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Because Of You- Chapter 1  by Sodapop

Alexa stared at her reflection in the big, oval mirror above her dressing table. She puckered her lips together and batted her eye lashes. She held this pose for a moment, then sighed and drew her mouth into a tight lipped frown. I look ridiculous. She pushed her bushy, brown mess of hair down and back behind her ears, then used her arms to squeeze her breasts together. Again, she focused on the mirror, eyeing her self-created cleavage. Shaking her head in resignation, she relaxed her arms at her side and the deep `v' of her chest disappeared. Hopeless. A sudden, unexpected knock on her bedroom door caused her to jump.

“Come in.” she called. The door creaked open slowly and the familiar, warm face of her father poked in.

“Almost ready, love?” he asked quietly.

She glanced sadly in the mirror then nodded. He offered her a weak, but encouraging smile then closed the door softly. She turned her attention back to the mirror and the plain girl looking back at her. What began as a sigh caught in her throat ended up sounding much more like a sob.

 She took a few deep breaths to steady herself, then pulled her frizzy hair back and secured it with a black bow. The bow matched her dress, both in colour and material. It was a nice enough dress, but nothing to ogle over. She wished she had a few more curves to fill it out, specifically in the semi-low cut v-neck section, but still it fit nicely. It was sleeveless, the hem ended just above the knee and there was a small slit exposing a thin line of flesh up her left thigh. It was a simple dress for a simple girl. I look like I'm going to a funeral she thought. Tears began pooling in the corners of her eyes. I feel like I'm going to a funeral.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Liam stared at his reflection in the long rectangle mirror hung on the back of Jake's bedroom door. He tugged at his bowtie nervously and tried for the umpteenth time to flatten the unruly mess of brown hair on top of his head. An unexpected knock on the door made him jump.

“Come in.” he called. The door creaked open slowly and the familiar face of his best friend poked in.

“Almost ready, mate?” Jake asked, entering the room.

Liam pulled at his bowtie again and then nodded slowly. Jake pulled a small, silver flask out from inside his jacket pocket and held it out to Liam. Liam grabbed it, smiling gratefully and took a swig. The sweet liquid burned his throat and his eyes watered in response.

“Strong stuff.” he choked and handed the flask back to Jake. Jake shrugged, took a mouthful himself and then replaced the container in his jacket pocket.

“I can't believe this is it. I can't believe today is the day.” Liam remarked, taking his own black jacket off of Jake's bed and pulling it on.

“I still can't believe my best mate is marrying my sister!” Jake exclaimed, giving Liam a pat on the shoulder.

Liam smiled at his friend, but hated how forced it felt. He was happy. Really, he was. Caitlin had matured into an amazing woman. She was smart and funny and adventurous. She was playful and affectionate and the only girl he'd ever met that was able to match, if not surpass, his football skills. And Merlin, could she be sexy when she wanted to be. She was everything Liam could ever ask for; everything he could ever hope to find in a significant other.

Yet, he couldn't help but wonder how things might have ended up, had that one fateful summer three years ago happened differently. He sighed as the painful memory surfaced and walked over to the bedroom window. The garden was buzzing with activity as a crew of a dozen or so worked to put the finishing touches on the wedding setup. There were rows of white chairs separated in half by a white runner which led to a makeshift altar. Huge water lily flower arrangements hung on the ceiling along with strings of silver lights. Behind the altar stood two huge, white tents where the reception would be held and although he could not see inside them from this angle, he knew they were lavishly decorated. It was lovely, really, and it would be a beautiful wedding. Yet, still, he couldn't help but wonder. Liam let his forehead rest against the window pane and closed his eyes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

** 3 YEARS AGO **

“Stop it Liam! I can't concentrate!” Alexa giggled and twisted away from Liam’s hand.

“Are you telling me that the brightest girl of our year is so easily distracted by the mere placement of my hand?” Liam teased, looking down at her innocently.

The two were enjoying one of the biggest perks of Alexa’'s Prefect title - a private bedroom. Liam sat with his back against the headboard, while Alexa rested her head on his lap with a book propped up on her stomach.

“When that `hand placement' happens to be on my left breast…yes.” she answered, poking him in the ribs to emphasize the “yes”. “Unlike you, I don't have `getting on with my dad' on my resume and so the results of my G.C.S.E.S are very important.”

“Well, I'm sorry.” Liam sighed. “I can't help it if watching you study turns me on.”

Alexa snorted.

“Oh, please.”

Liam grinned mischievously at her and shrugged. Alexa shook her head at him in disbelief, but closed the History book she'd been reading and tossed it on the floor.

“Well, I suppose I could study a different subject for awhile.” she said and sat up. 

She crawled close to him and tossed a leg over his lap so that she was straddling him and she planted a kiss on his lips.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The chemistry between Alexa and Liam had been brewing for years. Ironically, the only two who were oblivious to this were, in fact, Liam and Alexa. When Liam’s dad Joseph continuously threatened Liam’s life because he’s own son had found out he murdered his mother Patricia and Caitlin’s brother Ken, he had been unable to even consider any kind of romantic relationships. Besides the fact that his dad had such a high celebrity status, there was the fear that the object of Liam's affection would become an immediate target. But, once his dad was imprisoned in jail Liam was able, for the first time in his life, to acknowledge the feelings he had for certain individuals in his life. Of course it hadn't happened right away.

Oh no, it had been complicated. Caitlin had assumed that once Joseph was in jail, she and Liam would be able to have a proper relationship. Feeling extremely guilty over Ken’s death, Liam had been unable to turn her away, unable to further injure a member of the Morrison family. So, for her sake, as well as a way to ease his guilt, he had tried as best he could to make it work. For a while things went well, but after a few months Liam found it harder and harder to provide the effort needed to keep things going. Lucky for him, Caitlin had been the one to break first claiming he “didn't do anything wrong, but she just wasn't happy anymore and maybe they would be better off as friends for now”. Liam had been relieved and not at all prepared for what happened next. About a month after he and Caitlin had split, during a night out with the guys at The Imperial Arms, Jake after one G&T too many, revealed the reason things between him and Alexa didn't work out. Apparently, after much denial and even more pushing on Jake's part, she had admitted to fancying Liam. Liam had laughed and ordered everyone another round, but couldn't figure out why a week later Jake's drunken confession was still relentlessly plaguing his mind. He also noticed that every time Alexa entered the room the hair on the back of his neck would prick up and his palms would get sweaty. Forget about the times she spoke to him directly - it was as though he would forget how to speak English altogether.

Liam had been extremely torn. Fearing even the thought of ruining their friendship kept him from admitting to both Alexa and himself that somewhere along the 6 years they'd known each other, he had fallen for her. Fortunately, their friends were not so timid and a few drinks and serious talks, courtesy of Nick and Laura, had provided the necessary push Liam and Alexa needed to reveal the truth about their feelings for each other.

With the threat of Joseph gone and the chance of a normal life ahead, Alexa and Liam decided to return to NewVic college for a seventh year of study. Alexa retained her Prefect status and Liam's lifetime football ban was lifted.  Jake decided against returning to NewVic and instead went to work at his brother's clothes shop, becoming Gary’s new partner. The year had been refreshingly uneventful. No police, no drama, no arguments - just homework, football games and now, exams. And, of course, there was Alexa.

Liam and Alexa spent every possible moment together. During breaks they took walks together on warm afternoons and snuggled together in bed on cool, damp evenings. Alexa walked Liam to football practices and was the loudest fan at the games. Some nights, he and Alexa would go to the library. He would lay his coat down on the floor while Alexa went and picked out a book. Then he'd sit, leaning against the bookcase while Alexa lay with her head on his chest and he'd read to her until the sun started peeking in through the huge library windows. They had something simple, something simple, lovely and satisfying. But the year had gone by extremely fast. Now all that stood between them and adulthood was the G.C.S.E.S. Neither knew exactly what awaited them outside the walls of College and this provoked a mixture of fear and anxiousness and excitement. There were no definite once they finished their final year as students at College. There were no certainties. Save for one, that is. Each other; they had each other and that was something they swore would never, ever change.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * WEDDING DAY * *

Alexa took a deep breath. After making sure her resolve was intact and in place she opened her bedroom door and descended the stairs. Her parents were sitting quietly at the kitchen table, but they stood the minute they heard her heels on the mahogany wooden floor.

“You look amazing, love.” her father remarked, smiling warmly.

“Oh, Daddy…” Alexa said shaking her hand at him dismissively.

Her mother looked at her with wide, concern filled eyes that occasionally darted to her husband then back to her daughter. The tension was unbelievably thick.

“So? Is everyone ready to go?” Alexa chirped with as much cheerfulness as she could muster.

Her parents exchanged worried glances.

“Your father and I were thinking…if you decided you didn't want to go, we could tell everyone you're ill. You don't have to do this hun.”

Alexa looked at her mother and for a second her eyes began to water again. She shook her head and laughed; a bit too loud.

“Not go? Oh come now, I wouldn't miss the wedding of two of my very oldest friends without good reason. And, considering I am not ill, I see no reason why I should not be attending.”

Her mother sighed and nodded reluctantly. Alexa wished her parents would stop looking at her as though she could shatter into a million pieces at any moment, regardless of how valid or invalid there concern was. Her father glanced down at his watch.

“Well, we'd better get going. It's a good drive to the Morrison’s’s and we don't want to be late.” he said, clapping his hands together.

The three Bakers shuffled out of the house and into their modest, dark blue sedan, Alexa taking the back seat. She noticed, as she flattened her dress against her legs with her palms, that her hands were shaking. She silently scolded herself. Get a grip, Alexa. She stared, unblinking, out the car window. This isn't right. This isn't how things are supposed to be. She bit her lip and willed her mind into silence. But, it was too late. She wiped angrily at her cheek as a lone tear broke through her face. How could it have all gone so wrong?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * *

* * 3 YEARS AGO * *

“Liam! It's lovely. It's-it's…oh, it's so lovely!” Alexa clasped her hands to her chest and spun around in delight.

“If you really hate it that much, we can keep looking.” Alexa teased.

She stuck out her tongue and pinched his arm. As she went to retract her hand, Liam grabbed it and pulled her close to him, resting his forehead against hers.

“You're sure?” he whispered. “This is the one?”

She nodded and smiled dreamily. Liam sighed and turned. A small, round woman stood resting against the doorway, anxiously watching the couple.

“We'll take it.” Liam announced.

The small woman shook her head in acknowledgment.

“Congratulations.” she said with a warm smile. “Let me just get the paperwork and you'll be set. I think you'll find its perfect fit.”

The moment she'd disappeared Alexa squealed and jumped into Liam's arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. The force caught him off guard and he ended up on his back, flat on the floor with Alexa sitting on top of him, giggling uncontrollably. It was a moment Liam had been waiting months for. A moment he'd rehearsed a million times in his head as he patiently waited for the right time to present itself.

“I do believe I'm in love with you Miss Baker.” he whispered, pulling her by the shoulders down to his face so that their lips were practically touching.

“Well,” she breathed, locking her wide brown eyes into his intensely green ones, “it appears you've just become the happiest boy in the world.”

“Oh, really?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her. “And how do you figure?”

 “It just so happens, Mr. Hewitt that I am head over heels in love with you.”

That was the day Liam and Alexa became the proud owners of their very own London flat and, more importantly, it was the first time they officially declared their love. They had only just finished their last year at College. As expected, Alexa had aced her G.C.S.E.S. She was offered a fast-paced, high-paying job with the House of Lords, which she took without hesitation. Liam had done well enough on his exams. He would be starting his training period as a footballer within the next few weeks and couldn't have been happier. He wished Darren could see him now, but he vowed to honour the memory of his friend and coach by fulfilling the job to the very best of his ability.

The beginning of the end came about a week later, in the form of a letter. It was delivered on an exceptionally hot morning in the early summer by an unrecognizable postman.  It was simply addressed “Alexa” in thick, black letters. If Liam had known the pain this letter would eventually cause him; the impact it would have on his relationship with Alexa and their future together, he would have torn it into a hundred pieces and thrown it into the fire. Unfortunately, the gift of foresight didn't run in his genes and instead, when his girlfriend joined him in the kitchen for breakfast that morning, he'd handed her the letter along with a fresh brewed cup of coffee with cream and sugar - just how she liked it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * *

* * WEDDING DAY * *

“Hello? Liam?”

Liam shook his head to clear his thoughts, pulling his head away from the window.

“I'm sorry, Jake. What were you saying?”

Jake eyed him for a moment then pulled something out of his pocket. He held a folded piece of paper out to his friend. Liam cocked an eyebrow.

“What's this?”

“My speech.” Jake answered shrugging.

“Why are you giving it to me? You're my best man, Jake. You're supposed to keep this to yourself and blow me away with your wit at the reception. Not hand it to me to proof read hours before my wedding.” Liam laughed pushing the paper back towards Jake. Jake didn't laugh. Actually, Liam noticed, his expression was somewhat pained.

“I'm going to go make sure Dad and Mum have everything under control.” Jake said.

Liam nodded and gave his best friend a shake of the shoulder.

“And Liam,” Jake added as he headed for the door. “Read the speech.” He tossed the folded paper onto the bed before giving Liam an encouraging wink and slipping out the door.

Liam looked at the paper for a moment before shaking his head and returning his gaze to the busy garden below.

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  'Because Of You- Chapter 1' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: Oct. 7, 2009
Date published: Oct. 7, 2009
Comments: 0
Tags: alexa, day, liam, romantic, wedding
Word Count: 5068
Times Read: 231
Story Length: 10
Children Rank: 3.4/5.0 (2 votes)
Descendant Rank: 0.0/5.0 (10 votes)