Breathless (Merciless 3) - Page 11

“How could I stay with you?” she asks, trying to disguise the misery in her tone as she hurriedly wipes away the tears. “How could I stay here, knowing this?”

Any semblance of anger vanishes from Addison, the realization of what she’s doing breaking through her rage and disgust. She’s leaving him.

“Don’t do this,” I finally speak, pushing forward and grabbing Addison’s arm. I plead with her, “You don’t need to get in between; you don’t need–”

“It’s not about what I need to do,” Addison speaks so softly, but with an evenness that’s at odds with her disheartened expression. “It’s about what I want to do.” Her voice doesn’t waver as she turns to Daniel, grabbing my hand in hers and telling him once again, “I’m leaving and I’m taking her with me.” With a quick intake of air and tears brimming in her deep green eyes, she hesitates but then adds, “Don’t follow me, Daniel.”

“You know I will,” he tells her with no remorse, but also with no objection to her leaving either.

My hand feels so cold in Addison’s and I try to speak again, but she shushes me. “Please, don’t make this harder on me,” she speaks to me although it sounds like a desperate prayer.

It’s quiet for so long, the agony lingering in the air. My gaze darts between the two of them; he’s staring at her, but she’s staring at the open door.

“I need to leave,” she tells him again, squeezing my hand and I squeeze back, for her. I keep praying to hear Carter’s footsteps or his voice. Any part of him to come to me and fix this. To fix the mess I caused.

“I don’t want this to happen,” I say, and the words are rough beneath my breath as I tug at Addison’s hand for her to look at me. And she does. I can feel Daniel’s eyes on me, but I don’t look at him; instead, I beseech Addison, willing her to believe me. “He didn’t know,” I lie. I’d tell a thousand lies to keep it from tearing the two of them apart.

I can see Daniel shift uncomfortably out of the corner of my eye, but I don’t react. Addison’s expression turns soft and sympathetic as she squeezes my hand again. “You don’t have to lie for them.” Her voice is coated with a sadness that claws at my insides. She gives me a soft smile that’s false and it falters when she tells me, “They’re big boys and they knew what they were doing.” Turning to Daniel she adds, “He knew I would never be okay with something like this.” The emotion wrecks each of her words and in turn, the hardness of Daniel’s gaze. I can’t bear to look at him, watching as her words destroy them and whatever love was left between them.

“It’s over. And I want out,” she says in two breaths that linger between them. “Let me go, Daniel. Please. You need to let me go this time.” Even as the tears fall down her cheeks, she stands strong. I look past Daniel, refusing to look at either of them as my vision blurs with tears. The pain I feel for them magnifies as I realize she’s taking me with her, and Carter isn’t here at all.

He’s not fighting for me.

He doesn’t want me anymore.

I cover my face, pulling my hand away from hers and letting out the tortured sorrow of leaving him, but in the back of my mind I hear the voices hiss, he won’t let it happen. She won’t be able to leave so easily.

They’re silenced with Daniel’s only parting words. “I’ll have Eli take you.”

He doesn’t touch her; he doesn’t wait for a second longer. Instead, he simply turns and leaves us without another word, which only makes the pain grow stronger.

Carter, please, come take me. Please.

Addison struggles to control her composure, watching Daniel leave without even a single goodbye.

“I’m so sorry,” I tell her again, hugging her back as she hugs me tight.

“You keep apologizing when this isn’t your fault.” Her words are soft and interrupted by the sound of footsteps.

I barely peek at the man named Eli, dressed in a fitted gray suit, no tie or cufflinks which makes it seem more casual, and with worn black dress shoes that are scuffed but somehow suit him.

It’s his gaze that forces me to look away. Sharp pale blue eyes that have nothing but sympathy in them.

I don’t want it. I’m ashamed as Addison leads me behind Eli and another man called Cason.

He’s shorter than Eli, but not by much, and with bulging muscles that make him seem larger. He’s the one who carries two bags he says are for us, but I don’t know what’s in them. Addison cries harder although she nods her head. Her strength at this moment is something I admire. I wish I could move forward, to make the decision to leave even knowing what the Cross brothers are capable of.

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