• WORDS FROM AN AUTHOR •
First chapter of Waiting for the sun
I’ve fought a lot of demons in the last several months, the kind that find their way deep into your soul, festering for attention. These particular demons don’t seem to want to give up the spot where they believe they belong.
Hannah Barnes is one of my greatest demons.
Leaving her in the rink, a mess on the floor, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. As I turn my back, I nearly pause at the door, only to convince myself to get the hell out of there. Even with all the anger and bitterness, I know she belongs right here in my arms. We both know it. It’s what I hate most about her. Even when she ignites a fury inside me, she’s the only one who can cool me down.
I park my truck behind my parents’ car and take a deep breath. What goes better with pain and heartache than a little bit of sorrow and nostalgia? That’s the only reason I can explain my trip down memory lane. I did the driving tour of my relationship with Mia, stopping at all the places we loved to go to together. It’s a great combination, if you’re searching for the ache we bury to keep up our perfect outward appearances.
No one likes to admit it. Everyone tries to hide from the pulse that reminds us of what we’ve lost. I was naïve enough to think mine had died inside me the moment I fell for Hannah. She has this thing about her we’re all searching for, this special ability to make me believe anything is possible, that the hurt will go away even when it seems like it’s been there forever. She’s the kind of magic we’re all missing, yet fearful of, because while she has you looking at one hand, the other hand is making everything you want disappear into thin air.
“We’re in here!” my mom yells from the kitchen as the front door clicks shut.
A fire roars in the living room, casting a glow around the area. Shadows dance around me when I pass through to find my parents sitting at the kitchen island. They’re bent over a plate of nachos, laughing with each other.
“Are you okay?” my dad asks, pushing out the stool across from him.
This is the last thing I want to do, but after the destruction I’d caused earlier tonight, the absolute least I can do is give them some peace of mind.
“Not really,” I admit, nabbing a chip from their plate.
“Hannah found you, then?” my mom asks, pouring us glasses of lemonade and sliding mine across the counter.
“She came here?” I glance around the kitchen like the thought is inconceivable. “Of course, she did.” The minute she figured out I had that letter, she came to correct it as quickly as possible. It’s more plausible that she came to play interference.
“I may have been a little harsh. I told her if she couldn’t bring me the man you’ve been since she first started coming around, then to leave you be.” Her hand skims across the marble and rests on top of mine.
I hate the way she can sense the brokenness inside of me. She winces when I pull away.
“I’m going to head upstairs.” The stool skids against the tile as I stand.
“Buddy?” The thick worry in Mom’s voice as she says my childhood nickname stops my escape.
Facing her, I take in the wrinkles around her brow. A mother’s face never lies.
“It hurts now, and it will hurt tomorrow. When it stops hurting so badly, that’s when you’ll see the truth.”
Her words are worth a true moment to soak in. I sure hope she’s right.
“I’m just going to jump in the shower. Wash off some of the bullshit from today,” I state, backing out of the kitchen.
Eager to get out of clothes that smell like Hannah’s perfume, I take the stairs two at a time, then flip on the light of my bedroom. What the hell? It doesn’t look like anything ever happened in here. Everything is how it should be. The broken glass is gone. My desk is organized, not a single paper out of place. The salvageable frames rest on the shelves, some missing their glass.
A few things are missing. Mia’s pink box of letters. The calendar with her birthday circled in red.
I strip and head right into the shower. The sharp bite of the cold stream instantly relaxes me. I rest my head on the wall. Every single minute of today rolls through my mind like a Ferris wheel. It goes around and around, never stopping to let me off. When I can’t stop shivering, I wrap a towel around my waist, ready to fall into my bed and forget today ever happened.
I pull on a pair of gym shorts and slip under the same comforter Hannah and I cuddled under one night before we were whatever we were. I lean over and grab my phone, pulling up an app I know I should be avoiding. I scroll along the feed for a short time, but nothing catches my interest.
I click a few buttons, bringing me to Hannah’s page. Apparently, I’m a masochist now. There’s nothing new except a random photo Nicole had Peter take at the rink on Mia’s birthday. Hannah stands beside me, a wide smile on her face, but the sadness in her eyes matches my own.
The green circle appears beside Hannah’s name, alerting me she’s online. Shit. Like she’s on to do the same thing as me, my phone pings with an incoming direct message.
Hannah: I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.
Me: You should be a pro at that by now.
Those three fucking bubbles pop up on the screen, flashing to warn me of a message in process. This is taking far too long. My resolve is fully broken.
Let’s blame it on the hurt. Even with every excuse, it still feels insanely cruel.
Me: Dammit, Hannah, I’m sorry.
That’s all she’s going to say? What the hell kind of response is that to what I said? Throwing the death of Mia in her face is cruel. Even through my own anger, I can admit that.
Hannah: Goodnight, Nick.
Me: Just wait a second.
What the hell am I doing?
Me: This isn’t easy for me. I know you must think it is but it’s not.
Hannah: Because it’s a walk in the fucking park for me? I had you. I’m selfish enough not to feel sorry about that, and now, I don’t. Something so simple feels like it’s ripping me in two.
Me: I’m torn because on one hand, I understand why you did what you did. Then on the other hand, all I feel is betrayed, like you somehow benefited from the scariest and most devastating moment in my life.
Hannah: That’s bullshit, and you know it.
Me: Hannah, that’s how I feel.
Hannah: Do you honestly think I could be so deceitful? Do you actually think I’m capable of something so cruel? It crushed me, Nick, to see you hurting so bad after she died. I never expected for us to happen.
Me: I have to go.
Me: Not right now, Hannah.
I toss my phone onto the bed, stupid enough to think a little sleep will make things clearer. Except I’m dead wrong. When I wake up, unrested and angrier than ever, I pull the covers off, slip on my tennis shoes, and head out for a run.
Fresh, crisp morning air is sure to help shrink the pain in my chest. I purposefully head right out of the driveway, avoiding the left side of the neighborhood. With headphones in, an angry beat in my ears, I hit the pavement. Pumping out three miles is easy. By the sixth, my legs feel like Jell-O.
I bend down, silently convincing my lungs to work in my favor. As I stand, I rest my hands on my head, willing the cramp out of my side. As it starts to disappear, a different kind of pain replaces it.
Too stuck inside my own head to realize I’d run this way, the familiar front porch hits me like a bull. I haven’t been inside Mia’s home since the day she passed away. Pulling my earbuds away silences the music, and I walk to the James’ mailbox. My eyes skim to the second story, over two windows to Mia’s. Even though the white, sheer curtains are drawn, I can still remember seeing her standing there just before dusk. The setting sun would beam against the house, cascading her in this angelic-like light.
“Dammit.” I turn away, quickening my pace until I’m in a full-blown sprint. Slipping in my earbuds, the music replaces the pounding heartbeats in my ears.
I only slow when I hit the front step and, panting heavy, walk inside, discard my shoes in the entryway, and head to the kitchen for fuel.
“You’re up early,” my mom observes, pulling the newspaper away from my father’s eyes. He seems shocked to see me standing here, which is completely fair after the shitshow last night. I should be hiding in my bedroom, away from the world and reality.
“I’d prefer not to have the conversation I can see happening already.” I open the fridge and grab the orange juice, showboating the empty container after I swig the little bit that’s left. “I’ll grab some at the store.”
“You’re going grocery shopping?” The skepticism in my mom’s voice should irritate me, but it doesn’t. “Since when?”
“Since I don’t want to be stuck inside this house with your knowing eyes and a room that only reminds me of her,” I say, turning my back and leaving them alone in the kitchen.
“Which her do you think he’s talking about?” my father whispers, his voice barely loud enough for me to hear him.
I take the stairs to my room two at a time and fall to my mattress. Which her am I talking about? My eyes gaze around the room, and a flood of memories takes over everything. Mia’s soft brown hair flashes in my mind. Her laughter is the most prominent memory I have of her, and it’s like she’s sitting next to me right now. Too quickly, the memory is replaced with a vision of Hannah beneath me, running her hands over my ribs.
Why the hell is this happening?
I grab my phone from the bedside table and open my texts, searching for the thread with my last conversation with Mia. She had been getting ready to go to bed, and now looking back, her text should have tipped me off that her moments were numbered.
Mia: You deserve a life of happiness, Nick. I love you.
I read the text several times, and when I can’t take it anymore, I close the screen.
Losing someone you love more than you love yourself causes a special kind of pain. I loved Mia beyond reason and explanation, but life decided I would need to find a way to survive without her.
Never in a million years did I think that day would come, but like most things in life, I was unprepared for a force like Hannah.
Even thinking about her now is a fresh wound, a deep sear on my heart. How do you care for someone so badly and still hate them? It’s a confusing feeling, but one I’m realizing I’m going to have to learn to live with.
After a quick rinse in the shower, I throw on a pair of sweats and a long sleeve team t-shirt. Hair dripping, I pound down the steps.
“Here’s the list,” my mom says, holding out a folded piece of paper. I raise an eyebrow, unsure of what she’s talking about. “You said you’d go grocery shopping.”
“Fuck, I did, didn’t I?” I groan, snatching it from her and heading to the front door.
“Just because you turn eighteen soon doesn’t mean you have permission to curse at me under my roof, boy!” she yells.
Like I need the reminder of my birthday. Mia’s had been hard enough. Living through mine will be a special kind of hell.
As I click the unlock button on my truck keys, I look down the street and come eye-to-eye with Kellan’s furious scowl.
“What’s up, man?” I open the door, prepared to jump in and drive away from whatever bullshit he has to dish out.
“Saw you lingering outside the house today,” he says, circling the bed of my truck. His hands are tucked into his pockets, more than likely to keep himself from punching me.
“I went for a run.” I’m not really sure why I need to explain myself.
“And you just ended up there, huh?” He shakes his head.
“What do you want from me?” I slam the truck door. “Are you after an apology? Because I can’t give you one. Or are you in need of something else to make yourself feel better? If you can’t tell, I feel bad enough without your troubles resting on my shoulders.”
“My troubles?” Kellan scoffs. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“It means what I do with my life is truly none of your business. You can fucking hate me, but I don’t need to ask your permission for anything.”
“You couldn’t even wait half a fucking year.”
“You didn’t seem to give a shit when I was hooking up with girls after Mia died. I’m not damn proud of that, but it happened.”
“Just like Hannah happened, huh?” He steps to me, and I’m fully prepared to take a fist to the jaw.
“No, not just like Hannah happened. Now, if you don’t mind, I have shit to do that doesn’t have anything to do with standing in front of my best friend, explaining myself.” I shove his chest. He stumbles back a bit but quickly recovers as I pull out of my driveway.
It’s a little bit before noon, and the streets are nearly empty for a Saturday. Maybe I can get everything without any run-ins. I’ve already ignored nearly twenty messages. Like any of those fuckers actually give a shit how I am. They want the details. School Monday is going to be a bitch.
I pull into the parking lot and turn the key in the ignition, savoring the silence surrounding me. Slowly, my eyes open, and my head turns to the empty passenger seat. Where I once would envision a beautiful brunette, now sits a tenacious blonde. I snap them shut again, hoping to erase the image of her.
“Fuck this!” I open the door, slamming it behind me.
As I walk into the store, a plan hits me. I’m going to pick up the things for Mom and add a few of my own.
Fueled by an uncomfortable anger, I grab my phone from my pocket and send out a mass text, drawing a line in the sand and maybe making a decision I’m going to regret.
I’m not the boy who loved the sweetest girl on the planet anymore. I’m not the boy who recovered from losing her. I’m sure as fuck not the boy who dug himself out of a hole and into the arms of her best friend.
I’m just a boy who’s desperate for a little numbness, even for one night.
“Where’s the keg, Kovac?” Jason yells.
I hold up my red cup and point across the field.
In the middle of the vehicles is a roaring fire, warming everyone surrounding the flames. My eyes scan over the party I pulled together in a matter of hours. We don’t need much. A large enough space, a few kegs, and music have all the makings of a good party. Something feels off, though. I had imagined this would make me feel better.
“You all good?” Nicole slips in beside me, interrupting the internal pity party brewing in my head.
“Not quite, but I will be.”
“Why do you care? And why are you even here?” I roll my eyes like a twelve-year-old girl. “Your boy said his peace.”
“Oh, so we’re going to pretend like you and I aren’t actually friends then? Because my boyfriend wants to be a jackass.” She tugs my arm as I turn to leave.
“He is being a jackass, isn’t he?”
“A jackass who loves fiercely and protects even harder.” Nicole shakes her head like she’s too pained to be stagnant. “You know, when Mia was at her worst, he’d sneak into her room at night and watch her labored breaths because he was so afraid she’d die alone. And after Mia’s funeral, he stayed the first night at her graveside because he wasn’t sure what it would feel like to sleep under their roof without her?”
Fuck. I reach up and dry my eyes. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because that jackass loves his sister. He can say what he wants, but every time he saw you with someone different, drunk or not, it killed him. There has never been any doubt of how much you loved Mia, Nick, but . . .”
“But seeing Hannah and me, the way we were, it felt like a betrayal.”
“Kellan will always want you to be happy.” Nicole pats my back.
“It doesn’t matter anymore. Hannah and I are done,” I explain, gazing at her, hoping for something. I don’t know what I’m looking for.
“Hannah isn’t someone you get over. You and I both know that. Mia knew it. It’s why she made that girl promise those things.” Nicole sneers at me, turns her back, and leaves me standing here like a dumbass.
“Yeah, well, watch me!” I yell the threat. It sounds weak slipping from my mouth, and I hate myself more for that fact.
With determination, I cross the field to my truck, grab a bottle of rum from the back, and take a long pull. Like a burst of wind has hit me, I spin, watching the crowd around me and taking in every little detail I can. The rum settles into a warmth inside of my stomach. Instead of enjoying the feeling, everything inside of me churns, begging to be discarded.
“Now that you and Hannah are done, you can get back to doing what you do best, Kovac!” Jason jumps up into the bed of my truck.
“Oh, yeah, and what’s that?” I roll my eyes, unbeknownst to him.
A couple of the guys on the team circle around me. I’ll give them what they want. They want to be entertained by my loss, fuck it. I’ll give them a show. What else is there to do?
“Oh, come on now, you know exactly what I mean.” Jason jumps from the bed of the truck, beer sloshing over the edges of his cup.
A hot little thing circles his body. Her eyes are set on me, though, while she runs her finger across his chest. “Hey, Nick.”
Before Hannah, I’d think her voice is sexy, but she’s trying too damn hard.
Jason smiles like a cat who caught the canary. He’s brought this chick over here for one reason, and one reason only. Does he think I’m going to pull up her skirt and take her ass right here?
“What are you up to, Little?” I shake my head, tossing the empty rum bottle to the side. “You get off on this or something?”
“Chill out, bro.” Jason holds up his hands. He’d better, because I’m seconds away from smacking him like the little bitch he’s behaving like.
“I’m sorry he dragged you over for this, but I’m not interested, sweetheart,” I address her while glaring at the schmuck beside her. He’s such an idiot, he doesn’t even realize I’m getting ready to pummel him.
“Well, you know where to find me.” The girl nods at the fire and smirks an invitation to me.
“Jesus Christ, man.” I slam my flattened hands against Jason’s chest. He stumbles backward, collecting himself before coming toe-to-toe with me.
“What?” His eyes narrow. “Like you aren’t thinking about burying yourself inside of her.” He scans behind me. I’m sure he’s watching her ass sway. “I thought you called this party to forget for a little while.”
“What is this, fucking therapy?” I shrug, angry this conversation is even happening. He’s right. I did come out here to forget, but no matter how angry I am, I’m not going back to that place I was after Mia died. It would be too easy. No, I deserve to sludge through this mess with clear eyes, not numbed by a stranger.
“What, you still hung up on Coach’s daughter?” Jason scoffs. Snickers ring out around me.
“I’m glad I’m good for a little entertainment. I mean, that’s why you all showed up here tonight, right? You heard some bullshit about Hannah and me, but let me clear the air.” As I pause, the crowd clears and up steps Kellan. “I fell for Hannah pretty damn hard, but in the end, none of that matters. It’s done and over with, so you can all stop speculating and wondering what happened.”
I turn to leave, but red and blue lights stop my escape. Fuck. This area is secluded and unused. We’ve been partying out here since freshman year with no trouble, and tonight, of all nights, they show up.
“If you can drive, I suggest you get in your car, and head home. If you can’t, I suggest you call your parents!” an all too familiar voice yells through the darkness.
Everyone dives into their cars, and within minutes the field is practically empty. A few straggle behind, Kellan and Nicole included.
Mr. James steps out of the shadows of his patrol car, and his eyes land on Kellan.
“I haven’t been drinking, Dad, so no worries,” Kellan explains. “If you’d shown up twenty minutes later, I might have had to give a different answer.”
“Why don’t you get Nicole home, Son?” The tone in Mr. James’ voice has my eyes narrowing and my full attention on him. He’s begging Kellan to leave.
“What’s going on, Mr. James?” I ask.
He leans forward, shielding his voice. “I don’t want to do this in front of anyone, Nick.”
“What’s happening, Dad?” Kellan strides up beside me. Suddenly, we feel a little less like enemies and more like a team.
“Mr. James,” I beg out his name.
“Dad?” Kellan takes one step forward, shielding me from what we already know is coming.
“I’m sorry, Nick.” Mr. James reaches onto the side of his belt and pulls out his handcuffs. The silver glistens under the moonlight. “You’re being placed under arrest. If you could please turn around.”
“Dad!” Kellan shouts. “You have to be fucking kidding me!”
“I’m sorry, Kellan.” Mr. James places a hand on his son’s chest, begging him not to step in the way of him doing his job. “Nick, please turn around.”
I do as he says, holding my hands behind my back. The cuffs aren’t tight by any means, but there’s a discomfort and a disbelief in being in handcuffs.
“Mr. James, is this about—”
His nod answers my unfinished question.
“Hang tight, Nick. We’ll call your parents!” Nicole yells as Mr. James leads me to the patrol car. I stall at the back door.
“Don’t be silly. Sit up front.” He opens the door and helps me slide inside. When he’s behind the wheel and pulls out of the field, a heavy sigh echoes in my ear. “I didn’t want to do this. I want you to know that.”
“It’s your job, Mr. James. There’s no hard feelings,” I say to ease his mind. “I made a choice last night.”
“Doesn’t make this hurt any less, Nick. You’ve always been like a son to us. When you’re hurting, we hurt. Please know that.”
“I don’t deserve that from you.” I stare out the window. Buildings and cars pass by in a blur.
“What on God’s green Earth makes you believe that?” Mr. James pulls into the police station parking garage. He doesn’t give me a chance to answer before he jumps from the car and comes to stand at my door, flinging it open. “You think you don’t deserve it because you somehow betrayed my daughter, but I’m here to tell you, you did no such thing.”
“Sir, with all due respect—”
He holds up his hand before pulling me out of the car.
“With all due respect, Nick, I need you to listen to me, and listen good. Losing Mia has been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Her life was cut far too short. I thought of all the things she’d miss out on most nights when I laid in bed, barely able to close my eyes out of fear of what the next day would bring. Do you know what made it easier?” Mr. James’ eyes sparkle with unshed tears.
“What, Sir?” My voice cracks in the middle. Damn, if that lump isn’t growing larger by the second.
“She left this earth knowing what it meant to be in love, and that is only, and will only ever be, because of you. I don’t care what happened after she passed, and I don’t care what happens tomorrow. If your love had been enough, Nick, she would have lived forever.”
“I love your daughter,” I say because there are no other words.
“I know you do, and I bet, for the rest of your life, you will, but don’t be a martyr. You deserve to be happy, no matter who it’s with.” Mr. James nods, ending the conversation.
The way he says that last part doesn’t go unnoticed. He knows about Hannah. Everyone does. They all have opinions and questions. One thing they don’t have, and will never have, is answers. Mr. James can say whatever he wants, but I don’t deserve to be happy, not right now.
Mr. James leads me into the station and once I’m in a room, quickly removes my handcuffs. Am I being interrogated? This seems awfully cut and dry. I threw the first punch. I’m at fault.
“Mr. James, what’s going to happen now?” I ask.
“We can’t talk to you without a parent present, Nick.” Mr. James sits down across from me, looking far too relaxed for the situation.
I’m not sure how long we sit here, neither of us speaking. When the door flies open, and my parents storm in, my mother grasps me in a tight hug, while my father shakes Mr. James’ hand.
“You okay?” my dad asks, standing beside my mom, the three of us a united front.
“I’m good. Just ready to go home,” I express, looking to Mr. James for some answers.
“You’re being charged with assault and battery for the events that occurred last night at the rink, Nick. You will be asked to stand in front of the judge come Monday morning, but luckily, since you’re a minor, and I’ve explained to the judge you aren’t a flight risk, you’ll be able to go home tonight.”
“So, I don’t have to go to juvie or anything like that?” I ask, fear thick in my voice.
“No, but I will let you know, you need to be careful when you mess with any Sanderson. They’re going to try to bury you. His lawyers will try to have you charged as an adult, meaning you could face harsher charges.” Mr. James looks at my parents. “That’s off the record.”
Everything goes a little fuzzy after this point. I sit in the stark room, running my fingers over the cold metal table. My parents ask questions, while I stare off into the corner, not really hearing anything they’re saying.
“Let’s get you home, Nick.” At the sound of my dad’s voice, I stand.
Mr. James pulls me into a hug. “It’s going to be okay. I promise you.”
I’m getting really sick and tired of people saying this to me. It’s not going to be okay. Promises don’t mean shit. If anyone understands this, it’s me.
“My truck’s still out at the field,” I explain as I step out into the hallway.
The pressure of my parents on my back proves how quick I stop in my tracks.
“What are you waiting for?” my dad says, an amused tone in his voice.
“We’ll wait for you outside, honey,” my mom says as she passes me. As she comes to Hannah, her eyes fall on the girl I once held at such a high revere. She places her hand on Hannah’s shoulder and squeezes once before following my father out.
Hannah turns back to the officer behind the desk, signs something, and shuffles the paper to him. Her tired eyes glance up at me. They’re rimmed with red, and large, black circles frame the bottoms. She looks like she hasn’t slept in weeks.
“What are you doing here?” I question, barely capable of hiding my disappointment.
“Nicole texted me to tell me what happened,” she whispers, shuffling on the toes of those damn pink Converses.
“Of course, she fucking did, but what does that have to do with why you’re here?” I don’t care to hear her reason and storm past her.
“Ma’am, here’s your copy of your statement.”
At those words, I’m struck frozen. My hand clenches the metal door handle.
“Statement? A statement for what?” I turn and we nearly collide with each other.
“For the events of last night. I figured they should know what happened to me, what caused the chain of events.”
“Always the savior, Hannah Barnes.”
“It sounds like an insult, coming from those lips of yours.”
“I don’t need you to save me.”
“Nonetheless, you’re in this situation because of me, Nick.” Her throat bobs up and down as she swallows. “You came to my defense, and you don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve any—”
“Don’t.” I hold up my hand to silence her, pivoting on my heel and pressing my forehead against the door. Hearing her say what I know is coming isn’t something I’m ready for tonight.
With my back turned, my feet refuse to budge. Two arms wrap around my middle. Every breath Hannah releases seeps through the back of my t-shirt. With my eyes clenched tight, I savor the moment her hands reach up, clutching my shirt. With an exhale, she loosens her hold, allowing one hand to slip away, while the other flattens over my heart.
Her touch, in this moment, is like stepping into the hot shower after a day of sledding. It prickles and burns in a satisfying way you can’t quite ever understand. Instead of backing away from the source of pain, you stick it out, finding a sick satisfaction from it.
“Nick?” Her nails dig into the flesh protecting my heart.
I reach up, covering her hand with mine, before ripping it away. “Just go home, Hannah.”
With rushed steps, I run outside and throw myself into the back seat of my dad’s car. He pulls into traffic, and like I can’t help myself, I stare out the window, my eyes drifting to Hannah. She stands right where I left her.
“Can we go pick up my truck?” I say, rolling my neck from side to side to relieve some of the tension. “It’s still in the field.”
“Kellan and Nicole dropped it off at the house,” my mom says, glancing back at me. A sad smile greets me, and her softness feels like a thousand bullets shredding my heart.
“Are you guys not going to even yell at me?” I ask.
Neither of them says anything. Their hands clasp together, resting effortlessly on the middle console. When we get home, my truck is in its spot. The kegs glisten under the moonlight.
“You’ll need to return those tomorrow.” My dad raps his knuckles against the metal as he passes.
“Seriously, no one is going to yell at me?” I shout, running after them.
When the front door slams behind me, I stare at them, certain they’ve been switched out by pod people. I’ve done some fucked up things in the past several months, but getting arrested takes the cake.
“Go to bed, Nicholas. Nothing we say will make you feel any worse than you already do.” My mom cups my cheek. “Tomorrow is a new day, and we got you, kiddo.”
“Always got you!” my dad shouts as he disappears into their bedroom. My mom follows him, leaving me to a night full of uncertainty.
I went out tonight for one thing. To forget. To disappear into the oblivion of my world. All it’s done is knock me on my ass, something I’m far too familiar with.
Seeing Hannah step up for me, once again, is the biggest knock of them all.
That won’t happen again. Hannah Barnes can keep showing up.
I just won’t be here when she does.
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