Pulse (Collide, #2)(3)

“Good, because neither am I,” Emily whispered, sitting back down. “I’m not marrying Dillon.”

Eyes wide with shock, a smile split Olivia’s face. “You’re not?” she gasped, rushing to Emily’s side.

Emily shook her head as a fresh round of tears seeped from her eyes.

Olivia kneeled beside her and wrapped her arms around Emily’s waist. Her words tumbled out against Emily’s stomach. “Oh my God, oh my God. You’re so not on my shit list anymore. I f*cking love you to death right now!”

“I hurt Gavin.” Emily nearly choked over her words. “I wanted to believe him, and part of me did I guess, but I was afraid, and now it’s too late.”

Confusion peppered Olivia’s expression as she stood, bringing Emily with her. She cupped Emily’s cheeks. “It’s not too late. As soon as you call him, he’ll forget everything. Gavin loves you. He was pissed last night, but he would die for you. Believe me. That’s all he kept saying.”

Trembling, Emily sucked in an unsteady breath. “No. I went to his penthouse last night, and he didn’t open his door.” She backed away from Olivia and tucked herself into a seat at the table. “I called his phone a few times, and he didn’t answer. He’s done with me, and I deserve every bit of pain coming to me.” Emily shook her head, her voice trailing off. “I can’t believe I let this happen.”

“He didn’t have me take him home last night.” Olivia dropped to her knees again and grabbed Emily’s hands. “From the rehearsal dinner, he had me bring him by Colton’s house. What happened sobered him up a little, but I’m pretty damn sure homeboy’s still knocked out. Think about how tanked he was. It’s only seven in the morning. He probably didn’t hear his phone. I’ll call him in a little while, but you need to try to calm down, okay?”

Emily slowly pulled her hands away and pressed the heels of her palms against her eyes. She reluctantly nodded, swallowing down some of the worry coursing through her mind. “Okay, I’ll try to calm down.”

A slow smile touched the edge of Olivia’s mouth. “I’m proud of you, Emily.”

“Proud of me?” she questioned, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “For what? For hurting Gavin? His face, Olivia. I can’t get his face out of my head.”

Eyes softening, Olivia brushed her hand against Emily’s jaw. “I’m proud of you for finally seeing you deserve a better life with a man who honestly loves and cares for you. Again, you may have temporarily hurt Gavin, but the two of you are going to be fine. You’ll see.”

Emily stared at Olivia and allowed a flutter of hope to settle through her limbs. She nodded, praying Olivia’s statement would prove true.

“All right,” Olivia said, standing and looking at her watch, “your un-wedding day is supposed take place in a little less than four hours. What do you need me to do, other than go get us some coffee because there’s none here? You definitely look like you can use a cup, and I know I can, too.” Olivia walked to the hall closet, pulled out her coat, and slipped it on. “Do you want me to call your sister?” She halted midstride. “Better yet, can I call your ex-future husband and tell him to f*ck off?”

Emily rose and moved across the kitchen. She grabbed a paper towel and blew her nose. The thought of Dillon waking to find her gone sent chills up her spine. “He doesn’t know yet.”

Confusion pinched Olivia’s forehead. “What do you mean? I thought—”

“I left after he fell asleep,” Emily interrupted, rushing her hands over her face. “He has no idea. You’re the only one who knows.”

Olivia’s jaw dropped open, her eyes wide. “Umm… okay. I could be wrong, but shouldn’t the expectant groom know this?”

On a sigh, Emily walked past Olivia into her bedroom. She started rummaging through her dresser drawers. Other than Gavin, the only thing she craved was a long, hot shower. “Yes, Olivia. I need to clean myself up, and when I’m done, I’m going to call him.”

Olivia leaned against the doorway, concern edging her eyes. “Can you at least wait until I get back from the coffee shop? I’ll shoot Lisa and Michael a call to let them know what’s going on, okay?”

Knowing Olivia was worried, Emily slid her drawer closed and gazed at her. “Yes. I’ll wait.” She walked over to Olivia, her eyes soft. “Thank you.”

Olivia cupped Emily’s chin, giving it a light shake. “You’re welcome. Go ahead. Get in your shower, and I’ll be back in a few.”

Emily nodded and watched her leave. After the front door snapped shut, Emily couldn’t help but feel dread scorching her stomach. Confronting Dillon, with or without Gavin by her side, wouldn’t be easy. She sighed, trying to ignore its festering presence. She made her way into the bathroom, set her sweatpants and sweatshirt on the vanity, and turned on the water. As hot steam curled through the air, she stripped last night’s clothing from her body and slipped into the shower. She reached for the bar of soap and slowly ran it across the aching flesh between her legs as visions of what she’d allowed Dillon to do to her invaded her thoughts. With her head hung low in shame, her drenched auburn hair formed a curtain over her face. Her every muscle felt bruised, but the soreness paled in comparison to her battered and beaten heart.

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