I woke up with a pounding headache. The ache grew stronger as I opened my eyes, quickly regretting the decision as the sun blinded me.
Brendon jumped up and rushed to the curtains, “Let me close those.” He quickly said, and I could tell that he was trying desperately not to cry. “Uh there, now you should be able to see.”
“B-brendon… what happened?” I remembered arguing with Ryan but… I must have slipped. I must’ve fallen.
Brendon pulled a chair up to my bed. I was in the hospital? Oh god… He sat down but didn’t look at me. I could see his silent struggle to stay strong. “You were mugged.” He finally answered, “Ryan said the guy shoved you backwards and you hit your head. You hit your head really hard.” Brendon finally looked at me, as a few tears slipped down his cheeks. “But you’re okay sis. You’re okay.”
“I’m okay.” I repeated what he was saying, but I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe any of it. A mugger? I didn’t remember a mugger. Ryan…
Brendon suddenly stood and then I was being forced in to an extremely awkward hug. I could feel his body shaking as he cried, and I was surprised by the show of emotion.
The door opened but Brendon didn’t pull away, and all I could see was his shirt which was shoved in my face. “Is she awake, or are you just attacking her?” Ryan awkwardly asked.
Brendon pulled away but didn’t wipe his tears away. “She’s awake.” He smiled down at me, “I- I need to… I’ll just give you two a few minutes.” No, don’t do that. I didn’t actually say anything though and all too soon the door was closing behind Brendon.
Ryan did this to me.
“I’m glad you’re okay.” Ryan said, after a long silence.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t need to.
Ryan sat down in the chair Brendon had pulled up beside my bed. I didn’t object as he took hold of my hand. “I’ll always be here Avery. You understand that now, don’t you?” I did.
“Yes.” I whispered, as tears fell down my cheeks silently.
This was what our mistakes had brought us.
All it really took was one action and everything changed. Ryan changed. I changed. We were different now, and there was no denying it.
“Good.” Ryan murmured, as he brought his lips to my hand. The kiss was gentle but I didn’t believe it for a second. I felt cold as Ryan slipped the ring I had refused earlier on to my finger.
I loved Ryan, but this wasn’t Ryan anymore.
Ryan said something and Avery laughed. That wasn’t her laugh though. No, that was the laugh she used when our parents got divorced. I constantly tried to make her laugh. I tried so hard. She gave in, but it was fake… just like it was right now.
I watched from the backseat as Ryan reached over and placed his hand on Avery’s thigh. She flinched at his touch.
“So, are we dropping you off at home Brendon?” Ryan asked. I suddenly hated how casual he sounded. I hated his laugh. I hated the fact that his hand was on my sister’s thigh.
I hated him because I was too stupid to see what had been right in front of me the entire time.
It wasn’t just the hot chocolate, or the bruises… it was everything. It was the way Avery cried herself to sleep when she came to see me the week before. I chalked it up to her period, but Avery was never really like that on her period. I just wanted it to be her period. I didn’t want it to be something else. It was the way she always looked scared when Ryan entered a room she was in. It was the way she told me she was scared, and I just turned away from her.
“Brendon?” Avery’s voice drifted to me, through a fog of anger.
“Yeah?” I shook my head, “Yeah, just drop me off at home.”
The rest of the car ride was spent in silence, and it took every ounce of strength that I possessed for me to get out of the car when Ryan pulled over.
It didn’t take much for me to go up to my apartment and find my gun though.
No, and it didn’t take much for me to load the gun.
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