The Monsters Within

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Chapter 20

The next time I saw Brad, he was standing at my door, holding an ice pack to his head. All he could say was, “I’m sorry about the other night.”

I stared at him for several long moments, contemplating whether or not I should invite him in. Then I decided it would be rude not to and said, “Come in.”

He entered, grimacing as he did so, and turned away from the faint light streaming in through the cracks in the dark curtains. He then seated himself on the bed.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Still nursing this damn headache,” he replied. “I didn’t come over here for sympathy, by the way. I came to apologize.”

“For what?”

“Intruding on your personal space. Bothering you when you needed alone time.”

“I would’ve asked you to leave if I thought you were bothering me, Brad.”

“I know, but, still.” He sighed. “I feel like a dick for doing it.”

“Don’t. You needed a friend, I was there. It all worked out in the end.”

“Yeah. I…. I guess it did.”

He remained silent for several moments, intermittently grimacing as the sound of footsteps in the hall or a car honking pierced through the thin walls. When he did speak again, it was to say, “How’s your writing coming?”

“It’s coming,” I replied. “I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything that’s been going on, but… well…” I lifted the bottle of pills. “I guess that’s what these are for.”

“Anti-anxiety meds. Right?”


“They should help. From what I understand, it takes a little while for them to get into your system, but once they do, you’re golden.”

“I hope so. It sucks to be anxious about everything all the time.”

“I can only imagine.” Brad leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. He waited a moment, then said, “I’m doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Intruding on your space.”

“It’s fine, Brad. Besides, I—”

He cracked one eye open before I could speak further.

I swallowed and continued by saying, “I’ve never really had a friend I could just sit with and talk to before.”



He frowned, but said, “I’m glad I can be that friend.”

That same flicker of warmth I’d felt before returned.

Just remember, my conscience offered, not to fall for a straight guy.

I couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

In the end, I didn’t want my heart to be broken.

That would’ve been the worst pain of all.

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