35. Shattered Hearts

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   "Ah. Home at last," Collins chimes as we walk through their front door. I have to agree with him. After three days of sleeping on the hard waiting-room chairs in the hospital, it's good to... have a change of scenery. Although, that might change anytime soon. I think the staff wanted to kick us out, but Grae can be pretty convincing. Or just intimidating. Or maybe even threatening.

   "Thanks for helping me, guys," Darius says, giving Grae a pat on the shoulder as he walks by. "Wouldn't have survived these days if it weren't for you."

   If it weren't for me you wouldn't have to. I shove the bitter thought away as I file inside, not wanting to speak much to any of them. I've had a lot of time thinking these past few days also. I've also been staring on my phone a lot. A text is right around the corner, I can sense it.

   "Well, at least you got some free drugs. Do you have some morphine to spare?" Collins jokes from the hallway. Darius chuckles. I walk into the bathroom and close the door behind me. Leaning on the sink, I take a deep breath. Closing my eyes, I let it out. It's shaky.

   These past two days have been utter torture. The guys have really come together as a family, all the while I've been there as the reason for all the misery. Of course they don't know that yet. I'm sure Grae would've choked me to death if he found out.

   How can I even stand around them, pretending I'm just as upset as they were when I practically saw this coming and did nothing about it? I feel like such a hypocrite, talking about how unfair this is. I see the way they care so much for each other, and I'm ruining that just by being here. I shouldn't be here. It's all wrong. But I couldn't leave when Darius and I are finally starting to get together, and Grae is starting to loosen up. Although he has ignored me ever since that spontaneous hug.

   I've made up my mind, but then my phone buzzes.

   Unknown number: Getting nervous are we? Should be. I'm not done with you.

   Realization washes over me, erasing all the traces of happiness that had started to grow. I'm never getting out of this. And neither are they. Not if I stay.


   My hand quivers as I write the last sentence before I sign it. Love, Briar. I release a shaky breath as I place the pencil back in the pencil holder on the kitchen counter. The paper rustles as I fold it twice, putting it on the kitchen table. My bag is securely placed in the hallway, ready whenever I am. I head out to the living room.

   "Have you seen Darius?" Grae doesn't look up from his phone. "Upstairs," is the monotone reply.

   I fill my lungs with air, hoping that the air carries some sort of drug that makes me really confident. It doesn't, and I head upstairs with a trembling body and a loud-beating heart.

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