College Cutbacks: Sophomore Year Book IV

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Emery's POV

After going to a couple of stores at a strip mall, we headed home, exhausted. Ryan's car was gone and the house was quiet. I guess they hadn't made it back yet. Eli and I bid each other goodnight. I dropped the shopping bags that contained the wardrobe of the "new" me and belly-flopped onto my bed. My stuff was all packed in boxes. I saw a white note taped to the side of one of the boxes that were right by the bed. I examine the contents. It read:

Thought you'd want to keep your things so I packed them up and took them with me so looters wouldn't steal them. - Love, Damion.

That thoughtful, hopeful idiot.

I locked both my doors and flopped back on the bed. It was only about 7 o'clock, but I was tired. With everything that happened, I needed some rest. I pulled my earbuds out of the one bag I brought with me and played Lana Del Rey playlist from my phone. I was asleep in seconds.

I was woken up by a tap on my door. My playlist ended, leaving the room quiet. Then it dawned on me. Someone was knocking on my door. My heart sped up and my mouth became dry. What if it was Roman or even worse, Lewis? I slowly crept to the door as if a serial killer was standing on the other side. My breath hitched as I unlocked it. I dreadful twisted the knob and cracked the door open. I released the breath I was holding when I saw it was only Ryan.

"I guess you guys are back."

"Yeah. Mind if I crash here?"

"Really? Do you even have to ask?" I opened the door and stepped aside to let him enter. I locked the door behind him to ensure no one sneaks in and turned off the light.

"So who did you think I was? Roman or Lewis?"

I rolled my eyes and got back into bed. I threw an extra pillow down by my feet for him. He kicked off his shoes and pants, leaving on a pair of basketball shorts. He laid down beside me, feet to head. I just stared up at the ceiling, thinking. It felt weird to be back.

"Hey, Ryan?"


"Not that I mind, but why are you here?"

"I saved up enough money to open a shop so I wanted to be close to you, look out for you. I don't have anything to look forward to back home so it wasn't a hard decision. Home is where the heart is, right?"

"Right." Tears slipped from my eyes just knowing I had someone who was worried about me. I could put on a brave face and he'd still know if I'm not ok. I cleared my throat before speaking so my voice wouldn't crack. I spoke quietly. "Roman. I thought you were Roman. He used to come in here when I would have nightmares and also the time I got drunk."

"You? Drunk?"

"Yes," I chuckled thinking of the memory. "It was crazy, but he was so sweet. That's why I can't understand why he would hurt me so badly like he did."

"He loves you and didn't want to lose you. It's no excuse by any means. Maybe when you're ready, you can talk to them. Not for them, but for you. You need closure."

"Yeah. I'll think about it."

It became quiet. "I was thinking. Maybe you'd like to get closure on other things too."


"Like your back scars. Do you think you'd want to get it tatted like I did your arms?"

I thought about it for a minute. "You know what? I think I am ready. It's about time I move forward. David's in jail and my mom is completely out of my life. What did you have in mind?"

"You'll see."

I chuckled, imagining the wheels turning in his head. "Thanks, Ryan. I didn't know I was missing something in my life until I found you. Thanks for not running for the hills."

"Aw. Stop it. You know I'd never leave you."

I rolled to my side and drifted off to sleep.

I shot up out of my sleep from the reoccurring nightmare that haunted me. Sweat covered my forehead and neck. I looked around the room for any hint that David had escaped prison. I released a breath when there was no sign of him. I needed some water. My mouth was dry. I climb over Ryan who was dead asleep and tiptoed into the kitchen. I rounded the corner only to see a dark, shadowed figure standing there. I squealed my surprise.

"Shhh. Do you want to wake up the rest of the house?"

"Damion? What is this thing with you? Creeping around a dark kitchen."

"Well, I didn't want to turn on all the lights and wake anyone up."

"You almost gave me a heart attack, again."

"You're young. Your heart's still good."

"Says you." I grabbed a glass and filled it with water before gulping it down. "How did it go? Did you like Ryan?"

"Yeah. He's pretty cool. Offered to do me a free tattoo."

"I knew you two would get along." I looked at the empty glass in my hand. "H-How did it go with them? Did he hit them?"

"No, but he did talk some sense into them. I just hope they listen. I'd hate to have to break up a fight with Ryan involved."

I chuckled. "I'm surprised he didn't. He usually has a short temper. I'm glad he's here. Thanks for showing him around."

"No problem. I'm glad you're here." He kissed my forehead. "I'm going to bed. I'll see you in the morning."

"Okay." I still stood there, thinking about everything. I heard someone clear their throat, slightly startling me. I turned to see Roman.

"I didn't want to scare you. I was just going to get some water."

I nodded my head. I set my cup in the sink and brushed past him.

"Hey, Emery."I turned to look at him, waiting for him to continue. He stuck his hands in his pajama pants pockets. "I know you hate me and that you won't forgive me. I just wanted to say I'm so sorry."

"I just need time. Just give me that, okay?"

"Okay. Take all the time you need."

"I plan to." I started to walk off then something hit me. "Roman?"

"Yeah, Emery?"

"I don't hate you. I could never hate you." I walked off not waiting for a response. I slept a little easier that night. I guess that's what healing feels like. I still had a long way to go.

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