If you haven’t finished the book, do NOT read this! It will definitely spoil the book for you. I’m going to skip a bunch of lines now!
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July 12, 2011
My nurse tells me Gillian is here, but I don’t really understand. My mind is bound in the shrink wrap of a dozen chemicals. The Dilaudid… Ativan. Steroids, blood-boosters, Phenergan, Zofran, Benadryl. Three IV lines pump a steady stream of fog into my chest.
I can’t open my mouth, or even move it. If something startles me and my jaw clenches reflexively, the pain makes black spots dance into my eyes. There are sores inside my mouth and throat that hurt like fucking hell. My stomach shifts like stormy ocean waves, and I have no control over it. I’m weak. So weak.
And fucking frail. I don’t know how bad, because I haven’t dared the mirror in so long. But I don’t look like me. That’s the only fear that I’ve got time to feel before she comes into my room.
When she stops in the doorway, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, I remember that my hair is gone.
I struggle to keep my eyes open – to monitor her reaction – but it’s useless. My body is a prison. I have no rights here.
I hear Gill’s raspy voice, saying… something.
Time floats on in front of me. I grasp at it. I can feel her by the bed. They’re always by the bed.
I dream of soft arms. Smooth skin. I can feel her breasts. Smell her perfume. I dream of taut nipples. Fucking hell, this dream. I think her hand is on my dick. I feel her fingers from a distance…squeezing.
Her pouty, sultry voice. “You must not have missed me, big boy.”
I can’t feel anything. Need to tell her that. My dick works, but…the Dilaudid. It makes me… “Numb,” I whisper.
Pain flares, making spots behind my eyes. That was fucking stupid, asshole. Keep your mouth shut. I open my eyes, which ache at the light. I squint and see her face. It’s really Gillian, come to see me from another life…
In this one, doctor faces. No faces.
I need the faces.
I lift my heavy hands and grip her shoulders. “Gill,” I whisper. Bad idea. The pain of moving my mouth makes me sweat. I start to shake.
My sweaty fingers fumble in my blankets for the pain pump—so I won’t cry in front of her. I feel her hands on my shoulders. They’re…gentle. Fuck.
I press the button and struggle to stay anchored to her as the Dilaudid swims warmly through me. Her hands are helping, pulling me closer. My face finds that valley between her breasts. Her arms close around me.
So good. Her hand trails over my shoulder and my back. I moan. Keep doing that…
She cups my neck. “Kellan—I can feel your bones. Like, even these back here. You need to eat a sandwich. How will you come back to football if you don’t gain weight?”
I press my cheek against her softness. She’s so warm. She smells like feeling good…and football.
I hear her laugh. “Your head looks funny.” Her fingers prod my forehead.
“Please,” I whisper.
Keep touching me. Keep talking. It’s been months since I was touched like this. Lyon comes sometimes and rubs my neck, but he’s been wrapped up with his own shit. I want to say her name. I want to tell her how I love the softness of her fingers. I can only manage, “Stay.”
I blink back tears—from the white-hot pain that’s lighting up my mouth. Of everything I’ve been through so far…this is the worst pain.
She laughs. I can’t remember why—the D. has hit me hard—so I just hug her.
“I really have missed you,” she says. “Parties aren’t the same without you. I’ve been horny too. No one can give it to me like you can, Kellan.”
I think hazily of our bodies, twined together. Of that pleasure—lost.
I open my mouth, and try to speak without my tongue and throat. “When they turn…down the Dilaudid…”
Pain rips through me. “Fuck.” I moan. I need to calm down! I don’t want to scare her. I clutch my hair, because the pain of pulling it helps me bear the mouth pain, at least a little easier.
“Stay…” I groan. And I’ll fuck you later. I lift my hips and moan. “My dick,” I whisper. When I’m not so fucked up from painkillers, it still works. If she stays here, I can fuck her. “In the ba’hroom,” I say, and want to die from the pain.
She giggles. “What are you talking about? Kellan, you’re like…high.”
Her hand rubs my neck, and for a moment, my dulled senses flicker. Her touch feels so good, chills race over me. I feel blissful. Safe.
Then worried. Scared. I want to leave this room…
I guess I really am high, because I start to cry and I can’t stop myself. I need to tell her… sometimes….drugs.
I…miss things. Breasts—and hands. I want another body pressed against mine as I ache. I want to squeeze her hand.
I don’t really love her, but I could…maybe.
I try to hide my tears behind her hair, but she can feel them on her skin. I guess she feels them. I can feel her tense, but I’m too high to move or speak. Her warmth shifts. I list forward against the mattress. I can feel my heartbeat in my throbbing mouth.
“What the fuck, Drake? Are you crying? Did I hurt you?” She sounds shrill.
If I try to speak again, I’ll really lose it, so I shake my head. I cover my lips with my hand. My mouth… “Sorry,” I hiss.
I feel the bed move. Hear her awkward laugh. All the warmth is gone. I start to shiver, from the swimmy warmth of D.
“I think I should come back later. When you’re…feeling better. I won’t tell, about this problem. So you can maybe come back to football one day and get drafted. I know they might not want someone who’s been through all of this, so I’ll keep up the bullshit story about the world travels.”
My throat aches with the tears I’m keeping in. I breathe as deeply as I can. So I can talk. So she’ll stay. “I’m…fine.”
My mouth hurts bad. My chest aches terribly, but I know I’ll be okay if she will stay.
“Kellan, I’ll come back. Later, when you’re better. Feel better, okay?”
The door creaks open, then clicks shut.
The fire inside my chest makes the one inside my mouth feel like nothing.
I hold my head. “Please…”
In the darkness of my mind, I think she’ll hear me and come back. I learn, when the D. is tapered and the world comes into view again, that I was wrong. No one comes back. Not even Robert comes to visit.
Days later, I’m walking up to the common room when I hear “Gillian” from the other side of Lyon’s shut door.
I stop outside the door and listen to Whit’s soft voice. “She told me he looked dead, and she was scared. I slapped her, Ly. I should have told you, but I thought you might be…mad at me or think I’ve lost my mind. But—”
“Mad?” I hear the edge of fury in my twin’s low snarl. “I wish I had slapped that bitch for how she left. Arethea told me about it while you were at the gift shop, I just didn’t tell you, Whit. She said she found him in the shower, crying in his sweats, with a cut on his throat from where he tried to shave himself.”
“He tried to shave? Where’d Kelly even get a razor?”
“He was fucking out of it. I guess that cunt managed to get rid of stoic, never-tell-anyone-anything Kellan and bring out all his hidden feels or some shit.”
“I wish I could slap her twice,” Whit says. “Poor Kellan. He can do much better. Ly—” Whit’s voice softens, the way it always does when she’s trying to sell him on something. “I want to move him in with us, in here. That way I can love on both of you.”
I hear Lyon’s proprietary growl. And Whitney’s laugh.
“I mean it, though. Poor Kelly is alone too much. I worry for him. I don’t think he’s thriving because he has…”
“No Whitney,” Lyon supplies.
She laughs. “I don’t mean it like that. Like I’m essential to the life force.”
“Even though you are.”
“I’m just saying—think of all the times you have a bad day. It’s nice to have support, and he’s alone here.”
“You’re my angel.”
She sighs. “It just makes me sad. For K.”
I whirl away, moving blindly at first. When I realize I’m walking toward the elevators, the escape route that I fanticize about the most, I turn back toward my room. I want to run, but my legs are out of practice. I have a while to think as I shuffle back toward my cell.
I feel ashamed.
I feel embarrassed.
I feel…something else. A yawning force that makes me say a prayer for a bubble in my IV line.
I push my door open and close it, then lean back against it, breathing hard.
I don’t need them. Whitney and her…pity.
I’m not like Ly. He has always been the softer one of us. Me—I’ll die before I let myself get weak like that again.