It’s Day 20 … and that also means it’s Release Day!
A peek at Devlin and Ellie…
“Devlin doesn’t answer right away. Instead he studies my face, the silence lingering for so long that I start to squirm under his heavy gaze. Finally, he says, “You’re not like him, El.”
I make a scoffing sound, both hating and relishing how well this man can read me.
“People have facets. You can still love him, El. It’s allowed. And you can hate him too, for what he did. Whatever you’re feeling, give yourself permission to simply feel it.”
“Is it horrible that right now, all I want to do is sleep?”
A sad smile touches his lips as he slides off the stool then reaches for me. He helps me down, then immediately picks me up, cradling me in his arms as he carries me to bed. He helps me out of my clothes, and I slide in naked between the sheets. It’s only early evening, but I can already feel the pull of exhaustion drawing me down towards sleep. “Will you hold me?”
“You don’t even have to ask.”
He strips and gets in bed beside me. I move closer, craving the feel of his warm skin against mine. His arms go around me, and I close my eyes, letting the world fall away until the only thing keeping me tethered to this earth is his touch as I float free in memories, losing myself in the recollections of my mother, of Peter, of Alex…
I’m safe in this place where dreams meet memories, where Alex and my mother share the same patio looking out toward the ocean. Where I can stand between them, holding each of their hands in mine.
Then I realize I’m holding nothing at all. I’m standing on the beach with my arms outstretched and my eyes closed as I listen to waves crash against the shore.
I hear someone behind me, and I turn to face Peter, my heart skipping a beat when I realize that I’m looking not only at him, but right down the barrel of a gun.
My heart begins to pound. I want to scream, I can’t. The pulse in my throat is too powerful.
I hear a click, but Peter’s hand hasn’t moved, and no bullet has been fired.
Terrified, I whirl around to see Devlin.
He’s just cocked the hammer of a revolver.
And as I stare—as I scream—he fires.”