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God. It wasn’t his fault.
“But I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing that. It wasn’t fun. I was young and it wasn’t how I wanted things to turn out. I told her dad she needed help and he swore he’d get it for her, but he asked me to step back. The longer I hung around, the more she’d hold on. I agreed and stepped back. One night, about a month after, she called me.”
This is about to get bad.
“She said she was going to kill herself. Now, she’d said this at least a thousand times before, so you can understand I didn’t believe her. It wasn’t as though it was the first time. I told her she had to stop, that we were over and she needed to get help. Then I hung up and called her dad. He was out of town but he said he’d take care of it. That night, I felt uneasy . . . she’d told me she would kill herself so many times before, but this time felt different.”
My heart twists and we both drink some more alcohol.
“I decided to go and check on her. When I got to her house, it was dark. Her dad wasn’t home, so I broke in. I went into her room, but she wasn’t in her bed. I saw the bathroom light was on, so I barged in.”
He stops talking and looks away. My heart is in shreds.
“There was so much blood. I didn’t even know there was so much blood in the human body.” He gasps and I reach over, clutching his hand. “I knew it was her, even though I couldn’t see her face. I couldn’t see it because she . . . she had blown her own head off.”
Vomit rises in my throat and I struggle to push it back down. Pain shoots through me, because I know, god do I know how graphic something like that can be, and how it sticks in your mind and never, ever leaves.
“I see her every time I close my eyes. I see her face every time I even try to have fun. I let her down. I didn’t fight for her. Things got hard and I ran.”
“You were eighteen,” I say softly. “Honey, you can’t blame yourself for that.”
He turns to me and his eyes are glassy. “I loved her, Aria. I fucking loved her. I thought it was too hard, but when I saw her like that . . . it destroyed me. I let her down. I didn’t protect her when she needed me.”
I swallow back my tears. Nothing I can say will take away his guilt. He’s hurting; he’s broken and he has every right to be.
“I’m not telling you because I want your sympathy,” he says, his voice raspy. “I’m telling you because I get it. I get the nightmares; I get the need to avoid pity. My dad doesn’t know what happened. He still to this day thinks I left her and that she’s still alive somewhere. My brothers and mother think she was in an accident and passed away. I pushed them all away because I don’t want pity. So I get it.”
Tears pool in my eyes, and I can’t hold them back. He squeezes my hand and I squeeze back. “My sister was my best friend, you know? I loved her so much. We were so close. I don’t remember much about that night, but I remember waking and turning to look at her. I knew, even at that age, that her head shouldn’t have been on that angle. Her eyes were wide and she was just staring at me . . . lifelessly. I can never not see her face. Every time I close my eyes they’re there.”
Brody says nothing, but he understands. I know he does.
“Hey Brody?”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
He turns to me. “Then whose was it?”
“People get sick, and they don’t think the way we do. She was suffering and obviously couldn’t handle it anymore. That’s not your fault.”
“If I didn’t break up with her, it wouldn’t have happened.”
I squeeze his hand again. “You and I both know that’s not true. Eventually, something would have happened. If things were that bad before you broke it off with her, then she was already in her own personal hell.”
He says nothing more. He just lets my hand go and pulls out another flask. We have already finished the first.
“Let’s walk, and drink. It helps.”
I guess that means we’re done talking.
I’m okay with that, because what just happened made me feel connected to someone in a way I haven’t felt since my sister and dad lived. It’s not a romantic connection—it’s an understanding, a bond over a similar pain.
Maybe having these guys in my life won’t be such a bad thing, after all.
He’s thrusting inside me, deep yet soft. His fingers are curling into my hips and I’m whimpering, slapping my hands on the sheets beside me. He feels so amazing. So fucking amazing. His cock is sliding in and out of my depth, making my body ache with the need for more. I arch up, pressing my breasts to his chest. His lips find mine and he kisses me roughly, groaning against my mouth.
“Fuck,” he mutters. “So fuckin’ tight.”
God. Yes.
“I’m,” I gasp, “coming.”
“Fuck yeah.”
He fucks me harder and I explode around him, screaming his name until my voice is hoarse and my body is trembling as I come down from the best orgasm yet. This one was different; I don’t know how but it was. He made me feel like the only woman he’s ever laid his amazing touch upon. He makes me feel real. What happened when we were running earlier might have just been him pulling back.
He’s inside me, and he’s making me feel like he cares.