"J'aime ce moment avec toi. C'est parfait."
Alex and Keira Alternative POV – Bonus Chapter
Copyright © Len Webster 2016. All rights reserved.
* BONUS CHAPTER *
Never before seen chapter from Thirty-Eight Reasons in Alex and Keira’s POVs. This never made it into the book. It might never even make it in Alex and Keira’s novella. I wrote it for fun. And tonight I expanded it.
SPOILER ALERT! Please do not read unless you have read Thirty-Eight Reasons OR do read if you love spoilers!
Unedited/subject to change/just for fun/probably doesn’t make sense.
“Clara?” Alex asked as he closed the patio doors behind him.
His little sister gazed over her shoulder and gave him a small smile. “Sorry, I should have come back inside a little while ago. I just needed to think.”
He let out a sigh as he stepped towards the steps and then sat down next to her. “You can stay here in New York for as long as you want.”
“I know,” she whispered, staring at the diamond ring on her finger. “I’m sorry I just showed up like this. I don’t know what I was thinking, Alex. How could I have gone to Boston and thought everything would turn out the way I wanted? How stupid am I?”
“You’re not stupid, Clara.”
“I’m pretty stupid…” She had let out a fake laugh before that sad expression consumed her face. “Hey.”
Alex watched as she tore her gaze from her ring to him. “Yeah?”
“Be honest with me. Does she deserve him? … Is she good enough for him?”
Reaching out, he grasped his little sister’s hand in his. “Don’t do this to yourself, kiddo.”
“I just want to know,” Clara begged. “Is she good enough for him?”
The heat in his chest was intolerable. He hated what he had to do next. His sister wanted honesty and he was going to give it to her. “Yeah. Andy’s perf—God, Clara, it kills me to tell you this.”
A small smile made an appearance. “It’s okay. Finish the sentence.”
Alex pulled his hand from Clara’s and rubbed his palms over his face. Then he let out a sigh and faced her. “She’s perfect for him.”
Tears welled and he saw the heartbreak in her light brown eyes. Clara nodded. “That’s a good thing.”
“It’s not. Not when she has what you want. I don’t want to hate her.”
“Then don’t,” she urged. “What does she do?”
“She’s a lawyer.”
Clara’s eyelids fluttered as those tears that had welled begun to fall. “A lawyer?”
“And I’m in culinary school…” Clara stood up and went down the remaining steps. Alex was just able to see her wipe her tears. “How did I possibly think I had a chance?”
She spun around. “She’s a lawyer. And she’s beautiful. And she sounded sweet. You’re right. She’s perfect. Beautiful and successful. And I’m forgettable and can’t even finish my degree.”
“A lawyer, Alex.”
“I didn’t stand a chance, did I?”
He remained quiet as he watched more tears slide down her face. He hated the pain she was in. Hated that there was nothing he could do.
“And she lives in Boston. There was no way. I left Melbourne… I left Liam… How do I go home and look him in the eye and not feel guilty? I was about to give up everything for Noel.” Clara sighed as she sat down on the bottom step. “I should have known that he’d find the perfect woman after me. I thought he loved me. I thought… I was wrong… Do you hate me?”
Alex flinched. “What? No! I could never hate you. Where did that even come from?”
“Honestly, Alex, do you hate me? I’m this nuisance in your life. I just show up and ruin everything. I’ve made your life hell. Mum and Dad. Now, Noel. I’ll leave first thing and go back to Melbourne—”
“The hell you are, kiddo.” He grasped her hand and squeezed once. “You’re my sister. You come before Mum and Dad. You mean more to me than Noel. Besides Keira, you are the most important person in my life.”
Clara clenched her eyes shut. “Then that makes me a terrible person.”
Her lip trembled as she opened her eyes. “You forgave me for sleeping with Noel. Your best friend. I wanted to hurt you and betray you just so I could be with him. I chose Noel over you. You have done all these things for me and I disregarded everything the moment I fell in love with him. I’m a horrible sister.”
Alex had gotten up and sat on the bottom step before he wrapped his arms around his little sister. Then she began to sob into his chest. It reminded him of the time she was twelve and their parents hadn’t been there to see her graduate from primary school. His sister had no idea how wrong she was. She could never betray him. Sure, Alex hadn’t been pleased when he realised what had been going on between his little sister and his best friend, but he had accepted it. The way Clara looked at Noel, he knew how in love she was with him. He could never fault her for it.
“You’re not, kiddo,” he whispered as he rubbed her back. “It’s different when you’re in love. That’s not betraying me. That was you choosing someone you loved. I could never hate you. You’re my little sister.”
“I’m so sorry,” she cried. “I didn’t mean to mess this all up. I just wanted to fix everything. I’ve been so selfish. I don’t know what to do, Alex. I don’t know how—”
“Shhh,” he hushed. “It’s gonna be okay, Clara. I promise. Everything is going to be okay.”
Keira scratched her head as she headed downstairs. Although she was tired, she couldn’t sleep. She felt helpless as her boyfriend and his sister spoke. It was an eye opener seeing just how close they were. It made her aware of how much she didn’t know of Alex Lawrence. She loved him. She was so sure of that. But parts of his family life he had kept quiet about. No matter how much she had begged, he never came clean. For Keira, family was everything. And she wanted to meet his. Now she had finally met his sister, Clara.
She was beautiful and had the most stunning eyes.
But she had suffered a heartbreak Keira could understand.
That was until she had met Alex.
He’d changed everything, and for the better.
As Keira entered the kitchen, she halted at the sight of Clara cutting some apples. Her eyes were wide as if she had been caught.
“I’m-I’m so sorry. Alex said I could… I bake when I’m sad sometimes,” she explained.
Keira laughed as she tightened the satin sash of her dressing gown. “You don’t have to be sorry. Alex gave me a heads up before he fell asleep. You don’t mind if I watch?”
Clara shook her head. “Apple and cinnamon pie is your favourite, right?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?” Keira sat on the barstool and smiled at her boyfriend’s little sister.
“Alex told me.” She smiled. “Listen, I’m so sorry that I just showed up unannounced. I should have called. I’m sorry, Keira.”
“Hey,” she said softly. “You’re my boyfriend’s little sister. That kinda makes you my little sister, too. Do you want to talk about it?”
Clara picked up the cutting board and set it closer to the stove. “You might think less of me if I told you what I’ve done.”
“Impossible. Everything Alex has told me, your achievements, you’re amazing.”
Clara set her hands on the counter and sighed. “I overheard you and him arguing before about family, and I know that was because of me.”
“We weren’t argue—”
“If anyone is amazing, it’s Alex. He’s the best guy I know. And if you want to be angry at anyone about not meeting our parents, it’s me. I’m the reason why Alex isn’t comfortable with you knowing.”
Keira blinked at her, unsure of how to respond. “I don’t understand…”
Clara had scrapped the apples into the saucepan and then added the sugar before she looked Keira in the eye. “Our parents hate me.”
“All my life, I’ve been their biggest mistake. I still am. I’m my ex-boyfriend’s biggest mistake. And I’m Noel’s. And I think deep down, Alex taking care of me throughout these years, I think that’s his biggest mistake, too. He never really enjoyed college because of me. And even now I hold him back.”
“That’s not true, Clara.”
Her boyfriend’s sister gave her a small smile. “I know you want to meet them. And I know you want to settle down and have kids together soon. I know that you want our parents to be proper grandparents, and I want that, too.” Tears filled Clara’s eyes. “But it means I lose Alex.”
Kiera reached out and grasped Clara’s hand from over the counter. “You’re not going to lose—”
“But I am. Because he loves you more than you could ever imagine. If you want our parents to play a part in your lives, it means I have to go away. And I think Alex realised that, too. That’s why he delays it. My parents won’t let me be part of your lives or your children’s. I know Alex, and I know how much he loves you, because he’ll pick you. He’ll want Mum and Dad in your lives to make you happy.”
Clara smiled as she pulled away from her, wiping her tears away. “He will. That’s why he never told me about you until he came back to Melbourne. He didn’t want me to hate you. And I honestly couldn’t. You’re perfect for my brother. My dad’s not so bad. I’d want you to meet him. My mother will probably love you. I want you to have the life you deserve. And if that’s me not being part of it, I’m okay with that. I’m just happy that I got to meet you.” The smile she had made was genuine, and that caused Keira’s heart to clench. Clara would do that for them. For her brother. And for Keira.
“Clara,” she said softly.
“I always knew I’d have to let Alex go someday. And when you have children and I’m not a part of your lives for that, I know that they’re going to have the most amazing parents. Trust me, Alex is the most incredible man I have ever met. And I’m not saying that because he’s my brother. I want him to be happy, and that means that I can’t stay. He deserves to be happy with you, Keira. I’ve made such a mess of my life, but I won’t let him make a mess of his.”
Keira got off the barstool, her eyes focused on the sad light brown eyes in front of her. All she could do was nod. She had no idea what to say. Clara was willing to let go of her brother in order for him to appease Keira’s demands of meeting his parents. She had realised just how selfish she had been. Family was important to Alex. But it was a different type of family, not one that involved his parents.
It was of him and his sister.
And that was the family Keira wanted to be part of.
“Goodnight, Clara,” Keira said.
“Goodnight. I’ll have this kitchen nice and clean by the time you wake up.”
A smile later and Keira had rushed upstairs and to the master bedroom. She entered to find her boyfriend still asleep. She had gone to her side table and flicked the lamp on before she quietly climbed the bed and set a hand on his shoulder. Then after a deep breath, she shook him.
Keira rolled her eyes. Typical. She could never wake him up first go. “Alex, wake up.”
“Darling,” he mumbled as he rolled onto his back. He had opened his eyes before he blinked several times. Then Alex quickly sat up. “Keira? Keira, are you all right?”
His hands darted to her cheeks as his eyes wondered. “Have you been crying? Are you all right?”
That flash of fear was all she needed to see. Clara had told her the truth. Alex would choose Keira over his little sister. And that made her joyful, but also made her feel terrible for putting him in such a position.
She smiled at him. “I don’t want to meet your parents,” she said.
Alex flinched. “What?”
“I’m sorry about arguing with you earlier.”
“Darlin’, I might be still half asleep here. So you’re not angry with me?”
She shook her head. “I don’t want you to lose Clara to make me happy. If your parents don’t want her in their lives, then I don’t want them in ours or our children’s lives someday.”
Her boyfriend gaped at her. “She told you?”
“Yeah. She said that I should meet your parents. But I don’t want to. Not anymore. I didn’t realise what meeting your parents would do to you and Clara. I’ve been selfish and I’m so sorry. I unintentionally made your sister cry.” Her vision blurred, remembering the heartbreak in Clara’s eyes.
“No,” Alex breathed as he wrapped his arms around her. “Don’t be sorry. I should have told you about them and Clara.”
“Would you have really chosen me over your sister?” she asked into his hard and naked chest.
She felt him nod into the top of her head.
“I would have tried like hell to not lose either of you. Hypothetically, I’d have chosen you because I know Clara would understand, and you’re the love of my life. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let her go. I’d have found a way to make you happy and keep my sister—even if it meant my parents hated me, too.”
She laughed at the casual tone in his voice. He didn’t care if his parents hated him. “God, I love you.” Keira pulled back and stared into those beautiful brown eyes of his. She was thankful that on that winter’s day he had spilt coffee on her cream coloured blouse before her piano lesson.
She marked it as her life’s turning point.
The day she met the love of her life.
The day forever had started.
“I love you, too, Keira,” he said in that low voice that sent shivers down her spine and caused her heart to jerk.
“You want to go see Clara in the kitchen?”
Alex’s brows furrowed. “Is she baking?”
He shook his head. “Nah. Let’s stay up here. When my sister bakes, she gets lost in it. But when she’s upset and bakes, she creates her best stuff. That’s why I’m proud that she’s in culinary school instead of doing that business degree she hated. And trust me, her cupcakes are masterpieces. You’re going to love her.”
“I already do.”
Alex had kissed her forehead before he whispered, “You have no idea how much that means to me that you do.”
To be continued…