“I love you, Adam. I trust you. I want you whole and happy. There’s nothing ignorant about that.”
His lips pulled back from his teeth as though my words offended him. “You think you’re special in this? Do you think you’re the only woman who has claimed to love me? All of them were happy with what I offered, but not you. Never you. You’re always wanting more.”
Bleak terror hiccupped in my throat. “I only want you.”
He stood right in front of me and looked at my face. His eyes moved from my cheek to my neck, following the line of scars I knew he couldn’t see but were there all the same. Disgust squeezed his face like he’d sucked on a lemon.
“Well, I don’t want you.”
My knees nearly buckled. I gripped the edges of my shirt. My stomach burned so badly, like I had swallowed acid, and it was eating me from the inside out. I couldn’t breathe. My chest caved in on itself. I loved him. So much it actually pained me.
He possessed everything I was, and I was merely a spectator in his life because I wasn’t enough.
“Go.” The look he gave me was clear. I was dismissed—only this time, he’d thrown in a sucker punch and vicious words that unraveled my entire existence.
I walked out of his office. Tears were screaming behind my eyes, but somehow, I couldn’t shed them. This must be what shock felt like.
I grabbed my purse from the foyer table and hit the elevator button. I looked around, realizing nothing was mine. It was his. All his. Right down to the clothes he bought me and the shampoo I used in his shower. He was my whole world and I was just another fixture in his life.
I walked into the elevator, turned, and hit the first floor button. As the doors closed, I saw Adam rush into the foyer. His blazing blue eyes were the last thing I saw before the metal doors clamped shut, closing me off from him completely. I began my slow descent down. A sharp pain shot through my chest like a rusty blade.
I slumped to my knees, and cried.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” I clutched the phone to my ear and waited for Megan to respond.
“Yeah, I’m better. I thought you were staying at Adam’s tonight?”
I bit my bottom lip to keep from telling her how wrong things had gone, asking instead, “Where are you?”
“I’m going out of town for a few days. I need some time to think. I went over to Grace and Tim’s. I talked to Grace. Everything is in the open. Tim, Brian, all of it.”
“A-are you okay? You don’t sound upset,” I said, trying to keep the trembling out of my voice.
I hugged my knees to my chest and sat in the middle of my living room floor. My world was collapsing around me. After the fight with Adam, I’d hailed a cab and barely remembered the ride home. My eyes were swollen and I could hardly see through the tears.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Grace and Tim, but it didn’t look good when I left.”
“Was Simon there?”
“No, Tim mentioned something about him staying with Tim’s mom for a few days.”
That was good. Tim was a poor excuse for a human being, but his mother was a nice lady. Simon would be okay staying with her for a little bit until this mess could be sorted out.
“Are you okay?” Megan asked. I put my palm over the receiver to keep the hiccup of despair out of my voice.
“Yeah. Fine. Keep me posted, okay? I know getting some space can be good…”
“I’ll check in with you. I’m going to visit my mom upstate. I’ll see you next week, okay?”
“Okay,” I whispered.
The line went dead. I looked around my cold apartment. Alone. I was completely alone. Even the dysfunctional world I’d had before Adam was in shambles. There would be no picking up. No starting over.
Because there was nothing left to salvage.
There was a loud pounding in my ears and I my head felt like it was being pushed between two planks of wood.
My eyes hurt. I tried to open them and was greeted by a fog of leftover tears. The booming sound rang out again and it took me a moment to realize I was on the living room floor. It was still dark out, so I must not have been asleep that long.
I sat up. Every bone creaked and whined. I palmed my temple and willed the rising headache to go away. It was no use. Every muscle was aching. Every brain cell was screaming.
I heard a jingle like keys coming from the other side of the front door. Had Megan decided to come home after all? I tried to make use of my legs, but sleeping on the hardwood floor had stiffened my entire body.
I glanced at the clock. It was three in the morning. I stood up just as the front door burst open.
I grabbed the wall behind me to keep my knees from buckling. There, standing in the doorway, disheveled and looking like a god from hell, was Adam.
“No…no, don’t you dare do this to me.” I shook my head back and forth. My mind was spiraling, my anxiety dialed to high. I wanted him near, yet couldn’t run far enough away. I wasn’t ready to go round two with him. My home was my sanctuary. And he’d plowed right into it.
“You can’t break in here. This is my home. Y-you told me to leave…you can’t take this from me, too.”
His eyes were fierce, like lighting striking the ocean at daybreak. He stomped toward me, not stopping until he cupped my face in his hands. Had I not known better, I could have sworn relief washed over his face.
“I didn’t break in, I have a key,” he rasped.
I pushed away from him. I wasn’t in the mood for whatever it was he was dishing out. Sarcasm, hate, love…I couldn’t tell the difference and didn’t want to find out it was the latter.
“Are you okay?”
I scowled at him with my raw eyes. “No. I’m not okay. What are you doing to me? You throw me out of your place just so you can stalk me at mine?” I shook my head, tears beginning to fall again. “I’ll never know peace from you, will I?”
He looked down at me, an intense frown bending his brow. “No, you won’t. Because I’ll never leave you, and I’ll never let you leave me.”
“I don’t believe you,” I whispered. “You did let me go.”
“No,” he snapped. “Listen to me, Katelyn. I made a mistake. I didn’t mean it.”
His voice sounded so far away. The only thing I could focus on was the slow beating pulse in my ears. With every breath my body grew weaker. Adam was my drug, and though he stood right in front of me, I knew I should run away or suffer the withdrawal. And it would be painful.