Always Alone

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Chapter Twenty-Three

D E V I N

I JOLT FROM the bed, my heart beating so dangerously fast it burns my chest. I dig my nails into my arms, bringing myself back to the present. My index fingers press against my temples, willing the memories to leave, willing the voices to shush.

It's no use. It's too late. The memories have triggered them, their voices fast-tracking in the middle of the night.

"Why did she give you that journal, Devin?" his words are whispers in the wind. "She knows. She knows and she's going to do the same thing Dad did."

Stop! Leave me alone. Not now. Not when she's sleeping next to me.

"Why? Why should I leave you alone?"

Please, get out. Don't bring Dad into this. Don't bring Genny into this. I can't.

"She's going to kill herself just like Dad. Dad. Dad. Red. Red. Red."

No! Stop.

Please, someone, make it stop. Genny?

"She's going to leave you just like Dad," his evil voice whispers.

"She won't," the Lady murmurs, her voice low compared to his.

"You'll be alone. Again."

"You're stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. No one wants you."

Stop! Get out. Get out! You're not letting me think. Why are they back?

I'm tired of listening to them. I'm sick of them being the reason why I'm so messed up. I don't know who to listen to. I don't know how to find my own voice.

My gaze shifts to Genny. Her body is tangled in sheets of cotton. Her chest is rising and falling with every inhale and exhale. A curtain of golden hair covers her rosy cheeks. My fingers tingle to swipe it and reveal her green eyes, but I know they're closed.

Shit, I need to see those eyes. The same pale as mine. The same transparency.

"Genny," I whisper.

Her gaze pierces my dark soul, sending glossy rays through the small cracks in the wall of secrets I've hidden from her.

"She doesn't want to hear your sob story. She just wants to have fun."

"Yeah?" she questions, her voice sleepy.

I chase his conniving voice away. I won't let him hurt her. I won't let my secrets hurt her more than they already have. Taking a shallow breath, I let the words roll out of my mouth.

"Dad had his own demons and although Mom loved him with everything she had, she wasn't a fan of letting us spend time unsupervised. I can't remember more than one time where it was only just us two, without Mom or my sisters around. There was just someone always there.

"Until one day where it was just us two. I don't know how it happened, but we were finally alone, and happy. He came up with the idea of surprising Mom and my sisters with a meal to show them that he and I could be alone. We cooked and joked and laughed.

"Out of nowhere, he changed moods. I will never forget his facial expression. It went from joyful to somber, his eyes were vacant, dead. He went rushing to his room. I followed behind only to see him in bed covered in darkness. He was crying and asked why I didn't love him. I didn't understand what he meant; everything I'd ever done was love him.

"After I told him so, his sadness was gone like that. He was back to being himself, laughing, joking, smiling. He told me he left a present on my bed. I went running to my room with the idea of another toy to play with. I found a journal, just like the one you gave me.

"He had written a note saying to use it to record my thoughts and to write to him when he was gone. I went outside to tell him I didn't understand his present. When I passed by the kitchen something caught my eye. There was just...so much red. Red everywhere.

"Dripping from the counters, on the floor, covering my dad's lifeless body. I...I didn't bother touching him. I didn't try to see if he was okay. I didn't try to save him. I just ran back to my room, grabbed the first thing I could find to write and wrote to him. Genny, my dad died because of a lie. He died believing a lie, believing I didn't love him."

"I'm sorry, Devin. I'm so sorry," she says, her thumbs wiping under my eyes.

"When I got older, my mom told me that Dad was ill. He was bipolar. I didn't know much about the disorder, so I did some research and that's when everything started clicking into place. All the fun times we'd spent together, why Mom didn't want me alone with him; the sudden mood swings. His fights with Mom that made Camila cry. My research wasn't enough; I wanted to understand the disorder better, not just for Dad, but for me, so I started going to group meetings and that's how I met Alexa."

Genny raises herself from the mattress and pads closer to me. She kneels in front of me and looks at me with those big eyes that make we believe in something more.

"Why are you telling me this when I know it's tearing you apart? You don't have to do this if you don't want to. If you're not ready."

"Because I want us forever, not just now. And Genevieve, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for hurting you and pushing you away when you didn't deserve it. You've given me so much, so many chances. I haven't been honest about who I am or my past. I want to change that, let me change that."

"Okay." She smiles a smile as bright as the sun. She kisses me with such passion as if nothing else matters but her and me. Her lips are fire against mine, burning the bridges of voices inside my head.

I probe her to open her mouth for me. She moans from deep within her throat, abiding. Our tongues swipe and press on each other's, kindling my body with ardent need. Her hips rise and grind in my cladded groin.

"I want you. I want you so much," I say breathlessly. My hand twists a sensitive nipple as her hips continue rotating against mine.

"Devin, wait. There's something you should know about me, too." I still on top of her, wondering what she has to say. Her legs untangle from my hips.

The only sound in the room is the beating of our hearts and our hoarse breathing.

"I want you, too, Devin. I want you so bad it literally hurts me to say no, but I know I have to." She hesitates only for a little before saying, "I'm saving myself for marriage."

"Oh, um, shit." I swipe a hand over my face. I did not see that coming. In the months we've been together, I've never seen her reading the Bible or going to church, so saying this news takes me by surprise is more than accurate. "You're a virgin?"

"Yes."

"Fuck."

"I...I know it's unusual, and I understand if you'd want to break up with me because of this."

Is she insane? Why would she think I'd want to break up with her? "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying I need to be married before I have sex."

"I know that, Corazón. I got that part. I just didn't know people still practiced celibacy. Can we do other things?"

"We are not having anal sex!" she shouts.

"No. Not anal sex." I laugh. "I was talking about oral?"

"Oh." She seems to consider the idea but dismisses it rapidly. "I don't think that's allowed."

"Allowed? It's your body, you can do whatever you want with it."

"I know," she says, "and I want to save myself."

"I might not understand your decision and I might not agree with your views, but I will never pressure you into doing something you don't want to do. If you want to wait, then we'll wait. Just please promise not to divorce me when you see my blue balls," I joke around, eliciting a laugh from her belly.

Jokes set aside, I tell her, "I hope you know that a marriage will only survive if the two people in it love each other unconditionally, whether you saved yourself or not it doesn't matter because it will always come down to love."

She looks down at my knee as her fingers form loops on my skin. With all the courage she possesses, her eyes meet mine as she asks, "And you Devin, do you love me?"

How can I not? My lips tug on the corners at her silly question. My love for her is like a parasite infiltrating my heart with no mercy like a drug weakening my willpower. I went from liking her to needing her.

"Wholeheartedly."

Slowly as if in slow motion her eyes light up with the nightly moon, turning the brightest green I've ever seen. Her lips turn into a luminous smile that illuminates her whole being.

"I love you, too."

She thinks I hurt her whenever I push her away. She's wrong. It's the other way around. The fact that she loves me, that she always comes back and looks at me with eyes filled with a love I don't deserve, hurts more than anything.

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