Chapter Fifteen - Broken

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The talk with our parents about the trip to New York went smooth, We used the guise of visiting the NYAPA campus as our reasons for wanting to travel together, and by the following weekend we were flying across the country. It was more than nerve racking, my real reasons for visiting were scary and traumatizing and were things I had avoided facing for so long... too long.

"It's going to be alright." Jackson murmured taking my hand in his. "You're going to be alright."

I nodded, I knew I had to believe him, I had no other choice. I looked out the window of the plane, the clouds were beneath us and land came and went in between the fluffy marshmallow-like shapes. I closed my eyes and wished I was a cloud, just going about my carefree business in the sky.

"Logically I know you're right Jackson." I replied finally. "But it doesn't feel that way right now."

His hand squeezed mine tighter, but he couldn't say anything to fix this, and we both knew it. Getting through it was the only thing that could help me. But it just so happened it was also the thing that scared me most of all.

As the plane landed I fought off a panic attack. Every step closer to my parents I knew I was one step closer to telling them the truth, one step closer to Alice. I unclipped my belt the minute the seatbelt sign turned off and I stood up, bumping my head on the overhead compartment.

"Ow." I complained rubbing the spot. "That hurt."

Jackson kissed me on my forehead and then again on the lips. He knew my clumsiness was due to nerves, and having him here was enough to calm my nerves a little. "I'm here, you can breathe."

I nodded and took a deep breath as we walked out side by side, arm in arm, together.

Mom and Dad ambushed me the moment they saw me. I was torn from Jackson's hand as they both pulled me in to a hug that seemed largely over the top since I'd only been away three weeks. Once they finally released me they welcomed Jackson and then four of us left.

The thing about coming clean about something, is finding the right moment to break the news. I didn't want to just attack them with it, come out of left field and tell them I had lied about a really monumental event in my life. I knew they wouldn't understand why I hadn't said anything, we'd always had such an open parent child relationship... especially after I'd given birth. But I also couldn't keep it in, procrastinating to the very last minute, holding it back, which was what I was naturally fighting to do. So after dinner, when Jackson and I were clearing the table I told my parents that we needed to talk.

I won't lie. I was saddened by their reaction after "We need to talk." Left my lips, even though I didn't blame it. They looked at my stomach, stared at it even, then at Jackson then back at me. It didn't matter that the math didn't even make sense, they automatically assumed pregnancy.

"Alright, let's hear it." Dad mumbled. Pointing to the table. I walked forward and sat down, and Jackson followed.

"I lied." I forced the words out, I sounded constipated.

Mom frowned and dad furrowed his brow. "Lied?" He remarked. "About?"

I looked at Jackson whose smile reassured me slightly, he mouthed "just breathe". I nodded and looked back at my parents, my eyelids were heavy, and my heart even heavier. My chest filled with nerves and fear, then my throat closed up. I looked back at Jackson with tears in my eyes and shook my head. "I can't." I managed to squeak. Jackson nodded and looked at my parents.

"It's kind of about the photos." He started. "The ones of Amber."

I heard Mom gasp, and dad's hands came down hard on the table. Dad hated talking about the photos. He hated that I had been so stupid to allow it. I felt guilt fill my senses, Moving to LA had meant to be the end of this chapter of my life. I hadn't ever wanted to talk about it again, and I guess Dad hadn't either.

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