My eyes skim the words over and over but I can’t bring myself to type a message back to her. I don’t fucking want to.
I rub the back of my neck and stretch.
“Shit,” I mutter after pushing a breath out and sliding my phone back into the pocket of my jeans.
What’s the fucking likelihood of two miracles in one lifetime?
A siren sounds in the distance, diverting my attention to it for a minute, and I can’t help but think how the world carries on around us even when everything is falling apart.
The world doesn’t know and it sure as shit doesn’t care.
My phone rings, vibrating against my leg and dragging me out of my thoughts.
“Mum…everything okay?” I ask after checking caller ID and worrying that she’s calling for a reason other than to tell me she’s leaving the hospital.
She doesn’t say anything and the dread circling in my gut climbs up to my throat. I gulp it back and am just about to ask her again when a sob leaves her mouth and travels down the line to me. “Jett…” Her voice cuts off as another sob fills the air between us.
“What is it?” I demand as my limbs turn to jelly and my head begins to spin. This can’t be happening. It can’t be what I think it is.
“Claudia…she’s gone…” Agony screams down the line at me as my mother says the words no mother ever wants to say.
I double over as the pain claws at me. Fighting for a breath, I try to form a question. “How? Why?”
Her sobs are coming hard and fast, but she manages to calm them down enough to answer me. “She went into cardiac arrest and the doctors couldn’t do anything for her… about half an hour ago.”
“No!” I scream into the air as my phone falls out of my hand to the ground. Straightening, I punch the concrete post next to the car. The pain it causes to my arm hardly registers.
I never got a chance to reply to her message.
Torment punches through my body as my thoughts come at me like a fucking freight train.
The world around me is a blur; none of it is important.
None of it means anything.
The pain swallows me and I spin into an abyss of misery.
Doubling over again, I wrap my arms around my body and let the sobs come. They rack my body and I allow them to take over. I allow my grief to spill out.
“Jett.” Presley’s panicked voice fills the air and I lift my head to look at her. Her hand flies to her mouth and distress clouds her features. “Oh my God… what is it? What’s happened?”
I stare at her as tears blur my vision and slide down my face. No words come and I don’t force them. The taste of them on my tongue makes me want to vomit so they’re better left discarded and unsaid.
She comes to me and wraps her arms around my body. I don’t move. I simply let her do her thing while I stare at her through my heartache.
I’m sure her touch is caring and gentle and soft, but I don’t even feel it.
My worst fears have come true and I don’t want to feel anything ever again.
I watch Jett open the fridge from where I sit at his kitchen counter. He grabs the milk out, shuts the fridge, and then makes coffee on autopilot. Going through the motions is all he’s been doing since he was given the news of Claudia’s death yesterday. I can’t blame him, but I want him to let me in. I want him to let me be there for him. I want to be the one he leans on now.
It’s just after five in the morning, and neither of us slept much last night. Jett looks as exhausted as I know he is. Physically and emotionally.
“What are your plans today?” he asks as he puts the milk back in the fridge.
I frown. Surely he would realise I’m keeping my schedule free for him. “I’m here for you, baby. Whatever you need, I’m here.”
His gaze swings to mine as he walks back to where his coffee sits on the counter. I hate what I see in his eyes. Or what I don’t see. His eyes are empty as they stare at me. And when he replies to what I said, his voice is also hollow. “You don’t need to do that. I’m going to be busy with Mum and Dad today, going over the funeral arrangements and everything, so I imagine you’d be bored shitless. I’ll call you once we’re done and see where you are.”
His words pierce my heart a little but I keep that to myself. He’s hurting and trying desperately to cope with his loss so the least I can do is give him some space to do that. I want to tell him I’m coming with him but I don’t want to intrude on his family so I just nod to signal my agreement.
We sit in silence after that until he finishes his coffee. He rinses his mug in the sink and leaves the kitchen without a word. I contemplate following him to make sure he’s okay but immediately discount the idea.
I will give him his space.
So I stay where I am and drink the rest of my coffee, waiting for him to reappear.
Only five minutes pass before he returns. He walks to where I am sitting and places a key on the counter. Finding my gaze he says, “A key to my place.” He waits for my reply and when I nod my head, he bends his face to mine and kisses me. It’s a quick kiss with none of the passion he usually gives me and definitely none of the possessiveness his lips usually hold. I didn’t expect any of that today but still, I don’t like the lack of it.