A/N: There's a good bit of switching between Carter and Liam's POV in this chapter, but it shouldn't be too difficult to follow. This is probably my favorite chapter so far :) Only one song for this chapter, and it's 'Strong' by One Direction (blah, blah, a 1D song for a 1D fanfic, don't judge me).



In all my life, I have never claimed to be normal. Nor logical. Nor the smartest person in the world. With that being said, a normal, logical, and smart person would have stood their ground when being faced with their inexplicably paralyzed little brother and ex boyfriend, got answers, and remained calm. However, since I am not any of those things as previously stated, I did none of that.

Instead, I did what I always do. What I'm comfortable with. What I should have, by now, learned is never the right thing to do.

I ran. I turned on my heel and pushed past Liam and ran down the steps, ignoring the calls from my mother. I kept expecting tears to blur my vision, but alas that never happened. As I darted down my driveway and started running down the street, my entire mind just went blank. A complete and total numbness which I accepted with open arms.

However, in the quiet of the night (early morning, technically), I was still able to hear the two brave suitors both calling after me, as well as my mother's crying. I never turned around though, but I was easily able to differentiate the boys' voices. It went a little like this:

Harry: Carter wait, I can explain!

Liam: Shit, Carter! Back off mate, I've got this.

Harry: I'm not backing off, you back off! Carter! Get your fucking hand off me!

Liam: Leave. Her. Alone.

I'm not sure if that's when the arguing stopped, or if I had simply ran far enough away that they were out of earshot. Soon enough though, I heard heavy footsteps running behind me. I was gasping for breath, severely out of shape. For someone who runs away from everything, the actual running part was quite tiresome for me.

"Carter, stop." Liam's voice resounded as he easily reached me and wrapped a hand around my arm, tugging me backwards and into his chest.

"No!" I shrieked, shoving his chest away from me. He didn't let go though, just wordlessly let me struggle against him, punching his chest and thrashing in his hold. Eventually he succeeding in tiring me out, and I fell into his chest exhaustedly. 

Just as I knew he would, Liam wrapped his arms around me and held me tight against him, not saying a word. Because he's fucking perfect that way.

"Shawn is in a wheelchair." I said.

"Yes he is."

"He wasn't in a wheelchair when I left."

"I figured as much."

"Why is he in a wheelchair?"

"I don't know, you darted off before we could find out."

I remained silent at that, my chest still constricting with each breath. My little brother. My little brother, was in a wheelchair. All my previous doubts are for naught now, it is a proven fact: The Universe hates me. Especially since Harry was thrown into the mix as well, for some unbeknownst reason. 

"Carter, why did you run?" Liam asked quietly, still holding me tightly against him. Despite the horrible circumstances, it was actually quite nice in his arms, as it always is. The night was cold and crisp, and in any other situation it would have been serene. 

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