Falling For You (Unbreakable #3)

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15.

Well…

Yes.

I felt dizzy.

I was lost in haze.

I was floating.

My knees were still buckling.

My skin couldn’t stop burning and I still wasn’t able to control my breathing.

The only memory of the fire in his eyes, of the way he was watching me as I was about to come…

Oh, goddammit!

That I fell for him hard?

That he´d conquered me?

There were no doubts about it!

I recalled the events of the early morning the second I woke up. I didn’t even open my eyes, I didn’t even start to perceive properly, yet I realized that one vital thing. I succumbed to him, I let him engulf me, I let him control my body.

And now, feeling his arms wrapped around me, I was so close to beg him to lay his hands on me again. To never stop touching me.

It had always felt divine to feel his scent next to me, to feel it all over me. It had always felt like paradise to find him lying next to me. To sense how he was pulling me closer to him. But this morning, after he let me imagine what it would be like to be his, I never wanted to belong to someone else.

“Good morning, Princess,” he whispered in my ear, kissing the terribly sensitive spot on my neck. And I almost shivered.

I admit, I was a little bit… Okey, fine! I was pretty scared to open my eyes. I had no idea how to behave, I couldn’t tell what kind of reaction I could expect of him. But playing possum obviously didn’t help me. I only assumed that when he was able to control my dreams, he also knew when they ended, when I woke up.

However, not that I had a choice, I hadn’t. I inwardly took a deep breath and looked at him. And the beautiful smile his lips stretched into took that breath away from me straightaway.

Exactly that smile which told me that my knees wouldn’t stop buckling so easily.

“Hi Eric,” I smiled at him, too.

I don’t know, I swear I don’t, suddenly there was an urge growing inside me. And I didn’t suppress it. I lifted my hand only to caress him, to run my fingers through his face.

And my demon closed his eyes under my touch. The peace I loved so much on him overpowered his expression once more, making me sure that he could cast magic too. Because I was bewitched.

Holy crap, I was fucked up!

There were lively sparks flaring up in his eyes as he fixed them on me again. And then I got his answer. A soft peck landed on my nose. Then on my forehead. The hellishly hot demon started to trail them all over my face. I burst out laughing as it tickled but my attempt to pull myself away from him epically failed.

For the second that morning, I had no other choice. I put my hands on his chest, I took advantage of the moment of surprise and pushed him away from me, making him lay on his back again. And in order to prevent him from another kissing – tickling attack, I sat up, I straddled him right away.

Oh!

It was very interesting how much energy I suddenly had!

I couldn’t say that my demon looked unhappy. That he was about to protest. His divine crooked smile told me what he thought about my karate – move. But there were also another hints. For example, the triumphant flash in his expression let me realize that I wasn’t the only one who had their way.

And then, there were his eyes.

The tenderness hidden in their depths made the beautiful brown color look even brighter. And he didn’t take them off me.

“Will you kiss me?”

The silent plea, the heartbreaking need in his voice forced me to sober up. I smiled, and perhaps not even knowing how, I bent to him.

I was pretty sure that there was nothing more torturous yet heavenly wonderful at the same time than the little gap between our mouths. I perceived his breath accelerating, I heard that short quiet moan he let out of his mouth. And just when I couldn’t bear it longer, our lips gently clashed in an embrace.

He took a deep breath as if it was the last breath he could ever take. I almost shivered for the second time as I felt his hands slowly roaming up my thighs. For a brief instant, I regretted wearing only shorts as the simple touch of his fingers burned my bare skin.

His lips were gently moving against mine, I swear they were coaxing me until I succumbed again and let him play with my tongue. I savored his taste, I savored him tasting me.

He gasped for an air as I parted our lips. Yet he didn’t hesitate to follow me, his fingers suddenly under my chin. He softly pulled my face back to him, back to his captivity as if he couldn’t stand the idea of our mouths to be apart. And I laughed quietly giving him one more kiss.

But my demon sighed heavily.

It surprised me; it wasn’t very clear to me why he sounded so frustrated. However, the opportunity to understand came right after. Maybe involuntarily, maybe reflexively, I slid with my pelvis down only to lean against his pretty tight pants.

Fuck!

How come it didn’t dawn on me earlier?!

I released all the tension within me a couple of hours ago. Thanks to him, I found myself in heaven. He, on the other hand, didn’t get anything in return. And I would have started to have a bad conscience if the apologetic look on his face hadn’t stopped me from thinking at all.

What?

Didn’t the boy know that that was the nicest compliment I could have received from him this morning?

“You know you’re to blame, don’t you?” I laughed as I wanted to make him laugh too. I teased him only to make him stop worrying.

However, I told the truth. All of his – “Princess, let me touch you. Dove, let me drive you insane.” – was not my idea.

Okay, fine!

He didn’t say that.

But he definitely did it to me.

He drove me absolutely crazy.

And my demon just curled his lips into a crooked smile and all of a sudden, his body relaxed. “It was totally worth it.”

What the hell?

My laughter backfired at me, I got stuck pondering what he´d meant by it. Did he want to say that his suffering was worth my pleasure? Huh?

I didn’t have the courage to ask. Not when he raised his hand to tuck my messy hair behind my ear.

“Are you mad at me?” Not when he threw me off balance with just that one question.

It didn’t take my brain long to start cooperating though. I recognized the fear that appeared in his eyes. My demon was truly scared that he´d crossed the line.

And I… Well, I still didn’t approve that he´d taken advantage of my dreams. But on the other hand, now I knew he craved me as much as I craved him. And this one little fact played in his favor.

“Unless you happened to notice,” I whispered, leaning to his lips again, “I enjoyed it. A lot.”

He laughed; my demon burst into a guffaw. The fear disappeared from his face and instead, I was getting drunk with his sudden cheerfulness.

“I like the good mood you´re in,” he spoke softly. His gaze dropped to my mouth, his breath stuttered and voilà, here we go again, my heart wanted to jump out of my chest again. “Maybe I should make sure that it will last whole day.”

I got it, oh, I totally got what he meant by that when his fingers slowly but intensely run through the inner side of my thighs.

Fuck!

If I thought I was close to begging him to touch me a moment ago, now I reached the boundary of my self-control.

And perhaps it was the look on his face or the smile on his lips that stopped me from beseeching. They clearly told me that he knew exactly what he was doing to me.

“And maybe,” I traced is lower lip with my thumb whispering, “we should go to school.”

I couldn’t let him get away with his teasing, right?

And my demon raised his eyebrows only to lower them right after that.

“That’s not a bad idea either,” he said with a husky voice. “Maybe we should get up too. I think Jim is thirty seconds from making the decision to check up on you. Whether you overslept.”

Oh!

Goddammit!

Suddenly, I couldn’t be more awake.

I immediately jumped out of the bed. I hurried to leave my room, to convince my uncle that no checking up was necessary. Especially if he didn’t want to find something he might not like. I swore to myself though that the hellishly hot demon would pay me back for that cheerful laugh.

And I wanted to keep my oath, I really did.

But the boy was unbearably cute making my day absolutely special.

Everywhere I went, he was around. Except the classes we didn’t share together, there wasn’t even a second which he wouldn’t have spent with me. And it felt divine indeed when he wrapped his arms around me and pressed me to his chest as we sat down on the bench at vending machines.

Well, yeah, the butterflies or ants or whatever it was that occupied my stomach were on red alert. And maybe it was because of their flittering or because of the tenderness which dominated his gaze, there came a moment when I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Eric?” I asked despite the circles he was painting on my neck with his tongue.

Yes, it was a fucking amazing feeling.

“What are we doing?”

He stiffened, I felt it and the fucking amazing feeling vanished as he stopped caressing my skin. However, my demon moved his lips to my ear, whispering softly into it: “You and I, Dove, I’m taking you out tonight.”

What?

Was that supposed to be a date?

I wasn’t sure what he meant exactly, but I was definitely in favor of this idea. Because talking about us, about everything that had happened between us during the big break wasn’t a good idea. Especially when I was dealing with the demon incapable of love.

I promised Mia to give him time and I guess… I don’t know, maybe time was everything that the boy needed to understand some things. Like for example, he should definitely know that kissing my neck this way could seriously harm me.

I mean… Addiction is pretty harmful, right?

I smiled at him and nodded softly in agreement. And it was definitely worth the smile his lips spread into. He stopped paying his attention to my neck, he fixed his mesmerizing eyes straight on my soul, leaning his forehead against mine.

“Will you come to the party with me?”

It took me a couple of seconds to realize the meaning of his silent question. And I… Actually no, I didn’t really get it.

“What party are you talking about?” I simply asked.

“Haven´t you noticed all those posters?” He laughed softly.

Huh?

Right… There were some posters hanging all over the building, I noticed them. But I wasn’t really able to perceive the world around me as the personification of demonic perfection kept me busy. How to stand and walk with my shaky knees, those were the problems that I needed to cope with.

Damn! How could his eyes be so bewitching?

“School´s organizing a party. We´re gonna celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its founding,” he explained to me without further hesitation. “On Friday in two weeks. And I want to take you there.”

Ehm.

Really?

“Oh! You mean this party!” I couldn’t help but tease him a little bit. “Collin already asked me, and I said yes. I had no idea you would like to go with me too.”

A flash of lightning lit his irises, my demon growled at me as he squeezed my hips, pulling me closer to him possessively. “Dove, don’t play with his life. Cause I´m…”

“Of course, I’ll go with you,” I said, interrupting him with a laugh. And perhaps saving Colin´s life along. Although yes, there was no point in lying to myself. I liked his whole reaction.

He exhaled heavily, searching for my gaze. He said nothing more about the party, yet there was something in his eyes, something urgent that made my breath stutter.

“You and me,” he only whispered, “our lips.”

And then he pressed his mouth to mine.

Yes, my head was spinning when I was forced to get up and head for my next class. I literally had to run away from his captivating influence.

But that was the last time I laughed that day.

“C´mon, Princess, ride with me,” my demon begged as we were already standing at a school parking lot. “We can stay at my place. Or we can switch cars and go somewhere. And then we can have a dinner on our way back. You promised me a date, remember?”

His plea made me smile. I didn’t hesitate to turn to him. I wanted to say yes as it sounded like a perfect plan. I already opened my mouth when the phone in my pocket vibrated. Instead of answering him, I froze.

It was my mom, my mom was calling me, and I failed to suppress the bad premonition while I kept staring at the screen. Because she´d never called me during the day when I´d been at school. She´d never approved me having such a distraction during the classes at the first place.

“Mom?” I picked it up as soon as I collected myself. Yet I was fully aware of my pounding heart.

“Baby,” she exhaled. However, I immediately recognized that she was crying.

“What´s going on?” I blurted out as I suddenly couldn’t wait even a second longer. Because something was going on.

“Joel,” she whispered. She whispered that one name, stopping the madly beating thing in my chest. I swear, something inside me just died. “He had a car accident.”

My gaze fell upon the dirty concrete underneath my feet. Even though smoking was prohibited on the school area, there were lots of cigarette butts lying at the curb. I perceived it; I perceived every detail. I perceived the hands that prevented me from slumping down.

It was everything, but not the logical thoughts that were rushing through my mind right now. Cause´ my big brother…

“Where is he?” I managed to ask despite the huge lump in my throat. “Tell me he´s alright! Mom! Tell me he´s alright, please!”

“He´s having an emergency surgery right now. He had an internal bleeding…”

No.

This wasn’t just a dream.

This wasn’t an ugly nightmare.

I really was holding my phone at my ear.

And my mom really said something like that.

“I hurried to the hospital as soon as Clarissa called but we don’t know much yet…”

“I have to go home,” I whispered, interrupting her. Because I had to. Because there was nothing more important than my almost brother. And I had to be there for him.

Even if it meant leaving my demon.

“No, baby…,

“Mom!” I couldn’t believe my on ears! I couldn’t believe that she wanted to stop me.

“Honey, listen to me,” she began with a soothing tone in her voice. Any other time, it would have helped. But not right now.

“He´s staying in intensive care unit. No one except his parents is allowed to see him. It would be pointless if you came home.”

What?

“Think about it. What if he doesn’t wake up for a few more day? Do you really want to waste your time in waiting room?”

Fuck!

“But Mom…” I exhaled heavily in defeat as it slowly but surely started to dawn on me. Even tough I didn’t want to admit it, she was right. I couldn’t be absent from school for too long, and by flying home now, I could deprive myself of the opportunity to see him later.

“Baby, come home when he gets better, okay?” she said, not allowing me to protest at all. “Until then, I promise to call you every hour with updates.”

Those damn cigarette butts, I didn’t want to look at them, I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to stand here and do nothing! For fuck´s sake, it was my almost brother, my Joel, whom we were talking about!

How could I calm myself down?!

My mother’s promise didn’t help. My demon’s breath, caressing my neck, his lips which he gently pressed to my skin didn’t help. At that moment I felt only hopelessness.

“What if he doesn’t get better?”

“Lara!” The sudden stern tone of her voice made me put myself together. “Don’t you dare even think about it! That´s not an option! Soon, there will be summer again, and I´m gonna have to scold both of you for playing your guitars until three in the morning!”

Holy crap!

I desperately wished to turn back time to these moments.

“Okay,” I gave up, deciding to comply to her and not to despair. But I forced her to swear once again that one of them would call me every hour even if there wasn’t any news. Even if nothing changed. Maybe only then was I willing to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t drive straight to the airport from here.

The firm arms hid me as soon as I ended the call only to soothe me a second later. He let me wet his T-shirt with my tears and I didn’t desire anything else. Just so he never stops stroking my hair like that.

“Dove, it’ll be alright. I swear, it will be alright,” he hugged my face with his palms, giving me no other choice that to look into the tenderness of his eyes. “Come home with me. Let me take care of you.”

I opened my mouth again. For the second time, I wanted to say yes to him. I wanted to beg him to take me out of there. But as soon as my gaze wander behind him, I realized that if I had thought that my world had just collapsed, it still could have been worse.

I saw her.

A beautiful blonde girl standing next to his car. Sophie, his ex-girlfriend who was watching us now. Who was waiting for him again.

As if I got shot with a soft-point bullet. That’s how it felt. I swear I felt something striking my chest only to expand there, causing massive devastation and heavy bleeding.

The news about Joel completely destroyed me, crushed me, broke me.

But this, this was the bullet that tore apart everything that came in its way. I didn’t want anything anymore, I simply wanted to lay down and bleed out.

“No,” I pulled away from him, “you already have a girl to take care of. I will never be a third wheel.”

He frowned confused but it didn’t take him long to turn around, to search for the reason of my answer. And I knew he understood when his whole body froze.

“Princess,” he whispered, yet I recognized the lump in his throat. “It’s not …”

“Damn, fuck, no!”

Out of the blue, the burning rage, emerging from somewhere deep inside me completely overwhelmed me. And I only knew I wasn’t able to suppress it. That there was no strength left in me to fight, to lie to myself, to keep deceiving my heart.

“Don’t say that fucking phrase again! I hate it!”

“Lara,” his voice hardened, “could you please trust me …”

A cloudburst, a storm, a hurricane. Even a typhoon couldn’t be so powerful as the fit of fury that his words triggered in me.

“Excuse me?” I whispered, I did, I whispered as if it could help me control myself. But no, simply no, the outburst swept me away like a leaf in a tornado.

“I should trust you? And what the hell do you think I’ve been doing for the last six months?! I accepted you exactly as you are! I respected your secrets that you didn’t want to tell me anything! I didn’t care who or what you are! All that mattered to me was who you were when you were with me. Whether you were with me!”

The tears falling down from my eyes turned into a never-ending stream, and I stopped fighting them. Suddenly, there was only fatigue I felt, I was terribly tired. I couldn’t find even a bit of energy to try to weasel out of this bullshit.

“Tell me, Eric, how dare you to ask me to trust you after you tore me apart! Twice! How dare you to ask me to overlook that your ex-girlfriend picks you up regularly while you kiss me, while you touch me …!”

My head fell into my hands, I didn’t want to keep watching as my world was breaking into shreds. All of a sudden, I couldn’t take it anymore.

My blurred vision prevented me from seeing his whole reaction, but I didn’t want to look at him. I turned away, I headed to my car as there was nothing else I needed to say. I just needed to get out. Simply be gone.

The car keys almost slipped out of my shaking hands, but I didn’t care, I longed to be as far away from him as possible. Still, it was his hand that wrapped around my belly, pulling me back to him.

“Dove, please, you shouldn’t drive now.”

It was strange how soothing his voice sounded after everything I´d told him. In huge contrast to how mad I was.

With all my remaining strength, I tried to break free of his grip. I didn’t think, I stopped thinking as I opened my mouth: “Leave me alone, Eric! Don’t touch me, don’t you ever dare to touch me again! I don’t want anything from you! I don’t want anything to do with you, I don’t want you! I only want you to leave me fucking alone!”

And he…

He obeyed.

I didn’t feel his hand on my body anymore. It was no longer his chest that I was leaning against. He didn’t try to stop me; he didn’t try to calm me down. My demon let me go.

I’d never driven so slowly before, as the damn tears couldn’t stop falling down my face. There was perhaps a moment when I had to stop, when another burst of crying made me stop.

My almost brother was fighting for his life.

My demon was never really mine.

I jerked when I heard my phone ringing again, I immediately grabbed it expecting more news about Joel. But there was Jessica´s name shining on the screen this time.

“Lara, where are you?” The careful tone of her voice clearly indicated that she knew what had happened. And she confirmed my presumption with her heavy sigh. “Eric called me and told me everything. How are you? Are you alright?”

“Don’t worry about me, Jess,” I shook my head even though she couldn’t see me. “I´ve just got home. I´ll be alright.”

I tried to act tough, to play Rambo in front of her. But the girl obviously knew better.

“Listen,” she began a little uncertainly, “my parents own a small cottage near the Rose Lake. What if I called Beckie too, and we would throw another slumber party? Just the three of us. You´ll get out of the town, out of the stereotype. You´ll buck up a little bit. What do you say?”

To say it sounded tempting?

No.

Not at the moment.

I didn’t want anything. At that moment, I truly didn’t want anything. Just to keep lying down and bleeding.

But she was right.

It was a poor attempt to escape all the bullshit, but it was an attempt.

“When will you pick me up?” I myself got scared of how lifeless my voice sounded.

“In thirty minutes,” she promised, letting me feel a glimmer of hope. It vanished right after that though.

I threw myself heavily on the sofa, leaving the front door opened for her. Somewhere at the back of my brain, I was aware that I should pack up. But I didn’t care. I truly didn’t care if I stayed in the same clothes the whole weekend.

I jerked for the second time when my phone reminded itself again. I pulled it hastily out of my pocket only to spot Jim´s name. Yes, I felt a slight disappointment and yes, I really wasn’t in a mood for somebody else to try to calm me down. However, he was my uncle, and I might have had the feeling that I needed his permission if I wanted to stay at Jessica´s for two days.

“Honey!”

Oh!

The cheerful tone of his voice told me that Jim had no idea, that Eric hadn’t told him anything. That he wasn’t calling to check up on me.

“What´s up Jimmy?” I decided not to spoil his mood and act like I hadn’t been crying.

“You know,” he said but then he got stuck, making me understand that he wanted something from me. “Do you remember the medical conference I and Will attended back in December?”

The pain in my chest intensified as a flash of memory crossed my mind. Oh, I remembered. Of course I remembered the week I´d lived at my demon´s place. I remembered what it felt like to have my heart complete and unbroken.

“Well…,” he began again, and I had to suppress the urge to tell him to spill it out. “Professor Kingsley who asked us to present our scientific paper there actually liked our work. He offered us a laboratory to make some further research. I thought we could realize it during he summer when you´re gonna be at home but he organized it for the following two weeks.”

What?

Does that mean…?

“But I won´t go anywhere if you aren’t okey with…”

“Of course, I am!” I blurted out without thinking. I mean, I didn’t like the idea of Jim leaving me again. Yet, I didn’t want to be a burden. I couldn’t stand between him and his career.

“Really? Are you sure, honey?”

No.

I´m not.

“Yes, I am, Jimmy. You have to go, okey? I think I can handle myself at the age of seventeen. Besides, you´re not gonna be gone for two years.”

I heard him sigh heavily, quite heavily to make me realize that he wanted to go. But he didn’t want me to stay alone.

“Actually, I´ve been thinking.” I might have had the impression that I wouldn’t like what he was about to say. And I was right. “Wouldn’t you like to stay with Eric and Tamara again?”

Right, my bleeding heart waved at me again. Just upon hearing his name.

“That´s a good idea,” I didn’t hesitate to lie only to make Jim feel satisfied. “I´ll talk to him.”

“Perfect! Thank you, honey!”

I was happy for my uncle; I swear I was. Even though it dawned on me a second later. That I would be here alone. Absolutely alone as I didn’t intend to disrupt my demon´s dates with his lovely ex-girlfriend.

Just me.

And my depression.

“Don’t thank me, Jim,” I took a breath. “There is something I want in return.”

He didn’t disappoint me, he´d never disappointed me. As soon as I promised him to come back on Sunday afternoon before he supposed to leave, I got my permission to spend the weekend at Jessica´s.

Suddenly, the empty house seemed too scary. Suddenly, that fucking feeling that the emptiness inside me would swallow me, overwhelmed me. I needed to gasp for air but there was no oxygen around me. Suddenly I perceived too vividly every and each second when my whole world was falling apart.

It was Jess who packed some clothes for me. She said nothing about my expression of a zombie. And I didn’t say a word as well. Yet I was really grateful when she grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet and got me into her car.

We picked up Beckie and stopped at the grocery to buy some food for the following two days. But I was only capable of giving them my money and waiting for them outside. All I was interested in was my Jack, the only guy who had never let me down.

I had a shot of that burning amber liquid.

I swept the terrace of that stunning cottage.

Mom called that nothing had changed.

I had another shot.

I cleaned up some fireplace logs that had rolled down from a pile, stored in the shed. Maybe I even tried to chop some wood.

Oscar called that nothing had changed.

I had a shot.

I uprooted weeds around the wild snowdrops, the only signs of upcoming spring.

Dave called that nothing had changed.

I knocked back another shot.

I saw them, I was fully aware of both of my friends watching me through the kitchen window. I knew they wanted to talk to me, to ask whether I was alright. And I was very grateful that they didn’t do it, that they just let me deal with my bullshit alone. I needed to do something, to keep doing these little nonsenses just so I didn’t have to think.

Because Joel’s health wasn’t the only thing bothering me.

My bad conscience joined the party in my head, and it took a brief moment for it to overwhelm my thoughts completely.

It was anger and pain that spoke out of me instead of common sense. And now, as I calmed down, I started to regret every word I´d said to my demon.

I didn’t know what was going on between him and Sophie. I didn’t even let him explain it to me. Even though he´d never lied to me, I didn’t even let him talk.

I promised it. I promised Mia not to give up on him. I promised her to give him time. And I broke my oath not even twenty-four hours after.

It wasn’t him; it was me who didn’t deserve his forgiveness.

It wasn’t him; it was me who didn’t deserve his attention.

I didn’t deserve him.

I tried to call him. But all of my hope died when he didn’t answer. Something in me truly broke down when he didn’t call me back. I lost the will to breathe when my phone ran out of battery.

My best friend forgot to pack the charger along with my clothes. And maybe it wouldn’t have been such a disaster. I just asked my mom to call Jessica´s phone with news. Maybe I wouldn’t have missed my phone at all.

If I hadn’t been dying to know whether he changed his mind. Whether he didn’t try to reach me later.

However, no.

It was the first thing I did when I got home. I put my phone on charge and switched it on again. There was nothing there though. I had no missed calls. No text messages.

And all I could have done was to stretch my lips into a fake smile as I was saying goodbye to Jim. I didn’t want him to worry. I didn’t want him to know how torn I felt inside.

I swore to my uncle one last time that I would be alright. But I wasn’t so sure about it as soon as the door closed behind him. All of a sudden, I stayed alone. Completely alone in an empty house.

I threw myself on my bed, I kept staring at the screen. I kept hypnotizing my phone waiting for another call, another news. Hoping I would survive the following night.

“Laraaaaa,” Oscar shouted into my ear when I picked up, forcing my heart to speed up immediately. “Fuck! I love that boy!”

Yeah, I think that pounding thing in my chest stopped working right after that.

“What the hell are you blabbering about, Oscar? What boy?” I snapped at him. After the torturous weekend, I simply didn’t have the energy to put up with his jokes. Not when there were damn important news, I expected from him. “How’s Joel?”

He burst into a guffaw; the asshole really laughed …

Wait…!

Was he really joking?

“Why don’t you ask him yourself?”

What?

Fuck!

What?

“Hi honey.”

Tears started to fall down my face automatically as I heard that one voice. It sounded pretty hoarse and weak, but it really belonged to my almost brother. “How are you?”

“Holy crap, Joey!” I shrieked not believing my ears. “How am I? How are you? How do you feel? C´mon, tell me! Are you feeling better? You´re feeling better, right?”

“Well, it sucks, but I’m alive,” he laughed softly, and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing through my tears. “Hearing you helps though. You´ve gotta tell me how you´re doing.”

“The last three days were worse than an excursion in Hell itself,” I admitted. “Don’t you dare to scare me like that anymore!”

I needed someone to pinch me so I would realize that I wasn’t dreaming. That I really heard Joey´s chuckling.

“I´m sorry, hon,” he said like he had no idea that I could never be mad at him.

“And my mom didn’t even allow me to come to see you! I am so sorry for not being there for yo…”

“What are you talking about, hon?” he interrupted me with his typical soothing tone. “You´re just one phone call away. And your mom´s right. We wouldn’t have much fun together if you came now. What about your Spring Break? That´s in three weeks! Can you come home then? I´ll try my best not to look like Frankenstein till then. Deal?”

Damn!

The Spring Break!

That´s a perfect idea!

“Actually,” he overtook me not giving me time to agree enthusiastically. “Could you please thank your boy for me? And his Dad of course. I wasn’t awake yet when they left.”

What the hell…?

“What do you mean, Joey?” I asked. I did, yet a very strange premonition suddenly overpowered me. “Who should I thank to?”

Silence fell between us, a frightening silence and for those couple of seconds, I guess, I wasn’t able to breathe.

“Eric,” my almost brother said, having no idea that he´d just taken even my last breath away. “I need you to thank Eric for me that he persuaded his Dad to come to look at me. And I´m begging you to thank Will too for coming. I have no clue what kind of pills he prescribed to me, but I feel a lot better.”

I was…

No, I wasn’t able… I… The darkness, the blackness, the eclipse, the complete loss of my brain.

“What?” I whispered, incapable of controlling my voice. “What did you say?”

“Didn’t you know about that?”

No! No! No!

This is simply…

“No,” I told him the truth, closing my eyes as the flash of memory crossed my mind.

“Dove, it’ll be alright. I swear it will be alright.”

“Did you two have a fight again?” Even the fit of cough, Joel burst into didn’t scare me so much as his question. Cause´… How the hell could he know about it? “Oscar says that he looked terrible. You should take care of him, hon. He´s a good guy.”

Fuck!

I wanted to answer him, I wanted to confess. I wanted to tell him how bitchy I was to my demon. But another flash ran through my head, and I got stuck with my mouth opened.

My injured hand, he took into his palms. And when he released me there were no wounds covering my skin while his hand was injured instead.

“I will,” I said mechanically as there were millions of thoughts flooding my brain.

No… Please, just…

I…

What have I done?

“Oh, hon,” Joel´s disappointed voice immediately brought me back to reality. “My nurse is here. She brought me my meds. I´ll be sleeping like a baby within one minute. Can I call you tomorrow?”

“Don’t you dare not to call me, Joey,” I laughed trying to ignore another rush of tears.

I wished I could capture at least something of those insane thoughts that my hemispheres were full of. But no, I was only capable of staring at my screen again after I said goodbye to my almost brother.

To the boy I´d always considered as my brother and who was getting better. Who was healing. Thanks to my demon whom I´d fucked off three days ago. Thank to the hellishly envoy who didn’t look terrible because we´d had a nasty fight. He looked terrible because he´d passed Joel´s injuries on himself.

Goddammit!

How could I be so stupid?

How…?

Why did he do that?

Why did he care?

I jumped off my bed at the light speed. I had no idea how, when, what, why. At that moment, I just knew one thing. I had to go apologize to him. Immediately.

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