Dear Emma

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chapter 19 || kai

chapter 19 || kai

Dear Emma,

Today’s letter is a long one. Lots of shit happened. If you’re watching over us, you must know, but who knows.

Hayden kissed me today, which was confusing. For the first time since you died, hell even when you were alive, I made a new friend. And, well, kisses ruin things, don’t they? So I went to Ry, who I thought would be supportive or helpful, but nope.

We fought. Like really badly, Em. We haven’t spoken to each other in hours and it really fucking sucks. I miss him. I miss joking around with him and even just the comfort of his touch. But I’m not gonna apologize. I did nothing wrong here. He started yelling at me for kissing Hayden.

I’ve known Ryder my entire life, Emma. I witnessed first hand how in love with you he was. I saw how he fell apart when you died. I know that for him, getting over you is hard for him. It has to be; he was so in love. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t fall in love. He’s jealous that nothing’s stopping me from doing what he can’t. So when I tell him the truth, he tells me to go fuck myself.

I’m pissed. He can’t tell me what to do and especially not to fuck myself. Yeah, we say it all the time jokingly but I saw it in his eyes, Em. I saw that he meant it. That’s what hurts the most.

I really, really, really wish you were here. You are the only person I know that would know what to do. You were the mediator between the Ryder and me, which we all know we need.

But enough of that asshole, I don’t want to think about it. I hope you’re doing ok, wherever you are.

Thanks for being my best friend even if you’re not here.

Kai

I read over the words on the page over and over again, hoping that I can find answers within the page. I’ve gone over what happened with Ryder a hundred times, but I can’t figure out where it went so wrong.

I want him back. Even though he told me to go fuck myself, I want my best friend back. I came here to get over the loss of one friend, not to lose my last.

“Callie?” I whisper. She seems like she’d know what to do.

“Yes?”

“Let’s say, hypothetically, you had a really bad fight with a friend. Like so bad that you guys stopped talking. What would you do?”

“Well, in this hypothetical situation, I’d apologize, especially if I didn’t want to lose them in my life forever.”

“But what if you did nothing wrong?”

“Well, it’s not possible to do nothing wrong. Maybe it’s not wrong from my perspective but from the other person’s point of view, I could’ve been the entire problem. I wouldn’t know until I talk to them.”

I leave it that, not saying anything else. Callie’s point is valid, but Ryder was the one who started yelling. He made something out of nothing. I merely defended myself.

I close my eyes, begging my mind to shut up and sleep. I want to stop thinking of this whole mess and every other mess in my life. I can’t handle it. I don’t want to.

Just as I feel myself drifting off, a loud bang comes from the front of the room. I shoot up, switching the light on and glancing at Callie, who’s also upright in her bed. We share a look before shifting our gaze to the door, which bangs again.

I slowly get out of the bed, trying to make as little noise as possible. I grab whatever happens to be closest to me, which is a paperback book.

I creep towards the door, glancing back at Callie a few times, a look of terror etched into her face which I’m sure mimics mine.

I grasp the book in my hand tighter, using my free hand to hold the doorknob. I give Callie a final look before throwing the door open and holding the book above my head, ready to attack.

“Kai?”

“Hayden?” I ask, confused.

“Yeah...” he drawls out. “What’s with the book?”

I glance up at the book held above my head before lowering my arms. “Defense,” I say shortly. “Why are you here at midnight?”

“Well,” he pushes his way past me into the cabin, giving Callie a nod of the head. “I was wondering if you guys would like to come?”

“Where?” Callie questions carefully.

“Skinny dipping.” Hayden gives us a mischievous smile.

I look over at Callie and back to Hayden. “Sure,” I shrug. I might as well. It doesn’t seem like I’ll fall asleep anytime soon and if I try then all I’ll think about would be Ryder.

“Callie?” Hayden asks, wrapping an arm around my shoulder. I rest my head on his chest, watching Callie as she decides.

“Why the hell not,” she sighs. “If we get caught, I’m throwing you under the bus Hayden.”


10 minutes ago Callie and I thought that we were going to die. And now we’re at the edge of the lake, waiting for Hayden to come. Funny how life works out.

“Ladies,” Hayden says, sneaking around behind us. He grabs my arm and pulls me towards him with a twirl, catching my lips and placing a kiss on them.

“Get a room,” Zack says as he walks past us, rolling his eyes.

“You got Zack to come?” I ask, my eyebrows rising up in question. Out of everyone, Zack is the last person I’d expect to go skinny dipping in the middle of the night.

“I got everyone,” Hayden winks with a smirk.

“Fuck,” I muttered underneath my breath. How in the hell did he get Ryder to come along? The better question is, why would Ryder want to come?

“Hm?”

“Nothing.” I reach up and kiss him, hoping that he drops the topic. The less I hear of Ryder the better.

“I’m not getting any younger here, love birds,” Callie whisper yells. I look back at Hayden’s face, rolling my eyes.

“Come then, bird. Let’s go,” I say, grabbing his wrist and pulling him with me. We walk over to the edge of the dock, where everyone, including Ryder was waiting. I stand on the other side of Hayden; the furthest place from Ryder.

I steal a glance at Ryder, who happens to be staring at me already. A quick flash of hope appears across his face, but as quickly as it came, it was gone. I look at the ground, reaching around for Hayden’s hand.

“Who’s going in first?” Zack asks, looking between all of us. None of us move, waiting for the others to go first. “Pussys,” Zack mutters, stripping down to his underwear.

He dives under the water, his head popping out moments later. We exchange glances again, shocked at this new side of Zack. The quiet, depressed kid was gone and replaced with someone who just goes for it.

I follow his lead, stripping down. I lean over and whisper in Hayden’s ear, “See you on the other side.” I dive in, resisting the urge to scream about how cold the water is.

I take my time to get back up, enjoying the feeling of the water engulfing me. When my head comes back up, I see with the little light the moon provides that Callie and Ryder have already got in and were floating around with Zack.

Does he even feel guilty about what he did? Does he even care that he hurt me? Did he really change that much? The Ryder I knew would never say the things he did. Never.

Stop thinking about him, I scold myself. He sure as hell isn’t spending every waking moment thinking about you.

I shift my gaze over to Hayden, who is at the end of the dock, looking into the water.

“This was your idea and you’re not even gonna get in?” I ask, raising my eyebrow. Hayden jumps slightly, turning his body around towards me.

“I was just looking for you. I thought you drowned or something.” Hayden peels his shirt off, revealing his defined abs. I look up at his face, begging myself not to give him the satisfaction of checking him out.

“If I did, would you have saved me?” I hold eye contact, not letting myself even take a peek.

“Depends.” Hayden jumps in, creating a tidal wave, splashing water all over my face. I use my hand to wipe my face, scanning the water around me for Hayden, wanting to ask him what it depends on.

“Hayden? Where’d you go?” I keep looking for air bubbles, the dim light from the moon providing no help. “Come on, don’t play with me.”

Within seconds, I’m pulled under the water. I thrash against whatever was holding me down, but it doesn’t work. I open my mouth to scream for help, but I get a mouthful of water instead.

After what seems like years, whatever - or whoever - was latching onto me lets go and I swim to the surface, sputtering up water and taking in the air. Once my breathing becomes semi-normal, I search around for the culprit.

In the corner not far from where I was struggling, I spot Hayden propped up against a rock, gasping for air between laughs. I swim over, ready to kill him for almost drowning me.

“You asshole!” I exclaim, pulling my arm back to hit him in the stomach. He easily catches my wrist and pulls me in, holding my wrist to his chest.

“You’re adorable,” he says with a chuckle. I roll my eyes but I can’t stop my smile from spreading. I hook my legs around his waist, pressing my lips against his. He tugs at my bottom lip, slipping his tongue in.

It would’ve been nice to tell Ryder how happy he made me. But I can’t. Ryder left. He’s jealous and the only person who can fix that is him, no matter how much I want to do it for him. I had no problem with him dating my best friend, so why can’t he do the same for me, just this once?

I kiss Hayden harder attempting to shut Ryder out, tangling my hands into his wet hair.

Hayden breaks away first, his lips traveling to my cheek and along my jawline, stopping right before my earlobe.

“By the way,” he whispers in my ear, his hot breath against my neck, “in that case, I wouldn’t have saved you. You don’t need saving.”

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