Several months later, I was done with therapy and rehabilitation and I was myself once again.
My clothing line had grown over these few months and I was even named as one of the new and upcoming designers to lookout for by Vogue. Yes, Vogue. I was very happy and grateful, especially when I remember how easily I could have lost everything. I’d been given a second chance and hell if I don’t make it count.
I put in all my time and energy into my work, trying to forget about the past months by being busy always, not giving myself the time to think of the past events.
Although I was done with rehabilitation, I’ve still not started drinking, partying or even dating. After my last experience I decided that maybe I should just be alone for a while.
So why do I keep thinking about Brandon??
It’s not even like he has changed his attitude towards me; although he has lightened up just a little bit. He smiles at me more often now than before though he still completely ignores me sometimes.
The way he took care of me these past few months with Lindy made me realize my feelings for him were much deeper than I thought but I had no idea about what he felt towards me so I couldn’t do anything about it.
Even if he had ever felt something for me, I’m sure this ordeal has scared him away from me. I mean, why would he be attracted to someone he rescued naked, drugged, raped and tied up to a bed post?? I shudder at that image. I wouldn’t even want to date me.
Thinking of what I went through I quickly pushed the thought out of my head; I don’t want to dwell on that.
For some reason, there was no scandal and Chase was extradited in his country which meant he was no longer here. I don’t know how it happened but I’m very grateful for that. Maybe I do have a fairy godmother.
My inner self rolls her eyes as she sinks into her seat.
For all the shame I felt, I didn’t think I could have handled the scandal and publicity if the case had openly gone to court. I was sure my work would have suffered too and Vogue definitely wouldn’t have named me as a new and upcoming designer to look out for.
Few days later I was in Lindy’s house and we were curled up on the sofa with ice cream and talking. This experience made me appreciate life and everyone that loves me especially Lindy. I didn’t know where I would have been now without her.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you. How exactly did this whole thing not blow up into a scandal? Or even stay out of court? I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it but it just doesn’t make sense. Not that I’m not grateful, trust me I am but it just feels like nothing short of a miracle”. I say to Lindy.
“I shouldn’t be telling you this but it was Brandon. He said you’d suffered enough and didn’t need a constant reminder”. Lindy replied.
“Wow! Really? That’s very nice of him”.
Wow. Brandon? Who would have thought? And he didn’t even want me to know. If I was already on my way to falling in love with him, I fell right now, all the way in. This was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.
“He cares for you June. I think much more than he lets on. You needed to have seen his face when we found you, for a moment I thought he was going to kill Chase”.
“Maybe he was just worried about the magazine suffering because of my silly mistakes. Trust me, it’s nothing more than that”. I say trying to brush it off although I desperately want it to be something more because I just realized I was already in love with him.
“I think it’s more than that, all he had to do was fire you if it was really all about the magazine, not shelter and protect you. You need someone like him”. She says quietly.
“I don’t think he would ever want me. I’m damaged”. I say crying.
“You are still the gorgeous, beautiful and smart June Barber you have always been and he would be crazy not to want you”. Lindy said hugging me.
“You are just saying that because you have to. I’m your best friend”. I say sniffling, not quite believing her.
“It’s the truth June; never think you are less than what you are”.
“Thanks Lindy, not just for saving my life or restoring my self esteem but for everything”. I say hugging her back.
Work went on as usual and I tried to read Brandon’s feelings but couldn’t. He was always distant. I tried to get his attention a few times but it never worked so I gave up and buried myself in my work. Resigned to the fact that I might never be with the one man I truly love.
One night after work, I drove home, made dinner and after eating went up to my room to get ready for bed when I noticed a strong storm brewing outside. I rushed downstairs to light some candles and find a torchlight incase there is a black out so I wouldn’t be in the dark. This was another reminder of what happened to me. I’m now scared of the dark, my therapist says it was probably because I was unconscious for a while.
The wind was howling outside and series of thunder blasted from the sky. I was really scared now and just as I was lighting the candles I saw a car drive into my car park and wondered who was stupid enough to be out in this storm.
A knock soon sounded on my door and as I opened it I was shocked to see Brandon standing in my doorstep. He entered the house and I shut the door behind him. When I turned he was pacing.
“Brandon, are you okay?”. I asked gently. He kept on pacing.
“I was on my way home and before I knew it I was turning around and headed towards your house. I’ve been fighting this, and I don’t know how much longer I can”. He replied still pacing.
Fighting what? I wondered.
He wasn’t wearing a suit jacket, his shirt was not tucked in, the top buttons were undone and his hair was scattered in a very sexy way, probably when he was running his hand through it. I imagine what his hair would feel like when I run my hands through it. It was my first time of seeing him not in a suit or without a tie. He still looked like a demi god and as handsome as ever, if not more.
“I never bargained for this but you just have a way of making people pull down their barriers for you”. He said still pacing.
I snapped myself out of it when I heard him but I had no idea what he was saying.
“What are you talking about?”. I asked him as I walked over to him and touched him lightly on the arm then led him to the couch.
He clasped his hand over mine and after a while he said “I can’t get you out of my mind June, I’ve been trying to but I just can’t”.
“You can’t?” I ask breathlessly. My heart was beating rapidly against my chest now.
“I hate commitments, I vowed never to commit to any woman. I’ve never even felt the need to until you came into my life, right from the first moment I saw you. That day in the conference room, I’ve wanted you ever since”. He said so softly that I could feel the hurt behind his words.
“Why do you feel that way? Why were you so bent on fighting it?. I ask gently.
At first he didn’t say anything, just kept holding my hands tightly and just when I thought he wouldn’t talk anymore he said “I grew up in an abusive home”.
What?? My inner self is mortified. He was abused as a child?
He started telling me everything about how his dad would always beat his mother and she would always endure it doing nothing about it, staying back in the marriage. He’d beat her then apologize and she’d forgive him; then he’d just do it all over again until it gradually became a cycle – he beats her, apologize, she forgives. Soon his father started beating him too when he wasn’t getting enough satisfaction from beating only his mother anymore.
“One day I just snapped and pushed him hitting his head so hard on the wall and I thought I’d killed him when he slipped down to the floor. I was fifteen then. And the scary thing was that I was happy, thinking yes, I killed him. That was when I knew I had to leave the house if I didn’t want to eventually end up killing him”. He said to me.
I just held on to his hands letting him talk not wanting to interupt. But I could imagine the fear and uncertainty he must have felt at that age having to leave home and my heart broke for the little boy he once was.
“I ran away and kept moving from state to state and soon found myself in Miami. Somehow I ended up with Mr Clark after he found me on the streets. Before I knew it he was taking care of me, putting me through school and telling everyone I was his godson. He always told me I was the son he never had and to me he was the dad I always wanted”.
“Oh Brandon, I’m so sorry”. I said with tears in my eyes, my heart still breaking at the thought of how he must have felt all those years ago.
After a few minutes he talked again.
“I don’t want to be like him, my real father. I never want to hurt anyone. I would never forgive myself if I ever did that to anyone and that’s why I never let myself feel. Until now”.. He said quietly.
My heart broke even more. My inner self was sobbing uncontrollably now.
“You are nothing like your dad Brandon, you have a very good heart and would never hurt anyone like that”.
“How can you be so sure?”. He asked, his voice filled with uncertainty.
It really hurt me to see him so uncertain about himself. Brandon who always appeared to be so sure about everything, especially himself. To see him like this, it was sad.
“Because anyone who is capable of that can’t hide it for so long. I’ve worked with you for almost a year and I’ve seen how you react even when you are angry. You control your emotions Brandon, they don’t control you. And if that isn’t enough, then because of everything you did for me. Only a really good man could think of all that”. I said with our hands stil entwined.
“I never did anything out of the ordinary for you June”.
“Yes you did. You averted a scandal knowing how much it’ll hurt me. Only a man who was empathic would understand how I would suffer with a constant reminder of what happened to me and think to avert it. Only someone like you. That was the best thing anyone has ever for me. Thanks Brandon”. I said.
“I don’t want to hurt you”.
“You’d never hurt me like that Brandon. I love you, I think I always have. You just have to trust me enough to show you what love feels like”.
He said nothing.
“Do you?”. I asked.
“Yes”. He said as he laid his forehead against mine.
“I don’t know what love feels like but anytime I think about you, I feel this burning sensation right here”. He said as he took my hand and laid it over his chest.
“Teach me how to love you June”. He said as he tipped my head up and kissed me as if my kisses would cleanse his hurt; and his kiss had everything simmering between us finally exploding.