Mia's Heart

Page 8

“Seriously. Do I have a boyfriend? Besides you, I mean,” I amend quickly. He smiles.

“No. You don’t. Not anymore.”

He looks rattled now, like he wishes he wouldn’t have added that last part.

“What?” I ask. “Not anymore? Who was I with? We broke up?”

Gavin is definitely uncomfortable now. He looks away and puts a lot of effort into steering me around a slower walker. I stop in the middle of the path and put my hands on my hips.

“Gavin, seriously. Just tell me. My mom doesn’t seem to want to talk about any of this stuff.” And I had tried several times over the course of the past week. She just changed the subject and told me that I was an honor student and was a joy as a daughter, etc, etc. She laid it on so thick that I’m actually a little suspicious of all of it.

Gavin sighs.

“You did have a boyfriend, of sorts. You told me that you weren’t in love with him, that you were in lust with him. He took your virginity and used you to get information. And then he tried to kill our best friends and the Prime Minister of Caberra.”

Chapter Eight

“Holy shit,” I breathe, staring at Gavin. “You aren’t joking.”

Gavin shakes his head, his normally cheerful demeanor suddenly very serious.

“I wish I were,” he answers. “But I’m not. Vincent Dranias was your boyfriend. You trusted him. And he screwed you over. He’s in jail now.”

“Jail?” I whisper. My eyes are watery and I’m annoyed by that. Apparently, I’m not supposed to cry. I’m a bad ass. I wipe at my eyes impatiently.

“Jail,” Gavin confirms. “He’s eighteen, so he is being tried as an adult. The whole thing isn’t over…these court cases usually go on forever. But he’s in jail for the duration and I can guess that he will be there forever. You can’t try to assassinate the prime minister and not pay the consequences.”

“And I brought that guy into our lives? So it was my fault?”

I am horrified at this notion, even though I don’t remember Dante or his father or our lives right now. Gavin shakes his head.

“No. You didn’t bring him into our lives. Another one of our friends, Nate Gerraris, did. His father used to be Dante’s father’s Deputy Prime Minister. It was all a plot by Nate to try and get his father promoted to Dimitri’s job. You were collateral damage. They used you to get close to Dante.” He stares at me. “Are you okay?”

I’m not sure.

“Does Dante hate me?” I whisper. I don’t remember Dante, but I certainly don’t want one of my good friends to hate me. And my freaking emotions are going to be the death of me today. Only a lunatic would be paranoid that a friend that she can’t even remember hates her. I’m not in love with myself right now. That much is true.

Gavin grabs my arm and guides me to a bench nearby.

“Of course he doesn’t hate you,” he says firmly as we sit. The wood is hard beneath my thighs, but I welcome it. It’s a nice distraction from the confused mess that my brain has become.

“I know you don’t remember him right now. Or me, either,” Gavin continues. “But I know that you will. One of these days. And until then, just take my word for it when I say that we are your real friends. We have been friends since we were toddlers. No one understands us like we understand each other. Dante would never be mad at you for getting taken advantage of. He was more pissed than anyone that you were used.”

Gavin is fierce now and it seems out of his character. I tug on his arm to get his attention.

“Calm down,” I tell him. “It’s okay. I believe you.”

His face relaxes and he smiles down at me.

“Sorry,” he says. “I get worked up sometimes.”

“I can see that,” I answer. “But that’s good. It means you’re passionate.”

“Oh, baby, you have no idea,” he replies, cocky once again. I pick up his hand and study it, noting his smooth fingers. He doesn’t do manual labor, that much is apparent.

“You don’t stay serious for long, do you?” I ask, glancing back up at his face.

His eyes are serious now, even though he grins. “What is the point in that?” he answers. “There is enough serious shit in the world. I don’t need to be a party to it. We see it around us all of the time. There is no need to take ourselves seriously, too.”

And in this moment, I see something in Gavin that I wonder if I ever saw before, pre-head-injury.

He’s not as cocky or as happy-go-lucky on the inside as he pretends to be. He wants to be, but he isn’t. So he chooses to act like it instead.


“Do we have hard lives?” I ask, instead of pointing out my new revelation. Gavin laughs.

“Seriously? Our fathers are both in the parliamentary cabinet of the prime minister. We want for nothing.”

“That’s not what I asked,” I point out. “Our lives… are they hard?”

Gavin stares at me for just a moment before he shrugs, then looks away.

“It isn’t always easy. But we make it work. We’ve been brought up this way and it is what we know.”

His answer is very telling, as is the very diplomatic way he delivers it.

We’re the children of politicians. It’s can’t be fun but Gavin is so stoic about it, so matter of fact. It’s impressive. So I tell him that.

He shakes his head and helps me to my feet.

“It’s not impressive,” he tells me. “It’s just the way it is, Mi. You’re the same way. Well, you used to be. Although, you’re more of a rebel than I am.”

“So, I’m a bad ass rebel now?” I tease. He nods.

“You always have been. Your latest thing was hilarious.”

We step back into the hospital and immediately I breathe in the sterile air, which makes me want to gag.

“My latest thing?” I repeat as Gavin punches at the elevator button.

He nods. “Yep. You were into wearing black all the time and dying your hair crazy colors. You even had your nose pierced—right before your accident. It was driving your mom insane.”

I subconsciously pull at a tendril of my dark hair. “My hair isn’t dyed now and I don’t have a nose ring.”

“I know,” Gavin answers as he puts a hand on the door to make sure it stays open while everyone steps on. “When I came to visit you for the first time after the accident, your hair color had been changed and the stud in your nose had been taken out. You weren’t even awake yet.”

I stare at him. So that meant that my parents had dyed my hair while I was still in a coma? What the eff? Changing my hair color was a priority for them while the state of my health was still in the air?

Gavin sees my expression and shrugs.

“Political family,” he reminds me.

I think it’s possible that I’m going to hate my new life.

And my old life.

As we get off on my floor, Gavin turns to me.

“Mia, everything is what we make it. You hated all of the pressure placed on you by your father’s job. You railed against it all of the time- but that only put more stress on you than necessary. The hole in your nose has grown closed because it was such a new piercing. It’s like it never happened. So, why not use that to your advantage? If you just go with the flow like I do, everything is so much easier. You don’t need stress right now. You need to relax so that your brain can recover from your injury. Seriously.”

I stare at him. “Are you telling me to fall into the whole rank and file thing and do what everyone tells me?”

He grimaces.

“It sounds bad when you put it that way.” He pulls me to the side, out of the way of the scurrying nurses and orderlies. “All I’m saying is… relax and go with the flow. I want you to get better and your doctor says that you need to relax to do it. My phone number is in your phone. Call me whenever you need to.”

My phone. I had forgotten that I had one. And my mother certainly hadn’t given it to me over the course of the last week. I wonder if it was destroyed in the earthquake?

But instead of saying anything, I just nod.

“Okay. Thank you, Gavin. I feel more normal today than I have since I woke up and I know that it is because of you. Thank you.”

Gavin smiles beatifically and my knees momentarily weaken. He truly is gorgeous. He leans forward and kisses my cheek.

“Anything for you, Mi,” he says. “Seriously.”

And then he’s gone. I’m standing in the middle of the hall by myself, watching his cocky back retreat to the elevators. Yes, even his back is cocky. And strong. I gulp.

He turns before he gets on the elevator and grins one last time. I gulp again before I smile back.

After the elevator doors swallow him up, I truly do feel alone. He knew me. The real me. Not the me that my mother is trying to make me believe that I am. Suddenly, all I want is for him to come back, to sit by my bed and hold my hand and make everything okay.

But that’s impossible, because everything isn’t okay.

So with a sigh, I return to my room and find my mother doing a crossword puzzle in her chair. When I enter, she smiles.

“How was your walk, sweetheart?” she asks. “Are you tired now? Would you like to lie down?”

I shake my head. “No, I feel good. The fresh air was nice and it was good to talk with Gavin. Mom, do you have my phone?”

She freezes for a second and I don’t know why. But then she relaxes.

“Of course, sweetie. I’ve kept it in my purse. I didn’t know if you’d be up to looking at your old pictures or whatnot.”

She’s acting strange, but I put it out of my mind. Who am I to say if she’s acting strange? I don’t remember her prior to this week.

She hands me my phone. It’s in a hot pink case with a black and white skull on the back. The skull has a pink bow on its head. That makes me smile.

I power it on, but then am startled by a password screen.

I don’t remember the password, because I don’t remember anything. I look at my mom and she’s already shaking her head.

“I don’t know it, sweetheart. You were always very protective of it. You’re a pretty private person.”


I am utterly dejected. Until I remember something. Gavin knows everything about me. Maybe he would know this. So I ask my mother for his number and I use her phone to call him.

“Hello?” he answers.

“Gav,” I reply. “Do you know the password to my cell phone?”

There is a pause.

“Not for sure,” he finally says. “But you usually use your birthdate for everything. I think it’s your debit card pin number and your combination to your locker at school. So you might want to try that.”

“Great,” I mutter. “That would be helpful if I knew my birthday.”

I sigh and Gavin chuckles.

“It’s May 17th, so try 1705,” he tells me. “And you’re seventeen years old.”

I roll my eyes. “I already knew that part.”

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