Unraveled (Twisted Series), page 1
This book is meant for entertainment purposes only. Names, characters, events and incidents are all a product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. All comments and conversations written within these pages are not meant to be taken in the literal sense. The author retains all rights to this book. Illegal copying or distribution of this book is prohibited without author consent.
Due to mature subject content, this book is recommended for ages 17+.
Table of Contents
She looks to the moon from her bedroom window, and
realizes it's time to make the changes that come with
forgiveness. With forgiveness comes healing of her heart,
shines sun on her soul, and allows her to move on in life to
be the improved person she knows she is deep inside. It's
time to give people that surround her the chance to see
the phenomenal person she wants to become. Strength
comes to those in their darkest hours. It is time to let the
strength consume her, and bring her back to life.
Shock is still settling from events that
You know how you get that gut feeling that tells you something isn't right? For one millisecond you stand on the brink...the next step will be your great discovery in life or possibly your greatest downfall. There's a brief second when you realize your next decision will lead you down an unforeseen path. I should have paid attention to those tiny little nudges in my chest or the prickling feeling in my brain—warning me to be cautious. Perhaps if I would have listened, things would have been different.
Sometimes, while I am all alone in this claustrophobic room, I wonder what my path would have been if I'd simply opened my eyes and paid attention to every small detail that surrounded me. Would I have noticed what I know now?
I dream of what my life could have been. But those dreams are few and far between. Most nights I have dark dreams. Bad dreams. Dreams I wish were nothing more than fabricated nightmares made up by my imagination. If only I could be so lucky. I will forever be haunted by the past until I can face it and understand where I go from here.
I know this journal is supposed to ultimately help me sort out all my feelings and shit.
I hate this journal.
Will it make me feel any different when I reach the end?
Will I see things in a different light and maybe put the past to rest?
I guess there is only one way for me to find out. There's too much waiting for me on the outside for me to give up now.
The drive over to Paige's apartment is tense. Between Blake's death and the mess of things I'd made last night with Noah, my mind is spinning. Not to mention I'm still trying to figure out how my life could have changed so drastically in just a matter of several weeks. Life was supposed to get easier when I moved to California, not harder.
However, instead of moving forward and embracing the possibilities that life here could offer someone like me, I'd veered off course and wasn't sure how I was ever going to get back on track. My boyfriend, Cole, had become abusive and led me down a path that brought devastation and great regret.
After being deceived into driving the getaway car for Cole and Blake during a convenience store robbery, I found myself partly to blame for Officer Sean Mathison's death. If he hadn't been there that night at the store, his weapon drawn—Cole wouldn't have freaked out and shot him. The situation was further complicated by the fact that Sean had been friends with my brother and they’d worked alongside each other during rotations at the police department.
My brother is completely oblivious that I played a part in a crime that took his friend's life. The guilt and hiding my part in all of it weighs heavily on me each and every day. Someday the truth will come out. Secrets have a way of coming to light no matter how hard you try to bury them. When that day comes, I can only hope that Tate has it in his heart to forgive me.
It dawns on me that if I am going to help Paige, I need to put a stop to my wandering thoughts. I shove all my inner chaos aside as I concentrate on my best friend and what she must be going through. The fact that her boyfriend is dead just doesn't seem real yet. If I'm having a hard time accepting the news, I could only imagine what Paige is feeling as she comes to terms with his death.
When I reach the apartment complex, I find the parking lot is full and I end up parking down the block. As soon as I make my way through the glass doors, I head straight for the stairs. Paige had once told me that she'd gotten stuck in the elevator for two hours and that was enough to make me avoid it like the plague. When I reach the second floor, I head towards apartment 7B and knock lightly.
Paige answers the door and she looks terrible. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a messy ponytail, her face pale and blue eyes red-rimmed. She takes one look at me and breaks down into giant, heart breaking sobs.
I quickly shut the door and pull her into my arms. Unfortunately, it looks like this is the real deal after all. Blake is truly dead. There's nothing anyone can say that will make a mourning person feel better so I stay silent and let her cry. I've never been much of a people person and I pray that I don't end up sticking my foot in my mouth today of all days.
Finally, Paige pulls back, wiping tears and sniffling. “Every time I think I am all cried out, there's always more.”
I give her a solemn look before glancing around the small living room that's normally neat and tidy. Today there is a full laundry basket of dirty clothes on the coffee table, a discarded box of Kleenex sitting on the couch along with some dirty tissues and other odds and ends left about after an apparently busy morning.
“Where's Joey?” I ask, referring to Paige's thirteen-year-old brother.
Paige walks to the couch and pulls out a fresh Kleenex to wipe her nose. “At the neighbors,” she says, her voice muffled as she wipes her nose one last time before balling the tissue up in her fist. She looks completely devastated.
My eyes run over her wrinkled tee and ratty sweatpants. “Why don't you take a shower while I clean up,” I suggest gently. Giving her something to concentrate on might help, even if it only lasts for a couple minutes.
“Aren't you even going to ask what happened?”
“I figure you'll tell me when you're ready. There's no rush, Paige. I'm here for as long as you need me.”
“Really? Because you've been pretty much non-existent the past few weeks,” she points out flatly, her arms crossing defensively.
It hurts to have her mad at me and I feel bad that I'd basically deserted her to go partying with Cole. I whole heartedly agree with her attitude towards me and I know I deserve it.
I meet her gaze and nod with acceptance. “I'm sorry. There's been a lot going on and it was wrong to bail on you. There is no excuse for it,” I say sincerely.
She studies me and then sighs. “I'm sorry, too. You didn't deserve that after coming all the way over here to be with me.”
“I did and it's okay. Go take your shower. Have you eaten? I'm a lousy cook but I can try,” I offer.
“I'm not hungry.”
“Maybe later, then,” I say lightly, not wanting to push her.
She slowly nods and then walks dejectedly out of the living room and
Once I hear the shower start up, I pull my phone out of my pocket and try to call Cole. Did he know about Blake yet? He wasn't supposed to be back until sometime Sunday, so I was betting no one had told him yet. His voice mail picks up and I quickly disconnect the call. You don't leave someone a voice mail about a friend's death. That's news that should be given in person.
As Paige showers, I try to pick up a little bit. I know the laundry machines are down in the basement but I am not sure if it is okay to leave the clothes unattended, so in the end I decide to leave them where they are. The apartment complex happened to be kind of shabby and not exactly in the best area of town. I'd hate for anyone's clothes to end up missing because of me.
When Paige finally enters the living room, her hair hangs wet and limp down her back. She's exchanged the tee and sweatpants for gym shorts and a tank. Her eyes scan the now tidy living room and she gives me a grateful look. “Thanks.”
“I would have thrown your laundry in a machine downstairs but I wasn't sure if it was okay to leave it.”
“We normally stay and wait, that way it doesn't get stolen,” she says as she walks over to the couch and sits down, looking drained.
I walk over and sit down as well, knowing she'll talk when she's ready to. I hated it when people pressured me to talk about stuff I didn't want to talk about—or wasn't ready to talk about. I figure the best way to deal with Paige today was to treat her how I'd want to be treated if I were in her shoes.
Paige lets out a soft sigh, her eyes filling with tears as they meet mine. “They say he lost control of his motorcycle about one in the morning. He died instantly. It was bad, I guess.”
“I'm so sorry, Paige. I know how much you loved him.”
She chokes back a sob and angrily wipes at her tears with her hands, while her lips twist grimly. “My love wasn't enough.”
“What do you mean?”
She yanks another Kleenex out of the box and methodically begins to shred it. “Blake wasn't cheating on me. He'd been acting weird lately and he finally told me last week that he did something he shouldn't have and it was bad. Really bad.”
My heart skips a beat and I try to keep my growing alarm off my face. “Did he tell you what he did?”
Paige shakes her head, her eyes frustrated as they lift to mine. “No. I was mad at him because he wouldn't confide in me, but all he kept saying was he wanted to protect me, that if he told me it would become my burden as well.”
Something inside me pulls at her words. Blake might have had a lot of growing up to do but he had truly loved Paige. I'm glad he'd chosen to protect her rather than turn her into someone like myself—someone who would carry this heavy suffocating guilt the rest of their life.
“He loved you,” I say gently.
“I know, but I loved him as well. I wanted to be there for him but he wouldn't let me.” She suddenly stands up and begins to pace restlessly. “He started losing weight and his eyes...he looked shattered. He was literally breaking in front of me and I couldn't do anything!”
She spins around, her blue eyes flashing with an agonized glint to them. “There's a chance it wasn't an accident, that he did it purposely. Blake never seemed like the type to give up, but you didn't see him, Blayre. If only he'd talked to me,” she practically wails as her voice breaks.
I quickly jump up and pull her into my arms, holding her close. “You can't think like that, Paige. It was more likely an accident and he was distracted. You said he had a lot on his mind,” I gently point out, rubbing her back.
“But what if he wanted to die?” she whispers, sniffing into my shoulder.
“If he wanted to die, you wouldn't have been able to talk him out of it.”
Paige pulls back and moves away to grab another Kleenex from the couch so she can wipe her nose again. “I think it's Cole's fault,” she states simply, her features smoothing out into an eerie expressionless mask.
“What?” I ask a bit sharply.
Her lips tighten as she stares me down. “I know you're tight with him but I think he pulled Blake into something bad. The only trouble Blake has ever gotten into has been because of Cole.”
Silence falls over me, because what could I say? I feel like I am navigating a figurative minefield here because I have to be extremely careful what I say to Paige. One wrong misstep or word could send her over the edge. It's obvious Paige is struggling with her grief and right now she's grasping for any reason to explain her boyfriend's death.
“Does Cole tell you the things he does when he's not with you?” Paige asks me hesitantly, her eyes desperately searching mine for answers.
This conversation is headed in a direction that I definitely do not want to go and I scramble around in my mind, trying to figure out what to say. I can't blame her for wanting to make sense of things. If I were her, I would want to know why I'd lost the person I loved as well. But I'm not her and if she ever found out what we'd done that night, she'd either turn us in or carry the knowledge of what she'd learned the rest of her life. Either way, it would be a lose-lose situation for her.
“No, never mind,” Paige suddenly says with a sigh, causing sharp relief to streak through me. “I don't want to know. I want to remember Blake as he was. I don't want to think of something bad when I think of him.” She looks at me almost brokenly. “What am I going to do, Blayre? How am I supposed to live without him?” She asks as she collapses on the couch, tears streaking her pale cheeks once again.
“You take it one day at a time, that's what Blake would want.”
Paige looks down at the shredded tissue balled up in her fist and whispers, “It hurts just to breathe.”
My heart feels like it's breaking for her. “I feel idiotic asking this, but what can I do to help you, Paige?”
She looks at me with bleak eyes. “Just help me get through the next couple of days. I think the funeral will be on Monday. Blake's mom is going to call with the details.”
It's ten-thirty in the evening when I get home and I am completely exhausted. All I want to do is go up to my room and sleep for several hours. I'd spent the entire day with Paige and it was as if she'd sucked all my energy clean away. I felt drained, but it was worth it to be there for her. She needs someone right now. Joey's too young for her to lean on and Paige's mother is gone quite a bit. That leaves me.
I'm heading for the hallway just as my brother comes out of the kitchen. “I thought I heard you.” He studies me before asking, “Have you eaten?”
“I'm not hungry.”
“I didn't ask if you were hungry, I asked if you've eaten,” he points out lightly.
He nods. “Come talk to me,” he says, motioning for the kitchen.
“Honestly, Tate, I'm ready to crawl into bed.”
Sympathy flickers in his gaze. “I won't keep you too long.”
I let out a sigh and follow him into the kitchen. I'm not in the mood to stand so I walk over and claim a stool at the island counter, slumping slightly.
Tate grabs a stool and maneuvers it so he's facing me. “What happened?”
“Must have been after my shift because the call didn't come in before midnight.”
“Paige said it happened around one in the morning.”
“How is she doing?”
“She's taking it really hard, which is to be expected.”
Tate's eyes lock on mine. “How are you doing?”
“I don't know. It doesn't seem real,” I say sadly.
“When it happens like that—so abruptly—it takes a bit for it to set in,” he says with an understanding nod.
He's clearly thinking of his friend Sean, and I stare at the island counter, not saying anything.
“I know you want to be there for Paige, but don't forget to take care of yourself as well. Go to bed. You look exhausted,” he says, squeezing my shoulder affectionately.
The crack beneath Noah's door is dark, letting me know he's not home because it is way too early for him to be going to bed. I briefly wonder if he's working or if he's out with friends before I head for my own room and shut the door.
I make my way to my dresser as I pull out my cell phone and set it down. I have a moment’s thought to call Cole but then I change my mind. He'd warned me he'd be busy and wouldn't be on his phone much, but that he'd be thinking of me this weekend. The last time he'd been out of town, he'd text messaged me every few hours to see how I was handling the aftermath of our convenience store robbery.
Evidently, he wasn't as concerned these days.
As I undress and drop into bed, I can't help but wish I had someone there to hold me and comfort me after such a long and draining day. But then an image of Noah flashes in my mind before Cole takes his place.
With a groan, I yank the pillow out from beneath my head and I shove it over my face. This should have been a boring weekend and it has turned into anything but.
“I never thought that the next time I'd shop here, I'd be picking out an outfit for Blake's funeral,” Paige says quietly as she dismally looks through racks of clothing the following day.
“Me, neither.” I watch her pick up a black skirt and study it intently. Neither of us have appropriate funeral attire so I'd managed to persuade Paige to leave the apartment and come shopping at our favorite thrift shop.
She chews her bottom lip, her eyes lifting to mine. “Blake had a thing for skirts. I've always hated them.”
“You want to wear that for him?” I ask carefully, nodding at the skirt still clutched in her hand.
“Yeah, I think so.”
“He'd like that.”
Her eyes fill with tears before she abruptly turns away and goes off to look at some blouses.
I watch her for a moment before I head for a rack of dressy black pants. I feel awful for Paige and I'm not sure I'm saying all the right things or not, but I'm trying. As I browse the clothes rack, I think of Cole. I still haven't heard from him and I'm a little nervous about how he's going to take the news. Blake was the closest thing Cole had to family because I don't think his brother, Ethan, really counts. From what I've heard from Paige and Cole himself, he and Blake were pretty tight.
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