Authors: Emily Jane Trent
Bend To My Will: Book 11
Emily Jane Trent
Jacob believed that he was a bad person, that he could not be absolved of his childhood sin. Vivienne was forced to face the reality that she couldn’t change that, as much as she wanted to. In that second, the hope she clung to vanished, leaving her without recourse.
Jacob’s blue eyes were like ice, his attitude just as cold. He’d shut her out, as if he knew that she couldn’t possibly understand, and maybe she couldn’t. The horrific events that had happened when he was a boy had happened to him, not to her. And there seemed to be no way to penetrate the wall that surrounded his heart.
Vivienne looked at Jacob, waiting for him to say something. But there was only silence. The closeness they’d shared no longer existed, replaced with a chasm that she couldn’t bridge. If only she knew what to say, she would say it in a heartbeat.
But she didn’t; she hadn’t for a long time. The crushing realization that Jacob wasn’t going to change was a knife to Vivienne’s heart. Tears formed in her eyes, but she refused to let him see her cry. He still looked so damn handsome, and she longed for his arms around her.
Jacob clenched his hands into fists, as if reliving the hatred he had for Carl Hahn, and remembering the day he tried to kill him. It was so disappointing that it was the hatred that would win. Vivienne was devastated at the unfairness of it all, and disillusioned by Jacob’s reaction.
When he leaned back in his chair, looking up at the ceiling, Vivienne held her breath. This was it: their last chance. Would Jacob snap out of it, see that he didn’t have to bear the burden of his actions forever? Could he admit that he’d changed? Or would he remain convinced that he was a man destroyed by hatred?
Vivienne couldn’t believe that it had come to this; that after all they’d been through Jacob would give in to his past. Watching him stare into space, she prayed he would wake up and see what was possible. If only he would try.
But he didn’t. Jacob expelled a heavy breath, as if realizing that salvation wasn’t within reach. Vivienne leaned on the table with her face in her hands. She couldn’t fight it, and saw no way out. It was too much, and an avalanche of grief threatened to engulf her.
Trembling, Vivienne stood up. Without looking at Jacob, she turned and went into the bedroom. As if living a nightmare, her worst fears realized, she stood in the middle of the room. The luxury hotel had lost its luster. Memories of the intimacy she’d shared with Jacob in the bed pulled at her heartstrings.
She couldn’t give in to sentimentality. There was a time to admit when things had come to an end, and Vivienne knew that time was now. In slow motion, she dressed and packed her suitcase, stuffing her clothes in without bothering to fold them.
It didn’t matter. Vivienne didn’t care about anything, not now. Leaving her suitcase on the bed, she stumbled to the door, finding Jacob in an armchair staring blankly at the wall. She had no idea what he felt, but assumed that he was as miserable as she was.
Yet only Jacob could make it right, and he’d failed to do so.
“I’m leaving, Jacob.”
When he looked up, his features were frozen; there was no softness in his eyes. Vivienne’s heart wrenched, but she didn’t back down. That Jacob didn’t argue or try to talk her out of it seemed appropriate. Her world was falling apart; she didn’t expect any miracles.
As if sleepwalking, Jacob got up and went to the kitchen, where he retrieved his phone. He called the pilot and gave instructions to ready the jet, then he arranged for transportation
to the airport. While Vivienne waited for the driver, Jacob stood by the window, looking out at the city.
Vivienne reached deep for strength. She wanted to go to Jacob, make it okay, and longed for the good times. But it was the wrong thing to do; it wouldn’t work. Finally, she saw that there was no alternative, and, backed into an emotional corner, she steeled her heart against weakness. She couldn’t be around Jacob; it hurt too much.
It seemed like forever before the driver knocked. When Vivienne opened the door, she motioned to the bedroom, and he went to get her luggage. As the driver wheeled her suitcase into the hall, Vivienne followed him. She was tempted to glance at Jacob, but feared that she’d turn back if she did so.
Instead, she stepped into the hall, the heavy door clicking shut behind her. Forcing the tears away, Vivienne got into the elevator with the driver. Conversation was at a minimum, as she was unable to speak without falling apart.
On any other day, the drive to the airport would have been lovely. The morning sun cast brilliant light over the city strewn over the steep hills, the early fog beginning to burn off. But Vivienne found no joy in the sight, barely even looking at it as the car swept her away from Jacob.
Once at the airport and inside the jet, Vivienne buckled in for the flight. The flight attendant offered her a drink, but she just shook her head. The liftoff was significant; it meant that she had really gone. Jacob remained in San Francisco, with several days left to conclude his business. Meanwhile, Vivienne flew toward a life that was unfamiliar to her.
As the initial shock wore off, the magnitude of what had happened struck her with force. The flight attendant was in the in-flight kitchen, giving her some privacy. In the solitude of the plane, Vivienne cried in earnest. Once the tears started, she couldn’t stop them.
Covering her eyes with a linen napkin, Vivienne sobbed. She cried for the loss of Jacob, for what they
had together. And she cried for what could have been, but fate had ensured that it hadn’t. The only man she loved was lost to her.
Vivienne did love him; it was impossible to deny such deep feeling. But she couldn’t have him. And she didn’t want him if the sacrifice was too great. She was done trying to convince him of the goodness inside him, done hoping for something that wasn’t going to happen.
She’d been idealistic to think that Jacob would say that he loved her. Vivienne’s patience had not paid off. Maybe she should have seen it sooner, or possibly she just had to live through the agony in order to be convinced of the futility.
But Jacob wouldn’t, or
let go of the past. His childhood innocence had been obliterated by his father’s cruelty. His condition was the result of abuse, and he had the scars on his back to prove it. Somehow, trying to kill his father didn’t seem wrong.
In the throes of grief over his mother’s injuries, after prolonged abuse, both mental and physical…what child wouldn’t react? But Jacob felt responsible for causing the fight between his parents that resulted in his mother’s death. However unjustly, he blamed himself for the negative consequences.
The guilt had become a part of Jacob, a burden that weighed heavily, despite the years that had passed. Clearly, he had embraced the shadows of his youth for so long that he believed the worst. “
I tried to kill my own father
,” he’d said, that stark confession gripping him to his very soul. Vivienne had seen it in his eyes, heard it in his voice.
Jacob was lost to her; he had been from the moment they’d met. Vivienne just hadn’t seen it. She’d wanted to believe that goodness would triumph over evil, but she hadn’t known of such pervasive evil before.
As Vivienne dried her eyes, she remembered that Sophia had said Jacob needed to resolve the issue himself. She was torn up about separating, but Jacob hadn’t budged. Vivienne had thought love could make the difference. Sophia had said, “
Just love him…and have faith
Vivienne had loved Jacob; she still did. But it wasn’t enough.
After touchdown, Ian greeted her and drove her back to her apartment. She assumed Jacob had told him they’d broken up, because the driver didn’t try to talk to her. He was attentive but didn’t pry, and for that she was grateful.
At her building, Ian took her luggage up to her door. The doorman in the lobby was a new guy. Vivienne was relieved, because she didn’t want to see anyone she knew. She wasn’t ready yet, and she didn’t want her friend Jason to witness her current condition.
“Thank you, Ian.”
The driver nodded. “Call if you need a ride, Vivie.”
Vivienne nodded, but couldn’t manage a smile. She didn’t know if she’d ever smile again. The door opened wide, and she rolled her luggage into the foyer. It was a cloudy day, and even with the blinds up, the space was gloomy.
The apartment was an empty void, a cavern that might swallow her up. Vivienne wished it would, as she couldn’t envision any joy in her life. Then she heard a noise from the other room, and Lana stepped out, dressed for work. She wore black slacks with a white blouse, the restaurant uniform.
“Vivie, I thought I heard you come in. How was San Francisco?” Lana frowned. “Aren’t you home early?”
Leaving her suitcase by the door, Vivienne went to the kitchen and sagged onto a stool at the counter.
Lana walked to the other side of the counter and looked at her. “What happened?”
“It’s over with Jacob…I left.”
Her friend just stared, but Vivienne was too emotionally wrung out to tell her the details of her last conversation with Jacob. It seemed unreal, and she didn’t expect Lana to understand.
“Did you have a fight?”
Vivienne gazed at the pattern in the granite countertop, something that hadn’t captured her attention before. It was foreign, just how her life felt, and right then she doubted that she’d survive without Jacob. She knew that she should be crying, pouring her heart out to Lana. But instead she felt only numb.
Another tidal wave of grief loomed, ready to drown her, and Vivienne put her hand over her eyes.
“Oh my God, Vivie. Why did you leave him? What did he do?”
Vivienne was too distraught to coherently explain why she and Jacob couldn’t be together. Instead, she spoke in a disjointed fashion, emotion welling inside her. “He just…I can’t.” She looked at her friend. “Why, Lana? It doesn’t seem right. Jacob deserves love. I know he does.”
Lana was quick to react. She went to the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of wine. “You need a drink, Vivie. This is bad…really bad.”
When Lana shoved a glass of wine in front of her, Vivienne lifted it to her lips. The cool liquid rolled over her tongue and down her throat. She was vaguely aware that it was still early in the day, but had no idea what time it was. Nor did she care.
Lana called the restaurant. “I won’t be in today, Dad. It’s an emergency…with Vivie. I’ll explain later. I’m sorry.”
When she came back, Vivienne looked up. “I’m not leaving you in this condition,” Lana said. “Not until you tell me everything.”
Lana took Vivienne by the arm and led her to the sofa, with the bottle of wine in her other hand. “And I’ll open another bottle if this doesn’t do it. Now, start talking.”
Vivienne gulped her wine, unable to stifle her grief. Tears rolled down her cheeks, but she began to talk. It started with the good stuff and how she had thought Jacob was changing. But she told Lana every detail, including all the events that Jacob had relayed to her, omitting nothing.
It was a lot later by the time Vivienne was done sharing her tragedy. Lana refilled their wine glasses. “That really sucks, Vivie. It does.” She dug her hand in her hair. “Damn it. What’s wrong with Jacob? Doesn’t he know what he has with you? How can he be such an ass?”
Lana’s astute comment hit home. With her eyes still blurred with tears, Vivienne laughed. Then Lana laughed. Soon Vivienne was hysterical, not sure if she was laughing or crying, but she felt better. At least a little bit.
Vivienne put her glass on the table and dropped to the carpet. Lying on her back and looking up at the ceiling, she said, “What now, Lana? It’s over. I can’t live without Jacob; I don’t know how.”
Lana kicked her foot. “Yes, you do, Vivie. He fucked up, and you know it. But you aren’t going to let it ruin your life.”
Vivienne wasn’t so sure about that.
“We need food,” Lana said, and pulled on Vivienne’s arms until she sat up. “Get up. We’re going out.”
“I can’t eat.”
“Sure you can. You have to.” Lana got her keys. “Let’s go. I’m starving. Drama makes me hungry.”
Vivienne smiled; she couldn’t help it. “Okay, lead the way.” She was so glad to have such a good friend, and although she felt better after a bottle of wine and a long talk, she didn’t want to be alone.
They found a place to eat, and Vivienne made an effort to nibble at her food. Her stomach was still in knots, and her heart ached. But otherwise, she thought she might live. Lana’s appetite hadn’t been affected by the sad tale. She devoured a hamburger with fries, while they talked about everything…except Jacob.
That night, when Vivienne assured Lana that she was okay now, her friend went out with Trace. The apartment was dreadfully quiet, but all Vivienne did was flop on the bed. She didn’t feel like watching television or listening to music. Breathing was enough to manage.
When Vivienne finally got into her nightgown and slid into bed, her eyes burned from all the crying and her whole body hurt. In the dark, she looked at the ceiling, watching city lights play across the room. She felt so lost and alone.
Vivienne had planned her future with Jacob, despite how foolhardy that had proven to be. Now she felt aimless and discouraged. It frustrated her that she’d let him get to her to that degree. She had pride in being a strong, independent woman, yet look what she’d become.