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Warning: violence and mature content. If violence triggers you, don't read this chapter.

Love. I knew what it meant to be loved by parents and friends. I even knew what it meant to love those people in return. What I didn't know, though, was how to be loved by a man. As we stared back at one another, I was reminded of the times Mateo had repeated the same words to me as Boston had just a moment before.

I love you.

My heart was still pumping wildly in overdrive when his phone rang. Sighing, Boston released his grip on me to retrieve it from his back pocket. He seemed intent on dismissing it until he read the caller I.D., whoever it was. I backed away from him, putting more space between us, while he answered it.

"Hey," he greeted through the line. "Everything okay?"

I pressed a hand to my burning cheek. Not only had I let him kiss me, but I had kissed him back. Then he told me he loved me? A wave of nausea rolled up my throat.

"I'm coming," he assured the caller. "I'll be there in a few minutes. Yep. Bye."

Lifting my head, I watched him slip the phone into his back pocket and meet my gaze with an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry, it's Bailey." He rubbed his hands together and forced a smile. "She's got great timing, I have to give her that."

Bailey. Frick. I'd forgotten about his girlfriend. Regret rushed through every vein in my body, turning everything a deep crimson. Why did he kiss me when he had a girlfriend?

"I'll call you later, Hazel," he promised on his way out the front door.

I was too stunned by everything to tell him not to bother. What was wrong with me? The couch swallowed me up as I collapsed onto it. I wanted to melt away.

Everything felt so confusing and misplaced. Amongst all the emotion, one in particular continued to nag at me. It was the feeling that stirred inside of me when our lips had been pressed together, his hands on my skin. I couldn't name the feeling, only that it still pervaded my mind and heart, refusing to be dampened by the guilt swamping me down.

The spaghetti bowl of thoughts and sensibilities in my head was paused as I heard a knock at the door. I groaned. Surely whoever it was could wait. All I needed was some time to put myself back together, to reclaim myself. Boston did a good job at wrecking me, but I wasn't going to let a silly little kiss cause me to forget my identity.

A really good silly little kiss.

I jumped at the next knock, this one louder and more urgent than its predecessor. Figuring this could serve as a well-needed distraction, I forced myself off the couch and over to the front door. When I peeked through the peephole, another wave of nausea took my guts captive. Mateo stood on the other side with a seriously pissed look on his face

My hand rose to my eyes as I turned my back on the door. He was probably upset our last conversation ended with me hanging up on him. Maybe I shouldn't have been so rude, but he had done too many things to make me think our relationship was reparable to the way it had been. We were two different people than we had been just two months ago. I wasn't entirely sure when the change had happened or even what the cause was, but it was true.

"Hazel!" he yelled.

I spun around to shoot a glare at the door. He wasn't coming inside. In fact, it would probably be better if he didn't know I was here. Maybe he would think I was with Rachel. As I turned away from the door, his next words caused my muscles to still.

"I know you're in there, Haze," he said. "If you don't open this door right now, I will come through a window."

Was that a threat? My brows furrowed. I turned the lock and jerked the door open. He stood before me, face twisted in rage. The black tee he was wearing hung around him like a blanket.

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