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A New Flame - Chapter Five - Falling Backwards
 By Moose   •   4th Jul 2014   •   1,317 views   •   0 comments
A New Flame

Jane’s chest collapsed in on her heart, as if it was bearing a thousand pounds. A sick, eerie feeling quickly filled her stomach as her mind spun around his words and worked to unravel them. Her thoughts became one tangled mess of incomprehensible words and phrases that she couldn’t put together. His lips continued to move but she refused to listen. How could she when her heart was beating too loudly to hear herself think?

“That’s not funny, Elijah.” Her sparkling blue eyes filled with tears as she stood. Suddenly, she became light headed. She felt the sky begin to spin around her.

Elijah stood quickly and reached for her but Jane drew back. “Don’t touch me,” she hissed.

“Jane, I wish I was joking but I’m not.” He breathed, watching the color drain from her vibrant face.

Her mind raced ahead of her, putting together the pieces and making sense of Elijah’s words. Suddenly, there was a connection; the silver eagle in his garage, the way he stared at her like he recognized her on the first day he started working, the commercial license for driving semi-trucks, it all made sense.

“I wanted to tell you.” Elijah added softly.

“But you didn’t.” Jane could feel her heart pounding in her ears. A mix of anger and betrayal filled her as she stared back at Elijah.

“I want you to know that I wanted to say something the second I saw you.”

“Then why didn’t you say anything?” Jane demanded, tears breaking free from her pale blue eyes and tumbling off her lashes, down her soft, freckled cheeks like rivers. “Why?!”

“I couldn’t. I overheard your father say that he hadn’t seen you smile like that in a long time. And I could not bring myself to crush you again.”

Jane spoke with anger rising in her small voice. “And you thought it would get easier the longer you waited?” She sobbed into her hands, “You should have told me.” Jane spun around and threw open the door of the house, storming inside.

Elijah followed her, enraged by her words. “How could I?!”

“If you knew how badly it hurts, if you knew what it’s like to wake up every morning hoping this is all a dream, if you knew what it’s like to lose your best friend, if you knew that I constantly wish that it was me that died instead of him!” Jane screamed through tears. “You don’t know what it’s like! You don’t know how hard it was for me to move on and just when I thought I was beginning to trust someone like I trusted him, you tell me this and I’m back where I started.”

“I don’t know?” Elijah’s voice was suddenly loud.

“No! You can’t even begin to understand!” Jane shot back.

“Jane-” Elijah stopped himself, turning around and pulling at his hair. As he ran his hands down over the back of his neck, he exhaled loudly. Elijah clenched his hands into fists, trying to redirect the mix of anger, grief, and frustration that swelled inside of him. He spun around and looked Jane straight in the eyes, startling her. “Andrew and Noah both loved you.”

The anger in Jane’s face drained suddenly like a pitcher of water. Her bright eyes grew sad and dull. Something snapped inside of Elijah, like old wounds suddenly opening to uncover mixed emotions that flowed uncontrollably throughout him as he spoke.

“They loved you more than you can possibly fathom, and if they had the choice, they never would have left you.” He spoke the words through his teeth and narrowed his eyes into slits. “My mother chose to leave me.”

Jane watched his eyes so clearly reflect torturing feelings and her expression changed entirely. But he wasn’t finished, his voice got louder, angrier. “She left us; her husband and her own three kids. She left us, wondering why we deserved this. Wondering what we did wrong. I prayed every single night that she would come back and I lied to two innocent children day after day after day. How can I ever forgive myself for that?”

Elijah took a breath and turned away, letting his anger simmer into a soft, solemn tone. “I really wish she could see them, what they will become. I wish she could see Sophie on her wedding day. Her mother should be there, standing alongside her and preparing her for the biggest day of her life. I wish she could see Benjamin graduate from high school, get accepted to college, grow up, and become a man. She should be there, sharing his laughter, his pain, watching him learn and grow. But the reality is that she won’t be there. That is something I hope you never have to understand, Jane.”

Jane swallowed and forced back tears. Her heart broke into thousands of tiny fragments as he told her his story. She couldn’t imagine the betrayal, neglect, and hurting that he was feeling. Jane blinked back tears, making Elijah’s face clearer and revealing the grief in his big, brown eyes.

“So don’t you tell me that I don’t know what it’s like to lose someone.” He hissed before tearing his gaze away and storming out the door. Jane flinched as the door shut behind him. Never had she pictured Elijah so angry and in so much pain. But yet she stood in the kitchen, alone and in tears, with the lingering sting of a heartache.

Without thinking, Jane spun around and grabbed the beautiful vase of flowers from the table. Her anger, frustration, and grief built up and exploded as she threw the vase to the floor with all of her anger. The deafening sound of glass shattering into thousands of tiny fragments startled and satisfied her. She watched the sunlight from the kitchen window bounce off the shards, reflecting the light like glitter. Jane’s legs crumpled to the floor in defeat. She ran her trembling hands over the once beautiful vase, carefully brushing the sharp edges. The tip of her finger caught on a protrusion in the glass, tearing through her skin. Jane flinched and withdrew her hand quickly, watching the tiny bead of blood form at her fingertip.

A part of her savored the pain; it took away from the aching in her heart and made her feel alive. It reminded her of the accident, the way the breaking glass of the windshield glistened like waves on a lake in the sun. The cruel reminder made her heart beat faster and anger rise in her throat. She felt herself suffocating with grief, like she was slowly being buried alive. The unbearable aching of her heart began to take over Jane, making her feel trapped and alone. She felt as if someone was smothering her with a thick wool blanket. Jane felt the sting of hot tears swell in her eyes as she shut them tightly.

All of a sudden, Jane was in a wheelbarrow, bouncing and laughing uncontrollably as hay flew out from underneath her and covered the yard and her clothes. She tilted her head back and let her tresses of hair fall over her shoulders and into the hay. Jane covered her eyes as Andrew swerved away from a fence post and pushed her towards another. She screamed again and tipped her head back to look at him. Andrew shook the wheelbarrow and ran over another bump, making her laugh even harder. Jane’s hand clutched the side of the wheelbarrow and caught on the uneven, ragged plastic. She winced as she glanced down to study the small bead of blood and the wheelbarrow came to a slow stop. Andrew leaned over and looked at Jane, lifting her delicate hand and kissing it with a smile. “All better,” he whispered to her.

As the flashback faded, Jane’s eyes opened again. The familiar sting overcame her heart as Jane dropped the glass and looked down. She drew her knees into her chest and locked her arms around them. She longed to have Andrew by her side, telling her it was all better. She wanted to feel that incredibly happy feeling again like when she was riding in the wheelbarrow. But Jane knew she wasn’t in the wheelbarrow and she knew Andrew was never coming back. She was never going to have that feeling back. Jane started to sob into her knees uncontrollably. Her heart hurt like the day they told her he was gone. All of the pain had suddenly recaptured her again. She found herself asking the same questions she asked herself the day Andrew died.

There was a soft tickle on Jane’s shoulder, making her jump.

“Jane,” Elise’s gentle, motherly voice wrapped Jane in a blanket of comfort as she met with her eyes. She wanted to be angry but instead she found herself reaching forward and curling into Elise’s arms. Jane pressed her cheek into her mother’s soft shoulder and squeezed her as tightly as possible, sobbing quietly into her shirt.

Elise pressed her gentle fingers into Jane’s back, shushing her and whispering to her softly, “Shhhh... It’s okay, it’s going to be okay...”

“I miss him so much.” Jane whispered through her tears.

Elise rocked her back and forth and gently rested her chin on Jane’s blonde head. “It’ll be okay, it’ll work out.”

Jane closed her eyes and fought back tears as her mother spoke calm words into her ear. “I want Andrew back.” Jane murmured.

“I know,” Elise whispered, her own eyes filling with tears. “I know you do.” There was a pause before Elise continued, “Don’t push him away, Jane.”

Jane lifted her head slowly, glancing up. She didn’t have to explain; Jane knew exactly what her mother meant when she said it. Yet she still felt a tugging at her heart when she thought about it.

“All I do is push people away.” Jane mumbled, “It’s who I am.”

“You need a friend right now,” her mother said, stroking Jane’s loose blonde curls. “And Elijah is a good friend.”

Jane sighed and let the words sink into her as the room fell silent. Her mother was right. But going back to Elijah would take more than just a little bravery after accusing him of not knowing what it was like to lose someone close. Jane only hoped that he had it in his heart to forgive her.

“Pray about it,” Elise said with a smile. “And while you’re at it, pray for some rain. We really need it.”
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