Chapter 41

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"When I look at him I recognize all those things he sees in me, the answers to questions I've been asking myself for years so blatantly visible in his irises, that I can't help but believe him."


I really thought we could just have this day without any interruptions, but I guess I should've known better.

"What are you doing here, Jer?" I ask, tightening my grip around Lincoln who just tugs me closer, obviously not liking this situation.

Jeremy looks from Lincoln to me, observing us cautiously before taking a step toward us. "I need to talk to you. I got to know about some stuff that might be important."

"Can't we do that another time?" I look up at Lincoln, signaling that I really don't want this night to be disturbed any further. He looks back at me, and I can literally feel how he relaxes as soon as our eyes meet, as soon as he sees that I want to stay by his side.

"That depends. I know some stuff that involves Max..."

And just like that, both Lincoln and I tense up, turning our heads to look at Jeremy with wide eyes. "What?!" Lincoln asks, already seething with rage from the sole mention of my brother's name. And I can't even blame him...

"Yeah, I uh..." Jer seems actually a bit intimidated by Lincoln, scratching the back of his head before he continues, "It involves Riley."

"I knew it," I say through gritted teeth, "I knew you were hiding something!"

He sighs, running a hand through his hair when he nods his head. "Yeah, yeah. It's complicated, though, and I promised not to tell..."

My blood is boiling again, already. I am so goddamn tired of being the one that's kept out of the loop, that doesn't know about important things just because people think it's okay to hide shit from me.

"What is it?!" I ask, trying my hardest not to lash out completely. Lincoln tugs me even closer to him, his fingers running over my arm in a soothing manner, calming my nerves as I take a few deep breaths.

"We should go somewhere more quiet to talk..." Jer tries again, his pleading eyes looking so guilty and apologetic that I almost, just almost, feel for him.

"No, you can tell me right here. I'm sick of this..."

"Mia," Lincoln interrupts me, making me look up at him, those storming blue eyes instantly pinning me to the spot, calming my very being in a matter of seconds. "This seems to be a longer conversation. Let's go back to my place, it's close. Maybe you feel more comfortable there than in the middle of this noise."

I study him for a moment, and I instantly see the understanding in his eyes, see that he knows how much this hurts me, whatever it is they hid from me. And I decide he's right. I'd feel more comfortable in a safe space, and even though I only spent one night at Lincoln's place, I feel safe and cared for there. Because that's where he is, too.

"Yeah, okay..."

It doesn't take long until we reach his apartment, Jeremy doesn't say a word as we walk there, Link's hand firmly tucked in mine when he opens the door and invites us in.

He leads us into the kitchen I got to know at breakfast this morning, pulling me right next to him as he occupies the bench on one side, meaning Jer will have to sit opposite to us.

I sit next to him and he instantly moves his arm over my shoulder again, his eyes gazing right into my soul when I scoot closer. It almost looks like there's a question in them, and I don't know what it is, but I take a wild guess and whisper, "Please stay."

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