Belonging to Lust

Chapter 150: For Real This Time

Tensing up at the sound of Heath’s voice calling her, Zaiyia turned her head to the left only to be blinded by a pair of headlights of a lone but very familiar truck. Squinting her eyes, she jerked her head away for a second to recover her vision again. When the stark white blob subsided from behind her eyelids, she analyzed the vehicle again more cautiously through her ebony braids, her brows furrowing with doubt that he was truly here. No, this had to be somebody else. Her heart was trying to dupe her into believing he’d actually care enough to come looking for her. Heath Sullivan was back at his house with her threat of calling the police on him resonating through his mind, keeping him at bay.

“Zaiyia!” Heath’s voice came again as the sound of the truck’s door opened and closed in the inky darkness of the night. A figure stepped in front of the truck headlights, a dark form that was most certainly Heath Sullivan.

Zaiyia’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of his silhouette. Her eyes swelled with tears all over again. She had left his house in despair and aimlessly found herself upon a bridge overlooking a large river that was about to be the scene of her suicide, and despite her threatening to send him to prison for the rest of his life if he dared to follow her...he followed her anyway. As romantic as this would have been to the old Zaiyia, the new zombified Zaiyia didn’t want him to be there. She didn’t want him to interfere with her suicide nor witness it.

“Zaiyia…?” Heath whispered softly the moment he saw her face illuminated by his headlights. He almost didn’t recognize her, not because a few strands of braids were over her face, but because she didn’t look like the same girl that left his home. She looked completely different. Her brown eyes that were once saturated with warmth were black and devoid of life. Her face that could light up a room and send his heart racing was stoic like stone, unable to form an expression.

Still, stranger or not, this was his Zaiyia standing on the wrong side of the protective stone rail that was constructed to keep passersby from bumbling over the edge and into the cold rushing river below, and it was clear what her motive for being on the wrong side was. She was going to take her own life. “Baby.” Heath tenderly called her as he took a single step forward. His already distraught heart nearly lept out of his chest when she turned her attention back to the river below and veered herself further over as if threatening to take that ultimate jump that would disconnect the tie between them once and for all, making it impossible for him to find her ever again.

Stopping dead in his tracks, Heath shot splayed hands outward for her to see them, and shouted. “WAIT, WAIT, STOP! DON’T MOVE, ZAIYIA! PLEASE DON’T! PLEASE, BABY, PLEASE!” His pleading seemed to do the trick in compelling her to hesitate. The only thing holding her from plummeting down into the river were her fingers curled behind her on the stone rail. Lowering his voice, he retreated back a step to implore her. “Look at me, baby, I’m not moving! I’m gonna stay right here, I promise you! Just please, don’t let go of the rail! Please, baby!”

Gradually, Zaiyia turned her face a fraction towards him, her brown orbs peering from the corner of her eye at him through her braids. Her mouth was clamped shut as she examined him like he was a complete stranger to her. Like they hadn’t ever met. Like they hadn’t ever slept together. Like she hadn’t ever told him she loved him before.

Her silence only made the situation even more final. It was like she’d already fallen into the waters below and he was now looking at a vision of her he conjured up in his mind to keep him from accepting the reality of losing her. Tears filled his green eyes and fell down his cheeks as he softly beseeched her from a distance, his hands no longer beckoning her to stop. Now, they stretched out to her in hopes she’d climb back over the rail and take them. “Zaiyia...b-baby, please, come back onto the bridge. W-We can talk about this.”

Zaiyia scoffed brokenly in response. She turned her focus back to the river that patiently awaited to envelope her and poach her last breath from her before importing her lifeless corpse off into the night somewhere. Her voice hadn’t been used for hours other than to sob from a broken heart. She was certain it would be unsteady and thick with tears. Not caring, she muttered. “We...we’ve already talked. Now...there’s no more need for talking.”

“No, baby, that’s not true!” Heath pleaded desperately, wishing he could fly across this bridge and scoop her up before she had the time to let go. Physically, that couldn’t be done. “No, we haven’t TALKED!”

“We have!” Zaiyia exclaimed at him, her voice thick with tears. He wasn’t about to deter her from her mission. “So you can just...go away now, and...pretend you never saw anything.”

Pretend he never saw anything!? As in his Zaiyia about to take her own life! Heath fought hard to overthrow the erupting outrage threatening to break free from her cold dismissal. It didn’t matter how he felt, he wasn’t about to push her to commit suicide by letting his temper run rampant. He had to rein it back, at least until he got her on the other side of the rail. But goddamnit, she couldn’t really think he would do something like that? Just simply walk back home and pretend he hadn’t been a witness to her suicide? Shaking his head defiantly, Heath disputed. “You can’t be serious! How can you ask that of me, Zaiyia! I’m NOT about to walk away and let you take your life like it means nothing to me! Like you mean nothing to me! You’re too goddamn precious to me to ever want to lose, don’t you get that?”

“Since when?” Zaiyia countered with disinterest.

“SINCE FOREVER!” Heath snapped, failing to control his temper. It was proving much too difficult when at any given minute she could simply let go and that would be the end of it. Time was ticking, his patience was being strained beyond the limits he could handle, and he had no idea what was running through her mind right now. “Despite the illegal ramifications of our relationship from the start, you have always been the most precious thing I’d ever had in my lifetime.

Frowning to herself, Zaiyia turned her head to stare at him with obvious doubt. Naturally of course he was lying to save her life. He was trying to lure her over to the other side of the rail and then when he got her safe and sound would reject her like he had earlier today. That very same rejection had led her right here to begin with. But it won’t lead her here again if he had any say in it. Hell, she’ll probably find herself locked up in a mental facility by morning!

“It’s true, Zaiyia!” Heath maintained, seeing the doubt written on her face. “And my feelings for you have nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been your guardian for several months now. Nevermind all that! I have grown to care about you for who you are, Zaiyia, not because I’m supposed to be your father figure!”

Zaiyia said nothing back, she merely stared blankly back at him.

Heath knew he had to reach her now or else he might never be given the chance to come clean ever again. Pausing for a few seconds, he let the world and their judgemental eyes dissolve away so there were only the two of them, alone. “Baby...despite all the back and forth and bullshit I’ve told you countless times...I DO have feelings for you. The kind of feelings a man shouldn’t obviously have for a 16 year old girl.” He sighed when she looked away from him, but moved on with baring his soul to her. “All the passion that keeps transpiring between us has nothing to do with the fact that I find you attractive or that you’re absolutely much too ravishing for a girl your age, or that you’re the best sex I’ve ever had! It’s because I’ve developed feelings for you...more than I ever should have. I have feelings for you, but not as my daughter, or a piece of ass, but as a lover. And I know it’s wrong, I’ve told myself countless times I shouldn’t harbor these feelings towards you.”

Throwing his hands up in frustration with himself, Heath vented. “And I’m sorry that I was scared of ruining my life by going to prison for having a relationship with you! I’m also sorry for not being able to stay away from you at the same time and giving you all these mixed signals! If I have to be completely fucking honest with reasons for sending you to live with your aunt is not because I don’t like you, or because you’re that easy to discard away. It’s because I’m trying to protect you, baby, from myself. Protect you from me messing with you like this.” He shrugged weakly to himself. “In reality, I don’t want to let you go, Zaiyia. I would rather keep you all to myself, and build that very same relationship with you that the law prohibits me from having.”

Sighing heavily, Heath ran his hands over his face, not believing he had said all that. Dropping his hands back to his side, he gave himself a moment. “Look, I can understand why you don’t believe me. How can you when I’ve been hot and cold towards you everyday since we met months ago? You probably don’t even know what’s real or not when it comes to me. I get it.” His green eyes trailed over her curtain of braids, adoring the flash of gold from the cuffs in her hair. “But I can’t keep going in circles with you too. You left me behind in my house hours ago, and I had to tolerate through the most miserable hours of my life without you. It wasn’t because I have no idea where the hell you were, but because you simply were not there and I knew that if I searched for you in the darkest reaches of my property I wouldn’t find you anywhere on it. I wouldn’t find you anywhere near it. If it’s that miserable being behind bars in prison then I’ve already lived it during your absence from home, and I don’t ever want to relive those hours again. I want to be with you, Zaiyia Halifax, for real this time. I want to be your man, and I want you to be my girl.”