Authors: Dani Matthews
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Teen & Young Adult
This book is
meant for entertainment purposes only. Names, characters, events and incidents
are all a product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual
persons or events is purely coincidental. All comments and conversations
written within these pages are not meant to be taken in the literal sense. The
author retains all rights to this book. Illegal copying or distribution of this
book is prohibited without author consent.
mature subject content, this book is recommended for ages 17+.
Table of Contents
to the moon from her bedroom window, and
it's time to make the changes that come with
With forgiveness comes healing of her heart,
sun on her soul, and allows her to move on in life to
improved person she knows she is deep inside. It's
time to give
people that surround her the chance to see
phenomenal person she wants to become. Strength
those in their darkest hours. It is time to let the
consume her, and bring her back to life.
how you get that gut feeling that tells you something isn't right? For one
millisecond you stand on the brink...the next step will be your great discovery
in life or possibly your greatest downfall. There's a brief second when you
realize your next decision will lead you down an unforeseen path. I should have
paid attention to those tiny little nudges in my chest or the prickling feeling
in my brain—warning me to be cautious. Perhaps if I would have listened, things
would have been different.
while I am all alone in this claustrophobic room, I wonder what my path would
have been if I'd simply opened my eyes and paid attention to every small detail
that surrounded me. Would I have noticed what I know now?
of what my life could have been. But those dreams are few and far between. Most
nights I have dark dreams. Bad dreams. Dreams I wish were nothing more than
fabricated nightmares made up by my imagination. If only I could be so lucky. I
will forever be haunted by the past until I can face it and understand where I
go from here.
this journal is supposed to ultimately help me sort out all my feelings and
make me feel any different when I reach the end?
see things in a different light and maybe put the past to rest?
there is only one way for me to find out. There's too much waiting for me on
the outside for me to give up now.
over to Paige's apartment is tense. Between Blake's death and the mess of
things I'd made last night with Noah, my mind is spinning. Not to mention I'm
still trying to figure out how my life could have changed so drastically in
just a matter of several weeks. Life was supposed to get easier when I moved to
California, not harder.
instead of moving forward and embracing the possibilities that life here could
offer someone like me, I'd veered off course and wasn't sure how I was ever
going to get back on track. My boyfriend, Cole, had become abusive and led me
down a path that brought devastation and great regret.
deceived into driving the getaway car for Cole and Blake during a convenience
store robbery, I found myself partly to blame for Officer Sean Mathison's
death. If he hadn't been there that night at the store, his weapon drawn—Cole
wouldn't have freaked out and shot him. The situation was further complicated
by the fact that Sean had been friends with my brother and they’d worked
alongside each other during rotations at the police department.
is completely oblivious that I played a part in a crime that took his friend's
life. The guilt and hiding my part in all of it weighs heavily on me each and
every day. Someday the truth will come out. Secrets have a way of coming to light
no matter how hard you try to bury them. When that day comes, I can only hope
that Tate has it in his heart to forgive me.
It dawns on
me that if I am going to help Paige, I need to put a stop to my wandering thoughts.
I shove all my inner chaos aside as I concentrate on my best friend and what
she must be going through. The fact that her boyfriend is dead just doesn't
seem real yet. If I'm having a hard time accepting the news, I could only
imagine what Paige is feeling as she comes to terms with his death.
When I reach
the apartment complex, I find the parking lot is full and I end up parking down
the block. As soon as I make my way through the glass doors, I head straight
for the stairs. Paige had once told me that she'd gotten stuck in the elevator
for two hours and that was enough to make me avoid it like the plague. When I
reach the second floor, I head towards apartment 7B and knock lightly.
answers the door and she looks terrible. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a
messy ponytail, her face pale and blue eyes red-rimmed. She takes one look at
me and breaks down into giant, heart breaking sobs.
shut the door and pull her into my arms. Unfortunately, it looks like this is
the real deal after all. Blake is truly dead. There's nothing anyone can say
that will make a mourning person feel better so I stay silent and let her cry.
I've never been much of a people person and I pray that I don't end up sticking
my foot in my mouth today of all days.
Paige pulls back, wiping tears and sniffling. “Every time I think I am all
cried out, there's always more.”
I give her a
solemn look before glancing around the small living room that's normally neat
and tidy. Today there is a full laundry basket of dirty clothes on the coffee
table, a discarded box of Kleenex sitting on the couch along with some dirty
tissues and other odds and ends left about after an apparently busy morning.
Joey?” I ask, referring to Paige's thirteen-year-old brother.
to the couch and pulls out a fresh Kleenex to wipe her nose. “At the
neighbors,” she says, her voice muffled as she wipes her nose one last time
before balling the tissue up in her fist. She looks completely devastated.
My eyes run
over her wrinkled tee and ratty sweatpants. “Why don't you take a shower while
I clean up,” I suggest gently. Giving her something to concentrate on might
help, even if it only lasts for a couple minutes.
even going to ask what happened?”
you'll tell me when you're ready. There's no rush, Paige. I'm here for as long
as you need me.”
Because you've been pretty much non-existent the past few weeks,” she points
out flatly, her arms crossing defensively.
It hurts to
have her mad at me and I feel bad that I'd basically deserted her to go
partying with Cole. I whole heartedly agree with her attitude towards me and I
know I deserve it.
I meet her
gaze and nod with acceptance. “I'm sorry. There's been a lot going on and it
was wrong to bail on you. There is no excuse for it,” I say sincerely.
me and then sighs. “I'm sorry, too. You didn't deserve that after coming all
the way over here to be with me.”
“I did and
it's okay. Go take your shower. Have you eaten? I'm a lousy cook but I can
try,” I offer.
later, then,” I say lightly, not wanting to push her.
nods and then walks dejectedly out of the living room and down the hall.
Once I hear
the shower start up, I pull my phone out of my pocket and try to call Cole. Did
he know about Blake yet? He wasn't supposed to be back until sometime Sunday,
so I was betting no one had told him yet. His voice mail picks up and I quickly
disconnect the call. You don't leave someone a voice mail about a friend's
death. That's news that should be given in person.
showers, I try to pick up a little bit. I know the laundry machines are down in
the basement but I am not sure if it is okay to leave the clothes unattended,
so in the end I decide to leave them where they are. The apartment complex
happened to be kind of shabby and not exactly in the best area of town. I'd
hate for anyone's clothes to end up missing because of me.
finally enters the living room, her hair hangs wet and limp down her back.
She's exchanged the tee and sweatpants for gym shorts and a tank. Her eyes scan
the now tidy living room and she gives me a grateful look. “Thanks.”
have thrown your laundry in a machine downstairs but I wasn't sure if it was
okay to leave it.”
stay and wait, that way it doesn't get stolen,” she says as she walks over to
the couch and sits down, looking drained.
I walk over
and sit down as well, knowing she'll talk when she's ready to. I hated it when
people pressured me to talk about stuff I didn't want to talk about—or wasn't
ready to talk about. I figure the best way to deal with Paige today was to
treat her how I'd want to be treated if I were in her shoes.
out a soft sigh, her eyes filling with tears as they meet mine. “They say he
lost control of his motorcycle about one in the morning. He died instantly. It
was bad, I guess.”
sorry, Paige. I know how much you loved him.”
back a sob and angrily wipes at her tears with her hands, while her lips twist
grimly. “My love wasn't enough.”
“What do you
another Kleenex out of the box and methodically begins to shred it. “Blake
wasn't cheating on me. He'd been acting weird lately and he finally told me last
week that he did something he shouldn't have and it was bad. Really bad.”
skips a beat and I try to keep my growing alarm off my face. “Did he tell you
what he did?”
her head, her eyes frustrated as they lift to mine. “No. I was mad at him
because he wouldn't confide in me, but all he kept saying was he wanted to
protect me, that if he told me it would become my burden as well.”
inside me pulls at her words. Blake might have had a lot of growing up to do
but he had truly loved Paige. I'm glad he'd chosen to protect her rather than
turn her into someone like myself—someone who would carry this heavy
suffocating guilt the rest of their life.
you,” I say gently.
“I know, but
I loved him as well. I wanted to be there for him but he wouldn't let me.” She
suddenly stands up and begins to pace restlessly. “He started losing weight and
his eyes...he looked shattered. He was literally breaking in front of me and I
couldn't do anything!”
around, her blue eyes flashing with an agonized glint to them. “There's a
chance it wasn't an accident, that he did it purposely. Blake never seemed like
the type to give up, but you didn't see him, Blayre. If only he'd talked to
me,” she practically wails as her voice breaks.
jump up and pull her into my arms, holding her close. “You can't think like
that, Paige. It was more likely an accident and he was distracted. You said he
had a lot on his mind,” I gently point out, rubbing her back.
“But what if
he wanted to die?” she whispers, sniffing into my shoulder.
wanted to die, you wouldn't have been able to talk him out of it.”
back and moves away to grab another Kleenex from the couch so she can wipe her
nose again. “I think it's Cole's fault,” she states simply, her features
smoothing out into an eerie expressionless mask.
ask a bit sharply.
tighten as she stares me down. “I know you're tight with him but I think he
pulled Blake into something bad. The only trouble Blake has ever gotten into
has been because of Cole.”
falls over me, because what
I say? I feel like I am navigating a
figurative minefield here because I have to be extremely careful what I say to
Paige. One wrong misstep or word could send her over the edge. It's obvious
Paige is struggling with her grief and right now she's grasping for any reason
to explain her boyfriend's death.
tell you the things he does when he's not with you?” Paige asks me hesitantly,
her eyes desperately searching mine for answers.
conversation is headed in a direction that I definitely do not want to go and I
scramble around in my mind, trying to figure out what to say. I can't blame her
for wanting to make sense of things. If I were her, I would want to know why
I'd lost the person I loved as well. But I'm not her and if she ever found out
what we'd done that night, she'd either turn us in or carry the knowledge of
what she'd learned the rest of her life. Either way, it would be a lose-lose
situation for her.
mind,” Paige suddenly says with a sigh, causing sharp relief to streak through
me. “I don't want to know. I want to remember Blake as he was. I don't want to
think of something bad when I think of him.” She looks at me almost brokenly.
“What am I going to do, Blayre? How am I supposed to live without him?” She
asks as she collapses on the couch, tears streaking her pale cheeks once again.
“You take it
one day at a time, that's what Blake would want.”
down at the shredded tissue balled up in her fist and whispers, “It hurts just
feels like it's breaking for her. “I feel idiotic asking this, but what can I
do to help you, Paige?”
She looks at
me with bleak eyes. “Just help me get through the next couple of days. I think
the funeral will be on Monday. Blake's mom is going to call with the details.”
ten-thirty in the evening when I get home and I am completely exhausted. All I
want to do is go up to my room and sleep for several hours. I'd spent the
entire day with Paige and it was as if she'd sucked all my energy clean away. I
felt drained, but it was worth it to be there for her. She needs someone right
now. Joey's too young for her to lean on and Paige's mother is gone quite a
bit. That leaves me.