Wrecked: Chapter 51


Three Months Later

Elena might have been the one to fight for me, but I can’t deny the creeping anxiety that everything is only temporary. Whenever I fall into a negative thinking cycle, Elena pulls me out. And to be real, I lock myself into my mental prison all too much after the World Championship.

Moving on from F1 was easier than I thought. It’s the doctor’s visits and adjusting to my new life that isn’t. I try my best to make positive strides forward. Tom is my permanent therapist now, and I’ve been spending time making amends with Elena.

All kinds of amends. The good, the sexual, and the downright swoony kind.

Which leads me to my next dilemma. Logistically speaking, Elena and I are currently in a long-distance relationship.

Ha. fucking. ha.

Me, the one with an allergy to anything more permanent than last week’s leftovers, is committed to something other than my career and my family. But despite my patience and loyalty to Elena, I can’t keep living with her far away. A flight from London to Monaco is too long for my liking. Even Caleb gives me shit about Elena living far away from me.

Neither one of us has mentioned where we want to go from here. After I finished my press events and wind-down from my last season, I flew to Monaco, wanting to surprise Elena.

I made plans. Big plans that make me drunk on excitement rather than nervousness. Unlike my last big life change, I thought everything out. Every single detail and all the possible scenarios. I know it’s crazy. I know the whole damn thing will make my friends question whether I’ve completely lost it. But if this year has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t spend my life waiting anymore.

I don’t want to spend another year of my life biding my time because of societal norms. Well, I don’t want to waste another month, let alone another day without Elena next to me. And most of all, I want to live every day to the fullest now that I know my life will change drastically as I get older. Hence my plan.

The first step was prepping.

The second step involved breaking and entering.

And the final step is about to occur, based on the rattling of Elena’s doorknob to her flat.

I take a deep breath, tucking my fidgeting fingers into the pocket of my ripped jeans. Elena opens the door and drops her keys on the side table. She shuts and locks her front door before hanging up her purse, all without giving me a second glance.

Her awareness is shit. Combine that with her crappy flat and you have the latest inspiration for a Criminal Minds episode. Bleak but honest.

“Well, love, I’ll tell you one thing, you’ve proven exactly why you shouldn’t live alone anymore.”

Elena screams, jumping a foot back before hitting the door. “What the fuck, Jax!”

I lean against the wall, smiling at her. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

She pushes her hand against her chest. “And you couldn’t have texted me that? How did you even get my key?”

“Your landlord was easily bought.”

“¡No mames!” She hits the light next to her, basking us in a glow.

After a year of being around her, I’ve picked up on her slang words. “Okay, fine, I’m joking. I borrowed your spare key last week.”

“By borrowed you mean ‘took it off my keyring’?”

“Precisely. You’ve always had a way with words.”

She walks up to me, abandoning her spot by the door. Her eyes slide from me to the newly built shelf hidden behind a bedsheet. “What’s this?”

Spoiler alert for all the sad saps out there: building Ikea furniture is like assembling a Millennium Falcon Lego set without any instructions. Fucking terrible.

“A gift.”

“Trying to buy my love already after a few months together?”

I grin at her before placing a soft kiss against her lips. “Why buy something I already have?”

Elena shakes her head, hiding her smile. “So, what is it?”

I tug on the sheet, revealing my creation.

Elena doesn’t move, let alone speak, as her eyes land on the rows of snow globes.

“You kept all the notes?” She traces the glass of one snow globe as if she can touch her lavender piece of paper secured inside of it.

“I couldn’t let you throw them away. I haven’t cashed in on all of them yet.”

“What do you mean?”

“Check them out yourself and you tell me.”

Elena reads off each of her vouchers to me. I laugh at the mention of Xanax, shaking my head at how much of a dependent, irritable arsehole I was. She pushed me to want to save myself with a few notes scribbled and hidden inside of my pill bottle.

I grab one of the snow globes and shake it, before twisting the knob at the bottom. The soft melody of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” plays as I pass her the snow globe.

“No way! Ed Sheeran?”

We remain quiet as the melody plays. Tears run down her face as she reads my note. I try to brush them away, but I miss a few.

Her eyes slide from the snow globe to my face. “I didn’t write that note.”

A soft laugh escapes me. “Obviously not.” My messy Will you marry me? sticks out, unlike her elegant cursive.

“This is crazy.”

“But so real.” I place the snow globe on the shelf and tuck her into my body. Her warmth seeps into me, hitting me with a new wave of happiness.

“It’s way too soon.”

“Nothing in my life is ‘too soon’ anymore.”

“I have a life here.”

I chuckle to myself, loving the rational part of her that needs to question all the possible issues before agreeing. “If you want to stay here, I’ll live here, too. I can travel to and from London more often.”

“You’d do that for me?” She looks up at me with tear-stained cheeks.

“Of course.”

“But what about your mom?”

“I’ll visit her often.”

Elena shakes her head.

My chest becomes tight at her potential rejection. “There’s no point for me to wait for something I know will happen either way. I don’t want to spend another day without you—not anymore with my diagnosis. Whether we start a life in Monaco or London, I only need you. And your grandma because she’s part of the package.”

More tears fall from Elena’s eyes. “Yes.”

I freeze. “Yes, you’ll marry me?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes!” She cups my face with her hands and pulls me down for a kiss. A kiss meant to consume me from the inside out, solidifying my need to keep her forever.

She pulls away. “Yes. Let’s get married!”

“You don’t even want to see the ring first before you agree?”

She drops her head back and laughs. “No. You could offer me a rock from outside and I’d still say yes.”

“I can assure you, it’s a gigantic…rock.”

Her giggle turns into a snort. “Please stop. You’re killing the moment.”

I tug the small box out of my jeans, get down on one knee, and pop open the lid. My hand grips hers in a stronghold. “Elena Gonzalez, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, no matter the place, the time, the issues. You’re the hero in our story, willing to stand by my side, no matter how dark the future looks. All I want to do is make you mine, forever and always. No take backs.”

The same three words are inscribed on the inside of the ring because I’m a sappier motherfucker than my two friends. What can I say? She has a way of bringing that out in me.

She smiles at me with unconditional affection. “No take backs, not even a single moment. Not in your darkest time or your hardest day. I’ll love you through it all.”

I slide the ring on her finger. My chest expands at the sight of the solitaire diamond branding her as mine. I stand and tug her hand up to my lips, kissing her ring finger.

I pull my fiancée in for a real kiss, possessively marking her in all the ways I can. To thank her for her love, forgiveness, and acceptance. To kiss away her doubts and show her I want it all.

Hope is for men with their futures ahead of them.

Hope is for those who wish under stars, or in a church, or in a desperate moment of need.

And most of all, hope is for people like me.


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