30 - Best friends are for kicking your hungover ass when you're already down.

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Then.

I woke up the following morning to a sleep deprived Landon reading quietly to Madden on the bed beside me. It was late morning, and Madden was getting restless with hunger, as I'm sure Landon was also. My stepfather had recently switched back to day shift so he wasn't home, and it was Sunday, so my mother was occupied with Seth and Brayden's football games for the day.

The house was empty and quiet, which suited my very hungover head and aching body perfectly. Food and water and Panadol were calling to me from the kitchen, so I dragged the other two out of bed to make waffles for breakfast. Landon wasn't talking much, at least not to me. Madden was the recipient of all his words this morning, which was fine because it meant I didn't have to talk about what happened the night before. I wasn't in a rush to put it on the agenda and was hoping that, by some unearthly miracle, he had forgotten finding me more drunk than ever, crying, with a ripped strap on my dress and missing shoes, and taking me home.

All hopes of that disappeared instantly when I first caught sight of my reflection in a mirror. Hideous black and purple bruises in the shape of a nineteen-year-old boy's fingers were hard to miss, and even harder to ignore.

Landon was standing in the doorway of the bathroom, again , watching me as I surveyed some of the areas of my body I remembered Camden touching the previous night. I looked like a fucking zebra with the amount on deep purple lines that were now splattered all over my otherwise pale skin.

"Are you going to tell me what happened? Or would you like me to first tell you what I know already?" asked Landon aggressively.

He was pissed off. I respected that. But I didn't need that rage being directed at me so soon after waking up and witnessing the harsh outcomes of last night's events with Camden.

"I appreciate you bringing me home last night, Landon; but I really don't want to get into this now. I already feel like shit."

"Sorry, Sade. Not this time. I'm actually done tip-toeing around what's going on between you two. You can't seriously expect me to ignore all this?" he said, holding my wrists delicately in his hands and tossing my hair away from my neck.

"What do you want me to say? What am I supposed to do about it? You know him. You know what will happen if I say anything."

"Fuck saying anything to him, Sadie. You shouldn't be saying anything to him anyway except 'fuck off, we're done.' This is not okay," said Landon. In order to not to attract Madden's attention away from the TV where he left him, he was being careful and yelling all this in his most quiet whisper. It sounded like hammers in my eardrums, and daggers in my heart.

"I can't just leave him, Landon. You know what he'll do if I do."

"I don't fucking care. Let him. Let him do whatever the fuck he wants. That's not your responsibility. It's not your responsibility to keep him alive just so he can take out whatever bullshit issues he has with the world on you. You're not his fucking punching bag, Sadie."

"I know that, but what if he —" I started, but Landon was not interested in listening to my 'what ifs' today.

"If that's what he does, then that's his fucked up decision. It wouldn't make it your fault, and it doesn't mean it's your responsibility to save him. He's been one of my best friends for years, Sadie; but even I feel like I don't know him anymore. And I'm not sure I even want to anymore. He's getting worse. Everyone can see it. And it's more than any of us can deal with on our own. You know he needs help, and he won't ever get it if you're around to look after him."

"So, what? This is my fault? I've enabled him to become the fucking abusive asshole he is now?" I was far beyond trying to censor my language by now.

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