But I’m not that girl anymore. The problem is, I don’t know who I am.
Without Carter… suddenly the emotions flood back, and I have to slam the brush down on the vanity. It’s an antique piece of furniture and I stare at the weathered wood top wishing it would give me answers and take this pain away.
He told me I would always be his and it gave me a freedom. But that freedom scares me now that he left me. I don’t think he’ll ever take me back and it leaves me feeling hollow inside. There’s nothing remaining but the ache of him not loving me.
I suck in a breath, knowing I need to accept it and think about where I’ll go and who I’ll be once this week and this war are over.
All I know for certain is that I’ll be alone. And that sounds like the worst thing in the world when you’re empty inside.
I don’t want to be alone.
The knock at the bedroom door startles me and I nearly jump in my seat. “Come in,” I call out, opening the drawer to the vanity and placing the hairbrush inside.
My gaze catches the phone still sitting on the vanity. A phone that’s been silent all day and all night.
What’s the point of giving it to me if he had no intention of using it?
It works both ways. I know I could call him. But I’d rather let the tension sever what’s left between Carter and me. It’s best to let it slip away so when my time’s up here, it’ll be easier to walk away.
“You’re not in bed yet?” Addison’s soft voice carries into the room.
“Can’t sleep,” I tell her, not looking her in her eyes. I may not feel sorry for what I did, but I still don’t want Addison to know. I don’t want her to look at me and see the heartless killer I can be.
“I know the feeling,” she sighs and makes her way to my bed. Sitting on the end of it, she pulls her knees up and pushes her heels into the mattress. “I wanted to check on you,” she tells me hesitantly. Her voice is careful, considerate, but her eyes dart from her painted toenails to where I’m sitting as if she doesn’t know if what she has to say should be said.
My pulse flutters. Maybe she already knows.
“What’s up?” I ask her, refusing to let the anxiety take over. I am who I am. I’ve done what I’ve done. If she doesn’t understand that, there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t take back what’s been done.
“Eli said you needed a little space earlier when I came down.” I thought I heard something outside… I decided not to sleep and just shower, but when I got out it sounded like…” She picks at the fresh polish on her nails and peeks at me. “He said you were in the shower but to give you some space because you didn’t seem like yourself?” she questions me, not trusting what Eli said to be true.
Swallowing thickly, I nod and then wet my lips. “There was an incident on the way to the corner store, but it’s okay.” I shrug my shoulders and turn back to the vanity, picking up the phone and holding it up for her to see before dropping it into my lap. “Nothing serious enough for Carter to call and reprimand me,” I huff a sarcastic response while rolling my eyes, trying to lighten the truth of what happened.
Glancing at the phone, and then meeting my gaze she asks, “So you’re all right?”
“Yeah.” My answer is easy and I’m hoping she’ll drop it.
“And you and Carter?” she asks and then adds, “If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine.” Her voice is stronger, louder and contains no offense whatsoever. “I know sometimes people like to keep things in.”
“I like to talk,” I tell her honestly and then feel the tug of a sad smile. “Sometimes.” My voice is low and so quiet I’m not sure she heard. “Some things I’d rather not talk about, but even still, I always like to talk about something. And when it comes to Carter…” The emotions swell in my throat, stopping the words from coming easily. “When it comes to Carter, I think maybe the best thing to talk about is how to move on from someone you love when they don’t love you.”
“I’m sorry.” The sympathy in Addison’s voice pushes the ache in my chest down to the pit of my stomach.
“It is what it is. He made mistakes, I made mistakes, but none of it matters anyway. We could never be together. Not being the people we are.” The words come out easier and clearer than I imagined they would. Addison’s expression remains soft as she searches my gaze for something. I’m not sure what.