Chapter 37

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"When he looked at me, it felt like I was the only color in an ocean of black - his eyes always found mine like a moth found the light, no matter how dark he became himself."


I feel so different.

Leaving Lincoln last night was the hardest goddamn thing I ever did, but I knew I had to restrain myself, I knew we couldn't just jump into things again. Because things needed to be different this time.

I'm glad Jer and Ri will visit me tonight, at least they can keep me from doing something stupid like just showing up at Lincoln's doorstep. Also, I can't deny that I neglected both of them, again. Riley helped me through a lot when everything went down in the past. She didn't even bat an eyelid when I called her a few nights after Pops's death, not berating me for not calling her for months when I was occupied with Link or anything like that.

Considering she follows the same career path as me, the sole difference being that she wants to work with the tough cases in mental asylums while I want to go into the juvenile area, she understood my motivation back then. She also understood that I didn't neglect her on purpose, my life just found a different focus for a few months.

She admitted that she hasn't been the best friend herself in the weeks before everything happened, too. There's always a reason for someone to pull back - you usually don't just do that if everything was perfectly fine beforehand. But I felt like Ri had different things to do her own, like she was going through some things she didn't want to talk about - which would've totally been her right. And since she is rather closed off in general I decided to give her space, let her work through it on her own, first.

But luckily we found our way back to each other, and I think she's the only person, besides my therapist, that knows about most of what happened with Lincoln two years ago now. She played a huge part in coming to terms with things and helped me look for a therapist, too. I can't thank her enough for that.

"Hey, bee," Riley grins when she pulls me into a hug, squeezing the life out of me with her tender arms. She refers to me as a working bee, saying that I don't know how to stop sometimes. Which is not wrong, exactly, so I can't really fight her on it.

"Hey, Ri. Thanks for coming," I retort, gasping for air when she pulls back.

"Sure thing! I brought vino!" she shows off the wine bottle in her hand, wiggling her eyebrows with a smile.

"Oh, good... Vino. Yay!" Jeremy steps out from behind her and rolls his eyes before pulling me into his arms as well. "I don't understand why she insists on bringing wine when she knows we don't drink that stuff..." he mumbles into my ear and I can't help but laugh, rubbing his back before I pull away.

"Well, let her. I got everything we need," I wink, and Jer just gives me another side hug, "That's why I love you, girl."

I shoot him a smile before letting them in and closing the door behind my two friends, which is when the typical madness starts. Within a matter of minutes we're settled on the sofa with chips and crackers and gummy bears, Riley with a glass of wine in her hand while Jer and I enjoy some gin tonic.

"So, how are your exams going?" Jer asks, throwing another chip in his mouth, but Riley immediately reacts by throwing a pillow in his face, spilling some of the gin on his jeans.

I can't help but laugh when I see the shocked look on Jer's face when he asks, "What the hell?!"

Rile just shrugs, taking another sip of her wine when she answers, "Dude, you know we don't talk about exams on movie night!"

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