Belle, wait!” But it was too late. She was already gone.

Jason watched the door close and with it, felt all hope walk out behind her. She’d gone back to him. After everything, she’d gone back to him.

He should’ve known it would happen. He should’ve known better than to hope. Sure, she’d come to him afterwards, but it was only guilt that had brought her there, he told himself. He was convinced that it was only a matter of time before she’d come again... to tell him it was over, that she belonged to him.

It was over. He tried to convince himself, but something was telling him, no, keep fighting, it’s not over until it’s completely over...

What he didn’t know was that it was only just beginning.

Onto Chapter 15
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