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Two missed calls and four texts. Boston was worried about me. The first text had come in while I was at the hospital, and the others came a few hours later when he realized I'd read the text but not responded. I knew it was only a matter of time until he came looking for me, so I had to say something. If he saw me, I would shatter. I had to make sure he stayed away.

After contemplating for hours on what to say, I finally knew what it would have to be. I grabbed my phone off the bedside table and pulled up the texts from Boston I had disregarded. My fingers flew across the touch screen keypad, ready to send this message and be done with it.

Sent.

I stared at the check mark beside my message until the word changed.

Read.

My throat tightened when I tried to swallow. I waited for his response in trepidation. Ten minutes passed before I realized he wasn't going to answer. Well, that figures. I slumped down into my bedding with a sigh. Maybe he got the message that he couldn't come see me anymore. Even if what I had said was a lie.

The call of my mother's voice jolted me out of my thoughts. Dinner was getting cold, she was saying. I wasn't hungry, not even in the least bit, but I hadn't come down when she called earlier. Honestly, it was shocking my dad hadn't already come up to my room to check on me. I didn't know how I would hold up after what happened with Mateo.

It was easier, I learned, to simply not think about it. I couldn't forget the feeling of being violated, of losing a part of myself that I couldn't get back, but it couldn't be undone. If I hadn't opened the door in the first place, it wouldn't have even happened. Better yet, if I had never kissed Boston, Mateo would have never been triggered.

Boston...I sighed. That was a nightmare I would put off as long as possible too. Running my fingers through my unkempt hair, I slid off the bed and moved out of my room. I made a mental note to shower again after dinner. Maybe it would help me feel better.

A worried look was directed my way as I padded into the kitchen. My mom leaned off the counter where she had been on her phone and set the device aside. I forced a smile to ease her concern.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"It's, uh, just Rachel," I lied. "I'm worried about her."

Her lips pursed in sadness. "I'm sorry, love. Want a hug?"

Nodding, I slipped into her arms. She nestled me against her chest, and the sound of her heartbeat comforted me. I felt like a little kid again, safe and innocent. If only it was still true.

"When's your next lesson with Boston?" she queried, brushing through my hair with my fingers.

I couldn't help but stiffen. "Um. I don't know...but he's been really busy with other students. And, well..." Shoot. This was such a lousy excuse. "Mom, I think I'm going to request more hours at work. I know you wanted me to cut back and enjoy summer, but it'll be good to save up money."

"But...honey." Her brows furrowed. "You have a lot going on with Rachel. You should take some time to yourself."

"That's why I want to work more. If I'm just sitting around at home, I won't be able to thinking about anything else."

"Well, if you want to try that and see if it doesn't overwhelm you, then you can. You're a big girl now."

A more authentic smile inched up part of my face as I replied, "Sometimes. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Now," she ordered, "go fix yourself a plate of that spaghetti I made. You need some color in your cheeks."

I rolled my eyes but did as told. Mother always knows best.

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