Chapter Twenty-Two

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"Biana...remember when you first met me? You completely ignored me except for insulting me, than you only became my friend because Alden wanted to keep tabs on me. You and Fitz both turned your back on me when I needed you most. I was broken and you guys didn't even care. Keefe you left. You left me when I thought if everything changed we wouldn't. We wouldn't be torn from being friends, I know it's been bumpy and more than rocky, but I thought of all people, you wouldn't leave."

Sophie flicked away the tear that rolled down her cheek, but more followed. "Grady and Edaline...they weren't going to adopt me. They were going to give me up, they want me to be Jolie when I'm not....when I can't. And Dex...." Sophie couldn't handle to it anymore as she turned to her periwinkle eyed cousin. A sob ripped out of her throat as she shrank against the wall sliding down to the floor. "Jealousy and your own pride got in the way of our friendship. You turned you back on me when I needed...we I needed somebody. Anybody really, but you turned your back on me. All my life, the people I love most have hurt me the worse." Sophie wasn't screaming, she wasn't shouting, she sounded broken and hurt.

She sounded completely and utterly defeated. She was afraid to trust them again. "And now....now the only two friends who haven't hurt me, don't even remember me. The ones who helped me the most are gone. Y'know." Sophie said brushing her tears away. "I know I'm clumsy, I know I can be an idiot and a stubborn, blind and ridiculous girl, but I know what love is." Now the tears streamed faster. "And I know love isn't supposed to hurt this much!"
Sophie stared up at her friends. "I know, love is about sacrifice, about being honest even if it does hurt, it's about trusting each other and caring. But it shouldn't hurt as much as it has, and" Sophie cursed at her tears as she put her hands over her face, as she brought her knees to her chest.

"I'm tired of hurting. I'm scared to trust you all! I hate, loving you all so much that I wind up forgiving you the moment you look at me. I hate that I want to trust you all no matter how much I know I'll pay for it later. I love you all so much, I don't want to lose you to anyone else...and yet I don't want to trust you...love shouldn't hurt this much, it shouldn't be this painful.... And...enduring." Sophie cried. The room was silent except for her sniffing, and occasional sobs. A deep voice broke it, with unusual lightness. "Well I'll be the first to say this." Sophie heard Wylie stand up.

"You have a terrible choice in friends." He said. Sophie gave a garbled laugh, as Wylie kneeled in front of her, handing her his handkerchief. "Thanks Wylie." She said, somehow the laugh calmed her, and got out the last knot of emotions. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose, taking a deep breath. Wylie smiled. "Well you did save my life...let's call it even?" Another strangled laugh came and Sophie nodded. "Deal." Wylie grinned and patted her head. "Well you know how to reach me if you need me. I'm going to talk to Tiergan about subject one and an army." He said, he glared at her 'friends' before leaving. Sophie felt better, but not healed. She wiped away her stubborn tears, with the handkerchief.

"Let's just talk later-" she said, but was cut off by Keefe. "No. We're talking about this now." He said. "We've been complete jerks, and everyone here can agree we don't deserve Sophie as a friend. She's forgiven, our idiocy, our pride, and our mistakes. We've neglected her, and it isn't fair, not to her." He said. Biana nodded, brushing away her own tears.
"We've put her off to long. We've shoved her feelings aside, and we haven't even considered what she is going through." Keefe continued.

"Guys, don't worry about this, let's jus-"

"No!" Linh said, before taking a deep breath. "No, Sophie. We need to talk this out. We'll make it up to you, somehow, and clearly you aren't okay." She said. Sophie was fine...right? Who was she kidding? Her chest ached like she had been punched, and a numbness was starting to sink in, but talking about it felt like opening wounds she didn't want to touch, and pouring lemon juice on it, than rubbing salt into it.

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