At least, I think that’s how it has to be fixed.
Fuck… I don’t know what needs to be done except that alcohol lets me avoid the hard answers. So, I take another solid slug.
After I swallow, I turn the tables on Elena. “Let me ask you a question, and you answer me honestly as the person who probably knows Jorie best in this world.”
“Okay,” she says hesitantly.
“What if I told you right now that I couldn’t give Jorie what she really wanted? Marriage, children, a home to share with me. Would you still want me to try or let her move on?”
Elena swallows hard, and I can see it’s a bitter pill by the look on her face when she admits, “I’d want her to move on. Those things are too important to her.”
“You have your answer then,” I tell her softly. “I can’t give her those things.”
This, of course, is a lie. I could easily give her those things because I love her. But with shit so fucked up with her brother, it does no good to even consider those possibilities.
Elena just stares at me a moment, and then says, “Let me ask you a question, and then I want an honest answer from a man who has seen all the beauty Jorie brings to life… how bleak is your life without her right now, and do you think it will get any better as you ‘move on’?”
Jesus… the worst question of all because it forces me to put me as a priority, and I just can’t. I’ve fucked up so many things, hurt people I care about deeply, and if I answer this question honestly, that means I have to stand up and take what I want.
I’d have to be a selfish fuck to do that right now.
I lie to Elena because I’ve found I’m very good at it lately.
I tell her what she needs to hear to let this go, and hopefully to help Jorie move toward a happy existence without me. “I believe it will get better. Every day that goes by, I’m getting a little more peace about this.”
Elena’s head tilts as she takes this in. I hold my eyes locked to hers and don’t blink. I’m absolutely bluffing, but I have an amazing poker face.
Finally, I see sadness fill her expression and her shoulders sag. “Well, okay then. Maybe Jorie needs to move on.”
I grit my teeth hard so I don’t admit to my lie, and just nod at Elena. She turns and walks out of my apartment without another word.
Grabbing my vodka, I head back to my couch, resume my position before Elena interrupted my brooding, and call Micah out of desperation. Not surprised when I get his voice mail.
At the tone, I leave him a message. “Micah… please know I’m so sorry for lying to you about Jorie. I know you think it’s wrong for me to be with her, but she’s not my sister. She’s someone I care about… deeply. What you saw in the club… that’s not all there is to us. It’s how it started… really by accident. It was a masquerade event, and we didn’t recognize each other. I swear to fucking God, we didn’t know. But when I did—”
“Fuck,” I yell out to my empty apartment as I stab Micah’s phone number again so it rings.
I continue my message when I hear the tone. “When I realized it was Jorie, I couldn’t contain what I was feeling. I guess that night I got drunk and rambled on about her to you… well, I think deep down, I’ve always wanted her. I’m sorry, brother… and you are my brother. I hope you remember that. Please, please call me so we can talk this through. I want—”
I curse and throw my phone across the room. It hits the wet bar and I hope the goddamn thing is broken. Otherwise, I’d be tempted to call Jorie next.
“Hey… you doing okay?” Elena asks me as she pops her head into my room.
I look up from my computer and give her a forced smile, but there’s some truth in it because I’m happy to see her. She always brightens my day.
“Yeah… sure,” I tell her as I nod down to my computer. “Checking out some more places to apply.”
“Where?” she asks sadly, because she knows I’m talking about far away.
“Bigger cities… New York, Boston, Pittsburgh… maybe Miami, but not sure I can handle that humid heat,” I tell her as my throat threatens to close at the thought of moving so far away.
But I think it’s the best thing.
Ironically, I was offered the position I’d applied for here in Henderson the day after Micah found out about me and Walsh. I was too distraught to even reply to them, and after a few days, I’m sure they got the hint I wasn’t interested.