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I grasped the car door’s handle, wanting to go out. I couldn’t be alone with Brandon. Cassius was right. I wasn’t emotionally ready. I pushed the door open to get out, but he stopped me.
“Open the door,” I ordered, shaking the
He shut his eyes, gripping the steering wheel hard. “Stop. It won’t open.”
“Let me out!” I screamed. “Let me out. Let me out! Let me out!”
“Hey!” he shouted, then caught my hand. “I said, stop. You need to calm down.”
I moaned. “Please, please… Don’t do this. Let me out. I… I need to breathe.” Then, there it was again. My chest was clenching. I couldn’t see straight, and the air seemed to have abandoned my lungs.
He shifted his body to my side and grabbed my hand. “Alayna? Alayna, are you okay?”
He cupped my face and looked into my eyes. “What’s going on with you?”
I clenched the fabric of his shirt. “I… I need to… I need to go out. I need to get away from you…”
Unexpectedly, he wrapped his arms around me and tried to rub circles on my back. “Isn’t this what you want?” he mumbled as if he was talking to a child. In my heart, I knew what was happening, but my mind was messing with me. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore.
I sobbed, “Let me out, Brandon!” pounded his back repeatedly with my fist. “Let me go!”
“Shh...” he hushed. “Listen to me. Tell me what’s going on.”
I struggled against his arms. “It hurts to be with you. Bring back me to Cassius!” I begged. “Cassius! Save me! Save me!”
But Brandon’s arms tightened around me, pulling me close. My heart knew that I longed from him and how badly I waited for this moment. His fingers stroking my hair. But I knew he wasn’t mine. He belonged to someone else now.
“I hate you. I hate you.”
“Breath, Alayna. Breath,” he whispered, continuously caressing my back.
I let out a sob and began to calm down. The rapid pounding of my heart slowed down. I let him comfort me.
“Good. That’s good.”
I buried my head in his shoulder. I missed him. I badly missed him. But as much as I did, I hated him so much. He did this to me. He killed me. No one had ever hurt me this way.
“Just say it,” I sobbed. “Just say that you don’t want this anymore—that you don’t want me instead of making me wait.” I lifted my head and looked at him. It was almost painful. He was beautiful. He was so beautiful, it hurts. Then, I touched his face. The side where he had the mask. He shut his eyes and heaved out a heavy breath.
“Not today. You need to rest.”
“No!” I cried. “If you can’t, I’ll say it. Let me say it for you.”
“Don’t. You don’t deserve—”
“Stop it! Stop it!” I shoved him away, but he brought me back to his arms. I cried hard and struggled between his arms again. I was tired of waiting. Why couldn’t he just tell the truth? Why couldn’t he tell me that he doesn’t love me anymore?
“I just want this to stop,” I declared. I should have done this before.
He kissed my temple. “I’m so sorry, Alayna.”
“You’re free now, Brandon, but don’t ever think that I’ll forgive you. After this day, there will be no more about us.”
I shut my eyes and succumbed into darkness.
I was in the clinic when I gained consciousness. I clearly remembered what happened, and I passed out. The pain was still here. I doubt it would ever disappear. But it was different now. I ended everything. Now, I knew which path I was going to take.
“That was really brave of you.” Cassius held my face. “I thought I might never see Alayna again. The real Alayna.”
I sat up. “Because you were right. I should have listened to you. It’s over now. I no longer have torture myself from waiting. Thank you for everything, Cassius.”
He flashed a weak smile. “You made worry back there. I thought something had happened to you. Are you okay?”
“I’m okay.” I touched his hand. “Will you come with me?”