She set up court for all her AP work in the kitchen due to its large table for all of her textbooks and proximity to food. In one corner of the table sits all of her completed work for AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics. The other half of the table is filled with papers, books, and notes on physics with a corner of psychology and Latin notes that she plans to complete by the end of summer.
Lydia is sitting on the counter next to the stove with her feet resting up on the kitchen table; in one hand she holds her physics text book, a highlighter in between her teeth and a purple pen behind her ear, her other hand is slowly petting Prada, who is fast asleep in her lap, and she keeps an eye on her panini for dinner that is slowly cooking on the stove. No one is home except for her, so she plays her pre-emptive road trip playlist quietly in the background over the kitchen speakers. Knocking at her front door startles Lydia slightly out of her textbook reading and Prada begins barking frantically. Lydia gently picks up Prada as she hops off the counter and places her beloved dog on the ground.
Lydia thinks it might be Allison visiting for help on her biology summer work since Lydia took the course last year or to smooth out more details about their road trip they have been planning for the past six months. The road trip is a treat to each other, an “I can’t believe we have survived this long” celebration, and a “we should do things we really want to do before we die” list. But to everyone they know, including their respective parent, they tell them it’s a college tour road trip. It isn’t a complete lie, they plan to visit some colleges on the East Coast but it isn’t the full truth either.
She walks to the door and opens it to find the last person she ever expected to be at her door: Jackson Whittemore. She freezes momentarily, her breathe catching in her throat, and her heart begins to beat faster. She looks behind him to see if there is something there, anything there to explain this, to make this a prank, to make it not real. All she sees is his familiar silver Porsche that has not been seen around town since he left for London. A familiar sly smirk comes across Jackson’s face, mistaking the increase of her heartbeat for happiness rather than fear. Lydia’s eyes focus back on Jackson and his irritating smirk. She bristles, remembering how much she used to love that cocky smirk of his. Prada seems to notice her distress, angrily yelps and bares her teeth at this now unfamiliar person at the door. Jackson looks at Prada, confusion coming across his face because Prada used to love him, and reaches towards the pint size dog, but Lydia steps in front of Prada. Prada stops yelping and sits next to Lydia, always faithful. Lydia crosses her arms across her chest as she says coolly.
“I didn’t know you were back in town Jackson.”
Jackson’s eyes flick back up to Lydia as he straightens up to face her again. The smirk is now gone from his face and his eyes look almost sad, but Lydia refuses to believe it. The more she thinks about what is happening right now, the angrier she feels. She is fuming; the anger boiling under her skin as she takes Jackson’s appearance in. He looks just as handsome as ever with beautiful cheek bones, perfectly styled hair, and adorable butt chin. He is wearing his typical prep outfit of a black short sleeved button up with khaki shorts and boat shoes. If she didn’t already know that it would hurt her more than him to punch him in the face right now, she would. God she would. A tiny part of her hates that he doesn’t look worse for wear from his time in London, especially since it reiterates the fact that he might actually look better now without her. The rest of her hates that thought entirely because he treated her terribly throughout their entire relationship and the kanima situation before just disappearing in the middle of the night for London. But their relationship was every bit of high school that she no longer feels: a time when she was naïve, insecure, and didn’t believe that there ever could be better for her. Now she knows better, having grown up exponentially since he left. It’s hard to admit but maybe it did them both good. But she is still furious that he would audacity to believe that she would go running back to his arms after everything that happened between them and that his presence has thrown her world that she has built up from scratch a little off kilter. To be honest, she never expected Jackson to come back to Beacon Hills.
Jackson looks down and coughs awkwardly, as if sensing Lydia’s anger, which he probably can after honing his werewolf skills abroad. He seems to be taking time to remind himself of something in his head. Perhaps it is a reason as to why he is here, why he came to Lydia, what he wants say, or maybe he just wants to get back together. He looks up at her, meets her heated glare, and speaks softly.
“I just got in a couple of hours ago. I… uh… I just needed to see you. I mean I missed you while I was gone. And I wanted to talk to you the entire time but I couldn’t… I just couldn’t. I need to tell you something… I mean I want to tell you something that I think is really important. I need... I mean want to apologize.”
Jackson looks at her pleading her to understand, but Lydia just crosses her arms tighter against her body. Her hands clenching into fists as she grinds her teeth in annoyance at his words. The idea of punching him crosses her mind again and she wonders if her broken hand will be worth it. She grits out angrily:
“I don’t care Jackson. Whatever you need to say, you can go tell Derek. I don’t want you here; you are two years too late on your god damn apology.”
“Lydia! Please listen to me for five minutes. Please. Then I will leave you alone for as long as you want. I promise. Please just hear me out. Please?”
Lydia slowly stops grinding her teeth each time Jackson pleads with her. She knows he is not one for begging for anything and any time it happens, it means he is being as genuine as he can possibly be. A tiny bit of Lydia’s anger recedes enough for her to be curious as to whatever the hell he has to say to her. She breathes out harshly.
“I will give you precisely five before I slam this door in your face and walk away from you forever. Clock starts now.”
Jackson relaxes slightly in relief as he nods his head at her words. He takes in a big breathe as if he has much to say and five minutes might not be enough time for him to say it all therefore he can’t waste time taking breathes.
“First of all, I am terribly sorry for way I treated you while we were and weren’t dating. I was emotionally and physically abusive to you, and no one deserves that. You were pretty much the greatest thing in my life; you always pushed me to be the best that I could be and sometimes that angered me so much because you knew more about what I needed than I did. You managed to get under my skin in a way that both thrilled and horrified me so I lashed out my insecurities at you whenever I felt vulnerable or unhappy or whatever. It was unwarranted and unjustifiable. While I was in London, I fully realized just how toxic our relationship was. We were awful to each other and I am so sorry for that.
I’m also sorry for keeping you in the dark about what was going, for not listening to you when you needed me, and for being so self-absorbed in my issues and desires that I did not see you struggling to simply stay afloat. But once again, I was in a bad place and just couldn’t see how selfish and destructive I was.
You and Danny were my best friends and I regretted leaving the way I did for London every single day I was away. I am sorry for not attempting to contact either of you as well. It was something I just needed to do for myself. I needed to discover myself, what I wanted, and who I hoped to become. I couldn’t do that with ties still in Beacon Hills. I know that is the shittiest reason or even excuse but I am entirely serious. I truly believed that you would be better without me, without any trace of me, and that I would benefit more with a clean cut of my ties in Beacon Hills.
Of course you are probably thinking what the hell is in London’s water to make me suddenly realize all of this, well there isn’t anything. I finally took your advice. I started seeing a psychologist, a supernatural psychologist, in London. You were the only person that ever really heard or knew about any of my feelings, fears, and insecurities and once I was completely and utterly alone in a foreign country I realized how much help I needed. You were right the entire time: getting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a sign that I know my limitations as a person and that I could use help from time to time. It was actually his idea that I talk to you when I told him I was going home. I haven’t decided if I will stay for senior year but I will be here for the rest of the summer.
That doesn’t mean I want or expect us to get back together. That is not my intention at all; I think we might be too toxic for each other. Plus you look like you’ve been doing amazing without me. Hell, I don’t even expect you to forgive me! I just needed to tell you this for my sanity. I needed to tell you the truth for once and genuinely apologize to you. I’m sorry for everything Lydia. You deserve nothing but the best, and I know and see now that I am not the best for you. I truly hope you get it.”
Jackson finishes with a slight nod to himself, a quiet relieved smiles comes across his lips. He puts his hands into the pockets on his shorts. Lydia feels frozen from the inside out, as if the words she just heard have rendered her motionless as well as speechless. Her brain feels like it has been mixed up and reversed. Everything she swore she was sure of before, she is not so confident about right now. She hates this feeling and she hates that Jackson has made her feel like this. Suddenly, she comes back to herself and the moment. She turns off her emotions, not currently possessing the strength to analyze them right now with Jackson in front of her. Not when she feels so extremely vulnerable in a way that only old lovers can make one feel. A smirk comes to her lips and she loosens one of her arms from across her chest to hold the door. She responds to him in matter of fact manner.
“Well you are right about one thing: I have been and I am better off without you. Good bye Jackson.”
Right as the counting in her mind reaches three hundred Lydia slams the door in Jackson’s face. She lets out a huge breathe that she didn’t know she had been holding in as she leans her head against the door, her mind reeling after that unexpected visit. Prada softly licks Lydia’s calf, jerking Lydia back from her thoughts. She sniffs the air and smells something burning. Shit. She forgot her dinner on the stove. She hears Jackson mutter one last thing from behind the door before she turns away to the kitchen and her ruined dinner.
“Thanks for giving me the five minutes I never gave you Lydia. Take care.”
Lydia turns cold all over once again and freezes in her spot in her hallway because she can hear the genuineness in his voice. Something that is usually so rare in Jackson but she witnessed twice tonight. The last time he had been that gentle with her, so genuine, was that night with the key to his house. That night she shoved herself head first, blindly, into the world of the supernatural, all for-No. She is not going there. She is not thinking about that right now. She is a different person now. She stays rooted to that post in the middle of her front hallway, waiting for the familiar purr of the Porsche coming alive before she allows the feeling of relief to wash over her. A thought crosses her mind and Lydia decides in a nanosecond to run with it. Now is time.