I let out a deep breath as I sat down on my bed.
Once we had gotten home and Michelle determined we were all in one piece, I ran straight to my room. After the night I had and trying to keep Nikki safe, I wasn’t exactly in the mood for small talk. Plus, I knew Tyler was going to grill Nikki for an explanation once Curtis announced that she had been crying in his vehicle.
Tyler was probably going to give me shit and I deserved it, but not tonight.
Just as I was about to light up a cigarette, there was a single knock on my door and then it swung open, Nikki storming in.
“You’re bleeding.” She stated, looking at my arm.
I shrugged. “I’ve definitely had worse.”
“Do you want me to bandage it?”
I laughed. “You’re being nice? I might die of shock. Either that or I’m dreaming.”
“You told Tyler.” She said, kicking the door shut behind me.
“Told him what?”
I nodded. “He caught on himself though; he just asked if it was true.”
“No point in keeping secrets anymore.” She shrugged. “He’s the one that told you I had an abortion. So, you know, I wasn’t calling your phone and trying to get a hold of you for no goddamn reason. It was because I was pregnant.”
I flinched and for a moment she didn’t say a word. The guilt was overwhelming. I wondered a lot of things. How far along was she, did she want it. Would it have been a boy or a little girl. Would it have had her blue eyes? God dammit.
Why was there a part of me that wanted her to keep it? And why did that hurt so bad?
“You know you didn’t deserve the shit Rick put you through, right?” I asked her.
“It is what it is. I’m not cryin’ over the kid. I thought that was pretty damn obvious.”
“Did you love him?”
She shook her head.
“What about Mark?”
“Just someone to sleep next to. Well, we never really spent the night. But just someone so I wasn’t completely alone.” She snorted. “As you can see, that worked out perfectly.”
“You can’t fuck your way out of a lonely heart, Nick.”
“Yeah well, this isn’t some fucking fairy tale and I’m not looking for prince charming. This is the ghetto, Shane. That shit doesn’t happen here.”
“Why do you always act like you don’t deserve better?”
“Because I don’t. This is the way it is. I’d be out of my fucking mind if I ever thought I could get out of the hood. I’m in for life now. There’s no changing me.”
“Who said you don’t deserve shit?”
I raised an eyebrow at her.
“What? I don’t. I’ve got enough demons to last me a life time.”
“And you think I don’t?”
I’d killed enough people to be put away for the rest of my life and then some.
“You’re not the only killer.” She whispered, and that’s when I jumped up.
“You know I didn’t mean that. I was hoping if I pissed you off that you would stay home.
She shook her head. “No. I don’t mean that.”
“What are you talking about Nikki?”
“I’m way more fucked up than you think. I killed someone when I was twelve, so your whole romantic bullshit about how you couldn’t ever let me become like you was pointless because I had already taken someone’s life before you and I were even a thing.”
“I did what I had to do. Ty and Kristen promised not to tell anyone. But it fucked with me. We were home alone and a Crip came in and grabbed Kristen. I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Don’t push me away. Let me in, Nikki. Please, let me in. I wanna help you.”
“Nobody can help me. Sometimes people can’t be helped. You gotta face the fact that not everyone can be fixed. I’m damaged beyond repair.”
“I’m not leaving this time, Nikki. I promise.”
“You have a tendency not to keep promises so I don’t think that’s the best way to win me over.”
I took a deep breath before looking down at her.
“You never told me you were pregnant.” I said, “I would’ve helped you.”
“You were already in jail.” She shrugged.
“You think anyone would want me anyway?” She asked me, pointing to the various scars across my body. “Look at me, Shane! I’m fucking ruined. It’s blood deep.”
“No, you’re not.” I shook my head. “So, quit thinkin’ that. This is ’cause of Mark and Rick and even me, isn’t it? We left so you don’t think you’re good enough?”
“I always wondered why I wasn’t enough for you. Just you.”
“Shit, Nikki. It was always you. Nobody else.” I tilted her chin up so she could look at me.
“What do you want me to say? I still love you and as much as I want to hate you I just can’t?”
“Did you just tell me you still loved me?” I swear for a minute my heart stood still.
“I’ve got these feelings for you and I don’t know what to do. And I can’t fight it anymore because it’s driving me insane.”
Before I could say anything to her, she grabbed my hair, pulling my face down as her lips met mine.