Kyle has stayed in an abusive relationship because he doesn’t believe he deserves anything better. He hands over his paycheck and his dignity for the sake of keeping the peace.
Jonathan lives an orderly life of routine and processes. When Seb asks him to look into a case against his ex, he hesitates. Not because he doesn’t want to help, but because he’s afraid this gentle and broken man might sully the tidy world he needs to function.
For mature readers.
she’s a thousand miles away in some trailer park. I wouldn’t call her for help
if my life depended on it. And, right now, it does.
pockets when I hear someone call my name. At first, I don’t see anyone but then
I realize Seb is waving to me from across the street.
is probably worst-case scenario. Seb is the one who got away. The one I drove
away with my stupid comments and nagging about his drinking. I’ve never gotten
over him but he left one day without a backward glance. He probably forgot about me the moment he walked away.
the time around town but he’s never stopped me to talk.
about. A few months ago, Bruce and I ran into Seb in a restaurant. He was on a
date with some hot blond guy who was clearly important to him. More important
to him than I ever was.
overheard some of the hateful things Bruce said. Everyone in that damn
restaurant overheard him. He gets loud when he starts drinking and we were
several drinks into that evening.
to make it to me.
juice shop behind us. “Do you have a minute to talk?”
table by the window.
this be about the weather…
clasps his hands on the table. “I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for
pain of when he left me. I thought he was it for me. He said as much to me and
then he left.
I assumed you knew why, but I need to know you’re okay.”
can even lie better than I ever have before.
pierce right through me. He could always see right into me. “Last time I saw
you… Well, that guy you were with was kind of a dick.”
the movement. Seb’s eyes go wide and he pulls his hand back but motions with
his fingers for me to turn to the side. “Cuz that cut on your cheek looks
realize was there. “Oh, I guess that’s from the…”
expression but he looks anything but friendly right now. “What happened?”
about?” I cross my arms over my chest, hoping to change the subject back to
whatever he was so eager to discuss.
at myself for losing my temper and hitting you. You didn’t deserve that and it
shouldn’t have happened.” He slowly reaches out and puts his hand over mine.
“I’m sorry for that. I lost it and I didn’t trust myself to never hurt you
again. That’s why I left.”
want you to. I never wanted you to leave.”
better than the man I was. That’s why it pissed me off so much when I saw you
with that asshole. Please tell me he doesn’t hurt you.”
is not a conversation I ever expected to have with Seb. Truthfully, I didn’t
think he’d ever speak to me again. But here we are, discussing how the best man
I ever met left me because he hit me one time when he was drunk.
the tears. The past day has been one of the most emotional of my life. I’ve
managed to hold it all together until now, but I can’t keep everything inside
anymore. I might have lasted a few more hours, until I found some privacy at
least, if Seb wasn’t so damn sweet.
the flood gate of my heart as everything comes gushing out. With a deep sob, I
drop my forehead onto our joined hands and have a good cry.
and holds me against his chest. “What the hell is going on with you?”
enough to even speak. And as much as I want to make up a lie, I can’t. Seb will
see right through any story I make up. So I lay it all out, telling him about
Bruce and my current situation of being broke and homeless.
hand through his short brown hair. “What happened to you? When you were mine,
you weren’t like—”
face. The sudden realization of what he thinks happened to me hits him like a
two by four. Gasping, he physically pulls away from me. “I did this to you.
It’s my fault you’ve allowed—”
napkin. “Don’t. Don’t blame yourself. This is all me. I just make bad decisions…”
that breaks my heart all over again. He doesn’t deserve any of the blame for my
meet my gaze again. “You were the best thing that ever happened to me. Even
though it didn’t last as long as I wanted it to, I wouldn’t give up one minute
of the time we had together.”
head, self-loathing evident in his entire demeanor. “The ones that broke your
spirit and made you think you deserved to be treated like shit. Fuck, Kyle, I’m
with Bruce. I guess deep down I knew he wouldn’t ever change but I wanted to
try. I wanted him to love me someday. So much so that he’d eventually change
who he was. That’s not your doing. I learned that from my mother a long time
ago. She brought home loser after loser, letting men smack us around because
she thought they loved her. I swore I wouldn’t be like that, but clearly, the
apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
your fate.” He leans forward with both elbows on his thighs. “You’re a good man
and you deserve so much better than what you’ve had. Please don’t give up on
Seb. I’m not giving up anything.”