“Okay.” Leaning over, he slipped his hand around the nape of my neck and brought my mouth to his. The kiss was sweet and brief. He pulled back. “You look good in my hat.”
Laughing, I touched the gray knit cap I’d grabbed from his bedroom. He was wearing a black one. “Really?”
“Of course.” He tugged the sides down, straightening it.
My smile faded as my gaze shifted to the windshield. I inhaled deeply. A shudder worked through me, and I twisted back to Sebastian.
“You’re not doing this alone,” he whispered, eyes intent and body still. “I’m here. Abbi and Dary are here.”
And my friends were. They were in the car behind us, waiting for me to open the door and get out. Things had improved between me and Abbi. We were hanging out again, talking to one another like we were actually friends, and I knew that eventually it would be like it was before. I knew it in every part of my being. It just needed a little more time, because when I cut Abbi out, I’d really hurt her. Repairing that definitely took time.
Just like dealing with everything took time.
Living when others died wasn’t something you just woke up one day and got over, even though sometimes it felt that way. Even when I realized I’d gone an entire day, or maybe two, without thinking about Megan or the guys. And sometimes I still felt guilty about that. And sometimes I still cried when I thought about everything they’d had to live for and all the opportunity that had been wiped away in a matter of seconds.
It just took time and family and friends and love to come to terms with the fact that life did move on. Life kept going, and you couldn’t be left behind, living in a past that no longer existed.
But the other guilt I carried deep inside me? That was still a work in progress, harder to untangle and much messier. Working through my part in that night was the one thing that was going to hurt for a while. That was the one thing I was going to have to carve out of myself. And it was going to leave some scars behind. But I was learning how to live with my part in that night, my silence, and I was learning to live with the fact I was a lesson, not just for myself but for others.
My friends’ pasts and futures had been erased in seconds. Mine could’ve been, too, and all those comments on the news articles could’ve been about me and, in some way, some of them were. I knew I could never go back and change anything about that night. I could only do better. I was alive—I was still here.
I knew I couldn’t go back and start a new beginning. I couldn’t rewrite the middle. All I could do was change tomorrow, as long as I had one.
Swallowing hard, I wrapped my gloved fingers around the door handle. Cold air rushed in as I opened the door and climbed out, gravel crunching under my booted feet.
I looked out over the cemetery, letting the brisk, snow-scented air fill my lungs. Car doors opened and closed all around me. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Abbi and Dary approaching me. A second later, Sebastian’s fingers found mine, and I knew as I took the first step that while tomorrow was not guaranteed, never promised, there was going to be so much possibility.