Chapter 278.

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Songs for this chapter are:

Reminder- Mumford and Sons

Lost without you- Adam Jensen

Fall asleep- Jars of Clay

Where I Stood- Missy Higgins

Hardin's POV.

"Wait here while we go inside. We will be back in less than five minutes so don't move this cab." I instruct the driver. He was late to pick me up in the first place, so he shouldn't mind waiting. Not that I'm complaining that he was late, otherwise I wouldn't have run into Tessa walking in the damn rain, alone.

She hasn't spoken a word since I pulled her into the cab and I'm too busy trying to reel my temper in to comment at the moment. Seeing her out here, in the dark and running from something.. running from Zed, drives my anger full force and it will be all too easy to give in to it.

I can't do that though. Not this time. This time, I will prove to her that I can control my mouth, my fists too. I got into this cab with her instead of smashing Zed's skull against the concrete. I hope she recognizes that, I hope that helps my case, even if by the slightest.

Tessa hasn't tried to escape yet and she didn't speak up when I told the driver to take us by her mum's to get her shit. That's a good sign. It's got to be. Her clothes are soaked, clinging to every inch of her body and her hair is matted to her forehead. She pushes the mess back with her hand, sighing when the unruly strands won't stay put. It takes every ounce of self-control not to reach over and tuck her hair behind her ears.

When the cab pulls up to the curb in front of Carol's driveway Tessa opens the door and walks across the yard. She doesn't flinch as the rain pours down on her, shielding her body, and nearly taking her from me. After reminding the driver to stay put, I rush behind her before the rain can separate us further.

I hold my breath, forcing myself to ignore the red truck parked in front of the house. I can't lose my temper. I have to show her that I can hold myself together and put her feelings before my own.

"Theresa, how many times are you going to do this? You're dragging yourself right back into something that you know isn't going to work." Carol is already running her mouth when I enter the living room. Zed is standing in the center of the living room, dripping water onto the floor. Tessa's fingers are pinching the bridge of her nose, a sign of pure distress, and once again, I struggle to keep my damn mouth shut.

It will only take one wrong word from me to make her stay here, to keep her hours away from me.

"Mother, can you please just stop? I'm not doing anything, I just want to leave here. Being here isn't helping anything and I have a job and classes in Seattle."


"You're going back to Seattle tonight?" Carol asks her daughter.

"Not tonight, but tomorrow. I love you mother and I know where you are coming from but I really just want to be close to my.. well," Tessa gazes at me, uncertainty clear in her gray eyes, "Landon. I want to be with Landon right now."


"I'll drive you," Zed opens his mouth.

"No you won't." I just can't stop myself from cutting in. I am trying to be patient and shit but this is too much. I should have barged in here, grabbed Tessa's bag and carried her out to the cab before Zed could so much as look at her.

The smirk on his face right now, that same fucking smirk he gave me only minutes ago, is taunting me. He's trying to push me, trying to make me snap in front of Tessa and her mum. He wants to play games with me, like he always, has but not tonight. I won't give him the satisfaction of being his pawn.

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