Crossroads

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Summary

What happens when a man who should be at the top of the world suddenly decides to take his life? Lincoln, a pediatric surgeon who has been confronted with more than one disaster in the past weeks, is convinced his life is not worth living anymore. But just as he decides to end it, he comes across a girl that might just change his mind. When Mia drives home from her friend's house, she does not expect to find someone standing at the ledge of a bridge, trying to end his life. She especially does not expect that someone to be the one man she definitely should not be close to right now. Will she be able to help him, without getting too close? Or are these two bound to end up together? A story about family, love, and all the chaos that comes with it. Warning: This story contains mature scenes and depictions of mental health issues such as suicide, depression, and anxiety. Please read with caution, it can get very intense. 18+.

Genre:
Romance / Drama
Author:
Jane C. Rain
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
50
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

Trigger warning: This book addresses depression and suicidal thoughts. If you feel uncomfortable reading anything that’s dealing with that, please be cautious while continuing.

Lincoln

“She’s the kind of beautiful that makes you rethink every single time you thought you saw a beautiful woman - because this one is turning all the heads, stealing everyone’s glances and everyone’s breaths, seemingly without even being aware of it.”

PAST

Here I am. Again.

I didn’t think it’d happen this soon, to be honest. But I made my choice, and now I have to stick to it. I’m too far gone, the darkness has already swallowed me whole, embracing me in its fog.

The wind is howling, the humid air whipping against my face as I hold on to the rail behind me. I swear, I try to think of a reason not to do it, but I honestly can’t find one.

I’ve thought it through. It’s not a decision I made lightly, but there just doesn’t seem to be any other way.

Life just happened. And along with its cruel fate came the void, the sinking feeling that no matter what I do, I’ll just end up turning another page in the book of ferocity.

To be fair, this sight in front of me, the water crashing against the rocks on the shore, the way the moon reflects on the surface, it almost makes me rethink my decision. Almost.

But I feel stuck. Stuck in my dull, pathetic life. Stuck in the never-ending rotation of hating myself and then fighting to stay sane. It’s tiring, and I’m all out of energy to keep going, darkness filling the vacancy in my sanity.

And so I step on the ledge in front of me, my hands still gripping the cold metal of the rail behind my back. It’s an unusually cold night for this time of year, and it feels like a sign. A sign that it’s time, that I should just get it over with, to break out of this cycle of hell. I know I should be nervous of the prospect of ending my life in a matter of minutes, but my heart hasn’t felt anything for a while now, pain and guilt have taken over its existence.

The demons are screaming at me, the claws scraping against my skin, their hushed voice luring me closer to the edge, closer to my imminent death.

As I look down, the tip of my shoes now slightly over the ledge, I try to understand how I ended up here. Death, betrayal, murder... The reasons linger in my brain as I estimate the distance to the rocks in the water below me, and it’s like the thoughts fuel my resolve.

It’s at least sixty feet - that should be enough to give me quite an amount of internal bleeding when I crash on the rocks in the water. I have to find the right spot though, I wouldn’t want to end up like one of those vegetables in the ICU. I always pitied them.

I position myself perfectly, with the wind coming from west I should land exactly on the giant rock beneath me.

“This is it.”

I could just jump now.

“Fuck...” my voice is shaky with how cold it has gotten. Or maybe it’s the prospect of my impending death - I’m not too sure, honestly.

Just jump, Lincoln.

And I’m just about to actually do it, my feet dragging to the edge of the platform, when I hear the roaring of a motorcycle coming my way. The sound startles me and I almost fall off the ledge accidentally - for some godforsaken reason though I’m holding onto the rail. I mean it’s not like I was just about to end my pathetic life on purpose, right?

What the hell.

I hear the motorcycle passing me, but then the sound comes to an abrupt halt.

Shit.

I hope the person didn’t see me. I don’t want anyone trying to talk to me. I just need to jump.

Just do it, Lincoln. Just do it.

One last look at the water beneath me, and I find myself leaning forward, ready to end this hell.

“Don’t you want to jump?”

The female voice startles me, and I find myself turning to my left, only to have the air knocked out of my lungs by what must be the toughest looking girl I have ever laid my eyes on. It’s hard to tell how old she is, she looks like the type of girl that comes off older than she is.

“What?” I feel like she couldn’t just have asked that, right?

“Are you deaf? Is that why you want to kill yourself?”

Her words surprise me, and I can’t help but stare at her as she just raises an eyebrow in a skeptical manner. The way her chocolate brown hair flows in the wind gives her an almost celestial look, the lantern right above her illuminating her in the spotlight. She takes a step closer to me, her sapphire blue eyes staring straight at me now, almost like they’re diving straight into my soul.

“You know, my mom always says that people who kill themselves do it because they think it’s the only way out. Dad says it’s because they’re cowards.”

I can’t help but stare at her, just then. She acts like a brat, even though I don’t think she actually is one.

“And what is your take on it?” I retort.

Why the hell do I even bother? My hands are starting to freeze from the cold metal on my skin, the pain slowly starting to make its way into my system. But there’s something about this woman... Something that’s playing with the darkness inside me, luring it out of the dark and hollow space in my soul.

“Oh, so you’re not deaf.” She smirks at me, and I have to suppress my own smile when I see the amusement dancing in her eyes. And just then do I notice something familiar about her... I can’t quite place it, but it’s there.

“Not deaf, no.”

“Okay... So what is it, then? Are you a coward or don’t you see another way out?”

I don’t know what it is about this girl, but I actually think about it for a second.

“Both, I guess.”

She nods her head, her arms wrapped around her stomach, where she carries a black motorcycle helmet in her right hand. Her black leather jacket suits the black pair of jeans she wears, and I swear she looks like she could be part of a Mission Impossible movie.

It’s hard to read her, she’s so different from anyone, male or female, I have ever seen.

“Then why don’t you just do it?” Her eyes flick to the water beneath the bridge, and I can’t help but follow her glance, watching it flow and crash against the boulders.

“Just jump, if that’s what you want.”

I don’t even notice how she approaches me while I stare at the water, only as I turn around do I meet her intense blue eyes, now only about two feet away. She’s holding on to the rail, the proximity of her hands right next to mine giving me a somewhat anxious chill, for whatever reason.

And even though she irritates the hell out of me, I cannot deny that she really is beautiful. She’s the kind of beautiful that makes you rethink every single time you thought you saw a beautiful woman - because this one is turning all the heads, stealing everyone’s glances and everyone’s breaths, seemingly without even being aware of it. A year ago I would’ve done anything to get a beauty like her in my bed. And I probably would’ve succeeded, too - I do have a reputation for a reason.

But things have changed. I have changed. I had money, back then. I was at the top of the world, was living life without any worries, because I just had it all.

Not so much now, of course. Considering my life came crumbling down on me in a matter of weeks.

“Watch out.” She calls out.

Before I can even react I feel the rail shake, and just a split second later she stands right next to me on the platform, her upper body bending forwards to get a good look at the sight beneath us.

“Jesus! What are you doing?!”

But she just smiles at me like this was the most normal thing in the world, one hand on the railing while the other tries to smooth down her dark chocolate hair.

“I just want to see what this is all about. There must be something alluring to the idea of ending your life right here. I mean, I have to admit, this is a nice spot.”

What the fuck is even happening right now.

“Um... If you don’t mind, I’d really like to do this on my own.”

Why do I even have to explain that to her? She doesn’t even seem to care about her intrusion either, because there’s still this unfaltering smile on her face as she just leans on the rail, casually facing me like it’s not a big fucking deal.

“Why, though? If you’re so sure about this, you shouldn’t be scared to let me watch, right?”

Is she for real now? I feel like I’m being pranked, honestly. But not the funny kind of prank, where Ashton Kutcher comes jumping out from behind a car, telling me that I got punk’d! – It’s more the kind of prank where I actually have no fucking idea what’s happening, because this is not how I thought this would go down. Like, not at all.

“Can you just leave, please?”

She’s still looking at me, leaning casually on the rail like it’s just a normal Friday, her hair whipping left and right with the howling wind. It doesn’t seem like she’s even contemplating to leave, and I feel myself getting more and more agitated by it.

“Hello?!” My voice is rising from the irritation of this whole ordeal. I’m not an aggressive man, never have been. But this is just... Fuck.

“I’m not going to leave.”

The smile has left her face by now, the way her calm voice lingers in the air as she stares me down tells me she’s not fucking around. At all.

“Why? Why do you care?”

And I’m glad to see the question seems to catch her off guard, because she blinks a couple of times before she looks out at the river in front of us, taking a deep breath before she turns back around to face me. There’s a somewhat vulnerable expression on her face, but it disappears as quickly as it came, and soon she’s back to looking at me, now standing up straight instead of leaning against the rail.

“Why wouldn’t I care? I think it’s only human to step in when you see someone in need of it.”

“I don’t need you to step in.” I basically spit the words at her, and I expect her to be attacked by it, honestly, but she just smiles lightly as she takes a deep breath.

“You do need my help. You just don’t want it - that’s different.”

There’s another strong blow of wind coming from the west, and I see the girl shiver a bit as she holds on to the railing with both hands now, steadying herself against the force of the wind.

“Just go. You don’t need to be here.”

The wind is getting even stronger now, and it seems like she’s struggling to hold on. I can’t even blame her, I’m surprised her hands aren’t frozen yet with how cold it has become, the metal railing is perishing by now.

“You either jump now or come with me, that’s the only way I’m leaving.” Her teeth clatter when she speaks, but she’s obviously trying not to show it.

Fuck.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. This is not how I imagined this to go.

I don’t even know why I care about if she’s cold or not. She’s the one who decided to step into someone else’s business. I didn’t ask her to be here.

“I’m not coming with you.”

“Well, then you better jump.” Her response is clipped, her voice, along with the rest of her body, a little shaky from the cold.

Fucking hell.

Why the fuck is she doing this? I just want to get this over with. But I can’t do that when she’s here. I need to be alone.

Another blow of wind comes from right behind her, and before I know what’s happening her hands come off the rail and she trips into my arms, both of us stumbling towards the edge of the platform. I quickly pull us towards the rail, my back now pressed against the railing as she holds on to my sweater.

“Holy shit.” She has her face buried in my chest as she whispers, her body still shaking. Fuck, she smells good. Like vanilla and cherry.

“You okay?” I can’t help but ask, because she does look a little scared, suddenly, completely opposite to the strong, determined girl I faced just moments before. And I don’t even know why I care about her wellbeing, but there’s something about her, something about this situation that makes my heart race. It’s a feeling I haven’t had for a while, and even though I can’t deny I fucking missed this, it honestly still scares the crap out of me.

“No I’m not fucking okay. Shit.” And then she looks up at me again, and I swear the intensity of those blue eyes so close to mine almost knocks me off my feet. They are so goddamn blue, it’s like staring straight into the ocean, and there’s this insane amount of emotion in them. It’s a crippling, shattering reminder that it’s is not a part of my life anymore. Emotion has become a stranger, it simply had to, otherwise I surely wouldn’t have made it this far.

We’re staying like that for a minute, just meeting each other’s gazes as we hold onto each other, both of us taking a deep breath after this near death experience. Ironic, considering I was just about to take my life... Like, literally.

And I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we literally almost died, or if it’s the feeling of this strange woman in my arms, but I feel my resolve weaken. I feel like there might be something out there for me, after all.

“Okay.”

She blinks a couple of times, the faint hint of a smile on her lips as she speaks again.

“Okay?”

“Yeah. Let’s go. I don’t want to be held responsible for you freezing to death.”

And I swear to God, if I hadn’t made my mind up before, I definitely would have now, because the way she’s smiling at me... Holy fuck. I can literally feel the contentment radiating off of her as she looks at me, the glimmer in her eyes making it extremely hard to look away.

“Good. Come on.”

She slowly climbs around me, her hands holding onto my stomach and making me inhale a sharp breath.

Shit. What is even happening...

For a second she shoots me a curious look, but then she continues until she has both of her hands on the rail once more. I can’t even blink as fast as she has jumped it again, her hands immediately placed above mine on the railing.

I don’t need her to say what she wants to, I can see it in her eyes. I can see the plea dancing in her iris, asking me not to change my mind now. And I don’t know why, but I find myself listening to her, and so I quickly jump the rail, my feet landing on the ground right next to her.

“There, that wasn’t that hard now, was it?”

Being back on the bridge now, away from the impending death I was ready to inflict on me, is making me feel anxious as hell. It’s like the weight of my situation, my decisions, of my life, just crashes down on me. I feel a tightness in my chest as I steady myself on the rail, closing my eyes to calm my raging heart.

What the fuck is happening to me.

Okay, Lincoln. You got this.

Go over the symptoms. You know this. Trouble breathing, tightness in my chest, racing pulse... I’m having a panic attack. Fuck. I need a bag or something I can breathe into.

“Sit down. Put your head between your knees.” The girl orders me, and I’d love to just ask her what the hell she is doing, but I don’t trust myself to open my eyes without fainting. I’m feeling dizzy as fuck.

And so I actually listen to her, sitting down with my back resting against the rail before I place my head between my knees, taking a couple deep breaths.

“Good. Keep on breathing.” Her voice is insanely soft now, and I can feel her hand on my back as she rubs it gently. It feels good, honestly. But God. I feel pathetic.

“Take a deep breath and hold it in, let the oxygen get into your system. It’ll slow your heartbeat.”

I have to stifle a laugh at that. Now would probably be a good time to tell her I’m a doctor, but then again... She’s right. and I already feel my heart slowing down, the fogginess slowly but surely disappearing.

“Can you get up?”

I nod my head, and soon enough I open my eyes to see her stretching out a hand to me. I study it for a second before I look up at her, and I swear the gentle expression on her face catches me off guard. It’s not an expression of pity, it’s more one of understanding, of gentleness. And so I find myself taking her hand before she helps me up, her soft skin warming mine as I stand right next to her.

Those blue doe eyes look at me, studying me for a second, and I can’t help but stare straight back, trying to figure this girl out. She still looks familiar to me, even though I doubt I’d forget someone like her.

Then again, she does look a few years younger than me... Who knows what she looked like years ago.

“Come on. Let’s go.” Her voice interrupts my thoughts, and right then I’m hit with the weight of this situation again.

“Where do we go?”

“Back to my place. I’m not leaving you out of my sight until you get your shit together.”

This is so surreal. This girl barely knows me and still goes out of her way to make sure I don’t hurt myself. It’s unusual, to say the least. And the thing is, I can’t even argue with her. It’s not like I have a home. I have basically have nowhere to go, really.

“Okay.”

She seems to be just as surprised as I am about my answer, not even trying to get out of this situation. Her eyes are wide as she smiles at me before nodding her head towards the end of the bridge.

“Are you okay with riding the bike with me? We’re still a few blocks away from my place and I don’t want to just leave it here.”

My eyes flick to the motorcycle that’s standing about thirty feet away from us. It looks expensive, not that I really have any clue what kind of bike it is. As a surgeon to me bikes are only good for one thing: organ donation. But I guess I’m not in a position to make demands, so I probably just have to go with it. And I mean, if we do end up dead on the side of the road... Well, that would just be irony at its finest, I guess.

“Yeah, sure.”

She squeezes my hand once more before she picks up the helmet next to us and starts walking towards the motorcycle. I can feel her eyes on me as we stride down the bridge, her hand tightly squeezing mine the whole way there.

This whole situation is baffling as hell. I still can’t quite fathom what’s happening, why I’m even going with her and why on earth she’d even bother helping me in the first place.

“Have you ever ridden one before?” Her words pull me out of my thoughts, and I look at her as she opens the storage compartment beneath the seat of her bike, pulling out a sleek black helmet with silver stripes on it.

“Um... No.”

“Okay then. Just put the helmet on and lean with me when I steer, alright? It’s not too hard, and it’s not a long way home. But just pat my shoulder if you want me to stop.”

I can only nod my head as she explains everything, and in a matter of minutes I’m sitting right behind her, my arms circled around her stomach as she closes her visor.

“Now, hold on tight. You’re in for one hell of a ride.”

And holy shit, was she right about that.

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