Chapter 38 | I Can Explain

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When Mrs. Stewart tugs open the front door her entire face lights up.

"Oh my goodness, why didn't you ring the bell?" She says with her normal light and airy tone, tugging on my wrist to pull me inside.

I had knocked faintly because that was all I could force myself to do.

"I didn't want to disturb you," I mention shyly, staring at the painting behind her head.

She makes a, 'tsk,' sound before pulling me in for a tight hug. I'm taken aback, my eyes bulging as she rubs my back soothingly. This surely wasn't what I had been expecting, but I wrap my arms around her anyway.

If Eli's father knew about the breakup then I'm positive his mother does as well, and I was prepared for the cold shoulder. I had broken her son's heart, for fuck's sake, I didn't deserve a loving welcome.

"You should know you're welcome here at any time!" She coo's, pulling back to cup my cheeks with her cold hands. "I've never been happier to see your healthy face!"

I laugh breathlessly, "It's good to see you too."

She drops her hands to her sides, a plaintive expression washing over her features. "I'm so sorry I couldn't get in to see you more when you were at the hospital. Work has been an absolute mess lately..."

"Don't worry about it!" I frown, hating that people felt bad for having a life. Not everyone could wallow with me. "I know the law firm can get a little crazy sometimes! The hospital was strict about people visiting anyway, they didn't want me to overexert myself."

"I'm sure," She looks me over with concern. "How are you?"

"I've been good, just trying to catch up on some rest as the doctor ordered." I rush out, anxiously adjusting my stance and taking a quick peek up the stairs.

She squeezes my shoulder, "Good. It's important to get rest, you're still healing!"

"It is," I nod, rocking on the balls of my feet. "I still feel like I've been hit by a bus sometimes."

Trina Stewart is the sweetest lady around. She's the kind of woman to bring freshly baked cookies to a new neighbor, whip up homemade soup if someone is sick, and forgive anyone before they've even said sorry.

And as wonderful as it is to catch up with her, I need to see Eli.

Mrs. Stewart notices my antsy gestures, smiling knowingly. "You're here to see Eli, aren't you?"

"Yeah, we need to talk..." I trail off, fidgeting with my necklace. "If he wants to." My voice grows quieter, fully aware that Eli could reject me.

"I know that he does." She assures softly and shuffles to the side. "He's upstairs in his room, you can go on up."

I clear my throat, "Thank you."

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