18 - Return of the Asshole, Again

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I stormed out of Rian's apartment, unable to accept what had happened. Had he really said all those things? To me? Was he insane, or just stupid?

Obviously not stupid, a traitorous voice whispered in my mind. Based off that Sherlock-esque wave of deduction he threw at you. 

I let out a series of expletives, scaring a weirdly familiar young woman I saw going the way I came. I felt no guilt; that lady should have known better to live in this building, with that—that pisse-froid. No matter how I tried, his words just kept going round and round in my head.

Try and break me, Hanna.

"Asshole!" I yelled, kicking the wall violently as I reached the elevator. I only became more angry when I realized that was the exact same thing I'd done when I was stuck with him in that other elevator, barely a week ago. Why did everything keep repeating itself? 

Are you nervous?

I jammed my finger against the down button, pressing it with more force than necessary but too angry to care. The doors slid open with a ding. I marched inside and instructed it to ground floor, breathing heavily even though there were no stairs in sight.

Almost by instinct—muscle-memory really—I thrust my hand in my coat pockets to find my phone. I wanted to check if it was dead, if the universe was really just playing with me as I suspected. I dug around in the smooth material, searching for it urgently.

Instead, my hands came in contact with a jagged metal edge. I frowned in confusion, my rage temporarily exchanged for curiosity. I grabbed the unfamiliar object and drew it up for me to see.

It was a key.

My frown deepened, momentarily unaware of its significance. What is this? It took a second for the memory to hit: me, snatching Rian's house key off the coffee table, rushing to get the medicine that would later result in disaster. 

"Ugh," I groaned, leaning my head against the elevator in exasperation. In the rational part of my brain, I knew that it would come in handy when I inevitably had to return to this building. But now I was just annoyed at having another piece of him weighing on me—and what was more infuriating was the fact that even after all of that, a small part of me was actually anticipating seeing him again. 

See you tomorrow. Your place this time, right?

The elevator came to a stop and I got off. I chuckled bitterly when I recalled the obsessive guilt I'd felt when I first saw him and all the times after that—for some reason, I could no longer locate that remorse as easily. Typical. The first time in three years that the scars of the past weren't cleaving into me, and it was all because of him.

But isn't that what you wanted? That same treasonous voice found its way into my head again. That's what you told Rokim in the hospital. You said Rian could help you move on.

"Shut up!" I hissed. The few people lingering in the lobby gave me strange looks as I marched outside, but thankfully that annoying inner voice had fallen silent. 

The trip home took about twenty minutes. I barely noticed the rumble of the bus as it pulled up to my stop, or the hum of the now-repaired elevator as it lifted me to my apartment level. The only thing I really paid attention to was the comfort of collapsing into my bed after a very long day. I was tired; still angry, but the constant fury was exhausting. Before I knew it, I was asleep. 

And then the nightmare came. 

No! Rian!

It had changed again. Instead of utter darkness I was assaulted with blinding light. It hurt to look at, but I found myself still stuck in one spot, unable to blink or move. At least that was the same.

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