STAWP | Chapter 54

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Hey Guys. I almost never do this, but I had to add something significant at the end of the last chapter! It's just a few sentences, but I don't think I made it clear that Logan told Jasper to do the right thing. So I added this: 

"I'm leaving it up to you," I tell him. If he wants one last chance to say goodbye, so be it. "You're my Beta, Jasper. Do the right thing. Not just for you, but for Zara." 

Hope you like this chapter. As always, I really appreciate your comments, votes, and suggestions! 

This chapter is dedicated to @TheWickedOne44. Thanks for reading STAWP! 



"Sofie? Sof! Wake up! Jasper will be here any minute." Zara shakes me awake and I bolt upright in bed. She jumps back and fumbles with her phone, but it slips from her grasp and lands on the floor with a loud thud.

The lights in the room are on and I watch Zara scramble after the phone and check the screen. She's somehow had time to change out of her pyjamas, because she's wearing a pair of grey short shorts with black lace trim and a tight black tank-top with the word sexy written on her chest in silver glitter. She's also got tons of makeup on, which doesn't really go with her outfit, but she does look good.

"I should get used to that, huh?" she giggles. "You waking up and scaring the crap out of me?"

"No, sorry. I think I was having a bad dream." I yawn, wiping sleep from my eyes. I remember something about a dungeon, and rusted silver manacles, but the memory is hazy and I can't grasp it. "Is your phone okay?"

"Yeah." Zara wipes the screen. "It must be hard, leaving home." She sighs, glancing briefly at her phone to check the time. It reads 12:05.

"When is Jasper coming here?"

"Now." Zara bounces on the bed a little, and I wonder what she's feeling. Is she excited? Nervous? Does she dread saying goodbye? 

"We still leaving at two?" I ask. The plan is for us to get all our stuff and meet Jess at the car.

"Yup. Hey Sof, do you have any brothers or sisters?"

"No," I answer automatically. I've never told anyone the truth, not even Anna or Jen. To them I've always been the only child of a single Dad, no questions asked. "Are you going to miss Nikki?" 

"Yeah," she nods, "but we'll text, and she can come see me."

I nod. I don't know why I say what I do next. Maybe it's because I'm still half asleep and it's the middle of the night, but for whatever reason, I tell Zara the truth. "I had two little brothers."

"Had? What happened?" Zara asks, the shock and sympathy evident in her voice.

I remember how Mom looked pregnant with the twins. She could barely cross the room, and Dad had to help her every time she wanted to sit down or get up. Her belly was huge, and she'd take my hand and press my flat palm against it so I could feel the baby—the babies—kick.

When she went into labour, it was the middle of the night. I awoke to the sound of her screaming, shrill and piercing, as if the twins were tearing her apart from the inside. I scrambled out of bed and ran out of my room just as Dad was carrying her down the stairs. Her dress was soaked in blood, and more blood dripped onto the floor, leaving a trail from their bedroom to the car.

I ran after them, sobbing, and watch him lay Mom down across the back seat. I tried to climb in after her, but he pulled me away.

Stay in the house, Saffron, he'd ordered, I called Jodie. She'll be here in a few minutes.

I haven't thought about Mom's friend Jodie in years. That night, she was there for me. She cleaned up the blood and told me that everything would be okay. She held me and comforted me until the moment Dad walked through the door and told her the news. That's how I remember her now, face crumpled, tears running down her face.

"Mom was pregnant," I whisper. "Dad tried to get her to a doctor, but it was too late for her."

"And your brothers?" Zara whispers.

I nod. I remember Dad saying that word to Jodie, and repeat it now. "Stillborn." Back then, I didn't know what it meant. I just heard 'two boys', two brothers, twins!

I have little brothers? I'd asked Dad, wide-eyed. That was the first time he'd hit me.

"Oh, Sofie," Zara wraps her arms around me, reminding me of that day long ago. Dad had held me for what seemed like hours—he'd apologized for hitting me then, for the first and last time—and I'd cried and begging him to make it all okay.

I hug Zara back and, for the first time in years, I finally let myself cry. That day, I lost more than just my mom, more than just my twin brothers. I lost my Dad too, in the only way that counts. After Mom died, he was never the same.

I get myself together, pull away from Zara and wipe my face with my pyjama sleeve. When I look up, her eyes are wet with tears too, and some of her mascara is running. "I'm sorry about your Mom and your brothers," she whispers, squeezing my hand.

I nod and we sit quietly for a few minutes, both of us lost in thought. I think about how my life has turned out, and how it could have been. Zara glances repeated at her phone, checking the time, and getting more and more agitated by the minute.

"What time is it?" I ask.

"Twelve fifteen." Zara tilts her phone so I can see the screen and we both watch the minutes change from fifteen past the hour to sixteen. "He's not coming."


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