I had my whole life mapped out. Perfect guy. Perfect friends. Everything was exactly the way I wanted it.
That was until that night–the one I can’t remember. It’s all my fault, and now the memories are all I have left of him. Of us.
My guilt drowns me until Sam Shea steps back into my life and helps me to the surface. He slowly opens my heart and crawls deep inside before I even realize what’s happening. I know I don’t deserve him.
While I’m trying to get used to my new life, pieces of that night slowly start to come back to me. Lies and secrets shatter everything I thought I knew.
Maybe I’m not the only one living with regret.
“Hi,” he whispers. His voice holds as much pain as I feel. He was never a fan of Cory’s, but he feels what I feel. It’s always been like that for us. It’s almost as if five years hasn’t passed since the last time we laid in the tall green grass.
Finally opening my eyes, I fixate on Sam. His blond hair is longer than it used to be, falling onto his forehead, but his eyes are just as brown as I remember. They always calmed me, but right now, they’re just making the tears fall faster. He’s a symbol of what life used to be like.
“Hey,” he says, squeezing my fingers between his. “It’s going to be okay.”
Without any sense of control, I fist the front of his T-shirt and pull him down until he’s close enough so I can wrap my arms around his neck. He stiffens before relaxing into me, his cheek pressed to mine. “I missed you,” I say, holding him tightly.
“I’m here now,” he whispers, his warm breath tickling my ear. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“I never thought you’d come.”
“I didn’t think you’d want me here.” He stops, lifting his head to look in my eyes. “I wanted to come to you as soon as I heard about the accident, but I didn’t know how you’d react … it’s been so long, Rachel.”
“Too long,” I say, trying to draw off the warmth in his eyes. Sometimes just knowing someone is there for you makes everything better.
“I almost had to pay the nurse to get in here. I guess your mom didn’t add me to the list of approved visitors,” he says, running his thumb along the exposed part of my forearm. He scans the room, taking in the medical equipment that surrounds me. His eyes follow the IV line down to my hand, to the large green and yellow bruise that covers it. I hate the pity on his face. I don’t deserve it.
“You obviously found a way in,” I say to bring his attention back up.
He looks up, smiling sadly. “Nothing was going to stop me.”
For a few seconds, I just stare at him, still surprised that he’s even here. It almost feels as if no time passed at all. I want to blurt out everything, unleash the pain from my soul.
“I’m so scared and confused. How does something like this happen, and I don’t remember a thing? So many people have come and gone from this room, but no one has been able to tell me anything. Someone’s got to know something,” I cry.
Lisa De Jong is a wife, mother and full-time number cruncher who lives in the Midwest. Her writing journey involved insane amounts of coffee and many nights of very little sleep but she wouldn’t change a thing. She also enjoys reading, football and music. She is the author of When It Rains, After the Rain, Plastic Hearts and Glass Hearts.
Contact: email@example.com, @LisaDeJongBooks