Chapter Twenty

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Chapter Twenty

Abriana

“Are you ready to go home, Abriana?” asked Doctor Porter.

Her sickly sweet perfume floated through the air and overwhelmed my senses. Staring at the wall, I focused on an exposed bent nail.

“Abriana?”

“Ah, yeah,” I said as I shook my head out of the mental fog it had been lost in. “I mean, I think so.”

Doctor Porter gave me a warm smile. “Have you set up your appointments with Dr. Gillian?”

“Yes,” I said quietly with burning cheeks. I can’t believe I have to keep reliving all of this mess with a psychologist.

“It’s for the best,” said Doctor Porter. “Trust me.”

I tugged at my hospital bracelet on my wrist. Yeah right! I won’t trust anyone ever again! Well, except my family and maybe Matías!

 After an awkward pause, Doctor Porter shifted her weight and gave me another smile. “Remember to keep applying antibiotic cream on the cut on your forehead and your leg. They should heal up nicely in a few more days.”

“Got it,” I replied.

Doctor Porter stepped forward and shook my hand. Her ice-cold fingers chilled me to the bone. “Good luck, Abriana.”

“Thanks,” I replied.

Without another word, she walked out of the room, her flats sliding across the smooth floor.

“Are you riding with me, Bri?” asked Alexa.

“Sure,” I replied. “Just let me get my things.”

Walking around the room, I filled a small canvas bag with the clothing my mother had brought from home, a hairbrush, and a bottle of my favorite face wash.

“Okay, I think I’m ready,” I said, as I looked around the room one last time. I hope I never have to come back here again!

Alexa slung her arm over my shoulder. “Let’s go, Bri. The sooner we get out of here the better!”

A smile tugged at the corners of my lips. “I don’t know what I would do without you, Lex.”

Her eyes filled with tears as she wrapped both arms around my neck. Giving me a tight squeeze, she whispered, “Love you, Sis,” into my ear.

“Love you too, Alexa.”

***

As we walked down the hall, I heard a familiar voice. Spinning around, a feeling of happiness washed over me.

“Abriana!” said Matías with a huge smile on his face. “Thank goodness! I thought you had already left.”

He pulled me into his arms and sighed contently. “I’m so glad you’re going home today.”

His cologne washed over me. “Me too,” I murmured.

He released me and ran his fingers down my arm, causing a trail of goose bumps to erupt in their path. “Are you leaving right now?”

“Yeah,” I said, “Lex is about to bring me home.”

His smile fell slightly, before his trademark grin reappeared. “Lex, any chance I could bring Abriana home instead?”

I watched as her eyes went dark and a frown appeared on her face.

“Really?” she asked in a snappy tone.

Wow, I thought. She took that pretty hard!

“It’s okay, Lex,” I said trying to diffuse the situation. “Matías, can you just meet us at my mom and dad’s house?”

Disappointment crossed his face. “Yeah, I guess. I mean, yeah. That’s fine.”

I gave him an encouraging nod.

He ran his thumb along my jaw line. “Okay. See you in a bit. I just need to stop by the store and grab something quick. Do you need anything?”

“I don’t think so… Lex? Need anything?” I asked.

“Nope,” she responded curtly. “I’m good.”

Matías leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. “See you soon.”

He turned around and walked down the hall in the opposite direction.

“Ready?” I asked Alexa.

“Yeah,” she responded. “Let’s go.”

Alexa and I walked the rest of the way to the car in silence. By the time we got there, the tension in the air was thick enough to cut with a knife.

Click. I adjusted the strap on my seatbelt and nervously shifted my weight. “Lex?”

She exhaled loudly.  “Yeah?”

“Why did you get so funny when Matías offered me a ride home?” I asked.

Alexa turned the key in the ignition and the car purred to life. “I really don’t want to talk about it.”

I frowned. “What?”

“I said I don’t want to talk about it,” she repeated.

A sick feeling started to spread through my core. “Alexa, what’s going on?”

Keeping the car in park, she turned away from me and looked out the window.

I watched as she raked her teeth over her lower lip.

“Alexa, tell me what the hell is going on,” I said in a firm, but low voice.

“I’m so sorry,” she said as fresh tears dropped from her eyes. “It’s all my fault.”

My eyes went wide. “What are you talking about?”

She covered her eyes with her hands and sobbed loudly. “Everything! It’s all my fault.”

My heart started to thump loudly and I could feel the blood pulsing in my temples. “Alexa,” I said slowly. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m so sorry, Bri! Will you ever be able to forgive me for what I’ve done?”

I turned and placed my hands on her shoulders. Forcing her to turn toward me, I asked her one last time, “Alexa, what did you do?”

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