I took a deep breath, pulled the sledgehammer over my head, and slammed it into the car. I kept swinging, unaware of how long I beat the car. I couldn’t stop pounding the metal piece of junk in front of me. I slung the hammer into the back window, shattering the glass as my eyes released a floodgate. I couldn’t see through the goggles, but I kept swinging over and over again, taking all the strength left in my body and releasing it onto the vehicle. I might not have had much left inside me, but I had enough power to release the anger inside me.
“All right,” Jackson stated. “That’s enough.”
But I didn’t stop. I kept pounding away at the balled-up sheet metal.
“Princess, that’s enough,” he said, this time sterner, yet still, I didn’t listen.
Everything inside me ached in a way that I didn’t know could hurt. It was as if my soul was set on fire, and it would be an eternal burn.
I swung the sledgehammer over my head, and when I was unable to swing it down, I turned to see Jackson’s hands gripped around the head.
“Let go,” I ordered.
“No,” he replied.
“Jackson, let go,” I begged, taking off the goggles.
“Let go!” I barked, this time with tears falling down my face, my heart racing faster and faster.
“Grace, please…” he whispered, his voice quiet, almost a whisper as he stared straight into my eyes. He moved closer to me, and his fingers landed against mine as he started to loosen my grip. “Let go.”
I released the sledgehammer and took a few steps backward.
Jackson placed the hammer down, and he gave me the most pathetic look.
“I’m okay,” I lied, sniffling. “I’m okay.”
“No. I am. Everything’s fine. Everything’s always fine. Everything’s—”
He moved in closer and narrowed his eyes as he stared my way. The closer he got, the more my nerves began to build. “Seriously, I’m okay. I lost it there for a minute, but I’m okay. I’m—”
“You’re bleeding,” he told me.
He wiped his thumb against my cheek, and when he pulled it back, I noticed the blood resting against his fingertip. Then I felt the sting.
“It’s a deep cut. I think some of the glass from the car must’ve struck you,” he said. “Come to my place. I’ll get you cleaned up.”
I wiped my hand against my cheek and shook my head back and forth a little. “It’s fine. I’m okay. I’m fine.” I kept saying those words over and over again, hoping that I’d somehow start to believe them.
“Come on,” he said, holding his hand out to me. I took his grip, and a chill raced over me as he walked me to his cabin. I didn’t say a word on the whole walk over, mainly because my mind was numb. We walked into the house, and I stood in his living room, where an easel was set up and a piano sat in the far corner of the place. The cabin looked bigger on the inside than it appeared from the outside, and it was a very clean place. The artwork on all the walls, many different paintings of sunrises and sunsets, was all breathtakingly stunning.
“Sit here,” Jackson ordered, leading me to the couch. I did as he said, and he hurried away to get a towel and some Band-Aids. Tucker was quick to come greet me, and when he tried and failed to jump on the couch, I helped him up, and he snuggled right into my lap, wagging his tail.
“Good boy,” I whispered, somehow finding instant comfort.
When Jackson came back, he kneeled in front of me with a warm cloth and placed it against my cheek. I flinched a little, and he frowned. “Sorry,” he muttered.
“It’s fine,” I replied.
We sat in silence as he attended to my wound, and Tucker fell fast asleep in my lap.
We spoke at the same time, and I nervously laughed as his fingers brushed against my face. “You first,” I told him.
He swallowed hard. “I didn’t mean for you to get hurt. I’m sorry. I just thought some of the energy you had needed to find an outlet.”
“Is that why you hit the cars? As an energy outlet?”
He didn’t reply.
I lowered my head.
“You might need stitches,” he told me. He cleared his throat, and when he looked up at my eyes, the guilt in that hazel stare made my heart feel as if it were being squeezed. “I’m sorry.”
“No worries,” I said. “I did, after all, make you drop a sledgehammer on your foot, so I assume we’re even,” I joked.
“No, that’s not what I mean.”
He stared at me with a hard look, and his lips stayed turned down into a frown. “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been. For the way I’ve treated you.”
“If I knew all it would take for you to be nice to me was my husband getting my best friend pregnant, I would’ve done that ages ago.” I laughed, but he kept frowning.