C4 Chapter 04
I run to the bathroom ready to throw up, but when I get there I manage to gain control of myself. Sitting on the floor, next to the loo, I try to breathe in deeply. I don’t want people to spread more rumours about me. On top of that, there is someone else in the next cubical. Jenny was staring at me suspiciously when I rushed along the corridor just a second ago, and she is friends with everyone in the office. After some time, I hear the toilet being flushed and the person next door leaves. I come out a few minutes later and stare at my own pale reflection in the mirror, thinking about Jacob. My life suddenly seems so complicated.
I splash water all over my face, remembering that day when I made a decision to ruin my whole life, to push him away.
“Dora … hey, Dora. Make sure you’re ready when I walk into that bedroom. We are going out. I have something really special planned for us,” Jacob shouts from somewhere downstairs.
I panic and wrap my hands around Ricky’s arms. He begins trailing kisses down my neck, but my heart pounds a hundred miles an hour. I can’t stop this now; it’s too late to have second thoughts. I hear Jacob’s steps. He’ll see me at any second now.
“Dora, why are—”
Jacob stops in the door, dropping whatever he was holding in his hand, and I quickly cover myself, pushing Ricky off me, like I’m surprised that we’ve just been caught. There is no need to scream, to add any theatrics. Everything is very real.
“Jacob … I can explain,” I say, but he is staring at me, pale, not reacting at all.
“Dora, who the hell is that?” Ricky asks, and I wish that he would just shut up. He is just some random guy that’s helping me out. He has no idea what’s going on between Jacob and me.
“How could you do this to me? To us?” Jacob starts asking, with that broken look and that empty stare. I hate myself right now. I need to pick up the knife, find some-thing sharp quickly to ease off this sudden, unexpected pain. This was supposed to be easy.
“Ricky, get the fuck out. We are done here,” I snap, thinking about the amount of money that we both agreed on. I can pay him later. He has my number. Maybe I’ve gone too far, but I have always been a coward.
Pain and vicious disappointment passes through Jacob’s features and the hole in my heart keeps growing with every single heartbeat. The moment I made the decision to push him away seems like the worst in my life, but it was necessary. I never de-served him, although now I’m regretting hurting him when he looks at me with so much sorrow.
Jacob slides down the wall, hiding his face in his palms. I thought that he was go-ing to shout, scream or try beat up Ricky, but this is so much worse. Why do I keep doing this shit to myself? Everything was fine until he got that opportunity to kick-start his career.
“Call me, Dora,” Ricky whispers, winking at me and then disappearing behind the door.
“You ruined us, everything, with this. How could you do that?” Jacob asks again, after a long moment of silence. My heart is bleeding, splitting in half. I want to scream, shout that this was just an act.
“Jacob, you better leave. I had a bit too much to drink last night and Ricky came over. I didn’t plan this,” I explain, telling him lies, but this time nothing is going to make me feel better.
He exhales sharply and then looks away, shaking his head. The voices in my head are roaring at me not to give him up, to tell him the truth. He is the only man that I ever truly loved, and now I’m going to stay lonely and broken.
“Stop talking, Dora. I had a surprise for you this morning. Last night I was out preparing for this; that’s why I didn’t want to see you,” he says with a heavy sigh. “Now it’s all over, whatever there was between us.”
“Jacob let me ex—”
“No, Dora. I thought we agreed. I thought you wanted to be with me. I was plan-ning to propose to you this morning, instead I find you with another man … do you even realise how ironic this is?”
My mouth drops and the tears run down my cheeks. I never cry. Jacob has never seen me crying. The pain is so much better than tears. Marriage?
Was he really planning to ask me to marry him? The sudden devastation spreads all over my body. I have been stupid, so fucking stupid. Now it’s too late for every-thing.
“And I thought that I finally found the one. We are done, Dora. I’m leaving today. Don’t try to contact me ever again. I don’t care what happens. The moment you let that arsehole into your bed is the moment you broke me.” He grabs his jacket and leaves me alone in my bedroom.
The world around me starts spinning. I don’t know what to do, how to react. The anxiety is making it hard to draw breath. My lungs stop working, so I throw off the covers and run to the bathroom as soon as I know that Jacob is out of the house.
My hands are shaking so much when I pick up the blade and start cutting my skin. When I see the blood, the usual relief doesn’t arrive. The pain is still there, spreading quickly everywhere. My vision is blurry, so I cut deeper, knowing that it’s the only way to get rid of the demons. I’m so pathetic, Jacob never really wanted to marry me; he only felt sorry for me. Who would want me? I am unlovable.
I’m falling, realising that I’ve ruined us, but it’s for the best, because we would never have survived being in love. It was just a fairy tale with a sad ending.
It’s been four days and I still haven’t reached out to Dora and made that damn phone call. The idea of revenge is burning my flesh, rotting me from the inside out. Dora is happily in love with another man. I never thought I would ever see her again, especially like that, being a hotshot barrister in London. If I want real closure I have to steal her happiness, seduce her, tear her away from that arsehole—and then walk away.
The training with the new team went well yesterday. Everyone seems to get on well and I like London. I could be happy here, so why can’t I let this thing with Dora go?
Dora—that name has been on my mind constantly the past few days. I even asked Pete to send another girl, but I couldn’t get it up for her. There is something really, really wrong with me. Sex has never been a problem before. After Dora there were plenty of girls, but no one ever satisfied me the way she had.
My mobile suddenly starts vibrating and my sister’s name flashes on the screen. She can be intense sometimes and her lectures are irritating. I bet she wants to check if I’m still clean, after that damn article. Sometimes I think she just doesn’t believe me.
“Hey, little bro, how is it going?”
“Good, why? Are you checking on me already?” I tease her.
She laughs. “As always. How is your new flashy life in the capital?”
“Great actually. The paps are off my back for once, so everything is good.”
“You sound strange. Are you sure you’re all right?” she presses, and I roll my eyes.
“Yeah, sure … I had this party a couple of days ago and guess who showed up? Dora Harrison,” I explain, knowing that I shouldn’t even be starting this conversation with her. Hell, Madison is a lot like Dora. She has a gabby mouth on her and doesn’t take any shit from anyone.
She always nagged me to try to patch things up with her. She kept saying that Dora had some emotional issues, that apparently she staged th whole affair. My sister has a very active imagination.
“What? Dora, as in your Dora?”
“Yes, Madison, my ex, Dora Harrison, but don’t get too excited. She is happily engaged to some financial douche,” I add, imagining having her in my arms again. I really need to get a grip. “It was kind of an accident. I wasn’t expecting to see her, and then there she was standing in my bedroom. She still looks the same.”
“Jacob, why are you telling me this? What did you do? How many times did you say that you never wanted to hear her name again?” Madison keeps blabbing. She is right. I used to keep changing the subject whenever Maddie started talking about her. I don’t think I should use her to represent me.
Revenge won’t change anything. She cheated on me, took a piece of my soul, and stamped on it.
“Nothing, it’s nothing. Forget that I said anything, Maddie.”
“Jacob, what happened? Come on, I’m not dragging this out of you. You’re plan-ning to see her again. I know you still lo—”
“No, Maddie, stop making a big deal out of it. This isn’t about the past. She is a solicitor and I thought that she could help me sue that paper that ran that fucked up story about me a couple of weeks ago,” I say, stretching my neck. Maddie goes silent for a moment, but I already know what she is thinking. Am I that fucked up?
“At least you’re doing something about it. Dora has always been smart, but why her? There are other firms in the city. Why would you want to get her involved in your life again, after what she did to you?”
Maddie is my sister, but she is also my best friend. I can’t lie to her, but I know for a fact that she won’t like my idea of revenge.
“I don’t know, it was just an impulse. I didn’t expect to see her that day. An idea popped into my head and I decided to pursue it. Next day I was in her office, asking her to take on that case.”
“Stop lying to yourself, Jacob. I know what you’re thinking. She cheated on you when you were planning to propose to her. It’s clear that you want her back.” Maddie laughs, pushing me to tell her everything.
“There is still something between us, even after five years. I really don’t know what happened that afternoon. Why she did it. Maybe I was expecting too much and she got scared,” I admit, deep down knowing that this is not the case. I’ll get her back, rip apart her perfect relationship and then toss her away, so she will finally un-derstand what she has done to me.
“You want to ruin her engagement for the sake of some childish need for retribu-tion?” she asks in disbelief.
“Maybe. I don’t know. When we talked I felt like we were together again. I just want her to admit that she made a mistake, that she should have fought for me,” I say more aggressively than I intended. I can’t blame Dora for the drugs and buzz, but if we’d still been together maybe my life wouldn’t have gotten so fucked up.
“Okay, Jacob, I don’t think it’s a good idea, but if you do get her back it may help Mum to finally come around. She always liked her,” Maddie states quietly and I want to smash the phone into the wall. My mother stopped talking to me when the story in the paper came out. We always had a rocky relationship, more so when I started playing rugby professionally. Drugs didn’t help our situation, and Mum walked away when she found out.
We talk some more and I don’t say more about my plans for Dora. Maddie has always been there for me, but she doesn’t need to know what I’m really planning, she doesn’t need to tell me that it’s morally wrong to be ripping apart someone else’s re-lationship.
The revenge might be sweet; it might even make me feel better about everything. Dora is going to give me some answers about the past and maybe I’ll finally have some closure.
I pick up my phone an hour later and call her direct line. When it goes straight to voicemail I call her office and make an appointment with her. It’s late, just before five, so she should still be in the office. The girl in the reception states that Dora has gone home early.
“May I take a message?”
“No, I really would like to speak to her. Does she have a mobile?”
“Yes, but I’m not allowed to give that out, sir.”
“This is urgent. Dora is working on my case. There is something that I need to talk to her about,” I keep saying, pissed off that this girl is being so uptight.
“Mr. Radcliffe, it’s her personal number and I’m not all—”
“Jacob Radcliffe. I think you must have seen me in the office the other day. I have just relocated to London from France,” I say, knowing that sometimes this works, but mostly I just sound like a total moron. Earlier on I lied to Dora. I didn’t really get her number from Mike. I just wanted to wind her up.
“Oh god, is that really you? I’m so sorry, Mr. Radcliffe, I had no idea,” she mum-bles. “Dora likes having drinks in Delux, not far from the office. She hangs out there with Mike. If you go there you might be able to keep me out of trouble.”
“Thank you, gorgeous. I owe you one,” I say, then hang up the phone before she tries to keep me on the line. I’m pumped and that’s not good. Another surprise, but who knows—maybe I’ll even meet the famous fiancé tonight.
I put some smarter clothes on and head out several minutes later, putting my plan into motion. Dora is going to be mine again, but this time I’ll be the one having all the control.