The Road Between

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Chapter 16: Shattered

Aviana's POV

As the door shut behind him I crumbled to the floor. I pulled my knees tightly to my chest in a desperate attempt to hold my shattering form together.

I had thought I was broken before I came here, now though I was destroyed. All because I had allowed myself to trust a man.

"Stupid stupid stupid." I chanted in between the sobs that racked my body.

I don't know how long I laid there. It could have been hours or only minutes before there was a faint knock on the door.

I ignored it just pulling my knees tighter as if worried I would literally fall apart if I relaxed my pose.

The door opened slowly and Scarlet walked in glancing around the room. She froze shocked when she saw me.

"Avi?!" She asked, sounding so concerned it brought a fresh wave of agony. "God, what happened? What's wrong? Are you hurt?"

She rushed over kneeling in front of me.

I managed to shake my head indicating that I wasn't hurt. And I wasn't, at least not in the way she meant.

"What happened?" She asked furiously.

"N-nothing." I gasped fighting to regain control. "I'm... fine..."

"Clearly." She muttered, but instead of pushing she scooted next to me wrapping her arms around me and pulling me closer.

I buried my head into her shoulder, crying until I couldn't anymore. I was suddenly exhausted and extremely thirsty.

"You hungry?" Scarlet asked after I had calmed down.

I shook my head. "I could use a drink though."

She chuckled, "Well I'm starving, come on."

She stood then walked over to the door before looking back at me. "Are you coming?" She asked, frowning slightly.

I shook my head slowly, "You go ahead." I couldn't chance seeing Liam until I was sure I had regained complete control of myself.

When Scarlet got back she wasn't alone. Natalie carried a binder of movies we had used for our slumber parties and a two liter of diet coke and a bottle of wine.

Scarlet had a tray with snacks and my favorite pizza as well as three wine glasses. She knew I didn't drink but always brought me one for my soda claiming I deserved a fancy cup too.

I watched as they turned on my favorite movie and set everything up before Scarlet walked over to me offering her hand with a small smile.

I took her hand trying my hardest to smile back.

"So Nat, how did it go with Mason yesterday?" Scarlet asked after we got settled into our spots.

"Good, I think. I told him I was done with his games and we were over." Natalie shrugged before frowning slightly.

"How did he take it?" Scarlet asked the question I was thinking.

"As well as was expected..." Natalie said awkwardly.

I wondered if I really was imagining that she had winced at the question. I didn't think so because even Scarlet frowned ready to ask another question.

"How about you and Adam?" Natalie smiled, quickly changing the subject. "I saw you two kiss at the party last night."

It worked, Scarlet was thoroughly distracted and beaming at the reminder.

"He asked me out last night. We are going out to dinner tonight. Can you believe it? He likes me!" She squealed.

Natalie and I shared a look before rolling our eyes. For being so observant towards others Scarlet was blind when it came to herself.

"Well, duh." I managed, my voice was still rough but stronger.

"Seriously I have been telling you that for years!" Natalie said exasperated.

Scarlet shrugged, biting her lip and looking sheepishly at as.

It worked. They managed to district me and keep me entertained until that night when I finally fell back asleep. The bed felt too large though, cold and empty. I never would have thought a single night could change everything so drastically.

Over the next week I barely left my room. When I did I avoided not only Liam but conversation with just about everyone. I only really talked to Scarlet and Natalie now, and even then I struggled to show interest in anything. I also went back to wearing only jeans and a sweatshirt, but not Liams.

Two days after the pool party I had folded up Liams black hoodie and the leather jacket he had left in my room and placed them outside his door.

After a couple days Scarlet gave up on finding out what had happened. I didn't want to talk about it, I wanted to forget it ever happened. I knew that wasn't possible, so I decided ignoring it was the next best thing. If I was honest with myself, ignoring it was all I could handle.

Despite my avoidance, I was sure Scarlet knew it had something to do with Liam. If only because she saw the way I walked out the second he walked into a room, or the way I shut down the second he came up in any conversation. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't make myself not react.

Scarlet and Adams' date had gone very well and he had asked her to be official the same night. It seemed crazy to me, but I was glad they were happy.




Liam's POV

As the next month passed all I could think of was the pain and betrayal on Aviana's face. I had wanted so badly to tell her the truth when she asked what it meant. I wanted nothing more than to tell her I loved her, that it meant I never wanted to let her go. I couldn't though. Admitting that out loud to anyone would not only be admitting my greatest weakness, but it would be putting a target on her back.

I was the leader of a mob, a kingpin with far more enemies than friends. She deserved so much more and I knew if I had told her the truth she wouldn't get it. She was safer and much better off this way.

I convinced myself of this as I fought to suppress the pain of my decision. Ignoring the aching in my chest that never seemed to fade.

Two days after the pool party, I had woken up to find my jacket and black hoodie outside my door. I brought them in and set the hoodie on my desk. I threw the leather jacket on the bed and stared at the sweater as tears filled my eyes. I cried for the first time in years.

Even a month later, I still couldn't get myself to move it, it felt wrong to have it in my room again.

My state of mind was affecting my work horribly as well. I couldn't even focus on the simplest things.

I don't know what I would have done without Adam there to pick up the slack and point out my stupid mistakes.

"What's going on with you man?!" Adam asked after I had almost paid double for a shipment.

"Nothing." I snapped, frustrated with myself.

"Bull shit." He met my gaze, challenging me to argue. "It has to something to do with Avi. You have been avoiding each other for weeks."

It wasn't a question. I looked up across the desk in my office where he sat studying me intently.

He stared back waiting calmly. I knew he was done with the excuses, he wouldn't give up. I sighed, resigned, before looking back down.

"Fine we had sex. You happy?" I asked, sliding another paper across the desk for him to check.

He didn't even look down at it.

"No because that should make you happy." He pointed out, still watching me. "So what happened."

"Nothing." I sighed, suddenly unable to think enough to even continue writing.

I stared at the paper hoping if I stared hard enough it would all make sense again.

"Clearly."

"Fine!" I snapped, slamming my pen down and standing up bent over the desk. "I couldn't do it! Okay?!"

"Do what?" His voice was still calm, expression unfazed by my outburst.

I groaned and started pacing. I ran a hand through my hair.

"I can't put her in harm's way. I can't target her like that!" I said angrily.

"I'm confused. I thought it was just sex, you used to hook up all the time." Adam feigned confusion, but there was a knowing look in his eyes.

"No!" I shouted slamming my palms on the wall.

I stood there for a moment in silence. Then as I felt a tear slide down my cheek and I whispered. "I love her."

The room was silent for a long moment. I blinked away tears fighting a knot in my throat. Danm, that girl could drive me crazy.

"I know." Adam finally responded coolly. "I just needed to be sure you knew."

"Why?" I sighed turning so I could lean back against the wall.

"Because you are fucking everything up." I looked at him dumbfounded as he walked to stand in front of me.

"Sometimes, Adam, I think you forget who you are talking to." I snapped halfheartedly.

He laughed one loud humorless sound, "Oh get over yourself. I know you better than you think. This act was just getting old before, but now you are hurting people you care about." He threw his hands up exasperated with the last words.

I just rolled my eyes looking out the window over his shoulder.

He sighed, shaking his head.

"I am trying to keep everyone safe, run this company, and now defend my territory. She is my weakness." I growled in frustration.

"Our territory!" He snapped, poking my chest hard. "You are not in this alone!"

I smacked his hand away and shoved him back. I stepped away from the wall, my hands balling into tight fists.

He stumbled slightly but recovered quickly shoving me back then dodging my fist as it flew through the air where his face had been only moments ago. He caught my next attempt in the palm of his hand.

I was suddenly stunned I had won every fight we had had since he joined, and I knew he wasn't one to ever throw a fight. Now though I was slow, lethargic, and distracted.

"So you say she's your weakness. Tell me this Liam, do you feel stronger now that you sent her away? Do you feel powerful knowing that you broke her heart?" He shoved back on my hand making me step back to maintain my balance.

"I didn't..." I started, sagging back against the wall again.

"Shut up." He said angrily, "I know you're avoiding her so you wouldn't know that she looks like she did when she first got here guarded, defeated, and miserable. Not that she will say why. Now for some reason she hasn't left that room," He pointed angrily to the door, "For three days! Do you still think you are protecting her?"

I just hung my head more confused and frustrated than before.

"Then ask yourself, who are you really protecting?" He snapped before storming out slamming the door behind him.

I had rarely seen Adam mad but that only made it more prominent when he was.

"Shit." I said quietly looking up at the ceiling.
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