Chapter 29 - My Fault

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MADDIE POV:

The sound of a door creaking open awoke me from my restless slumber. I blinked open my tired eyes and relished in the few moments before my mind reminded me and drowned me in the terror from the day before, the night before, I wasn't even sure at this point. The hours seemed to blur into a wild whirlwind defined by irregular naps on the sofa in my eldest brother's office.

Ignorance is bliss.

Mason couldn't have been more right. In those first few moments of waking up I could have been in my warm bed at home with Elly clutched tightly in my arms. That was until the night before's events crashed into my mind like a suffocatingly destructive tsunami wrecking everything in its path. Including me. Part of me wished I had never woken up.

I rolled over onto my side, facing the back of the sofa, and clenched my eyes shut. Partly to prevent the water building in the back of my eyes to materialise. Partly to believe this was all some horrible nightmare. Some horrifically horrible nightmare I would just wake up from. At one point during the night, I had even pinched myself so hard that it left a red indentation in my arm.

"Maddie?" Blake asked quietly, and the sound of footsteps nearing became apparent.

Remaining silent, I pressed my lips together and willed myself not to make a sound, knowing that all I could vocalise would be a broken cry. A whimper of self pity and devastation.

When I could hear his breathing, I knew he was knelt down by the sofa I was laying on. My muscles tightened involuntarily when one of his hands came to rest gently on my back.

"I know you're awake," he said.

Damn it. They clearly knew me far better than I thought did; that thought both warmed me and terrified me.

I gulped back the rising tide of emotions in my throat and rolled over to face him. I blinked my tired eyes at those stormy greys in front of me. Dark circles underlined then and frown lines were etched into his forehead, evidence of his own sleepless night. That only served to heighten the guilt that was eating away at my conscience.

His eyebrows creased together slightly at the sight in front of him. Me. Usually I would find offense to that, did I really look that dreadful? But without even looking at myself in the mirror, I knew the answer was painstakingly obvious. Yes. Clearly I looked as bad as I felt.

"Can't sleep?" He asked.

I shrugged my shoulders and instead asked, "What time is it?"

My voice was slightly hoarse, probably a combination of yelling for Mason earlier and having just woken up. Regardless, it didn't contribute anything positive to my already bedraggled appearance. 

Blake glanced down at the million dollar watch wrapped around his wrist. When he glanced up, pity clouded his eyes for a moment.

"4.30," he said.

"In the afternoon?"

A sympathetic sigh was the only answer I needed. I rolled onto my stomach and planted my face into the pillow. It was soft, but nothing like the comfort of my bed back home. But shutting my eyes, perhaps I could just imagine, perhaps I could just pretend that none of this ever happened.

When his hand landed on my hair, I couldn't help but tense slightly at the shock. An instinctive reaction I had just started to heal from before I found out Dominic was alive. Blake definitely noticed but didn't say anything, to my utmost gratitude. I don't think I could have survived a counselling session, especially with Blake.

Instead he asked softly, "What are you thinking?"

The question was framed in such a way that could leave me offloading onto him. A talent all of my brother's seemed to share. The questions they asked were always open-ended and broad.

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