Chapter Twenty Six
At the police station, I had to give a statement about Penny attacking me. Apparently the cashier had been true to his word and told the police I was defending myself against Penny. Her nose was indeed broken the officer doing my interview told me but it did little to brighten my mood. A paramedic at the station looked at my wrist and said I had a minor sprain. He gave me a brace for it while I waited for the officer to call my Dad. Even though I was eighteen, I was still considered to be under his supervision since I was still enrolled in school. I was sitting on the bench next to the booking desk when he walked in the double glass doors. I glared at him as he looked at me. “Kerri! What happened?”
“I want to go home.” I said, standing.
“Not until someone tells me what’s going on.”
“Hey, Chris.” The officer at the desk said, giving my father a small smile. “She was attacked by one of Hannah’s friends. We had to bring her in cause the other girl had to be sent to the ER. She’s not in trouble or anything. Just think of this as a warning. She’s free to go.”
“Thanks, Dale.” Dad turned back to face me. “You got into a fight? That’s not like you, Ker-Bear.”
“How would you know? You barely know me.”I snapped, walking towards the door. I shoved it open and headed towards the parking lot. I saw his truck parked there.
“Kerri, wait!” He called after me. “What the hell happened? I feel like we just took a time machine back to the beginning of July.” I ignored him, pulling open the truck door. He slammed it shut before I could climb in. “Talk to me, kid.”
“You paid off Blaine to talk to me?” I asked, spinning to look at him. His face went from confusion to shock to dread in about three seconds.
“I can explain.”
“What do you mean, you can explain?! This entire summer has been nothing but one GIANT FUCKING LIE!” I screamed, shoving him. He let me, stepping back to brace himself. “First, you tell me that you and mom have been talking since you left. Then I find out that she DYING and that’s why I’m here. Now the ONLY thing that I thought meant anything to me is based on nothing. Blaine never would have given me the time of day if you hadn’t paid him off, would he?”
“Kerri, that kid loves you.”
“HA!” I exclaimed. “About as much as I thought you did. Nevermind. I’ll walk.”
About an hour later, I was sitting on my dock looking out at the water. It was chopping as if a storm was happening somewhere out at sea. It licked the sides of the boats, making a soft splashing noise. The sounds of seagulls could be heard off in the distance. Everything in me hurt. My wrist throbbed but not as much as my chest. It was as if someone was reaching in there and squeezing the life out of my heart. It was hard to catch my breath but I managed to. My head was spinning with what had happened. How could have been so stupid? I knew it had been too good to be true. He was too perfect. Now I fully understood why. I was just an obstacle to surpass so he could make a quick and easy dime. Nothing had been real. Standing up, I turned to head inside. Instead, I found Blaine standing there. He looked like he was trying to ever so gently defuse a bomb. Chris must have called him.
“I trusted you.” I whispered, looking at my feet. “I gave you everything I had to offer a person and you ripped it to shreds.”
“I’m not even mad that Chris paid you to hang out with me. You knew that my mother was sick. You knew even before I came down here! You could have told me at any point this summer. Why didn’t you? Did you think that I had a right to know that my own mother was dying? Or were you convinced it would ruin your chances of getting laid? Might have put a damper on that one, huh? I mean there is no possible reason on this planet that I could think of that would make me not tell someone their loved one is dying.”
“It wasn’t my place to tell you. Chris asked me not to because both him and your mom wanted you to have a normal summer before everything went down. They knew it was your last chance to be a regular kid.”
“But I’m not a kid! I wish everyone would stop acting like I am and that they know what’s best for me. What about me? Am I not capable of deciding what I want to happen in my own life? I could have spent this entire summer with my mom before she got worse. No. Instead I get shipped her to get lied to all summer. But I mean, that doesn’t matter to you, now does it? I hope you got your money up front, by the way. My father tends to go back on his word. Well maybe it’s just with me. That’s everyone these days though.”
“Kerri, don’t do this.”
“Do what, Blaine? Be honest? Someone around here has to be.”
“No. You do this thing where you go into a dark place where you think you belong and it’s like pulling teeth to get you out. Yes. I will admit it. Chris offered me some money for school if I hung out with you when you came down here. That’s all. He didn’t ask me to pretend to like you. All that is real. I’ve never felt this way about anyone in my entire life. The love I have for you-”
“Is a lie.” I interrupted. I could feel the hot tears behind my eyes as they threatened to fall. “Do you know how this feels? My entire life is being uprooted and shredded in a blender like it means nothing to anyone. I thought that when this was all over and all the pieces of me were left, you would at least be there to put them somewhat back together. But now, I don’t even want to look at you.”
“Don’t say that.” He said, stepping closer to me. He grabbed my hands. I tried to wrestle them free of his grip but he held tighter when I did. “Before I met you, I thought I knew where my life was going. That I would just spend the summer here hanging out with Cooper and maybe take some pictures to kill time before heading off to college. Nothing in this town meant anything to me. But then I met you and I found a reason to live through it. I was broken and you were the healing light I needed to patch me up.” Tears formed in his eyes as he looked down at me. The heart wrenching pain was back again, this time magnified. It made my stomach churn and I thought I was going to throw up.
“Blaine, let go of me.” I said, trying to pull away. He dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around my waist as he pressed his face against my stomach.
“Please don’t shut me out. I promise that everything that’s happened and everything I feel for you is true. I love you more than anything else in this world.”
“I can’t.” I whispered, tears streamed down my face. “You’re a completely different person to me now. I have no clue who you really are.” I shoved him harder this time. He fell backwards on the dock, tears slipping from his eyes. “After my mom passes, I’m going back to Maine. I never want to see you again.”