30 | in which she doesn't want to go home

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If love turns lonely,
Let it go.

.\.|./.

Crystal Monroe

| in which she doesn't want to go home |

He's abusive, Ryan said. He's got you under his spell, in his control, he warned.

I wanted to believe him, but maybe I didn't.

It was easier to believe the lie that my love was enough, and that Jeremy would never fall out of love with me. It was easier to justify his behavior to myself than admit that I was wrong about him.

Admitting failure is never easy, and it's even harder when it's in love.

Seeing Jeremy on Ryan's doorstep, using his typical sleazy smile and hypnotic eyes to numb my brain, I knew Ryan had been right all along. A part of me still refused -- the crazy, psychotic, masochistic, and clearly blind part still clung on to the last shred of hope.

If he came back, maybe he loves me after all.

Going home with him and leaving Ryan behind was my way of challenging myself. I wanted to see who was right -- my heart, or the boy who cared for me for a reason I didn't understand. Sure, he's kind of crazy too, but why does he like me?

The moment it all became clear, I could see the truth unfolding before my eyes. The veil was lifted. The facade broken. The moment his hands began to leave bruises on me -- ones that would always be less painful than the ones his words left on my soul -- I knew there was no hope for us. We were never meant to be. I was in love with the devil and heading for hell, destined for eternal damnation.

I could have lain still, while he showed me his true colors. I could have waited for the worst to be over, for him to satisfy his carnal desires and walk away like he always did. I would have held on to hope for the night and run to Ryan in the morning, admit my mistake and let him save me. I could have played it safe.

But I couldn't.

I needed to go through every bit of that pain, put up with every ounce of the emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse he subjected me to, tolerate every moment of that painful dawn to be able to live the next day. I needed to see all of that to remember it, let Jeremy leave those wounds on my mind so that not even his hypnotism would be able to remove those scars. I needed him to break apart the Crystal he made, so that the one he killed could rise from the ashes.

I needed him to do it, so I would never forget.

"Crystal --" Ryan begins, but I close my eyes and shake my head to stop him. I don't want to talk about this, not even tell him everything going on in my head. He was right, I admit it, but narrating to him the process of this discovery means reliving it. I don't have the strength to do that.

"Can we talk about something else?" I ask him softly. "Tell me about your day instead."

Ryan looks like he wants to argue, maybe to make sure I'm not suicidal like he told me he was. We never talked about that after that initial revelation, and though I always wanted to make sure he was okay inside, he was so perfect outside I was never able to.

He exhales a shuddering breath and licks his lips.

"Well, I ... I stole a car," he says.

I can't help but chuckle slightly at that, causing a burst of pain to shoot through me.

"Are you okay?" he asks quickly, probably noticing the grimace on my face.

"My head hurts," I tell him, aware of the wearing-off of the effects of morphine. "But you probably know that already," I add half-jokingly, eyeing the scar that is etched permanently across his eyebrow.

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