Peyton walked towards my bed when I held my hand out. "No."
"I just need two minutes, Ri. Please."
"Two minutes only."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. That day I fucked up, it was supposed to be a group of us, but everyone bailed except you and Macy. After a few beers, we got in the hot tub because..."
"I don't want to know."
"I didn't fuck her. It didn't get that far."
"I don't want to hear your apology either, so go."
"Okay. I didn't come here to make it worse. I was trying to fix it."
Had he lost his damn mind? "Fix it? You can't fix this."
"I'm trying to fix me. I've been a dickhead to everyone, including you. I got to the point where I didn't even realize how much of a terrible person I am."
"When he got home from work, my dad and I had a beer together."
My dad. Not Anthony. I waited for him to explain, but he didn't. "Must have been one hell of a beer."
He looked at me with the most sincere eyes and sighed. "Look, I spent most of my first year here being mad at him, so we never talked. After a while, we moved past it. I told myself I didn't want an apology, but I was wrong. I didn't know I needed it until he said it today."
As he stepped closer, Max growled.
"Take it easy, boy." He stood still and focused on me again. "I fucked up. You might not want my apology now, but I need to say it in case you do someday. I'm sorry. You didn't deserve what I did or how I treated you."
What was I supposed to say? "Um.."
I paused before saying, "Okay."
"He was a different person last night, after your surgery. You should have seen him. He was scared, and it freaked me the fuck out."
"Scared of what?"
"Losing me. And... losing you."
He looked so sincere, trapping me under his gaze. "He told me he's spent the last ten years trying to dig himself out of the hole he made when he was my age, and he wasn't going to let me do the same."
He stepped closer despite Max's growl and continued. "So, we talked about...well, everything. And I'm going to try to do better."
"Yeah. I had to find out you were in the hospital from my dad."
"Was I supposed to tell you? Honestly, I didn't think you'd care."
"What I mean is, you were my best friend, and I took you for granted. I didn't realize how much I did until you were with someone else."
"You mean, the someone you took away from me?"
He scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. "You think walking in on the was easy? Sorry if I wasn't cool with seeing my dad fuck you."
"I'm sorry you found out that way, but we both were going to tell you."
"Yeah, until you bailed. But, honestly Riley? It's a little fucked up for you and my dad to be together."
"I'm not done. I don't understand it, and I don't like it, but that doesn't matter because it's not always about me."
"W-what are you trying to say?"
"It's selfish of me to get in the way of you two. If you want to be together, I... I can't stop you. But I can't promise it won't be awkward as fuck."
"Yeah, it's weird. He's twenty years older than you."
"No, I meant..."
"If we hadn't gone through this clusterfuck, my dad and I would still be on shitty terms."
"You've forgiven him?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I'm getting there."
"Peyton, I..." He leaned down and kissed me.
"I'm sorry. I had to do that one last time."
As I reached for him, he pulled away. "I'm gonna go now. I should probably tell you my dad's downstairs with you mom, and it's kind of tense between them."
"Your dad's here?"
"We both wanted to see you. I got to go first."
"Of course you did."
He smiled and said. "I hope you get well soon, Riley."