Pulse (Collide, #2)(6)

“I agree,” Lisa said, concern brimming in her eyes.

Emily rose, trying to rein in the discord f*cking with her mind. She moved unsteadily across the living room to check if Gavin had called back. Lisa and Olivia scrambled to their feet and followed her into her room.

“Em,” Olivia said. She lightly grabbed Emily’s arm, confusion creasing her forehead. “Why don’t you want to go?”

Emily turned away and pushed her hands through her hair. She reached for her phone, her heart dipping when she saw she didn’t have any missed calls from Gavin. “I said no, Olivia. I don’t need to go to the hospital.” Tears gathered in her eyes as she slumped onto her bed. “I’m fine. I just need some aspirin and sleep.”

Olivia’s lips formed into a hard line. She looked over to Lisa, her expression showing equal worry.

Lisa crossed her arms and leaned against the doorway. “Emily, I swear, you can be so stubborn sometimes.”

“I know,” Emily whispered. “But really, I’m fine.”

Olivia lifted her head and exhaled toward the ceiling. Bringing her attention back to Emily, she placed a hand on her hip. “You want to know the only reason why I’m not going to push this issue further with you, friend?”

Emily pressed her eyes closed and shook her head. “Why, Olivia?”

“Well, that would be because you gave Duckleberry-Finn a pretty decent beat-down before his ass was hauled outta here.”

Emily lay back, rolled to her side, and hugged her knees to her chest. Normally, she would’ve found Olivia’s comment somewhat funny. But not now. She couldn’t. It was all she could do to muster a reply.

“Right,” Emily said, sadness clouding her voice. She brought the ice pack up to her cheek. Eyes steeped in pain from her discomfort, she stared at Olivia. “I guess I did.” Emily inhaled a deep breath, grabbed her blanket, and pulled it over her body. “When the paramedics get here, send them in. But right now, I just need to rest.”

Though concern still showed on their faces, Olivia and Lisa nodded. Without another word, they walked out of the room.

Over the next half hour, Emily filled out the necessary paperwork from the officer and refused treatment when the paramedics eventually showed up. Once the room became quiet and her thoughts finally started to settle, her eyes came to rest on her phone. Picking it up, she stared at it, her face paling when she saw it was void of any messages from Gavin. Tears streamed freely down her cheeks.

Knowing she had to explain the hurt she’d inflicted upon him, she dialed his number. She chewed at the inside of her lip as she listened to it ring. When his voice mail picked up, she went to close her phone but stopped. Worry plagued her, and an ache for him, so deep, tightened in her chest.

“Gavin… I… It’s Emily,” she whispered, trying not to trip over the emotions climbing up her throat. “I don’t expect you to talk to me ever again, but I need to say a few things.” Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, she continued. “Dillon diminished my sense of feeling alive, Gavin. But you… you brought that back to me. When Gina opened the door that morning, I…” Emily paused, wiping away tears. “I was scared you took her back, but I should’ve let you explain and I didn’t. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that out of any girl in this world you could’ve fallen in love with, you chose me. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when I should’ve, and it was me who broke your heart. I love you, Gavin. I know you’re the one who said you thought you loved me from the moment you saw me, but I know I loved you from the moment I saw you. Something inside me told me I was supposed to be with you, but I fought against it. So many things about you scared me at first, and then you showed me who you really are.”

Unable to keep fighting the raw emotion weighing heavy on her heart, Emily broke out into hysterics. “Please forgive me for fighting against us, Gavin. Please forgive me for not fighting for us when I knew we were supposed to be together. Forgive me for being the weak mess I am. But more than anything… thank you for loving me. Thank you for your dimpled smile and your bottle caps. I’ll never be able to look at one without thinking of you. Thank you for your stupid Yankees and your wiseass remarks. Thank you for wanting late night drives and sunset-watching with me. Thank you for wanting the good, the bad, and the in-between.” Emily paused and shook her head, but before she could say another word, the voice mail cut her off, the long beep alerting her that her time was up.

“I’m just sorry the only thing you got from me was the bad,” she whispered, staring at the ceiling as she clenched her phone to her chest.

In her twenty-four years of living, there were times when Emily would experience a numbness that would set in when she wanted to shut something out. She allowed her mind to let go of poison plaguing her life at certain points. These were times she welcomed it. Breathed it in like the sweet smell of roses. It was the type of numbness one could say ‘cleansed her.’ However, as she sat at the coffee bar in Bella Lucina, tracing and retracing numbers on her order pad, the numbness planting itself in her heart like a thick, summer weed, was something she’d never felt before. Something she didn’t want to feel.

216 hours… of feeling dead.

12,960 minutes… of feeling lost.

777,600 seconds… of feeling completely numb.

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