The word death rings in my ears and knocks the wind out of my lungs. An image of him, lying lifeless on the pavement flashes before my eyes. More tears spill out of my eyes. I’m desperate to make him believe that he’s worthy of having a happy life. That he can get out of this mess and overcome anything if he puts his mind to it. I reach out to him, but he backs away from me. “Then we’ll take off. You and me. We’ll start over.”
“Cowards run,” he snaps. “I’m not and will never be a coward.”
“It’s not cowardly to look back and admit to yourself that you made a mistake. It’s not cowardly to want and hope for more out of your life. It’s not cowardly to try to redeem yourself. That’s where you’re so, so wrong, Sean.”
At that moment he loses it. His jaw clenches. His h
ands ball into fists. “No! Hadlee! No! I can’t go anywhere! I can’t get out! It doesn’t matter if I want it or not! Hope means nothing to a man like Connie! Life and death means nothing to a man like Connie! If I leave he’ll go after Teagan and that’s not someone’s life I’m willing to bargain with! For fuck’s sake, I sold my soul to the devil and that’s my burden to bear!” He pushes past me, grips the doorknob, and swings the door open. “And if you can’t understand that, than it’s best that you get out now.”
I feel like I’ve been holding breath for the last five minutes and when the door finally slams that’s when I let everything out. I bury my face in my hands and fall back onto his couch, tucking my legs into a ball.
I rock back forth crying harder than I ever have before.
I want to go after him.
I want to tell him that I’m sorry. That I care about him. Worry about him. That they might as well put me in a body bag too if anything happens to him. It’s during that moment, when I lift my head and stare at the closed door, that I know that I love him.
I know it and can feel it vibrating through my heart. A pain so deep, and so intense that it’s consuming me. Swallowing me like a tidal wave in the Atlantic ocean. The only thing I can do is choke on my own sobs and hug my legs tighter, burying my head in my knees.
He was right, though.
He’s mixed up in some bad, bad shit.
I could tell just how bad and dire his situation is by the tone in his voice.
And he’s right, I should get out now.
But I’m not sure if I can make myself.
Every second I spend with him, I feel like he’s pulling me under. I feel like I’m floating on top of crystalline blue waters, and when he drags me down to his depths I don’t care if I suffocate. I don’t care if I drown.
I do know one thing for sure though. He said cowards run. I think there is a bit of truth to that statement although I can’t agree entirely.
In our situation, if I walk out on him now, when he needs me the most, yes, I’ll be a coward. It will be so much easier for me to run away and pretend like we never happened. It will be so much easier for me to abandon him. Yes, it will break my heart, but it will be easier.
It will be better.
It doesn’t matter how many times I try to tell myself I’m right, because deep down I know I’m not. I know all too well, that the only way to help Sean, to be there for him, and love him is to fight for him.
Even if I get hurt.
Even if I wind up in pain and with a broken heart.
Even if it takes me back to that dark place in my life.
Even if I wind up scattered across the hard wood floor in pieces.
I have to fight for him.
There’s no more debating it.
I have to.