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Chapter 14

“You’re right. It ain’t my fault at all and I know that. I know he’s sorry too because he’s told me often enough. I guess I just don’t understand what I ever did to make him wanna do something like that in the first place.”

“Prick’s lucky it wasn’t me who rolled up in there,” Miranda snarled. “Dad says you can still press charges.”

“Your daddy’s the best, Mir, but I think Tristan’s learned his lesson,” I snuggled closer to my best friend.

“I know he is. He’s the total bomb,” Miranda giggled. “You also have us, Amb. We won’t let you fight this battle alone. And the boys won’t either, especially Brock.”

“That’s another problem, y’all. He’s beating himself up over this. He swears it’s all his fault he wasn’t there to protect me. I keep telling him it’s not his job to protect me but he’s not listening to me.”

“That’s because he’s in love with you, sweetie,” Danica giggled. “He’s so crazy about you! Of course he’s going to feel it’s his fault. He sees himself as your knight in shining armor, your Prince Charming. Roman says he’s beat himself to a pulp over this.”

“Oh bless his heart. I don’t want him to do that! I need to talk to him and find a way to make him listen to me.” I fished my phone out of my purse. I quickly pulled up his number and fired off a text. “He’s gone listen to me, even if he don’t want to.” The girls laughed.

“That’s our girl!” Dani grinned. “You get him, honey!” I looked at the three girls around me. I felt so much better and these ladies had a big hand in that.

“I love y’all!” I exclaimed. “I don’t think I could get through this life without you guys!”

“Yeah we know. We are pretty awesome, aren’t we?” Miranda giggled. My phone pinged with Brock’s answer. He would come pick me up after my day at the spa. I squared my shoulders and smiled a genuine smile for the first time in what felt like forever.

True to his word, Brock picked me up and took me to his house at my request. I had asked to hang out with him away from Mama. I loved Mama but since the incident, she’s become something akin to smothering though she tries really hard not to be. She constantly asks me if I’m ok and won’t let me lift a finger to do anything. She’s called JuJu and so many conversations happened on video call with those two doing their best to support me. It’s helped but now it was becoming too much.

I was ready to put this all behind me but to do that, I needed Brock to do the same. I was determined to make that happen. I was going to make him talk to me about what was going on in his head. He had been so laser focused on my healing that he hadn’t dealt with his own feelings. Once we got inside and settled on the couch to watch a movie, I rounded on him.

“Ok mister, we gone talk about this whole Tristan thing.” Brock smiled. He was so darn handsome when he smiled. “I am ready to move on but I need you to move on with me.”

“What do you mean?” He furrowed his brow. He really didn’t want to talk about this and I knew it.

“Nuh uh,” I said. “No more avoiding the subject. You feel like you let me down, that it’s your fault Tristan was a jackass.” Brock’s eyes widened. I never cursed. I placed my small hands on his cheeks, making him look me straight in the eye. “He’s apologized, profusely I might add. He has been man enough to admit he was wrong and I’ve forgiven him. So I need you to hear me, Brock Andrew Landry. Let it go.” Brock sighed and took my hands, pulling me into his arms.

“I know, baby but I can’t help it. I still want to kill him for even thinking that was ok, especially with you.” I wriggled out of his grasp.

“Brock, honey, you can’t control anyone’s actions, only your own. I hate to see you keep holding on to something you can’t change. I got off easy, you know that right? At least Tristan had the presence of mind to stop when he realized what he was doing. Most guys don’t care.” His hazel eyes were filled with sadness as I pleaded with him to listen to me. “You gotta let this go and stop punishing yourself. Everything is my fault, all the nightmares, giving in to my fears of what could have been. That’s on me, sweetie.” I sighed and crawled on his lap, straddling his hips.

“Look at me, Brock. I’m gonna be ok. You have been the absolute best. I couldn’t have gotten through this without you. You know that don’t you?” He reached up and tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear, stroking my cheek. Finally the tears fell.

“I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m so fucking sorry,” he sobbed. Boy the girls weren’t joking. He really had been taking this whole thing very hard. I’d been so focused on myself that I wasn’t paying attention. And now, this beautiful man was crying in my arms. For me.

“Oh mon chéri,” I murmured as I gathered him in my arms. He buried his face in my neck. “That’s my sweet baby. You let it all out now. I got you.” I kissed his temple, stroking my hands through his hair and rocking him as he cried. I rubbed his back, speaking soothing words in French and English as I comforted him. He clung to me as if his life depended on it. I sang softly in his ear, holding him close and continuing to rock until he quieted down.

“Oh God, Amber,” he sighed. “You know, your Juju was right. I should have never held onto that.” He placed a soft kiss on my neck and held me against him. “What were you singing?” I felt the tension leave his body as he relaxed against me.

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