Chapter 20

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Emma

Other than after Bianca and her friends roughed me up, I don't remember a time when Zach wasn't cool and calm. In fact, he was always my rock, handling whatever pressures life threw his way. I'd never seen him freak out, but this time was so much different. It was hard not to see the panic on his face. He averted his gaze as all the color drained from him. "Why are we doing this again?"

His voice, normally level, betrayed him as he stuttered the final couple of words.

I swallowed hard. There was no going back now. "Because it's not going away. I feel like it's hanging over us, and that I'm the only one who doesn't know what's on it."

He closed his eyes. He was thinking, but I knew he wasn't going to find a way out of this sticky situation. "You don't want to see it," he finally said.

"Why?"

"It's more than two years old. I was a different person then, so was Bianca. It's old news."

"If it's old news, why are you keeping it?"

He looked at me, his brown eyes pleading for me to back off. "To protect you."

"I don't want you to protect me. I want you to show it to me."

He shook his head. "No."

My hands were shaking, and I could barely contain the adrenaline rushing through my veins. "Yes. Get it."

"It's not a good idea."

I was tired of people making decisions for me. From Dad to Zach, they'd all decided my future and I was tired of it. Something came over me, the same devil that possessed me when I punched Bianca in the face. I slammed my fist down on the dining room table and it made Zach jump. "I want to see it. If you don't get it, I walk. And I mean it, Zach. You're going to show it to me."

His eyes showed fear I'd never seen before. "Emma, don't make me do this," he begged, his voice dropping to a whisper.

"I don't want to be the fool anymore. You're not keeping it from me. Where is it?" My voice was level, but inside I was falling apart. His resistance was scaring me.

"You won't forgive me," he said, his eyes locked on mine.

"Let me decide."

He slowly stood and went to our bedroom. He returned with a flash drive but didn't hand it to me. "Em, if you see this, I'm worried what you'll think. I was stupid when I got involved in this. I was also very drunk. I'd never do something like this now. I can't believe I did it then."

I felt like two hands had grabbed my heart and were ripping it in two, but I kept my composure. "Give it to me."

He held it out and I snatched it before he could take it back. I went to his laptop and inserted the flash drive. In seconds the video popped up. I flinched at the opening image. Bianca on her knees, presumably naked and surrounded by guys. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Scenarios ran through my head. I could destroy the flash drive before viewing it, but I'd always wonder what was on it. Or I could watch it and potentially see Zach in a way I could never forget.

"We were young, trying to fit in," Zach pleaded from behind me. "We were high on some kind of pills. I never took them again after that."

"Quiet!"

My hands shook violently as I moved the mouse and let the cursor hover over the play button. One more deep breath, reconsidering, knowing that deep down this would change everything, then clicked on play.

"Say hello, Bianca." Zach's laughing voice. My stomach lurched.

She waved and licked her lips, pretending to be seductive, but failing miserably. Uncertainty was etched on her face.

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