Unbreakable (A Mermaid's Curse Book 3), page 1
A Mermaid’s Curse III
Edited by Amanda Sorrells-Larsen
Art Direction Meredith Hancock
Front cover photography © B-D-S
Published by Rocket Science Productions
© Copyright 2015 Daniele Lanzarotta
All rights reserved
**Mature Content Warning**
Recommended for ages 17+ due to language, violence and sexual content.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblances to actual events, locales, persons living or deceased, is entirely coincidental.
A MERMAID’S CURSE
To the readers who followed me from the worlds of vampires and angels, to mermaids!
To my awesome editor Amanda and beta readers Jennifer and Tara.
There is a lot of evil in this world, but no one should have to endure as much evil as Arianna and I have. Sometimes I dream about mom coming to me to say that my father is not my real father. I’m not sure how much of a difference that would actually make, especially after everything that has happened because of him, but I imagine I would feel relieved to know that I didn’t come from someone who can be so cruel… that I have no actual attachments to someone who is a monster. At this point, the only thing that would give me hope is that one day, Arianna might be able look at me and not see him in some way or another.
I shake my head knowing this is nothing but a foolish dream. His blood courses through my veins… I have his eyes, his hair… and I know that she will never be able to stand my touch ever again.
I take a deep breath and get up from the small bed in my room at the rehab center where I checked in yesterday. It’s a small center in the middle of nowhere, so hopefully he won’t be able to find me. The only one who even knows where I am is my boss, Mr. Jones, who recommended this place.
The first day was full of paperwork and rules. No phones. No visitors during the first few weeks. I must have thought about drinking hundreds of times since yesterday. I even considered leaving, but I have to do this… for her.
I walk down the empty hallway toward the therapist’s office.
I knock on the door.
“Come in,” she says. Even though it’s early in the morning, Dr. Patton already looks tired. I imagine this job can be hell on anyone. I can’t even deal with my own problems, let alone the problems of so many other addicts.
“Welcome, Mr. Crawford.”
Even the sound of that name… his name… makes me sick to my stomach.
“Please, sit,” she says.
“We don’t get many patients who voluntarily come here for help. I’m sure it took a lot for you to walk through the front door. You should feel proud of being brave enough to take this first step.”
I laugh. “Trust me, I’m not brave. I’m far from it—”
She takes a few notes down and I already feel uncomfortable.
“What makes you think that you aren’t?”
I shrug. “Years and years of horrible life choices.”
“Can you be more specific?”
I sit staring at the plain white wall for a while.
“Let’s start at the beginning. Your very first drink… what were the circumstances?”
I answer without looking at her. “It wasn’t for fun or with friends, I can tell you that much.”
“Please, call me Blake.”
”Sorry, Blake, you’re here because you want to, and you can leave as you please, which is why I’m going to push you harder than anyone else in here. In order for me to help you, I need you to talk to me and to the group. I’m here to help you, but I need to know things about you in order to get to the bottom of the problem.”
I nod. “It was a week after my grandpa died.”
“Was it because of his death?”
I shake my head. “No—I mean, I guess in a way, yes. Everything started because he wasn’t there anymore.” I take a long pause. “He always—” I run my fingers through my hair and look down, staring at the floor. “I can’t do this. I don’t know where to start.”
“Tell me about your relationship with him.”
I sigh. “He was always there for me. He motivated me to do things I enjoyed. He made sure I had a good childhood.”
“What happened to your childhood when he passed?”
I look up and I can’t fight back the tears. Yet another sign of weakness, as my father would say. “When grandpa was gone, so was my childhood.”
“What happened that makes you say that?”
“My father is a very controlling person. My grandpa was the only person who fought him back. It wasn’t even like I lost myself little by little once grandpa died. It all started happening before he was even buried. On that day, my father was changing school schedules, sports, everything. It’s like he was just waiting for that moment with everything planned.”
“What about your mom?”
“She was depressed and on a lot of medication, but even if she wasn’t, my father tends to have his way with people. It wouldn’t have mattered.”
“What happened as you got older? Teen years? Once you turned 18?”
“Over the years, he just played us like a fun little game; mostly mom and me. Years passed and not much changed, except for the fact that I became immune to caring. I was living my life, if you call it living, on autopilot. School, work… it became easy not having to make any decisions; to just do what he said with no confrontation. That made him happy and led him to leave us alone.”
“But something must have changed. What led you in here? What makes you want to change now?”
“I met someone.”
I can see the therapist smile. If only she knew there is so little to smile about.
I catch Dr. Patton look at the clock.
“Should I go?” I ask.
“No. We still have time.”
I laugh. “No, we don’t. That smile you let out when I said I met someone… you probably think that meeting her was a solution in a way; a motivation for me to get out from under his control, but you are wrong. Meeting her was the best and worst moment of my life, all at once.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because that was when I realized that the damage in me was already done. She deserves someone who will protect her and I wasn’t that person; my brother was.”
“Tell me about your brother.”
“He is the guy I wish I had the guts to be. He knows who he wants to be and he stands up for himself.”
“You said he protected her. What happened?”
Here we are… the moment I wish I didn’t have to talk about at least for a couple of weeks. I don’t even know how I do it, but I just let it all out. I tell her what my father did and I watch the look of horror on her face as she realizes the damage she is dealing with.
She clears her throat and takes a deep breath.
“Go on,” she says.
“You want more? I just told you about my terrible childhood, about my controlling father, and about what he did to the one person I ever truly loved. I told you that I failed to protect her and I know it doesn’t matter how much therapy I go through, that guilt is never going to go away. I think it’s safe to say that this
She writes some things down. I can see that her hands are shaking. “Blake, why do you think you let him control you up until the point you met her?”
“I didn’t have a choice. And he still controlled me after too… still does.”
“Didn’t you, though? Have a choice? We all have choices, Blake. Always. Unfortunately, fear is what keeps us from acting on those choices.” She pauses. “What are you afraid of, Blake?”
I laugh. “Nothing anymore. She is gone and I don’t think she will come back. He destroyed everything I ever loved. There is nothing left to fear.”
“Yet, you are here and you haven’t tried to leave. Being here voluntarily is not typical behavior for someone who feels like you do.”
I laugh again. “Aren’t you supposed to motivate me not to drink again?
She takes a deep breath and puts her notepad and pen down. She looks right into my eyes. “It’s not just about motivating you. It’s about getting to the bottom of this so when you do face him, you don’t go straight back to drinking. I need to know your motives for wanting help so I can make sure you are on the right track.
“If she does come back to me, I want to be the kind of man that she deserves.”
“I’m going to be honest with you, Blake. You need to do this for you and you only. Things won’t be the same if she comes back, you do know that, right? She will also need help.”
“I want to go back to the beginning, but we are running out of time. There is a group meeting tomorrow morning. I would like you to attend. You don’t have to talk. But I would also like to see you again tomorrow afternoon.”
I nod and walk out of her office.
‘Things won’t be the same.’ She is right. I keep replaying her words in my head and the look of horror on her face when I told her what happened.
I don’t even know how I allowed myself to have an ounce of hope. I go to my room and grab my bag. I have every intention of leaving this place.
They can’t stop me and by the look on the staffs’ faces, they saw this coming.
The girl who works at the front desk says there is a cab out front and that the driver can take me to the airport. She is nice enough to smile and wish me the best.
I get in the cab.
“Airport?” asks the driver.
I shake my head.
“To the nearest bar.”
He shakes his head and drives off.
If this is not a fucked up situation, I don’t know what is. She is afraid of everything and everyone. Well, except for me. I fucking hate it. I feel like it is payback for getting her in this situation to begin with. I think about bailing several times throughout the day, but I can’t. As fucked up as I can be, I know that abandoning her would be wrong on a whole new level. So I stay.
After we sailed away from the island, I knew we would have to go as far away as possible from dad and that we would have to stay near the ocean. I didn’t want to pull Arianna away from everything that is familiar to her; not to mention that last time she was away from Blake for long, she got sick, and only the ocean made her feel better. So we stopped in the next port and rented a car to drive down to Florida, where we would then get on another boat and travel for a while. The whole way Arianna kept questioning her decision to leave Blake alone on the island.
I don’t think I will ever truly understand what they feel for each other. Whatever shitty situation either one is in they always worry about the other more than themselves. I kept reassuring her that she needs time away; that Blake seeing her in this state of depression will only make him worse. I don’t know if she believes me. Hell, I don’t even know if I believe in what I am saying. It should make sense, but at the same time, getting through this with his support would be good. Hell if I know. But my gut feeling says that Blake would want to drink even more if she was around him. If I can barely stand seeing her like this, I know it would kill him. I reassure myself that this is for the best and let it go. She needs time away and he needs to get his shit together and stop drinking before he can be here for her.
We end up at a hotel in South Florida. The plan is to stay for the night and take the boat out the following day. I couldn’t even get separate rooms. She freaked at the thought of being alone. I don’t blame her though. I just don’t know if I’m capable of handling all of this.
I look over to where she is. She is lying down on one bed, facing the opposite direction from where I sleep. I imagine she is awake, just staring emptily at the wall. I lay on my bed, flipping through the channels.
“Do you think he is okay?” she asks.
Once again, it amuses me that after everything that happened to her; everything she is going through, she still prioritizes worrying about him.
“Yeah, I’m sure he is. I tried calling him and he didn’t answer. That is a good sign. It probably means that he is where he said he would go. They don’t usually allow phones at rehab centers.”
It gets quiet for a while then I can hear her sobbing. I want to tell her she should run away from us… my entire fucked up family. She should forget Blake and move on… not because I don’t think he deserves her, but because dad will always be around and he will never allow them to be together. It’ll just never work between the two of them.
“I’m not sure taking the boat is such a good idea,” I finally say. “I think you should talk to someone about what happened to you. It might help.”
“No,” she says firmly, and that is all she says.
I leave it alone and go back to flipping through the channels.
I know I need to get out and vent for a while, but I know I won’t be able to leave her alone. I get up and get the medicine bottle with my sleeping pills. I always have them on me. I guess it’s the whole thing with not being able to sleep because I don’t have a clean conscience.
I grab a glass of water and when I come back to the room, I touch her shoulder, “Arianna?”
She flinches and I instantly regret touching her.
“Sorry,” I say in an apologetic tone. “Here. Take this,” I say. “It will make you feel better.”
She does without asking any questions.
She is so tired; it doesn’t take long for her to fall asleep.
I leave her a note just in case she wakes up. ‘I’m going to check on the boat to make sure everything is ready. Stay here. I’ll be back soon.’
I head out and I stop at the grocery store first to get a couple extra snacks and drinks. What has my social life come to? I end up dropping the stuff off in the boat and head out to look for a club or something to do.
On the way there, I get a call from the man himself; the one who taught my dad and myself everything we know about black magic. The one who is, basically, above us all when it comes to this.
“Hello?... Yes, she is with me. How do you know?... I’m sorry, sir. I can’t tell you what happened… Yes, she is safe with me… I will keep that in mind.”
I hang up the phone pondering why Mike Jones of all people, is offering his help. I know he helped Blake by moving his job to another city so he and Arianna could get away, but I don’t understand why he wants to help by saying that Arianna can stay with him and his wife until Blake is well.
I change my mind about going out and end up going back to the hotel room where I find Arianna sound asleep. I empty my pockets and see that I have a text from Jones. ‘Shut your phone off so your father can’t track you.’ I put my phone down, take my shoes and shirt off, and lay on the bed, where I know I will be thinking about this whole thing with Jones until I eventually fall asleep.
I’m on my third drink when I notice someone takes the seat next to me. I don’t look up. I just stare at the drink between my hands and wonder where she is right now and how she
“I will have what he’s having.”
It’s not until I hear her voice that I look up.
I laugh. “Dr. Patton. I hope you are not here to make me stop drinking,” I say.
She shakes her head. “Only you can do that, Blake.” She pauses. “Do you mind if I sit next to you?”
“I don’t know. Should you be drinking with your patients?”
“No, but I was told you are not one of my patients anymore.”
I nod. “Please.” I motion to the seat.
The bartender brings her a glass of Jack and Coke. She takes a sip and puts her glass down.
“I don’t mean to sound rude, but is drinking what you do after spending the day with a bunch of alcoholics? That seems a bit hypocritical.”
“Actually, no. This is not my usual routine. The cab driver who brought you here is a friend of mine and he was concerned about you, so he gave me a call.”
I go back to looking at the glass.
“I’m willing to bet you’ve never had a case as hopeless as mine,” I say.
She smiles. “No one is hopeless, Blake.”
“The expression on your face earlier today said otherwise.”
“Some situations are worse than others and yours is definitely on the worst end of it, but still, you are not hopeless.”
“What makes you think that?”
“There are two types of people in my world, Blake. I can’t always help those who don’t want to help themselves, but I can help the ones who do and you are one of them.”
I take a sip of my drink. “You are giving me entirely too much credit.”
She doesn’t say anything. Instead, she asks the bartender for another drink and slides it my way.
I give her a puzzled look.
“I’m going to sit here until you are done drinking. If you want to talk, I’m all ears, but as a friend. You are not a patient right now. Trust me, I could never buy you a drink if you were. When you are done, my friend is going to drive you to your hotel and make sure you get to your room, and I really hope I will see you back at the center tomorrow.”
Other author's books:
- Venom (The Reawakening Series Book 1)Forsaken (Academy of the Fallen #4)Insatiable
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