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Unraveling You, Page 16

Jessica Sorensen


  He shrugs again, continuing to move the pencil across the paper. “I don’t know. I just thought it could be a possibility after I found out he disappeared. I honestly am surprised any of us are alive, so …”

  I should just walk out. Give him time. The space he seems to want. But I can’t leave him. So I sit down on the bed, highly aware when his grip on the pencil constricts.

  “Ayden, talk to me.” I suck in a breath before I dare place a hand on his back.

  He goes as rigid as a board. “I don’t know what to say.” His voice cracks, and then he starts to cry, tears spilling out as he hunches over, hiding his face from me. “I don’t think I can do this again.” His hands free the object he was clutching, and a few tears slip from my eyes. It’s a photo of him when he was younger, along with a young teenage boy and a girl. Probably his brother and sister.

  All those years I spent wanting to experience life to the fullest, feel love and heartbreak, and now I feel so grateful that I haven’t. Haven’t been through what he has.

  “Yes, you can.” I rub his back as each of his sobs ruptures my heart. “I’m here for you. Whatever you need. I got your back.”

  But this time, it might not be so simple.

  This time, I might not be able to help him.

  Chapter 15

  Ayden

  Somehow in the midst of the chaos, I manage to fall asleep. When I wake up, my limbs are tangled with Lyric’s, so much so that I can’t tell where my arms start and her legs end.

  Her head is nuzzled in the crook of my neck, her arm resting on my stomach, and her fingers are splayed across my rib cage where the tattoo is hidden beneath my shirt. The branded flesh scorches like it did the day it was put on me. The pain is one thing I’ve always been able to remember.

  Charred skin.

  The scent of dying flesh.

  Listen closely.

  You’ll hear the scream.

  Of someone breaking.

  Burned alive from the inside.

  I lie awake until the sunlight hits the window, watching Lyric sleep, trying to figure out how I managed to drift off with her in my bed.

  I’d been such a mess last night, cold, distant, then I freaking lost it and cried in front of her. She’d held me, and instead of panicking, I’d felt better.

  Felt safe.

  Eventually, I leave the bed.

  After slipping into the bathroom to change, I go downstairs, hoping no one else is awake. The moment I catch the scent of bacon, though, I know Lila is up and cooking.

  I hesitate before I enter the kitchen, debating whether to run or stay. The obvious choice is to bolt. I used to do it all the time, and it was easy. Run away, live on the streets for a few days, then by the time I was found, the foster family didn’t want me anymore. I have a feeling that things aren’t going to be that uncomplicated with the Gregorys.

  So, summoning a deep breath, I walk in.

  Just as I guessed, Lila is standing near the stove, watching bacon sizzle from the pan. She’s still in her pajamas, her hair unkempt, and her eyes have bags under them. She probably slept like crap last night, all because of me.

  “Oh, hey,” she says, startled when she sees me. “I didn’t know anyone was up. I was actually about to wake you.”

  “I just woke up.” I rub at my wrists then trace the long, thin scars on the back of my hand. “I’m not sure how much trouble I’m going to be in, but you should probably know Lyric’s asleep in my bed.”

  She reaches to turn the burner off. “Yeah, I know that. So do the Scotts. We thought it’d be okay for the night, considering.” She moves the pan off to the side, then wipes her hands on a paper towel. “How about we have some breakfast and talk? There’s a few things we need to discuss.”

  I stare at her with wariness as she crosses the kitchen to the table where there’s a plate with eggs and a fork on it. She takes a seat then pats the chair next to her, and I reluctantly sit my ass down.

  “How are you feeling?” she asks, inching the plate of eggs toward me.

  I pick up the fork, but I don’t feel very hungry. “Okay.”

  She tiredly sighs. “Ayden, I know you’re not okay. You just lost your brother—you can’t be okay.”

  “I lost him once before.” I stab the fork into the eggs.

  “Yeah, but this is different.”

  I stuff a bite of eggs into my mouth and slowly chew, killing time so I don’t have to say anything. If I speak, I’m afraid I’ll break again, like I did in front of Lyric last night.

  “Ethan and I were talking last night, and we think you should start seeing the therapist a little more.” She covers her hand over mine. “I know you’ve been doing well, but we just want to make sure you’re okay.” She pauses, and I know there’s more. “There’s something else. Something the cops mentioned when I walked them to the door.”

  I stop chewing. “What did they say?”

  She squeezes my hand. “They think it could be beneficial if we tried some stuff to strike up your memories. They think it could help with the case if you could remember some of the details.”

  I clutch the fork so firmly the handle bends. “But how can they even know for sure that my brother’s death had anything to do with the people who took us? It’s been like, three years.”

  “They said there was some evidence that linked the two incidences together.” She offers a sympathetic look. “I’m sure they’ll be able to give us more information later on.”

  I inhale a large breath then exhale. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore, if that’s okay.”

  She moves her hand away from mine, nodding. “That’s fine. We don’t have to right now.” She scoots the chair back from the table to stand up. “But, Ayden, I just want you to prepare yourself for, because it might be brought up the further they get into the case. Ethan and I will do everything we can to keep it as easy as possible on you, but some things might be out of our hands.”

  She returns to the bacon, leaving me with my eggs and my thoughts. There is a reason why I refuse to remember the week we spent in that home chained up. And while I can’t actually recollect it, I know it has to be bad; otherwise, I wouldn’t have suppressed the memories in the first place. But what if it could help with my brother’s case?

  After I finish my eggs, I head back upstairs. The house is still quiet when I slip back into my room, the only noise coming from the kitchen. I figure everyone is still asleep, so I’m surprised when I see Lyric sitting up on my bed, wide awake, the blankets tangled around her legs.

  She’s still wearing the shirt and jeans she had on yesterday, her blond hair surrounding her face, and she looks drained of all her sparkling energy.

  “Hey.” She sits up straighter as I shut the door. “Where did you go?”

  “To eat some breakfast.” I pause at the foot of the bed, staring at her. Through all the madness of last night, I haven’t had time to think about what we did in the car. How we kissed. How I touched her. How I felt when she touched me back. I’m still so confused about it. So lost. About everything.

  “Is everything okay?” She kicks the blankets off and scoots down the bed until she’s kneeling on the mattress in front of me. “I don’t want to push you,” she starts, “but I need you to know that I’m here for you if you decide you need to talk.”

  “I don’t feel like talking,” I tell her then completely contradict myself seconds later as words pour out of my mouth. “They want me to try to remember stuff about three years ago.”

  “Who does?”

  “The police. Lila… She didn’t flat out say it, but I can tell she thinks I should. That it could help the case.”

  Her forehead creases as she combs her fingers through her hair. “How does that even work? If you can’t remember, then you can’t remember, right?”

  I shrug as I sink down onto the bed beside her. “There are ways. My therapist’s mentioned a few before, but I always turned him down.”

  “What are you g
oing to do?” She sketches a soothing path up and down my spine with her fingertip.

  My instinctive shudder from her touch reminds me of what I face if I do decide to do this. I want to, if nothing else, for my brother; but I’m also terrified out of my Goddamn mind.

  “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

  “Well, I’m here for you, whatever you decide.” She hugs her arms around me and pulls me closer to her.

  I close my eyes, and for the briefest instant, try to allow my mind to remember. But as soon as my body begins to quiver, I give up. Instead, I lean into Lyric’s touch, knowing that it’s only a temporary fix, and that eventually I’m going to have to make a choice.

  Face my future.

  Or completely shut down.

  Raveling You (Unraveling, #2)

  Coming Jan. 2015

  About the Author

  Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author that lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

  Other books by Jessica Sorensen:

  Unraveling You Series:

  Unraveling You

  Raveling You (Coming Jan. 2015)

  The Coincidence Series:

  The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden

  The Redemption of Callie and Kayden

  The Destiny of Violet and Luke

  The Probability of Violet and Luke

  The Certainty of Violet and Luke

  The Resolution of Callie and Kayden

  Unbeautiful (Coming Soon)

  Seth & Grayson (Coming Soon)

  The Secret Series:

  The Prelude of Ella and Micha

  The Secret of Ella and Micha

  The Forever of Ella and Micha

  The Temptation of Lila and Ethan

  The Ever After of Ella and Micha

  Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always

  Ella and Micha: Infinitely and Always

  The Shattered Promises Series:

  Shattered Promises

  Fractured Souls

  Unbroken

  Broken Visions

  Scattered Ashes (Coming Soon)

  Breaking Nova Series:

  Breaking Nova

  Saving Quinton

  Delilah: The Making of Red

  Nova and Quinton: No Regrets

  Tristan: Finding Hope

  Wreck Me

  Ruin Me (Coming Soon)

  The Fallen Star Series (YA):

  The Fallen Star

  The Underworld

  The Vision

  The Promise

  The Fallen Souls Series (spin off from The Fallen Star):

  The Lost Soul

  The Evanescence

  The Darkness Falls Series:

  Darkness Falls

  Darkness Breaks

  Darkness Fades

  The Death Collectors Series (NA and YA):

  Ember X and Ember

  Cinder X and Cinder

  Spark X and Cinder (Coming Soon)

  The Sins Series:

  Seduction & Temptation

  Sins & Secrets

  Lies & Betrayal (Coming Soon)

  Standalones

  The Forgotten Girl

  Coming Soon:

  Entranced

  Steel & Bones

  Connect with me online:

  jessicasorensen.com

  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Sorensen/165335743524509

  https://twitter.com/#!/jessFallenStar