Dave (Bonus Book 4)

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Chapter 44: Again Awakened

Maria’s p.o.v.

I stared at myself in the mirror pausing momentarily from packing. I still felt bare without my bracelet and it just didn’t feel right to wear the necklace anymore. I couldn’t believe I’d actually given it back. I still couldn’t believe all that had happened. It’s been four long months since I ran away from the issues again and I have no clue about anything. Well, not about the stuff that plagued my mind late at night. Phoenix had moved out and although I was hurt by it, I still understood. He’d chosen Natalie. As he should have. I represented the kind of drama he wanted to stay away from; I didn’t blame him for his choice.

Luckily, I still talked to Persephone here and there. She was the only one whom I felt truly understood me and my reasoning for things. Although she seemed keened on informing me about all that I was missing out on. Through her I’d learn the startling revelation that Dave, Natalie and I were far more connected that we’d initially realized.

It was because of this fact that prompted me to finally contact Jace asking questions.

To make a long story short, everything Persephone had said was true. It all came crashing down just how cut off from reality I’d actually sunken into. Apparently the cousin, Justin, that Chase had gone to visit was the same Justin from their past. It was during that visit that had Chase wanting to confess what he’d done to me.

Jace said that before it all came about Chase had called begging to talk. He explained how he battled between the two, but ultimately decided to hear him out. Justin was the angerist cousin he had. He had terrible temper issues and anything he didn’t like would set him off, but outside of that he was a good guy. He explained that when it all first happened he blamed Natalie and Dave for his demise, but after a few months behind bars he began blaming himself. He began to see the truth.

Everyday he was in fear that he would be jumped and other things that seemed to be commonly happening behind those bars. I’d cringed when I realized what he meant. He told Chase that if he was the cause of Natalie feeling just an ounce of that everyday, then he was where he belonged. That he was getting exactly what he deserved and more. Jace believed that Chase had gone for answers on what he should do. That seeing the unfiltered fear on my face and hearing it in my screams told him he’d gone too far that night. It didn’t matter the circumstances of the situation, he’d known what he’d done was wrong and it haunted him; but something about my reaction really set off the guilt and made him want to confess.

He explained to Jace that he was jealous. He felt like I’d taken his best-friend from him and he was pissed because he’d noticed me first. It was then that I learned Chase was actually closer to my age seeing as he’d been skipped a few grades, although he didn’t look it. He explained that he took full blame and had known what he’d done was wrong. He was drunk and his emotions had gotten the best of him.

He admitted that he’d gone too far and he regretted ever taking advantage of me like that. He hated that he’d ever put that kind of fear into me. He hoped that I hadn’t remembered, as if somehow that made his guilt easier to deal with.

Once again he was planning to put me at the center of attention. It wasn’t until after that conversation with Jace that he’d turned himself in. Due to me having had already pressed charges and saying that I wanted anyone else who could possibly come forward to be charged, he was arrested immediately. I was told he’d been given five years for his involvement with John and Clarissa and a extra three for his confession of sexual assualt with intent to rape.

I’ll admit, hearing that he’d been charged allowed me to breathe easier, but I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty. Jace had officially lost everyone. I at least still had my dad. A couple of weeks later he called to tell me that it was time he moved on completely. That he would never be returning to our hometown and not to feel bad if he never contacted me again. I understood. Our chapter had officially come to a close when Chase had taken the matters into his own hands. Still, a part of me felt bad. He had a crush that slowly became an obsession and eventually spiraled out of control. I knew what that felt like, although I hadn’t gone to the extremes he had. He deserved his time behind bars.

After everything with Dave, Jace had come over that night and we had a long talk. He confessed to still feeling something for me and then he kissed me again. Having been sober I pushed him away. His kiss burned through me filling me with shame and regret for what I’d done. He wasn’t the one I wanted to be kissing. He wasn’t the one that I wanted, but he was the easier choice.

He wanted to forget and make things work as much as I did. He wanted to go on pretending as if our moments hadn’t ever happened. He was okay with continuing to run and it was because of that that I realized I didn’t want to run anymore. So I told him the truth. I only wanted to be friends. He connected me to everything I hated about myself, but that was something I could work though. However, I couldn’t change that I didn’t trust him anymore.

Yes, I felt safe with him initially, but I’d been in a haze of fear and weed. The safety I felt with him was nothing more than just convenience for the moment. It was an awakening for me. I’d realized I had so much more work to do on myself than I realized. So I left. I came back to school. To my apartment and asked for a raise in allowance from my father to sustain myself. For the first time in my life I hadn’t told my father what was going on.

Even now I was still mad at him. He hadn’t been on a single business trip since I left. He was back with my mother, putting her through rehab and hoping that we’d talk. Initially I believed I would be ready to talk to her if she would do exactly what she was doing, but I still wasn’t ready. I was pissed and asked him why he just hadn’t told me this sooner. He told me that he wanted me to make the decision on my own. I told him I would call him back and let him know and never did.

That was enough incentive to get back into therapy. Once I was in, I’d really wished I would have never stopped. I was going three times a week thankful that my father’s insurance we were under covered each session. Three weeks in and I finally broke. Bone shattering, heartbreaking sobs wracked my body as I finally allowed myself to cry.

To truly cry. To unashamedly feel every ounce of shame, pain and regret I’d blocked out for all these years. I was made to discuss why I’d let Dave walk away when I was trying to call out for him. He made me think about why I’d given the bracelet back and completely abandoned the necklace. I thought I had no answer, but I was wrong. I was disgusted with myself. I tried so hard to keep that part of what happened to me away from him. Tried so hard to keep my initial pettiness from him. When it all came out I was disgusted and felt I hadn’t deserved to be his anything. He finally knew the real me. I no longer could hide it. He now knew that I was petty and tainted.

He’d seen the worse side of me, but nothing else compared to him knowing the full truth. It took a few sessions for me to realize that I’d assumed he saw me differently. When in reality it was I who saw things differently.

My therapist was very vocal about how I needed to go back. How I had to reconcile with Dave, even if that meant to officially break up seeing as the words hadn’t ever been spoken. I didn’t agree. He walked away after I’d given him the bracelet and although I was hurt by it, I both understood and accepted it. Not only had I cheated, I’d used him and been made a hypocrite all at once. He’d made it clear that he would leave only if I told him and meant it. Giving him that bracelet and coming clean had been clear enough for him.

Compared to what I’d done, accepting nearly seven thousand dollars no longer felt like such a huge deal. Going back to apologize and talking things out should’ve been easy, but the truth was, we were just no longer those people. I wouldn’t even be surprised if there was more shit brimming under the surface of it all.

Speaking of Dave, I was positive that he still had a relationship with my father. I knew in my heart that they still talked and I wanted it to stay like that. Knowing he had someone who understood who he truly was despite knowing it all, and was still there for him made it easier for me to stay away.

However, I had no longer had the choice anymore. I now had to go back. It was the end of the school year and my father needed me. I was even transferring to a school back home. I was going to have to deal now and although I didn’t want to, I had no choice.

… … … … … … … … …

I groaned as I stretched trying to unlock the stiffness in my back. My shirt was sticking to me from sweating in the heat as I helped load the last of the boxes into the moving van. I wasn’t surprised that they’d been hired. Ever since my father had won the lottery, he’s been a little more willing to splurge. Without me around again to interrupt him, he seemed to be having the best of luck. He’d gotten his wife back and he was rich now. Clearly, worrying over me had been the problem. It held him back too much.

My heart was pounding as I loaded my cooler and box of snacks in the front seat. I had planned to stop and get a pizza before finally beginning to make that drive home. Usually I wouldn’t eat and drive, but I seriously doubted that I would still have an appetite once I was back in the midst of it all. Finally everything was packed up and loaded and ready to go. I signed the movers clipboard before getting into the driver’s seat of my own car just as my phone began to ring. I froze as I realized I recognized the number. It hadn’t been used in so long that I was almost shocked it remained the same. Hesitantly, I accepted the call and put the phone to my ear.

“Hello?” came the voice causing me to gasp. I hadn’t heard that voice in so long. It brought me conflicting feelings. On one hand I was mad and wanted to hang up, on the other hand my heart swelled hearing her voice. It was tied to the one I remembered so well. To the one that brought me so much comfort and joy. To the one that made me feel safe at one point in my life. “Maria, are you there?” asked the voice bringing me back to reality.

“Hey mom.” I forced out, still too unsure what to feel.

“I didn’t expect you to answer.” she breathed. I stayed quiet because she was right. A part of me hadn’t wanted to answer. “It feels so good to hear your voice again.”

“I haven’t forgotten anything, mother. I haven’t forgiven you either.” I blurted not feeling up to the same kind of pleasantries she’d been trying to force on me later. Both her and my father. It was like they didn’t understand that I simply wasn’t ready. The fact that her mind had even gone to that still bewildered me. I didn’t understand it, or her thought process to do it, at all.

“I know sweetheart and I understand. Honestly, I do. I never should have treated you like that. As a parent, as your mother, I should have always believed you first. I should’ve been your mother no matter what I’d been told or my own personal feelings. I know we-”

“Mom, I really need to start driving before it gets too late and I really don’t want to have that talk right now.” I sighed, cutting her off rather rudely. I hadn’t meant to be, but I really wasn’t ready for this conversation. I didn’t understand how many times I had to reiterate that. “What’s the reasoning for this call?” my tone had taken on a formal one completely detaching myself from the memories of before she began drinking. Of when she was still my mom.

“Your father just wanted me to check in with you as you drove while he napped sweetie. He said to tell you that the basement is now officially your own two bedroom apartment and he even made it sound proof for you. He said that you can make it your own as soon as you get here and something about you can even yell and scream if you wanted to.” I laughed remembering the conversation we’d had. The four month renovation had started as a bribe to get me to come back. He even went so far to throw in that he was soundproofing it for Dave and not me. When I asked what he meant. He said he never again wanted to hear Dave cry. I knew what he was trying to do, but it only made me sad.

“Tell him thanks. I’m leaving now. I’ll be there soon.” I hung up before she could say anything else. It wasn’t my intention to be a bitch towards her, but as much as I wanted our relationship back, I was still having trouble believing she was different now. I no longer trusted her, but only time would tell.

… … … … … … … …

Going home was hard for two reasons.

My father had been in a car accident. A bad one and he was beyond lucky to be alive, but there was a chance he’d never walk again. His recovery time meant he would lose his job. From the way he told me, when he’d awakened he first feared how he would continue to take care of his family. He spent three days and two nights stressing over it, contemplating it, weighing the options. Then as if through his own personal guardian angel, numbers came to him in a dream. He told them to mom expressing the weirdness he felt behind it and she played them which resulted in him winning.

They wasted no time cashing it in and separating the amount equally between our three accounts. Imagine eating cold pizza and ice-cream while crying before getting an alert from your bank that you were apparently rich now. Without understanding you’d break down crying. Hell, even with understanding I cried. Only my daddy had access to my account anyways. It made me feel like a shit daughter to see him still thinking about me, worrying over me, when I didn’t deserve it. I would never understand how he couldn’t see how much I didn’t deserve the amount of attention he still focused on me, but I understood his reasoning why.

Dad became his glowing person again with that weight off of his shoulder, but I still knew he was struggling. He loved his job and because of one little moment his life was turned upside down and everything he loved was gone. He tried to make light of the situation saying at least his daughter was coming back. Still I knew, this was going to be a major adjustment for him. This was one thing he wouldn’t be able to fix.

It was for that reason alone that I agreed to come back with such a little fight. He’s been vocal about getting me to talk to my mother and he knew I’d do anything for him.

The other reason was Dave.

Since I’d been gone, I’d made a point of stalking him through social media. His little sister was so beautiful and the amount of adoration on his face even through the pictures his mother sent me made my heartache. I’d kept in contact with his mom. She was always very understanding of me. Especially once she became the lawyer that handled my case. I still remembered the night she saw my name in the list of victims pressing charges. She called me out to the driveway and she just hugged me to her. No words, not a single sound. Just a hug. A warm, loving and caring hug. Then she told me to call whenever, even if it was just to listen to her breathe.

I’d grown close to her. Regarding her as the mother in law I always wished to have. She’d been a rock for me each time I ran away. Thanks to her, I knew Dave was hurting, but he’d learned to push through. She said she saw a change in him she hadn’t expected to come so soon. She called him a man. I had no idea what she meant, but I assumed he had finally managed to control his anger and stopped fighting. It was because of her that I was crying that night my dad sent the money. She’d sent me a simple picture of the rearview mirror in Dave’s truck. It had my bracelet around it. He’d kept it as if knowing I would eventually want it back. I couldn’t say he was wrong, but I didn’t know if he was right either.

However, her words had prompted me to research. I missed him so much and it would have been easier to just call, but I didn’t know if he wanted to talk to me and I couldn’t handle it if he hung up in my face. So I went to social media. He had become a big name gathering all the right attention. At some point he was being scouted for both basketball and football. I read articles comparing him to superheroes because he never seemed to get tired. No one understood where or how he was getting the energy or time to do both. His pictures were everywhere and I felt bad.

There was so much sadness in his eyes and I truly believed it was my fault. He was just going through the emotions trying to distract himself by doing the things that he loved.

What would it be like to see him again? Would he be happy that I was coming back for good this time? Would he still be upset with me over my moment with Jace? Would he hate me? Could I convince him to come over? Or would he just ignore me? Was I okay for whatever outcome? Could I handle knowing for good that it was all over and not just wondering? Could I handle whatever feeling would take over when I saw him? Could I get my best-friend back even if he no longer had an interest in being my boyfriend again? Could I handle it if he wanted nothing to do with me at all?

Dave’s p.o.v.

“Come on pretty girl, you can do it.” I cooed at my little sister as she finally began to start standing. I didn’t care if she took a step or not, but if I could teach her to balance even if only for a few seconds I’d be happy. “There you go. There you go!” I yelled excitedly as she giggled. I laughed as she began to wobble and caught her before she could fall. “That was perfect gorgeous. Look at you growing up so fast on me.” I cooed in complete disbelief. If you would have told me a year ago that the most important girl in my life didn’t exist yet, I would’ve laughed in your face.

After Maria walked away from me and Natalie said her good-byes I felt lost. I honestly blamed myself for so much. I had to become the change I kept talking about. Actions spoke louder than words. I wish I could say it had been an easy transition, but that would be a lie.

That night I’d poured myself the first drink in a long time. I was so tempted to drink it. Seconds away from having that cool liquid burn as it slid down my throat. I was tired of crying and I was tired of feeling the pain. I was tired of always trying to be better when they only saw me as that violent asshole with anger issues. The minute the glass touched my lips she began to cry. I’d learned her cries without even trying. She just wanted to be held and I knew my mom was tired and my dad didn’t get home until late.

I had to make a decision quickly. I chose my little sister over that drink that night. I went and held her in my arms and my heart melted when she nuzzled into me. I was complete goo as her little hand held tightly to my shirt silently asking me not to put her down. I personally believe that she knew I needed her more than she ever would need me, but she saved my life. I cried to her as I talked to her slowly rocking her back to sleep. I even fell asleep in the recliner with her while the tv played cartoons silently in the background.

She became my rock and I’d do anything for her, be anything for her. That night made me change who I was for the better. I had to clean up my act for the sake of her. I wanted to show her the kind of guys she should want to be with later on in life. The only way I could do that was to be that guy myself.

“It’s time for her nap honey.” came my mom’s voice as she came in from the backyard.

“No,” I pouted. “We were just starting to have fun.” I sighed handing my sister over to my mom as she yawned. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt lonelier than ever without her in my arms.

“You’re avoiding Dave.” she said in a sing-song voice as I plopped down on the couch.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about Mom.” I shrugged, aimlessly flipping through the channels.

“Well, since you have no clue, you won’t care that she’s about ten minutes away and will be pulling up in her driveway any minute. Rumor is she’s back for good to help out her father. Oh please excuse me. I don’t know why I am telling you this when you obviously don’t care.” I gritted my teeth stubbornly as my mother mocked me before she walked away. Between my mother and her father, I wouldn’t be surprised if they locked us in a room demanding we make up and get back together.

Making sure it was safe first, I grabbed the extra car seat I’d brought and decided to install it in my truck. It was one of those complicated ones and could possibly take a while, but that was merely a coincidence.

Maria’s p.o.v.

I yawned as I finally turned onto my street. I’d been driving for hours and I just wanted to rest, but I knew that wasn’t going to be possible. I’d gotten an alert that the movers were only about fifteen minutes behind me. That was nowhere near enough time to just relax, and besides it held all my best comfortable covers for the perfect nap.

I could see his truck as I got closer to my house. I gasped, my breath caught in my throat just from knowing that he indeed was home. I parked my car and got out at the same time he’d walked out of his home. He hadn’t noticed me yet, but damn I was at a loss for words.

How was it possible for him to get more handsome every time I saw him? It wasn’t fair to look that good, to have hair that amazing, to be that tall or that muscular. He was a god and he knew it as perfect plump lips easily stretched over pearly white teeth. He had a new kind of glow to him that I couldn’t quite place, but I knew it had something to do with his sister. I could see what his mother meant, he just seemed more man like.

My mouth had gone dry as my demon awakened from her sleep and spotted him. She screamed his name yelling vulgarities, but mostly she just wanted to hug him. I wanted to hug him too. As if on cue he looked up and his eyes met with mine as he paused mid-step.

To an outsider looking in, they would never understand this moment. They would be confused as to why I started crying. They wouldn’t understand why something so simple made me break and run to him. They wouldn’t understand why he met me halfway enveloping me in the tightest hug I’ve ever experienced. They wouldn’t get why this meant so much to us, but we understood.

It was the smallest of things that showed us we were on the right track. For the first time in a little over four months we were finally dressed alike again. Both in black skinny jeans with yellow and black striped shirts. Being in his arms felt good again. It felt like I had my best-friend back. Then reality broke through with a simple sentence.

“We really should talk once you’re settled in.” he whispered.

“Come over anytime. Dad soundproof my apartment. I hear it was because of you.” I laughed as I pointed towards the basement. He laughed before nodding his head and going to do whatever it was he was about to before I showed up. My body still tingled from the hug as I headed up the side path to the door that would now lead me to where I was going to be living now. I smiled to myself seeing the ladder still sitting there.

It seemed like so long ago when he was sneaking his way through my window just to sit with me in silence. Now he seemed so far away. Taking a final glance back, I’d noticed he was already staring at me. He blushed realizing he’d been caught and looked away. My smile widened. Maybe he wasn’t as far as I’d initially thought. Maybe feelings could go into hibernation just waiting to again be awakened.

I sighed as I sat down finally feeling like I could breathe. For the past week all my furniture and other household items I’d ordered while still at school, had been coming non-stop. Although the men had been more than understanding, they were only willing to place the furniture in their dedicated rooms. Thankfully, before my dad’s accident he had managed to get my old bedroom set down here and had set it up in what will be the new guestroom. I’d thrown out the old mattresses and the delivery guys helped me set the new ones on top of the frame.

The mattresses and other bedroom set had been the first to come the day after I’d arrived. My old one was a lavender and blue set with multiple comforters and sheet sets to match. The queen size bed was all soft and felt like a hug when you laid in it. I was going to miss it, but it held too many memories. Even with the initial mattresses gone.

My new set was a king size silver and black set. It both blended in and stood out against the midnight blue walls my father had painted. As you can tell, there was no set color scheme, I’d gone according to what I liked and that was it.

The only thing that had come easy to arrange was my kitchen set. I’d sprang for the pre-assembled package, but the only issue was putting it in the places where I wanted it to go and getting my bed up. Unfortunately the bed was not part of the pre-assembled package.

Several times my father suggested just going next door and asking Dave for help, but I’d quickly shut that idea down. We had one very small moment when I first arrived, but that was a little over a week ago. We hadn’t spoken since and had been practically avoiding each other. My mother and I had a conversation then. She’d broken down crying saying it was all her fault that things had been so terrible between the two of us.

I assured her it wasn’t. While what she’d done hadn’t helped, it was because of us that we were a trainwreck. I hugged her for the first time in years and I had to admit it felt good. It was even better when my father teared up from how happy he was witnessing it.

Realizing that I wasn’t going to budge on asking Dave, he brought up another name. He asked if I could call Phoenix or Jace. At that point I knew I didn’t have a choice. I had to sit and tell my parents everything and I knew they weren’t going to like it. We talked for hours and by the end of it I was completely drained and my mom wouldn’t stop crying. They had me stuck in the middle of a parent sandwich and I loved every second of it.

I broke down crying into both of their shoulders and finally understood the kind of relief my therapist had been talking about. I felt like I was young again sitting between my parents as they assured me Caterpillar Sr was now in a better place and happy. That level of comfort and understanding had been unmatched… until now.

Sighing I shook my head away from the complicated week or so I’d been having and decided it was time to go grocery shopping, yet another thing I wouldn’t have helped with. I knew it was killing my father not to be able to help me like he wanted, but I tried to put on a brave face.

… … … … … … … … …

I groaned as I parked my car. I did not have the energy to carry all of this shit into my makeshift apartment and unload it. Not to mention I still had to struggle to move around the furniture. At this point I was ready to suck up my pride and just go begging for help.

A part of me wanted to cry. I was both mentally and emotionally tired and I just wanted to be back at school where I didn’t have to deal with any of this. Where my bracelet wasn’t just a couple of feet away begging me to put it back where it belonged.

I could pretend like my father was alright and his life hadn’t been permanently turned upside down.

I could continue to ignore that my mother still existed. It was easier thinking that she wanted nothing more to do with me rather than having her constantly trying to fix things that didn’t need to be fixed. I’d chosen to forgive her, but she wanted to talk about the things that I’d already dealt with. I didn’t need to relive them anymore.

It was easier being away from Dave. He wasn’t next door tempting me with the memories of how it used to be. I didn’t have to hear his laugh. Hear his voice. Hear the rev of his engine as he drove off with my bracelet every time he left out his door. I didn’t have to be heartbroken over the fact that he was literally a couple of feet away from me, but still felt miles apart. I didn’t have to be frustrated over the temptation over what he could make me feel and I don’t mean that sexually. I didn’t have to pretend like I hadn’t noticed the chain hidden beneath his shirt.

To make matters worse, Phoenix was back. He practically ran in the house when he saw me headed to my car. It hurt more than I realized it would. Maybe I’d been mistaken and we were never really friends.

I couldn’t handle it as tears began sliding down my cheeks. My heart ached as I realized I was truly alone. All the friends I’d managed to gain were gone. It reminded me so much of freshman year. Before I could stop it, a scream had broken through piercing my lips. Tears were staining my cheeks. I hated myself for pushing everyone away. I hated that this time it was truly my fault. I was the one to ruin things, maybe I always did.

Dave’s p.o.v.

My mom looked at me with confusion clear on her face. We were in the middle of watching tv as Cleo slept when the sound of a horn startled us. We lived in a mostly quiet neighborhood, it wasn’t often that we heard the angry blare of a car horn.

“What is that?” I questioned not really caring enough to stand and go over to the window to look.

“It sounds like it’s coming from next door.” she spoke her expression going from confused to worried. I sighed as she made eye contact with me. “Dave,”

“She wants nothing to do with me mom. If she did she would have contacted me and said so.” The words felt forced as I said them and I prayed that the word ‘lie’ wasn’t written all over my face because of the one I clearly just told. I put my hand in my pocket fiddling with the bracelet I’d kept with me at all times. It was my own personal secret and it kept me calm.

“Dave sweetie, trust me, I know a little something about girls and from what you told me, there’s a good chance she doesn’t feel like she deserves too. You’re an adult though and I can’t tell you how to handle your relationships, but I can still voice my opinion. You two are some of the most stubborn people I have ever come across and it’s strange. You are so much alike that neither of you realize what you’re doing. No one is getting better this way. Keep feeling like you don’t deserve each other and eventually someone else will find their way into your hearts and what could have been will not. Open your eyes idiot. You don’t have to wait for her to make the first move, you can do it your damn self. At first I believed that Natalie was the one for you, but now I see that was purely based on circumstance. Maria is more than your soulmate, she’s your other half and that means so much more.”

I sat there stunned as my mother rolled her eyes and went to go check on my sister. I hadn’t even realized that she’d been paying so much attention to us. I mean yeah we talked, but that was just my version of the things that’s been happening. I shook my head trying to ignore the urge to go check on her that had only grown worse with the constant blaring of the horn until it became too much. I was on my feet without a second thought racing towards her car.

My mother had been right to worry. It looked like she was in the middle of having a breakdown. My heart broke seeing her like that as I picked up even more speed just trying to get to her. I tried to open her car door, but they were locked.

“Minnie? Minnie open up!” I cried banging on the window. She only shook her head as she cried a little harder. “Please baby just open the door.” I admit I was both pleading and panicking. I hated hearing her in so much pain and not being able to do anything about it. I hated that she wouldn’t let me help. I hated that things had even gotten this far, but I would never turn my back on her and just leave. I meant what I said. I would always be there for her until she told me to go away.

Just as I began to contemplate breaking the window with my fist I heard the locks click and was quick to swing the door open. I barely gave her a chance to step out of the car before pulling her close to me and hugging her tight. She dissolved into a puddle of tears getting my shirt wet, but this time she had me here to console her.

I could see the groceries in the backseat and assumed there was more in the trunk and realization dawned on me. She was overwhelmed. Constantly trying to pretend that everything was fine and that you could do it all on your own was tiring and I understood that better than anyone. It didn’t help that both her father and my mother had been trying to tell me this all along, I just didn’t want to see it.

“Let’s get this stuff inside.” I whispered as I felt her grip on me tighten. “I think it’s time for you and I to finally talk. Forreal this time.” she only nodded as she sniffled and tried to wipe the tears away. I’ll be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to have her in my arms again; to have her need me in a way, but I do wish it could’ve been under better circumstances, on better terms. Sighing I pulled out the bracelet from my pocket and placed it back on her arm. She only stared at me as I did so, but she knew what it meant. Despite the labels, I would always be there.

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