Begin Again

Page 31

When Demi was calmer, and her breathing was back to normal, I took a chance and asked, "You want to tell me what happened?"
She sniffed. "Brody found one my old sonogram pictures and thought I was pregnant with Jeff's baby."
I frowned. "Why would he think that?"
Demi shrugged, looking completely defeated. "He thinks there was something going on between us, even after I told him Jeff and I are just friends."
"I guess you finally told him about the baby." It was a statement, and I just needed to confirm it for myself.
Her head bobbed up and down. "It was awful. I made a huge mistake by not telling him sooner, I see that now, but I was so scared he'd stay and end up being miserable. I couldn't do that to him. It wasn't fair."
That was Demi, always thinking about others before herself. It was one of many things that endeared me to her so completely.
"He'll come around," I said, "He just needs some time."
Worry creased her brow. "Did you see him?"
"Yeah," I sighed, "he came back to the wedding and found Grayson. They're talking right now. He's a mess."
"Oh God," Demi breathed, "What have I done?"
I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and squeezed. "You did what you thought was best for you and your child."
"No," she retorted with her a shake of her head, "I ran. I should've told him, Huntley. He deserved to know, and now I'm scared it's too late. I can't help but feel like this is really the end, and I don't know how to let go of him. He's my true love, my soul mate, and my other half. I've lost him for good this time. I can feel it."
I couldn't tell her she was wrong, because it wouldn't have been true, and I wasn't about to give her false hope. But what I could do is support her, just like I had before, and help her get through this.
"What you need to focus on right now is you, and believe that everything else will work itself out. Just give it some time. I also think it might be a good time to go see Dr. Hansen again. I'd hate for this to derail all the progress you've made."
"I will," she replied softly. Her eyes met mine and I understood, better than most people, the kind of despair they reflected back at me. I'd been there more than once and I chose to believe that Demi would get out of it. She just needed to keep hanging on to the bit of the light that had broken through her darkest days.
"Thank you for being here," she said, "and I'm sorry you had to come on your wedding night. This is my mess, and it's time I take ownership for my actions."
I waved her off. "I would have been pissed if you hadn't told me, so it's a good thing Brody showed up and punched Grayson."
"He did what?"
"He knocked Grayson flat on his ass."
Demi's eyes started misting over again. "Oh my, I'm so sorry!"
"Hey," I looked her in the eye, "it wasn't your fault. He was angry, and to be honest I couldn't really blame him. I actually felt sorry for him."
"I think I broke his heart," Demi whimpered. I didn't know what more to say. Working through her guilt and everything else she was feeling wasn't something I could do for her. It was something only she could get herself through.
We sat in silence for a while until my aunt walked in. "I made you some tea," she told Demi.
"Thank you."
Demi placed the hot mug on her bedside table and I could see just how tired she was.
"Do you want me to stay with you tonight?" I asked her.
"Don't be silly," she replied, looking at me like I'd lost my mind, "You just got married . There's no way you're spending your wedding night with me when you should be with your husband."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yes, I'll be fine. Promise."
"You'll call me if you need anything right?"
"I won't need to," she replied, stifling a yawn.
I stood up and took out a fresh pair of pajamas for Demi to wear to bed. I also took out some of the prescribed medication Demi's therapist prescribed when she wasn't sleeping. I handed them to her and made sure she took them. I knew she wouldn't be sleeping otherwise. She was exhausted so I stayed long enough to make sure she got into bed and fell asleep. Most friends wouldn't have done that, but Demi was more than my friend. She was my sister. She'd seen me through some of my darkest days and Hell would freeze over before I abandoned her when she needed me.
I breathed my first sigh of relief when the plane touched down at O'Hare International airport. The last twenty-four hours had been more than I could handle and sometimes didn't even feel like they really happened. I was overwhelmed with a tirade of conflicting emotions and felt weighed down. After I'd spoken to Grayson, I decided to catch the first flight back to Chicago so that I could make sense of what was going on in my life, my head and my heart.
I walked to the luggage carousel with determination and despite my emotional exhaustion I knew I had a few things to take care of while I was here. My phone rang and when I saw Sienna's name flashing on the screen I pressed 'ignore'. I'd see her later at my apartment and what we needed to talk about couldn't be said on the phone. I thought about Demi but pushed the thoughts aside quickly. I couldn't deal with her. Not yet.
I hailed a cab and in the short time it took for us to arrive at my apartment building, I'd never felt more out of place until then. I thought the city was my home but it couldn't have been further from that. It was cold and clinical to me now, lacking the effervescence that only Breckinridge could provide. I told myself it was Breckinridge itself that made it home, but that too was a lie. Demi was my home, and it saddened me that I'd lost sight of that.
I paid the cabby and carried my bag upstairs. When I walked into my apartment, the lights were all on and some trashy reality television was playing on my flat screen. Sienna was here.
I could deal with her now rather than later. I told myself it was like ripping off a Band-Aid, but I knew it would be more like sawing off my leg with a butter knife. Not pretty. I dropped my bag on the floor and walked towards my bedroom, where I heard the shower going. I regretted giving Sienna a key to my place, but there was nothing I could do about it now. It wasn't going to be my place for much longer anyway.
I stood in front of my bedroom windows that overlooked the city skyline that had once captivated me. I used to be enthralled by it, drawn to it. But now it meant nothing to me. It only reminded me of a time in my life when I'd been nothing more than an immature boy. After the last few hours, I felt like I'd aged, and at some point I'd started looking at my life and my decisions with a different, more worldlier perspective.
My phone vibrated and this time it was Grayson. Sienna was still in the shower so I took the chance to talk to Grayson. He'd be my voice of reason while I mulled over everything swimming around in my head.
"Hey, man," I greeted.
"Hey man. Just checkin' in. Wanted to make sure you landed."

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