A MATTER OF FATE Exclusive–Jonah’s POV of [Spoiler!]

Over on my facebook page this week, readers were polled on which scene of Jonah’s they wanted to see this weekend. And the one with the winning votes is . . .


Callie’s visit!

You guys are such the rabble rousers! Ha! No, in all seriousness, I figured this would be the one you guys would pick, because many of you figured Jonah had some ‘splaining to do (or at least, this is what I assumed by the messages and emails I get from people saying WHY JONAH, WHY?!). In any case, I’m glad to finally show Jonah’s POV on how this all went down and what was going through his head when he–well. You’ll have to read below.

A quick note on this . . .
I wrote out–I guess it’s a novella, really–Jonah’s POV of AMOF when I was working on early drafts of  A MATTER OF FATE because it helped me understand his character better. AMOF and the rest of the Fate series are obviously Chloe’s story, as they’re told from her perspective, but in many ways, the series is also Jonah’s and Kellan’s stories, too. While their POVs are not featured in the series (at least so far, and probably never), I do write their perspectives often for my own writery needs and will offer them up at times to you guys. What this means is, this piece is pretty much unedited and unpolished.

Okay, that said, here you go–Jonah’s POV of Callie’s visit.

Once more, if you haven’t read A MATTER OF FATE, look away now, because THERE BE MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!

* * * * * * * * * *

            Callie has the audacity to say, “Surprise!”
            I sort of choke as I look around, trying to determine if I’m on one of those prank shows like “Punked” or “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” despite this being, in absolutely no way, funny at all. Fucking surprise, all right. “What are you doing here?”
            She stands up and stretches, her long arms pulling the hem of her shirt up so it flashes small slices of pale, smooth skin. Horny Jonah of two years ago might have found that tempting, like she’s probably assuming, but all I can think now is: oh hell no.
            “I told you. I’m here so we can talk.”
            Again. Is there somebody nearby filming this? This is a joke, right? “We have nothing to talk about, Cal. We’ve been over this a hundred times now.”
            She’s pissed. “I disagree.”
            I want to slam my head against something.  Why do some people insist on doing shit like this? Relationships, no matter what, will never work if only one person has feelings. Cal definitely still has feelings for me, but mine are exactly where they ought to be: friendship, nothing more.
            I realize this, standing there and watching her attempt to shift herself into some kind of sexy pose that she thinks will tempt me. I am no longer attracted to her at all. I am no longer confused at what level my love is for her. She is my friend, or at least, someone who was once my friend, and nothing more.
            So I say, more gently than I probably should, “We’re over, Cal.”
            Her lower lip trembles, but the stubborn streak in her doesn’t let her back down. “I disagree.”
            “There is nothing to disagree with, Cal. I am in love with Chloe. She’s my Connection. There is nothing that could ever change that fact.”
            Okay. Now the tears come, and my self-loathing kicks into overdrive. I am reminded of when that guy made fun of her, the one who thought she was worthless because she wasn’t Magical, and of how her tears, so rare, had always been able to break me. Because Callie, for all her bravado, has a very sensitive heart, and I hate thinking anything could wound it. Me included.  It is nowhere nearly enough, but again, I apologize even though it’ll never change my mind on going back to her.
            “You’re such an asshole,” she snarls. “You led me on for years!”
            I did. And she’s right. I am an asshole.
            “You always defended me, even to the Old Man. What was I supposed to think? You’d tell him that me being a non meant nothing to you. You’d tell anyone who would talk shit about me that.”
            “It’s because it’s true,” I say, coming closer like an idiot, and she swats at me. “I’ve never cared that you’re a non.”
            “We’ve had sex. You were my first.” She jabs a finger out at me. “You took my virginity.”
            Finest moment? So not here.
            “You told me you loved me!”
            Fuuuuuck. “Callie—”
            “YOU TOLD ME YOU LOVED ME.”
            How do you rationalize these things, Jonah, I want to ask myself, but I know there’s nothing really valid to say at all. Because I was a dick? Because I was confused? Because I was young? Take your pick.
            “I always thought you were different than Kel when it comes to this sort of stuff,” she seethes, “but you know what? YOU ARE JUST. LIKE. HIM.”
            Hey now. “That’s not true—”
            “How many other girls did you screw, huh, Jonah? How many other girls did you lie to when you said you loved them?”
            Whoa. “None, Callie.” I try to capture her flailing arms, but she’s a strong one.
            “Will you just lis—”
            “I hate you. I really, truly hate you.”
            She does. In this moment, she really does. And it makes me incredibly sad that one of my best, oldest friends feels this way towards me. I love Chloe, but I spent three years with this girl, and even more having her in my life.
            “I’m sorry,” I say softly, and her arms still. Her dreams, the one of her and me together, are finally, finally dying.
            And I’m sad about it, which is really messed up. I mean, I should be happy, right? That Cal is finally getting it through her thick skull that we’re over? But right now, I’m sad, and it’s complex and messy and a whole host of other feelings that are too hard to separate. Maybe if my brother was here, he could do it for me, but I’ve got him blocked out, and it’s just me and Callie.
            No one else.
            Not Kel. Not Chloe. Not Astrid. Not the Old Man. Not anyone.
            This girl has been my friend for a long time. I think back to the first time I saw her, all scrawny and heartbroken and little, and I immediately felt protective of her. She was my friend. She was a kindred spirit. She’d lost her parents. I’d lost my mom. She could understand my pain, and I got hers. And over the years, despite the messy feelings that grew between us, there was always that core component, that foundation we shared. We were friends. We understood one another.
            I never should have stepped over the line that separated friendship and love. She would’ve moved off of me, I’m sure of it, and we would probably, to this day, still be close, just like she and Kel are. And I mourn that relationship, because I do love Cal. I wishwishwish I could go back in time and fix all of this.
            Everyone always remarks on how put together I am, but the joke’s on them. I’ve always had issues. I’ve just hidden them better than others. And in that fragile, needy state, I leaned on a girl I knew I’d end up hurting. Because I was selfish.
            Callie is crying, her heart breaking over and over again, and I feel like crap, like a total heel, worse even. Like the asshole who played with his friend’s heart carelessly and is now seeing the outcome of such actions.
            I am gutted.
            I am a jerk.
            “I miss you,” she whimpers, her sobs gutwrenching and broken, even as she holds them back. She hates looking weak in front of anyone. “Gods, I miss you so much.”
            I am so sorry, so very, very sorry to have done this to her. Callie deserves love, lots of it, because she’s a good person. She’s smart, and sweet, and tenacious and so loyal and caring to her friends she’d do anything for them, no questions asked. And I’ve crushed this part of her, this fragile web of trust and first love, and I know it’s on me. She handed me her heart, trusted me with it, and I broke it without any hesitation.
            I tell her I miss her too, because it’s true. I miss the Callie who I used to spend hours with, sometimes saying nothing at all with. I miss the Callie who I climbed trees with, baked cookies with, and surfed with. I miss the Callie who would listen when the grief over my mom’s loss was too much to bear, and the Callie who would simply hold my hand in silence when I needed it. I miss the Callie who shared her mother with me, the one who laughed with me and my brother, the one who stood by us when our family crumbled down around us.
            I miss my friend. I miss the girl who has been there for me for most of my life.
            “I hate what’s happened between us,” she says, still crying. “I hate being this girl, the one who’s standing in front of a guy who doesn’t want her anymore, and begging. I’m not that girl.”
            “You’re not,” I tell her. Because she isn’t.
            “I miss you, and I’m so angry that this all happened. I wake up most mornings, wishing it was a bad dream, but it’s not. I know that. And I feel so confused, so fucking blown away by all this, Jonah. Why is it I keep losing the people I love? It’s like I’m cursed or something.”
            I step closer and she pulls towards me, like we’re magnets. I hold out my arms and she steps into them, like a million times in the past, and there she is, Callie, my friend, my ex-girlfriend, and it’s so familiar, like reliving a moment in the past. “You’re not cursed.”
            “My parents . . . you . . .”
            Oh, Jesus. The guilt is crushing now. “You still have Astrid. And Kel. And me. You haven’t lost me, not really. Just because we’re not together anymore doesn’t mean we can’t be here for one another as friends.”
            Her silent sobs wrack her body; it shudders against me and I’d give anything at this moment to stop her pain.
            “I love you, I love you, and it’s not the same, it’ll never be the same.” Her voice is barely a whisper. “Gods, why does it have to hurt so much? Why?”
            But I don’t know any more than she does. I may be an Emotional, I may be able to instill these feelings in others, but I don’t get why hearts have to break so painfully. It’s like a sick joke on all of us. Love can inspire such wonderful, blissful feelings, and then, once it’s gone, the worst emotions possible. Depression, hopelessness, pain . . . two sides of a coin. And because love is so rare and precious, we risk this without question when any day the tides could turn.
            I kiss my friend, in her hair, like I’ve done countless times before. And she relaxes against me and for just this moment, I let myself remember what it was like between us.
            “I can’t believe I’ll never kiss you again,” she murmurs, and I feel her heart crack again, and it presses against me in such painful ways. “That you’ll never be mine again.”
            She’s accepted that all of her dreams of what could’ve been are now no longer.
            She moves in my arms, her breath shuddering hard. “Do you think, maybe . . . just one last time? One last kiss?”
            I feel it, plain as day, that she understands it’s over.
            One kiss . . .
            Kisses can be such innocuous things. Mothers kiss their children every day. Friends kiss each other in greeting. Strangers can kiss hands during an introduction. Lovers kiss in both passionate and comforting ways. But they can also be extremely meaningful. Kisses are, in many ways, both greetings and farewells.
            It’s time to say farewell to my friend.
            One kiss, I think, is nothing if it helps give her the closure she wants.
            So I give it to her, no questions asked, just as she’s given me her trust and love over the years in the same way.
            When our lips touch, there is no spark, no addictive passion that once would have led to more. I do not think of how this kiss can lead to others, how it can lead to strings and complications and confusion. But there is something there—there is familiarity. I know these lips, I know how they feel against mine and I know what they once symbolized. What they once inspired. And my mind flashes back to kiss after kiss, and then memory after memory, of the times we’ve spent together, good and bad, happy and sad, and I come to some acceptance, too. I’ve loved this girl—not so much ever the sensation of being in love with her, but love, genuine, solid love, and it means something.
            And, like Callie, I am ready to close the door to future possibilities. I’d thought I’d done that, but in my rush to Chloe, I hadn’t. Not really. Certainly I’d come to understand that Cal and I were over, and I would never second guess that, but in that haste, I didn’t actually put my feelings for Cal to rest.
            Now, here, I have.
            One kiss. That’s all it takes to let go of my friend.
            I let it happen, let our lips move together, with the full knowledge that this is the last time.
            And then . . .
            The pull tugs at me.
            Oh, fuck.
            Callie is yelling something, but my mind is simply short circuiting. Chloe is here, holy fucking shit, did she just see all that? How long has she been here? OH MY FUCKING GODS, DID SHE JUST SEE ME KISS MY EX-GIRLFRIEND?
            Chloe is bolting, and the feelings radiating out from her nearly bring me to my knees, but all I can think of it is that I have to get to her, have to explain, because she will understand if I tell her just what went down, she has to, right? RIGHT? But she’s moving away from me, and she yells at me to not say anything, and my terror goes sky high along with the tree she explodes, and then the fence, and I pause long enough to knock away something that’s about to hit my face, and then she’s gone, she’s gone, CHLOE IS GONE.
            I find myself on the ground, pieces of fence all over me and Cal is kneeling down next to me, trying to dig me out, and she’s nearly hysterical, and then Giules is here, saying Chloe just nearly caused a wreck as she sped away, and it’s all just too much. I have to go after her.
            “Lay still!” Giules barks. “You’re bleeding, caro mio!”
            Who cares? But when I try to get up, she forcibly makes me stop.
            “Get the fuck off me!” I yell at her, but then, there’s Cal, also forcing me down.
            “Jonah, just listen to Giules—”
            I blast them, as hard as I can with any emotion I can get at, but it’s like that’s short circuiting, too, because while they sway and loosen their grips for a second, they recover and once again begin ordering me around.
            “You will hold still,” Giules continues ruthlessly. “I need to figure out—”
            This time, I muster enough to stun them and then I run out into the front yard, but like Giules said, Chloe is long gone. I run back into the house to grab my keys and phone, but Giules and Cal catch me before I can leave.
            Giules grabs my arms and shakes me, hard. “You aren’t going anywhere!”
            “I need to go find Chloe!”
            “Whatever just happened, whether you two had a fight or what, Chloe just lost control! I don’t care if she is your Connection, caro, but you are going to let her be until she gets herself under control! We do not need a wildcard Creator right now!”
            Fighting her is useless, because my hand is starting to throb, and the various cuts and bruises are stinging so badly that it’s taking too much to focus and fight at the same time. But I call Chloe, because I have to, and it rings and rings and only goes to voicemail. I beg with her, plead, to call me back, to talk to me, to tell me where she is so I can go get her, but . . . but . . .
            No answer.
            The next thing I know, Cora is in the living room, and she’s saying something about broken bones, and who gives a fuck, but then she’s doing something to me, and no matter what I try, no matter how hard I fight, she wins.

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