I sighed. “I have to go.”

“Go? Go where?” Tanner asked.

To find him.

To see what happened.

To make sure he’s okay.

“I just have to go.”

Chapter Thirty


April 6th, 2014

Two Days Until Goodbye

“You haven’t eaten in days. Please, Tristan. Just take a few bites of a sandwich,” Mom begged, sitting across from me. The sound of her voice annoyed me more and more each day. She slid the plate in front of me and asked me to eat again.

“Not hungry,” I replied, pushing the sandwich back toward her.

She nodded once. “Your father and I are worried about you, Tris. You’re not talking to us. You’re not letting us in. You can’t just keep all your emotions bottled up like this. You have to talk to us. Let me know what you’re thinking.”

“You don’t want to know what I’m thinking.”

“I do.”

“Trust me, you don’t.”

“No. I do, honey.” She reached out, placing her hand over mine, almost to comfort me.

I didn’t want her comfort.

I wanted her to leave me alone.

“Okay. Well, if you can’t talk to us, at least talk to some of your friends. They’ve been calling and stopping by every day, and you haven’t spoken one word to them.”

“I got nothing to say to anyone.” Standing from the table, I turned to walk away, but paused when I heard Mom cry.

“It’s breaking my heart to see you like this. Please, just say whatever’s on your mind.”

“What’s on my mind?” I turned to her, my brows knit, my stomach knotted, my mind clouded. “What’s on my mind is the fact that you were behind the fucking wheel. What’s on my mind is the fact that you fucking walked away with a broken arm. What’s on my mind is that my family is fucking dead and you were the one driving the car—you were… YOU KILLED THEM! You did this! You’re the reason they are dead! You murdered my family!” My throat tightened, my fists formed, and I stopped talking.

Mom cried more and more, her howls becoming louder and louder. Dad rushed into the room and wrapped his arms around her, bringing her some sort of peace of mind. I stared at her, feeling the distance between us. I felt the beast inside me growing more and more each passing moment. As I studied her tears, it should’ve sickened me that I didn’t feel pity for her. It should’ve worried my soul that I didn’t feel the need to comfort her.

I merely hated her.

Because of her, they were gone.

Because of her, I was gone.

I was becoming a monster inside, and monsters didn’t comfort people. Monsters destroyed everything that crossed their path.

When I stepped into the shed, I slammed the door, locking it from the inside. “Shit!” I shouted, staring into the darkened space, staring at the scarred walls and bookshelves. The memories were rushing over me, choking my mind, suffocating my heart. I couldn’t take anymore.

I sent one of the bookshelves flying to the other side of the room, my heart beating at a speed I was certain would cause an attack. I leaned against the closest wall and closed my eyes, trying to take back the control of my breaths and my heart that had somehow been stolen from me.

There was a knock at the door.

I wouldn’t answer it.

I couldn’t.

I could’ve killed him. I could’ve killed him. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

I knew Elizabeth would try to pull me back to her, pull me into the light. She would try to save me from myself. I couldn’t be saved.

She kept tapping lightly, and my footsteps moved toward the sound of her knocks. My hands ran across each other before I stood in front of the door, placing my hands flat against it.

I assumed that her hands were resting on the other side of the door, her fingertips mirroring mine.

“Tris.” She softly spoke eight words that made my chest tighten. “Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every day.”

I held my breath. Her words seemed more honest than ever before. She kept speaking, her voice filled with urgency. “Please open the door, Tristan. Please let me back in. Come back to me.”

My hands fell from the door, and I rubbed my fingers against one another over and over again. “I could’ve killed him.”

“You wouldn’t have,” she said.

“Go away, Elizabeth,” I said. “Please, just leave me alone.”

“Please.” She begged for me to open the door. “I’m not leaving until I see you. I’m not leaving until you let me hold you.”

“Jesus!” I shouted, ripping the door wide open. “Go away.” My soul was wrung with a sudden, wild homesickness as I stared into her eyes. My stare faltered off toward the ground, unable to look at the one thing that made heaven almost seem real in my mind. “And then stay gone, Elizabeth.” I would just hurt you. You deserve more than me.

“You…you don’t mean that,” she said, her voice cracking. I couldn’t look at her anymore.

“I do,” I said. “You can’t save me.” I closed the door and locked the shed once more. She pounded against it, screaming my name, begging for an explanation, begging for answers to all the unknown questions, but I stopped listening.

I stared at my hands, seeing the blood, unsure if it was Tanner’s or my own, feeling it against my fingers, under my nails, everywhere. It was as if the walls were bleeding, and I couldn’t see a way out.

I wanted him to know I was sorry. I wanted him to know I shouldn’t have snapped. I wanted it all to be a dream. I wanted to wake up and have my family back. I wanted to wake up and never know how much hearts could truly break.