~Chapter 25: Benefit of the Doubt
I had fun staying in Lukas's mansion alone with him for the weekend, but I was happy to be home. I carried my luggage in my apartment and the first person to greet me was Justin. He had messy sleep hair and nothing more than a pair of boxers on.
"Hey," I said as I closed the door and put my suit case down. "Was I missed?"
I smiled at him. "So where's Florence?"
"Oh, she got tired of waiting for you so she took a plane back to London."
"London?" I exclaimed.
Justin snickered. "Kidding. Relax. What's wrong with you? You seem tenser than a goddamn teenage virgin."
I sighed. "So sorry. Just been really off lately. I'm still
trying to wrap my head around this shit."
"Yeah, me too. It's pretty crazy. You got yourself wrapped into some shit that…will probably take years to get over."
"I'm over Brian's death, I'm just not over what Lukas did."
"Pretty unbelievable, huh?"
I tilt my head. "Okay." I plop down onto the couch. "Talk to me."
"You hate Lukas, don't you?"
His brows furrow. "No. No, Peyton, I don't hate the guy."
"You just get uneasy whenever we're talking about him, lately."
"Maybe its because he just murdered someone."
"You were just okay with it!"
"Yeah but just like you, this shit needs to sink in."
"Look, Justin, I'm sorry I brought you into this but-"
"I don't care. God, I don't care. I don't even want to talk about it anymore."
"Okay, is something else up?"
He shakes his head. "No. No. Just sexual frustration."
"That's why you're so cranky? Because you haven't been getting
"Sorry if it bothers you. You're getting fucked basically everyday."
"Justin, women throw themselves at you."
"There's only one woman I want and she only has a taste for the pussy. Can you imagine how frustrating that is? She makes me so fucking hard."
I sighed. "The girl is into girls. Case closed. Find someone
Justin plopped on the couch next to me.
I looked to him. "Even if she would give you a tiny chance, the one thing she hates more than girly-girls, is womanizers."
"I'm not that much of a womanizer."
"Justin, I know you. That's exactly what you are."
"You act like I've been one my whole life. It just sort of happened after you broke up with me."
I rolled my eyes. "Are we really going to talk about that?"
"I'm just stating facts here."
"Peyton?" Florence came from the hallway wearing a big black
t-shirt. Her blonde hair was longer than I last remembered.
I looked to Justin who was staring at Florence, eye-fucking her to death with his gaze.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"I fucked up…again."
"Yep, you sure did. Now you can get your shit, and get out of my apartment."
Her black eyebrows raised. "Peyton, I know I ran away but-"
"But what?" I sat up. "I only let a certain amount of people in my life, not the type who run away and leave without saying anything."
"I'm sorry. Being back here where it all happened freaked me out
and I had to leave."
"So why come back? You're just going to leave again. This time, I hope its for good."
She narrowed her hazel eyes at me. "You have turned into a bitch
beyond belief. You are not the Peyton Moyer I met years ago. No.
You want to shut everyone out because of your mommy issues, go
ahead, but it doesn't mean you have to treat me like it was
my husband who fucked you!" She spat.
I stood up.
Justin stood up with me. "Holy shit. Hey, Peyton," He put his
hand on my shoulder to keep me in place but I shrugged him
"Really? You have to bring up history, Florence? Why, because you can't get over this fucking crush you have on me? I'm not here when you want me and that makes you angry? You think I give a fuck you cunt eating bitch?"
"Whoa. Peyton, stop. Calm down." Justin pushed me down onto the couch and turned to look at Florence. "Florence, dude, you're going to have to get out. Sure, I want to fuck you but you can't fuck with my best friend. That's some shit I can't tolerate."
Florence's nostrils flared. "Fine. I'll just get my stuff and I
won't bother you again, Peyton."
"Good. I actually hoped for that when you left a second time. Goes to show there's just certain bitches you can't trust."
Florence glared at me and crossed her arms. "Fuck you, Peyton. Fuck you." She turned around and went back into the hallway.
I sighed and rested my elbows on my knees as I covered my face. "Fuck, I'm tired." I was more than tired. I was exhausted. I laid down on the couch.
"Are you okay?" Justin asked.
"Yeah. I just need a break from drama. Please wake me up in two hours."
He nods. "I got you."
My nap of two hours ended up being five.
When I woke up, I almost wanted to kill Justin.
He was on the phone, pacing around the room. "Elizabeth, I rearranged the photos and put them back in the damn book like you asked me."
There was a pause.
"So I misplaced two pictures, so what? Rearrange them in the
right place and we wouldn't have a problem now would we?"
He must have been talking to his boss.
He sighed. "Elizabeth, you take the photos, I rearrange them, I
clean your fucking cameras and I keep your models happy. Try
doing my job." He hung up his phone and threw it on the
He takes a deep breath. "Why do all the hot girls got to be the biggest bitches?"
"Why didn't you wake me up?" I asked in a raspy voice.
He looked to me. "Sorry. You looked like you really needed the rest. I'm guessing Kary kept you up all night, fucking you up." He said grinning.
I stick my middle finger up at him before taking out my phone and checking for messages.
Justin stared at the phone. "What the hell is that?"
"An Element phone."
"And you lectured me on buying the Element laptop because it was
so damn expensive. How much was that?"
"Free. My boyfriend is the CEO, dick."
"So not fair. He could have gotten me at least a damn discount for the laptop."
"Oh well." I shrugged.
He shook his head. " Anyway,I'm thinking of going out tonight.
I sighed. "No. I don't feel good at all."
"Is it stress or the flu?"
"Could be both. We did go swimming while we were at the
Justin's eyebrows furrowed. "In October?"
I nodded. "That's what Lukas said. Both of you should know how weird I am by now."
He chuckles. "True. I'm going to get ready to go."
"Maybe instead of just finding a fuck for the night, you should actually get to know a girl before jumping right into bed with her."
"Yeah, the thing with that is that it's boring."
"You got to know me a whole six months before I put out for you."
"Yeah because aside from you being my girlfriend, you were my best friend, so I was cool with getting to know you but these days, some women have the personality of a dirty pair of drawers."
"I guess that's a fact."
Justin shrugs. "I don't know. I might take your word for it though."
He nods and walks out of the living room.
No messages from Lukas. Just a message from my boss. He texted
me, asking me when I was ready to come back to work.
Good question. I didn't want to go back though. I'm still wiped out.
I guess I'll just take a shower and slip back into bed.
In the waiting room, me and Lukas sat outside of Dr. Shrewster's
"Are you nervous about having me here with you?" He asked. He dressed in a pair of shiny black shoes, black jeans, a gray t-shirt, and a black jacket. His chocolate hair framed his face in that delicious way and he had a bit of stubble. More than that, his green eyes were bright and dreamy as always. I'm still trying to understand how I got so lucky to have this beautiful prick.
"No. It's not like me and Shrewster keeps secrets. He's known me since I was twelve. He considers me a niece of sorts since we're so close and him and my dad are close."
"He knows everything?"
"He knows only what I would tell him. But he doesn't know anymore than you do."
The door opened and Shrewster stepped out dressed as always in a
turtleneck and slacks.
I stood up and Lukas stood with me.
Shrewster stepped aside as me and Lukas walked into the room.
Shrewster shut the door and looked to Lukas. He held his hand out. "Leonard Shrewster. It's nice to meet you Mr. Kary."
Lukas shook his hand as I sat down. "Just call me Lukas and it's nice to meet you too." He released his hand and sat beside me.
Shrewster sat down across from us in his beige chair and grabbed a pad of paper and a pen from the table beside him. He crosses his legs and let out a soft sigh. His eyes go to Lukas. "Lukas, where'd you meet Peyton?"
"With Victor. I was proposing for him to come work for me and Peyton came to the meeting we were having."
Shrewster smiles. "Was it love at first sight or…"
I shake my head. "Hell no. He's arrogant."
Shrewster chuckles while Lukas rolls his eyes. "Like she's got room to talk."
I look to Lukas. "There's a huge difference between having confidence and arrogance. I have confidence and you're an arrogant asshole."
Shrewster raises his eyebrows.
Lukas nods looking at me. "I'll give you that."
I look back to Shrewster who looks fascinated between us. He looks to Lukas. "Lukas, how well do you know Peyton?"
"I'm beginning to know her very well. I understand her more than
I cared to understand anyone else if that puts it in
Shrewster nods and looks to me. "Peyton?"
"That question can only be directed towards Lukas. Not me. He
doesn't open up to me as much I opened up to him."
Lukas turns his head to glare at me. "I told you I couldn't tell you about Manhattan. There's some shit you shouldn't know."
I look to Shrewster. "See? He keeps telling me this. What the
fuck does that even mean?"
"Peyton, remember the conversation we had before about it being more difficult for men to open up than a woman?" Shrewster asked.
"Yes, I remember. It's just that I feel like I have a right to know. I told him everything about my situation and what has he told me about his? Nada."
"I told you about Jackie. That was hard enough."
"It wasn't enough though."
"Who is Jackie?" Shrewster asked.
"His ex who's in a coma." I said.
Silence. There was complete silence in the room.
I don't know where my irritation came from. We were perfectly fine no more than a minute ago.
"Do you know her, Peyton?"
"I know of her."
"I can tell you have a dislike for the woman."
"Why is that if you only know of her?"
"Automatically I'm going to hate any bitch he fucked before me. And what she did was just….it was wrong. Maybe not to her but she was being selfish by doing what she did. She almost killed herself over a man. There's thousands more in this world. And on top of that, her family is making him feel guilty for it."
Shrewster nods and then looks to Lukas. "Do you feel guilty about
He ran his fingers through his hair. "Some part of me always will but, the more I think about it and the more Peyton shows me its not, the less I believe it."
My irritation calmed down a bit.
"Has life for you become easier since Peyton entered your
Lukas nodded. "It has and I didn't think anything, especially a woman, would make me feel like there's hope. I didn't think she'd make me feel that maybe my childhood didn't have to effect me and that there's someone out there that could make me love them. Make me want to protect them. Peyton is someone that I would die for," His green eyes met mine. "That I would kill for."
The last sentence was a dead giveaway. If only Shrewster knew the truth. If only he knew the lengths we'd go for one another. But he didn't. No one really knew. Justin knew what Lukas did but he'd never know how deeply in love we were with one another. How badly we need each other. He'd never understand.
I slipped my hand to Lukas's and squeeze his hand, before looking
He studied Lukas and then looked to me. "You don't think you two are moving too fast?"
I nodded. "We are moving very fast. We just really don't care."
He nods. "You know, relationships can move too fast and
"They can move too slow and fail years later. And you can waste your years in a relationship that didn't work out." I say shrugging.
Shrewster nods, putting his hands up in surrender. "I guess
I nod. "I never been in a relationship this serious before and neither has he. We knew what we were both getting into when we signed up for it and I'm not planning on letting go anytime soon," I rub Lukas's thigh. "I love him."
Lukas brings my hand to his lips and kiss it.
Shrewster sets his pen and pad of paper aside and uncrosses his legs. "Can I ask the both of you this and when I do, can you promise not to get so offended by it?"
"Yes." Lukas answers.
"Well you know me, Shrewster. I always take things the wrong way." I said.
Shrewster smiles and the second it comes, it leaves. He licks his lips. "From one to one hundred percent, how much is your relationship based on sex?"
Me and Lukas looked to each other at the same time.
I scratch my hair. "Well,"
"I say it's fifty percent." Lukas answers.
I nod my head. " Yeah, at least fifty percent. The other forty five percent is based on love and five percent is based on secrets. That's what our relationship is."
"Secrets are not healthy in a relationship." Shrewster said,
specifically looking at Lukas.
Lukas looks away from him.
He knows Shrewster right and he just can't deal with it.
"My past is difficult for me to talk about. She doesn't understand that. I appreciate her telling me about hers. That was showing me that she trusts me, but I'm not as open as she is. What happened to her was worst than what happened to me but that doesn't make it any easier to talk about." Lukas said.
"By the way, we call this little mishap 'Manhattan' because that's where it happened but that's all he'll say about it." I said.
Shrewster sat back in his chair and nods then he looks to Lukas.
"You have to let her in, Lukas. By you keeping things from her,
its going to make her assume you don't trust her. Trust is needed
in every relationship or the relationship will not work. It's
obvious the two of you are in love with one another, maybe even
made sacrifices for the other. But the secret have to stop if the
two of you want to stay happy, and want to stay together."
Shrewster has turned into a couples therapist.
"Fine." I say. Although I have nothing to hide.
I look to Lukas who nods silently.
Shrewster sighs. "I want you, Lukas, to understand that regardless of how much you two care for one another, how well your sex life is, how much the both of you may need one another, there are walls that need to be broken down, in order for you to give her all of you. It has to be done."
Lukas nods. "I know that."
I rub his back soothingly. He knows he's going to have to change what he's doing.
He looks to me, his eyes saying what I know he won't say in front of Shrewster or anyone else.
Shrewster smiles. "Okay. As long as you understand that, that's
what you need to work on."
Lukas stands. "I will."
Shrewster stands up and shakes Lukas's hand. "It was nice to meet you."
Lukas smiles. "You also."
I stand up. "Bye, Shrewster."
"I'll see you on Saturday, Peyton."
I nod and Lukas opens the door for me before following me out.
We got into the lobby and got into the elevator.
It took us down and we were silent.
I looked to him and leaned against the mirror of the elevator. "How do you feel?"
He shrugs. "I think I should get a therapist."
I nod. "Therapy's good. I mean, me and Shrewster weren't BFFs from the start but he seemed to understand who I was. He understood my anger, my confusion about what Brian did. It helped and if you think it'll help you, I think you should go."
Lukas caught my eyes. "I'm sorry."
Lukas slammed his hand on the stop button.
"You can't do that here."
"I don't care."
He stepped to me until I was pressed against the mirror, staring
into his eyes.
"I know you want my past. I know you want to help me. But you have without you even realizing it. Learning about your past, drove me to do what I did. And I know that when, not if, when you learn about mine, it's going to hurt you. I don't want you to feel that pain I felt. But I'm going to tell you. After we go see my aunt next week, I am going to tell you the truth."
He grabbed my face in his hands. "I'm going to try to stop putting you through this. Notice I'm stressing the word 'try'. But I'm going to. I just need you to trust me, okay?"
I nod my head. "You want me to give you the benefit of the
I sighed. "Okay. I'm going to try. Notice I'm stressing the word, 'try'." I said repeating his words.
He smiles and kisses my lips and leans his forehead against mine. "I love you."
I grab his hair between my fingers. "I love you too."