Authors: Vicki Green
Table of Contents
The Heartache Series Book One
Written by Vicki Green
The Heartache Series Book 1
To feel loss is devastating,
To overcome loss is a struggle,
To live through the pain,
What happens when the one person who is everything to you, who gets you, and loves you for the person you are leaves you?
Jase Briggs led a fairly normal life. Loving parents, a younger sister and a neighborhood filled with friends. However, it was his best friend, Alena that filled most of his days. She had long blonde hair he liked to pull on and beautiful green eyes that he could stare into for hours. He always kept his feelings on the back burner for fear they could ruin their friendship. His life was great growing up until tragedy struck his senior year of high school. College separated him and his friends and filled each of them with dreams of great things to come. Most lost contact with each other because of their busy lives until the first high school reunion brought them back together. He can’t wait to see his friends again but
will be there.
Alena Spencer remembers the days when she was young and things were simple and carefree. There are many times she wishes she could go back in time. Her best friend, Jase, was always there for her. His sexy smile, and his finely tuned body from working out and running track caused her feelings to develop further, but she never told him, in fear of losing him. Feeling lost after high school and college, she set out to start a new life, even though it meant leaving Jase behind and trying to forget her feelings for her best friend. She’s excited, yet dreading the reunion because
will be there.
Will Jase ever find his happiness again or did it die the moment she left?
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Vicki Green Copyright 2014©
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form with authorization of the Author Vicki Green©
Editor: Kathy Krick @K2 Editing:
Cover Design by Cover to Cover Designs:
Furiousfotog Photography (Shawn Dawson’s picture):
*Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18+.
This book is dedicated to anyone who has felt loss, lived through it and can live their lives again.
The moment you left,
My world turned upside down.
You were everything,
You are everything.
You were always there for me,
As I was for you.
I loved you,
I love you,
Love never ends.
You plague me in my dreams,
And in my waking hours.
How can I go on without you?
Help me with the loss.
“Yo, Jase!” My head turns at the voice, then back at the treadmill, pressing the button to slow it down and my run turns into a jog, down to a walk and then stops. I grab my hand towel, wipe my forehead of the sweat and step down. Scott smiles as I meet him halfway and hands me a bottled water. My heart is pounding from the adrenaline flow and quick pace, but man, I feel awesome.
“Thanks, man.” I twist off the lid and down about half and then put the cap back on. I raise my chin at him. “What’s up?” He turns, and we start to walk towards the men’s locker room.
“Just wondered if you’re going to the reunion next weekend.” I look at him, dread filling me, and remove the cap again, downing the rest. “I heard Alena is gonna be there.” I ignore him and toss the empty bottle into the recycle bin as we walk by and hide my facial expression in the towel, pretending to wipe my face again. Scott is the one person who knows my true feelings for Alena. The only one. Not even my mom knows, and I used to tell her everything. Oh, I’m sure she suspects. She’s my mom after all. I round the corner and head straight for my locker, but stop when he jumps in front of me, putting a hand flat against my chest. “Hey, come on. You’re gonna go, aren’t you? I know it’s been awhile but that shouldn’t stop you. Maybe you guys can finally talk, put things out in the open. You’ve been a lovesick pup ever since she left. Don’t you think five years is long enough?”
I push him aside and walk down the aisle, twist the combination lock so hard I feel like I could snap it off. “Stop. Just stop.” The lock opens and I pull it off, opening the door so hard it hits the one next to it.
“All this anger,” he sighs as he leans against the row of lockers beside me. I shift my eyes to him and then back as I reach behind my back and tug my tank top off my head. “You can’t tell me you’re not curious about her. What she looks like now, how’s she been? You guys were inseparable for most of your lives. I know things got awkward when….”
I grab my towel and slam the door, relocking it and turn to him with a scowl on my face. “Don’t. I haven’t talked to her in a couple of years. She’s moved on. I don’t want to talk about it.”
I take off down the aisle and towards the showers. I feel him behind me, hot on my heels. Then he’s right beside me, all cheery and making me want to hit the wall with my fist. “Aw, c’mon. That’s a bunch of bullshit and you know it. You can’t tell me….” I turn quickly, fisting the material of his shirt in my hand and shove him against the wall, getting right in his face.
“I said don’t. I don’t want to talk about her. Now or ever. She made her choice. Leave it, Scott.” My breathing escalates as I look him dead in the eyes. His hands are up on either side in surrender but there’s no fear in his eyes, only sympathy. I release him quickly. His shirt still bunched up where my grip left it, and I storm off to get a much needed shower. I turn the shower knobs and close my eyes when I hear him yell out, echoing in the vastness.
“Yeah, yeah. We’ll talk later. Danny’s, after you get cleaned up. Be there.”
I step under the hot spray, my hand hitting the tile in front of me and lean my forehead against it, feeling the water cascade down my back. Fuck! I know he means well. He’s been through my hell, been my rock and my sounding board all my life, but I just can’t get him to understand. She left me. She stopped talking to me when I thought nothing would ever keep us apart. For my own sanity, he needs to let her go. Even though I’ll never be able to.
“Soooooo. Track scholarship to Northwest. I’m so proud of you, Jase.” I turn over onto my side. The blanket is not cushioning the hard ground much, but I don’t care as I look into her eyes. She mimics me, and I couldn’t be more comfortable lying next to her. Her long blonde hair blows in the breeze and I instinctively reach over and push some over her shoulder.
“Ha, well, you’re one to talk. You’re gonna do great at State with your graphic designs. You’re a genius with your art and your imagination, Alena.” She looks down almost shyly, and a small burst of laughter leaves her mouth. “Seriously? You have such a talent. You’re gonna go so far. I’m the one that’s proud of you.” Her eyes look up from her under long lashes, and my heart skips a beat as it always does when she looks at me. I look down quickly and with my fingers, I roll the blade of grass I’ve been destroying since we laid out the blanket. “Hell, you’re gonna own your own graphic design company before our first high school reunion.” I look back up when she stills, and her silence grows thick. Her light blue eyes have changed from showing excitement to a darkened state of sadness. “What? What did I say?” A gentle breeze blows some of her long blonde hair across her face, and I reach over again, moving it away. I notice her eyes widening with my touch but change back quickly. It’s so fast you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t paying attention. But I notice everything with her.
“It’s nothing. It’s just….” she hesitates, searching my eyes and then sighs. “I’m just being silly.” She smiles, but it doesn’t change the sadness there. “We’ve just always been together, all our lives. It’s gonna be strange, kind of scary, without you there all the time. Ya know?” I did know. I feel the same way. Well, not the scary part but I’ve been dreading the day we go our separate ways. Something hits me. I need to be the strong one for her. She was for me.
“I know it will be weird but we’ll stay in touch. Phone. Computer. Hey, vacations! We can meet back here or I’ll come there. Maybe we can even go to the cabin!” The corner of her mouth lifts and finally she relaxes a little. “I know it seems like a long time but we’ll make it work. We’ll figure out a way. Nothing will tear us apart.”
I tilt my head back and let the spray of the water slide down my chest. Yeah, that happened the first year we left then lessened the second and by the third we both didn’t talk but a couple of times, after that, nothing. Shaking my head, I turn around, grab the shampoo, squirt out some in the palm of my hand and set it back on the tray. I quickly wash my hair then grab the soap and wash my body, then rinse. By the time I’ve dried off, thrown on a t-shirt and shorts, I’m ready to go meet Scott at Danny’s and have some much needed drinks.
“Bout time!” Scott yells as I walk in the door of the bar. He’s sitting at the counter, and I notice half his beer is already gone. I give him a nod and walk over, sitting down on a stool next to him. Tim looks at me with raised eyebrows behind the counter, and I nod then look back at Scott. “Took you long enough,” he smirks.
I laugh. “Yeah, well, I had to check on a few things at the gym before I left.”
He picks up his beer and takes a drink then sets it back down turning his head to me. “That’s what happens when you own the place.” I look down and smile. That’s one of the few things in my life I’m proud of. I flashback to the day the doors opened for the first time. How I wanted to call Alena and tell her about it, how excited I was but after two years of no communication, I didn’t feel as if I should. “Hey, so about the reunion. You’re gonna go, right?”
Tim sets my beer down just in time. I pick it up and down about half of it. When I look over at Scott, he’s still waiting for my answer. “I dunno, man. Part of me wants to see everyone and part of me dreads it.” Dread isn’t even a strong enough word. Actually, I’d love to see everyone, it’s
that I’m afraid to see.
“Hey, maybe she won’t even be there and you can just relax and hang out with the gang. There’s already talk about you coming. People are excited to see their star track runner,” Scott remarks in one breathe.
I let out a chuckle just as my phone vibrates in my pocket and pull it out. “Tim! Another.” I look over as Scott slides off his stool and says, “Head”, and I raise my chin at him and then look at my phone.
Mom: Dinner tonight. Seven. Don’t be late.
I sigh again and take another drink of my beer. She knows I won’t go over there. I can’t. Yet she keeps trying. I’ve not heard the end of it since I came back to town after college, finding the perfect place for my gym and working nonstop to get it up and running. When I found out that the house behind it was for sale and totally run down, I bought it. She did come over quite a bit and helped me fix it up since I was almost at the gym from before the sun rose until I couldn’t hardly keep my eyes open at night. I may never be able to go home again. Doesn’t mean she’s not persistent in trying. She’s been begging me to come home, but it’s so hard for me to be there, seeing all the familiar surroundings, the neighborhood and where the accident happened. She thinks it would be good for me to see it, to be there, to help me get past it all. I almost drove there one day but got as far as the store down the street and panicked. I remember shaking so hard I could hardly drive back. Could I do it tonight? My heart is already beating so fast, and my stomach is in knots. I take another drink, hoping it will calm me, feeling the last drop slide into my mouth. I didn’t even realize I had drank the last half.
“Hey, Jase!” My mind comes back into focus, and I look at Tim. “Danny wants to see you before you leave. He has one of your running shirts for you to sign for him,” he shouts while he winks and nods at me. I swear he has a hard on. He’s a nice guy and all but makes me a little uncomfortable with his openness when he’s around me. I try to keep a calm face and nod back as my body shivers. I’ve never had a problem with anyone’s choice of sexual genre, but I’m a straight guy who likes women, and he knows it. He’s never tried any advances towards me, and we’ve been friends for a long time, but still he makes me feel a little weird. I laugh to myself. He’s always teasing me on how straight I am.
Scott returns and we have a couple more beers, and then he heads home. I walk back to Danny’s office and see him leaning over some papers on his desk and writing frantically. I lightly tap on the open door, and he looks up, a grin spreading across his face. “Jase! Good to see you, man!” He stands as I walk in, extending his hand, and I shake it as he pulls me in for a hug. “It’s been awhile. How are you?” I step back and sit in a chair in front of his desk as he sits back down and smiles.
“Good. Really, good.” He smiles, and I settle in the chair a little more. “It hasn’t been that long, just a couple of weeks. Things have been pretty hectic at the gym. How are you?” His head bobs as he nods while I speak, and then he clasps his hands in front of him on the desk.
“Good. Good. It’s a shame about your knee. You could have really gone far.” His smile leaves, and I get a feeling he’s trying not to say something, but he’s said this a lot over the years. “Oh! Would you mind signing this shirt for me? I have a frame to put it in and want to hang it up in the bar. With your permission.”
He’s always been so nice, so polite. He really helped me out a few times, getting so drunk I couldn’t walk after the accident, making sure I got home safely. Don’t know what I would have done without him. “Sure thing. You don’t need my permission. I owe you.” His smile leaves for a split second and then it’s back as he reaches into a drawer of his desk and pulls one of my old track shirts. “Where in the hell did you get that?” He hands it to me over the desk, and I hold it up in front of me. Man, I remember this one. It’s still all dirty, and I’d be afraid to smell it. It was a cold and rainy day. The track’s dirt was packed firm at the beginning, but the more it rained the muddier it became. I was a wet muddy mess by the time I reached the finish line. “This was the first meet I ever won. How?”
He clasps his hands as he leans back in his chair. “Oh, I may have some connections still with the coach. I wanted your track shoes and shorts but he said he didn’t have them anymore.” I laughed. God, it felt good to laugh. He hands me a marker, and I set the shirt down on the edge of his desk and start writing my name. “So I know Battle Ground is doing well, but how about you?” My eyes dart up and my heart beats a little too fast. I know what he’s asking. I know he’s concerned. Being raised and living in a small town has its ups and downs. It can be great or it can be a hindrance. Everyone seems to know your life, yet they don’t really know you. They think they do, but they don’t.
I finish writing my name and try to smile as I hand it back to him. “I’m okay. Running helps. Better than drinking until I’m under the table.” I stand, not giving him time to respond and head to the door, stopping in the doorway. Turning my head, I look at him and give him a genuine smile. “Thanks, Danny. You’re a good friend.” He nods, his smile not as bright, and I walk out, feeling an overwhelming need to go running.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
“Are you all packed?” I look up at Bill as he enters our bedroom and smile. He strides over and I stand as his arms wrap around me, his lips kissing my forehead and I try to relax. “Hey.” I look into his eyes that are full of concern, and I hate that he’s feeling that way because of me. “Everything’s going to be great. You’ll see all your friends. We’ll dance and have a few drinks and you’ll have a good time.” God, I hope he’s right. His hands move down to my hips and squeezes them. “Quit worrying. Maybe he won’t even show up.” He releases his hold and walks over to the closet, gathering a few shirts and then walks back to his suitcase. I watch as he folds them neat and crisp and places them in there gently. I get the strangest feeling. Shaking my head, I grab another pair of pants, fold them and put them in my suitcase. I can feel his eyes on me, and I quickly look his way. “Here, let me help.” He takes the two steps over to me, and I take two back. He starts rearranging and refolding my clothes until they’re all in there perfectly. Neat and tidy. My body shivers. “Why don’t you go finish packing up your cosmetic bag? We need to leave in….” He brings his arm up, looking at his watch, and shakes his head. “We need to get a move on. We need to leave in ten minutes.” He lifts his head and looks at me. “You know I like to be early at the airport.”
I nod, numbly, and turn. I walk to the bathroom and try to finish packing my small bag. I look up into the mirror and see the frown on my face. Tilting my head slightly I just stare at myself. After meeting Bill at the campus coffee shop over a year ago, he became such a good friend to me when I needed one so badly. I was a mess and having a hard time with all my feelings for Jase. Feelings I wasn’t sure I should have, and he listened to me, day after day, until I became so relaxed around him, my feelings changed for him. He suggested that I quit talking with Jase so much, thinking maybe that would help get over him, move on. I was scared to death. Scared of losing the one person who was always there for me growing up, shared everything with, but I knew he was right. After the accident, Jase was so different. We still hung out until we both went our separate ways to college, but it was strained. He wasn’t the same. I’m not sure he ever will be. When Bill asked me out on an official date, I was thrilled. Over time, he helped me to move on. But I’ll never forget.
I touch my hand to my face. I look so much older and so will Jase. Five years. I went home several times over the years, visited my friends and reminisced about good times. Jase never did, or so his mom told me. She emailed me sometimes. Tried to keep me up on all the neighborhood gossip, but she brought up Jase too much. I quit reading them and saved them in a folder on my computer.
“Come on, Alena. We need to go.” I startle at his voice. Quickly, I start throwing the last of my makeup into the small case and try to shake off my thoughts. It’ll be fine. Maybe Bill’s right. Maybe
won’t be there.
We get to the airport three hours early, and I’m restless as we sit in the waiting area. Finally, they announce our boarding and I sigh in relief. Of course, Bill travels in first class, so we get plenty of room to stretch out. We have champagne, a great dinner and soon he’s asleep next to me. I get bored and open my laptop. I do a few edits to one of my designs for a website I’m working on for a client when I hear the chatter of a couple behind us.
“It’s such a shame,” a woman’s voice says. “She was so young. What a tragedy to lose her life. I’m sure it will be a nice service.”
The feeling of loss overwhelms me, and I close my eyes tight.
“She had so much life to live. It’s such a shame.” Mrs. Birmingham sits across from me in the Briggs’ living room, sipping on her coffee on their couch. “I can’t imagine what Jase is going through, witnessing the accident and watching Olivia be struck by that truck. The poor boy.”
I stand quickly, not wanting to hear anymore, and walk to the front door. When I close it behind me, I take off in a run, down the front walk, down the sidewalk, and I keep running to where I know Jase will be. My body is full of sweat, the sun beating down on me. As I get near the playground, I look swiftly at the fort and head straight for it. I bend down, crawl into the small doorway and look up. There he is, sitting at the top, his legs bent in front of him, his arms setting on his knees and his head is laying back against the wall. Still. Eyes closed. If it wasn’t for the small rise and fall of his chest, I wouldn’t know he was alive. I climb the ladder, but he doesn’t stir as I sit down next to him. We sit there in silence for a long time. He doesn’t move. My hand pushes away from my leg, and I lay it over his. He flinches then relaxes again.
It was dark by the time I got home. As soon as I close the front door, Mom runs over to me and hugs me tight. “Oh, honey! I was getting worried.” She releases me but holds onto my shoulders and gives me a warm smile. “How is Jase doing? Oh, that’s such a stupid question. I’m sure he’s hurting.”
I look into her eyes, mine filling with tears, and she moves closer quickly, holding me again. “Mom. I don’t know how to help him. He blames himself. He’s closed off from me. He won’t talk to me, Mom.” I start sobbing into her chest as she rubs my back.
“Oh, no! It wasn’t his fault. I’m so sorry.” She moves back, and I wipe under my eyes. “Give him time, honey. Time won’t make it go away, but it does help heal the hurt. Come. I’m making a batch of my cookies to take over there tomorrow. Want to help?” I nod slightly and she takes my hand, leading me to the kitchen. I feel so helpless. I should have hugged him, told him something, anything. But I was at such a loss for words. How do you tell your best friend that everything will be okay when his sister was just killed, and he blames himself?
“Darling? It’s time to wake up. We’re touching down.”