Hendrix (Raleigh Raptors 3) - Page 54

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Because I didn't know.

I didn't know if Hendrix would choose me over his contract, but I knew he shouldn't have to. I knew it was an unfair choice. But deep down in the depths of my soul, the only thing I was certain of was that I loved Hendrix more than I'd ever loved any man in my entire life.

"Are you putting that ultimatum on me? On him?"

Dad shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest as he let out a tight breath. "You put that on yourself. Just like he did. He knew the consequences. Hell, maybe the consequences are what made him go after you."

I flinched at my father's insinuation, acid bubbling up my throat.

Unfair.

This was wholly and irrevocably unfair.

Hendrix’s family depended on him—his mom, his sister, and sweet little Hunter. God, what would they do without the help he provided? What would he do if he got traded or worse? He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he couldn’t provide for his family. And I couldn’t live with myself if I was the reason behind them suffering because of it.

"Don't trade him," I said as I headed toward the door. "I'm responsible for this. And I'll clean it up. Just don't trade him."

Dad called out to me, but I slammed the door behind me and hurried down the hallway.

My heart broke with each step I took toward the locker room. I knew Hendrix would be waiting for me. Waiting to face whatever it was we had to face.

And thankfully, it was empty except for him sitting on the bench.

Because we didn't need a show for this.

And I hated that I knew what I needed to do, but didn't know if I had the courage to do it.

I had been selfish and reckless with him. So utterly selfish, I’d put my need for him over his livelihood. I’d seen his home. I’d learned his story, his background, and his career was everything. He’d worked so damn hard for it. For his family.

Who the hell was I to think I was worth burning all he’d strived for to the ground? Who the hell was I to have put him in such a position in the first place?

A newfound hate for myself sucked at the bottom of my heart, heavy and sticky and oily. I’d been so damn selfish. Putting my craving for him, my love over what really, truly mattered.

Him.

His life.

His needs.

"How bad was it?" Hendrix asked the minute he saw me. He pushed off the bench, reaching for me.

I backed away, and he dropped his arms, his head tilted.

I mustered up every ice-cold mask I’d ever used with the frat boys whenever I’d run into one of them on campus. I focused on the way my ex and his buddies had called me Ice Princess. I conjured up that version of Savannah and cleared my throat.

"It could've been worse," I said.

Hendrix blew out a breath, but he still had some hesitance in those crushing blue eyes. "So we're okay?"

"You're okay," I said. Hating the frost in my tone. "This was all just a matter of time anyway, right?"

"What are you talking about?" he asked with deadly quiet.

"This," I said, motioning between us. I paired it with a shrug that was so careless I wanted to bash my head against the lockers. "It was just a silly little arrangement, right? No need to get all worked up over it. We simply have to end it. Right now. I can't do it anymore. I can't stand the look of disappointment on my father's face anymore —"

"What?" Hendrix cut me off, utter confusion in his eyes. He shook his head, reaching for me again and flinching when I backed away from his touch. "Savannah," he said, pleading. "You don't have to do this. You don't have to brush this off. I’ve fallen in love with you —"

"Maybe you shouldn’t have broken rule number five. You're the one who laid out the rules, remember? You're the one in control, right?" I tried to cut him off before he could say anything else that would shred us both the pieces.

The pain and betrayal in his eyes was enough to break my soul into a thousand shards of jagged glass that cut me up from the inside out. But I kept remembering his story from when we went home, of that little boy who went hungry. How his family constantly struggled.

Who was I to risk his career?

Who was I to risk his livelihood and take that away from him just for loving him?

For loving somebody that I knew in the depths of my soul I couldn't hold onto anyway. So he may as well have his career.

"Let's just call it," I said, marveling at the way I was able to be so calm and cold. When something was truly important to me, I could do just about anything. Always had been. And nothing was more important to me than Hendrix, he just didn’t need to know that.


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