I couldn’t find words to make this right when she jerked the door open and came face to face with a very angry Bethy.
“Are you okay? No, you’re not. Come with me,” she said to Della in a soothing tone. Then she shot me a glare. “I can’t believe you,” she snapped.
I watched them both walk away from me. I zipped my jeans, grabbed my shirt, and slipped it on. The pink scrap of fabric I’d jerked off her in my insanity to be in her lay forgotten on the floor. She was walking around in that short skirt with no panties. Damn. I picked up the last memory I’d have of knowing just how good Della Sloane felt and tucked it into my pocket.
Grant met me in the hallway. I owed him an apology too. Not that I was in the mood to give him one. He’d probably be the next one to find out just how amazing Della felt. My blood heated up as images of Grant touching Della flashed in my head.
“What the hell are you doing? I thought you were gonna ask Angelina to marry you tomorrow night. Jace said you have the ring already.”
I let out a frustrated sigh. “I am. It’s a little deeper than the way it looks. I hooked up with Della about four months ago when she was passing through town. She’s memorable.” I wasn’t about to tell him just how good she was because I had no doubt he’d try her out himself and I knew his heart was too abused to ever love again.
“So you needed one more taste? She know that was what was up? If she did then that’s cool. But if she didn’t then you’re a sorry ass motherfucker.” The last part came out in a soft voice laced with an angry threat.
“I’m the motherfucker,” I replied and shoved past him as Angelina made her way toward me. I had her to deal with now.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Where have you been?” she asked. I started to lie when I decided she didn’t need to think this was a fairytale. She needed the truth.
“Having really hot wild sex. If I’m asking you to marry me tomorrow at the benefit then I needed to have one more fond memory.”
Most girls would have flinched but I’d known Angelina wouldn’t. This was a business transaction for her too.
“I hope it was a good one because I won’t allow it once I’m wearing that ring,” she hissed.
“It was incredible,” I replied and headed for the front door. “Let’s go.”
I didn’t want to go back out to the balcony with Bethy. I saw Grant walking toward us and I just wanted out. This time it hurt. With Jeffery I’d just been disgusted. But with Woods… it was painful. He had been different. Or at least, I’d thought he was different. The way he touched me and wanted me had given me hope. I was silly to think hot sex was the answer to my problems. It had all been selfish. Woods wasn’t giving me pure affection. My heart still hurt. I’d wanted that so much.
I felt the edges of my vision starting to blur and I knew I needed to be alone. This wasn’t something anyone needed to see. I didn’t want these people to think I was a freak too.
“I just want to be alone if you don’t mind,” I told Bethy and forced an apologetic smile her way before heading outside into the cool night air. I didn’t look back and I didn’t try to find my car. I wasn’t in any condition to drive. I needed somewhere dark and quiet. Somewhere safe. I needed somewhere safe. The words “safe” kept up a chant in my head as my vision became more and more blurry. I managed to find a house that looked empty and sat down on the backside of it facing away from the road. I pulled my knees up and tucked my head between them. I could get through this. It was just a symptom of my trauma. Or at least that’s what the doctors kept telling me.
Don’t go outside, Della. It’s dangerous. Your daddy is dead because he went outside. Stay here where it’s safe. With me. We’ll be safe together. Just the two of us.
I felt tears fill my eyes as my mother’s words began tumbling through my head. I tried so hard to repress the memories. But when I was emotionally spent they came back. They didn’t just hide away in my dreams.
Shhh, Della dear. I know you want to ride a bike but so many bad things can get you outside. You’re only safe in here. Remember that. We can’t leave or bad things will happen. Let’s sing a song, okay? One that is happy. One that is safe.
“No, no, no momma. You aren’t going to do this to me. I’m stronger than you. I can beat this,” I said as I pushed the memories back. I wasn’t my mother. I wanted to live life. I wanted to face danger and I wanted to know all the emotions that went along with it.
I sat there a long time and stared up at the moon. It was something I used to long to see. I knew at night that I could get away from the safety of my house and see Braden. I could ride her bike down the dark streets and I could breathe in the fresh air. The night sky had become my friend.
Finally, I wiped my face with the backs of my hands and stood up. I was okay. I’d made it through this alone. Braden hadn’t been here to tell me to breathe and make me laugh while she kept her arm wrapped around my shoulders. This time it had just been me. I was proud of myself.
I had lain awake last night thinking about packing up and leaving but in the end I decided that I was done with running. I couldn’t run every time I came in contact with pain or a problem was placed in my path. It was time I reacted like the rest of the world and faced it head on. However, I might need to find another job. My boss might not want me working for him anymore. I’d just ask him. I would walk right up to him, be very professional, and ask him if I still had a job or if he needed me to look elsewhere for one. That would be easy enough.