I grab my old gym bag by the door, quickly throwing handfuls of clothes into it, not even paying attention to what I’m doing, throwing the keys to the bar into the side pocket in the process. I hope there’s something in there I can get away with wearing for my shift tonight.
“Nic, get back here and talk to me!” Patrick yells as I leave the bedroom, moving into the kitchen.
It’s too much.
The lies, the deceit, the planting of misinformation in my head. I can’t believe the way he tries to contort, twist, and bend the truth to his liking. He’s a narcissist, a manipulative, repulsive liar who feeds on controlling the weak. He’s doing everything Hawke said he would. His last sick attempt to exercise dominance over me. I just can’t take it anymore. I’m beyond over his tricks. Patrick is dead to me.
“Cole, please, everything between us has been real. You know me,” Hawke begs, his voice breaking mid sentence. “You know the real me.”
The idea that Hawke would lie to me about what he’s been through is preposterous. A revenge plot? Sure, the idea may have been possible initially, especially after realizing he’d captured my attention the way he so innately did, but to take it this far? To have declarations of love, to expose his pain to me, to show me his scars and where he’s covered them with my words? Impossible. He’s the one who’s suffered here, he’s the one who’s had to endure the weight of these lies.
Even as he stands here, watching me, anxiously raking his hands through his hair, he’s terrified. Terrified to the deepest part of what makes him feel whole around me. Knowing he can’t lose what keeps him living. He’s terrified of losing me, whereas Patrick is simply terrified of losing.
Patrick is resorting to his old ways, doing the only thing he can to try to control me like he has these past few years, but the controlling abuse stops here. The facts are written across my heart and I’ve known for awhile who to believe, who I can truly trust.
Hawke is following me, on my tail, circling around the kitchen table, watching me, an anxiousness about him that I can’t stand to see. He doesn’t need to deal with any more heartache in his life and he’ll never need to worry about that with me.
“Hawke, you ready?” I ask, looking up to face him, throwing my bag over my shoulder.
His eyebrows raise while watching me as his lips part, as if what I just said hasn’t registered. I close the space between us, not giving two shits that Patrick is watching us. I hear Hawke sigh a tiny breath of relief next to me and it bothers me. Hurts my heart that he worried so much I’d fall into the trap.
“Cameron, look at me,” I demand, grabbing his shirt into my fist, pulling him into me, making sure his eyes are locked onto mine. “I’ll never lose you in the madness.”
He winces his eyes, swallowing down his emotions, as he quickly grabs the back of my head, pulling it into his as he rests his forehead against mine.
It’s almost like our own personal handshake, our forehead hugs. It’s intimate, it connects us in our own little world, even if only for a moment.
“I love you,” he whispers breathlessly.
“And I love you,” I whisper back.
After he grabs his stuff from his room, we begin walking towards the door, hand in hand, leaving the house when Patrick begins calling out after us.
“This is insane, Nic! Just wait till you see what’s coming,” Patrick yells frantically behind us as we begin walking away. “This isn’t over! You’re fucked Hawke!”
I halt in my tracks, turning to face him, leaving Hawke stumbling around me in my quick pause. I march back up to where he’s standing on the front step with heat in his eyes. We’re face to face and all of the insecurities have now left me. I don’t see a man I used to love. I see a manipulative liar who cheats his way through life, destroying others in his wake. Now I’m left with nothing but anger and resentment for the person I tried so hard to care for, a person I attempted a future with but could never succeed.
“Fuck you, you murderous bitch,” I grumble before decking him as hard as I can with my fist.
Yes, violence is not always the best choice, but I did what I had to do. Hawke can’t hit him, Ben can’t hit him, so I do what needs to be done, for them.
Hawke runs over immediately, pulling me back behind him by my waist in case Patrick attempts to retort.
“You’re going down a dark path, Nic!” He scoffs with warning, cupping his eye where I left a little cut near the cheekbone. “Trust me, you don’t want to do this!”
Patrick’s panicked voice fades as I continue walking towards my car, Hawke, checking my fist before rubbing it gently. He throws his bag into the back of my car then his leg over his bike, reviving it up next to me.
“See you back at the spot,” I tell him before turning and flipping off Patrick who’s still standing before the door with his fists clenched.
I back out of the driveway, peeling out of there, feeling a lot lighter than I did going there. I feel such a sense of release. It’s freeing. It’s over. It’s totally and completely over.
Hawke followed me back to our temporary residence, the little hideaway motel, sure to watch for Sean or Patrick in case they were following us. We get back into our room again after paying with cash for another night. Hawke presses me up against the door as soon as we enter.
“You believed me,” he whispers, running his fingers through part of my hair that’s fallen down between us.
“Cam,” I say softly, running my hand along the side of his face. “Of course I did, I know your truth, your pain, your struggles...”
“But what he said...the revenge, it’s not entirely untrue.” He drops his head against the door above me, disheveling his dark hair. “The party? When I brought you there...”
I remember it like it was yesterday. He had me pinned to that couch in the little study room at the cabin, already feeling things I thought I shouldn’t. I knew he was pushing the limits of our “friendship”, but truthfully, it excited me.
“I know. I know you had a plan. We’ve talked about it. You even admitted you’d never have been able to take it that far. And you know why?”
“Because you’re good. You’re a good person with a good heart. You’re not like them.”
“I thought for sure he’d pull you away...get in your head, convince you it’s not real, that what we share isn’t as irreplaceable as I know it is.”
“Nothing can break us, Cameron,” I say definitively. “Nothing.”
He presses himself to me, hips pinning me against the door, lips finding mine in a mad rush of love and lust. His tongue trying to erase the memories of what happened, erase the idea that he could’ve lost me.
“If I lose you, I lose everything,” he whispers against my lips.
“We can’t ever let that happen,” I say before kissing his top lip and then bottom, gently sucking on his lip ring.
He pauses for a moment, letting me play with his lips, sucking on them slowly, sensually, before pulling back slightly, his hands still holding him up against the door.
“Do you know what I wanted to do to him? I wanted to kill him with my bare hands, in front of you, for you, for Ben, for me. How fucked up is that?”
“It’s understandable. The burden you’ve had to bear? It doesn’t make you a villain, Cam. It makes you human.”
“I wanted to tell him nasty things, brag to him about how amazing it feels to fuck you raw, and how hearing you scream my name instead of his made me feel phenomenal. How fucking beautiful you are when you come for me. How he’s a spineless prick who’s never been able to make a woman come like I can just by looking at you.”
I bite my bottom lip, feeling flushed by his words. They make me feel a tingly sensation between my legs, forcing me to rub my thighs together.
“I’m fucking vile for these thoughts,” he admits, shaking his head touching my jaw, his thumb tracing my lips.
“You’re not,” I say, looking deeply into him. “You’re the kind of guy devils tell angels to go talk to to get them to fall, oblivious to the fact that you’re the type to save them from the depths of hell they’ve surrendered.”
“Jesus, Cole...” He tightens his jaw, a tic I know that means he felt that in his soul.
I pull him into me by the waist again, never getting close enough.
“I’m just so happy you’re mine,” he whispers, leaning in closer again. “You’re finally mine.”
I grip his shirt, pulling him roughly into my chest, loving the feeling of his warm body against mine. His soft, wet kiss sending endorphins shooting throughout my body, my blood pulsing through my veins at a rapid rate.
Pulling back from our sweet kiss to take a breath. “I’ve always been yours.”
We rest our heads against one another as his smile lights up the darkest parts of me. We stand there for a moment just speaking without words again. Enjoying the peace of just being together until reality hits.
“He’s going to come after me. He’ll call my parole officer. Probably already has. They’ll be looking for me now,” he admits, his eyes filled with a new type of sadness, a worry I don’t feel comfortable with.
A feeling of ultimate betrayal takes over me.
“I should never have told him,” I say, my voice cracking as my emotions come back. “I could’ve prevented you from being in this situation had I not said I was in love with you.”
My face falls into my hands as I cry at the thought of him being taken away from me. Especially now, especially after we’ve come so far. It truly isn’t fair.
“You told him you were in love with me?” he asks, wiping the tears off my face with his thumbs.
“Yeah,” I sigh, feeling miserable. “I mean, he figured out it was you once we were standing together again, but yeah, I told him.”
“Baby,” he says with an empathetic tone, pulling me into his embrace, his arms comforting me while his hands gently rub my back.
“I can’t lose you, Cam, not now. Not after everything.” I cry into him, clawing at his shirt in my hands.
My phone interrupts us as a message comes through. Sniffling, I grab it from my back pocket, pulling it out between us, opening the message.
Patrick: TELL YOUR NEW BOYFRIEND HIS P.O. HAS BEEN CALLED. POLICE WILL FIND YOU IF WE CAN’T FIRST.
It’s time to get a plan into action. We have to come up with something together. Our twisted fate brought us here, but I can’t rely solely on that to save us.