Beneath Your Beautiful

Page 46

"It's not your fault. There was nothing you could've done. You couldn't save her and the only way you will heal is if you let go of your guilt. Emilie would want you to keep living, because she no longer can."
"Tell me how," he breathes. "Tell me how to let go when I feel like I let her down."
I bring my forehead down to his. "Forgive yourself," I whisper. "Let it go, one breath at a time."
Grayson stands up, with me still wrapped around him, and carries me to bed effortlessly. He lays us both down and I feel the tension leaves his body. I push my fingers through his hair and rub circles on his back, comforting him the best way I know how.
"I love you," he murmurs quietly.
I place a gentle kiss on his wet, salty lips and pour all my love into him. "I love you too. Always."
His breathing slows and our chests move in unison. I close my heavy eyes and fall asleep, never letting go of Grayson.
Chapter 22
~ Grayson ~
Telling Huntley about my sister was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Very few people know the truth about that night, and retelling the nightmare was almost like living through it a second time. In many ways it felt good to let go of the memories that have been plaguing me for almost two years. Something about telling Huntley feels right though, since we're approaching the second anniversary of Emilie's death.
I look down at Huntley's sleeping body curled into mine and I wonder what I did to deserve her. She saw me at my worst, and I expected her to run. I probably would have if I were her. But then again my beautiful girl never does anything I expect. I was completely taken aback by her response. She didn't pity me, or tell me things will get better, like most people would in that situation. Instead, she listened to me, comforted me and in the end, loved me. In my weakest moment, she wrapped herself around me, allowing her inner strength to soak into me, making it my strength too.
I also felt like a complete asshole for speaking to her the way I did. Accusing her of having something going on with her ex-boyfriend after everything he put her through was uncalled for, and I have no excuse for that, but seeing Haley outside the bar for the first time since my sisters' death completely fucked with my head. When all my inner rage towards Haley and what she did surfaced, I couldn't stop it. I ended up taking it out on Huntley, because she was the closest to me. She surprised me again when she didn't hold that against me.
Getting out of bed, I see that the clock on Huntley's bedside table reads six am. She'll be getting up soon. I slip out of bed and make my way to her kitchen, deciding I want to do something nice after all the shit I unloaded on her last night. She loves omelets, so I take some eggs and milk from the fridge and start mixing everything. When that's done, I cut up some tomatoes and grate some cheese, adding it to the omelet. Next, I take some bacon out and fry it until it's crispy. I pour some orange juice and place everything on a tray.
I walk back down the hallway, tray in hand. When I open the door, Huntley's sitting up against her headboard. Her hair is a mess, and she looks like she literally just woke up. My eyes peruse her body, noting that at some point during the night she slipped my shirt on. Damn if she doesn't look sexy in my shirt. It looks better on her than it does on me.
"G'morning." Her voice is raspy, still thick with sleep. She watches me carefully, like I'm a ticking time bomb waiting to implode.
"Mornin'." I shuffle on my bare feet, unsure of how to do this. I have a lot to make up for and suddenly I'm worried she'll have the chance to get angry with me .
"What you got there?" she asks. There's no hint of anger in her voice, only curiosity.
I walk over to her side of the bed and sit down, placing the tray on her lap. "I made you some breakfast. Cheese and tomato omelet with crispy bacon on the side. Your favorite."
Huntley's mouth shifts and she tries to hide the smile tugging at her lips. "What did I do to deserve this?" she asks sweetly.
I run my hand through my hair and take a deep breath. "I wanted to apologize for last night."
Her face falls slightly and she pulls her plump bottom lip between her teeth, nibbling it. It's a nervous habit of hers. When she doesn't speak I attempt to break the awkward silence. "I was wrong. I shouldn't have said those things or yelled at you."
Her bottom lip quivers and my heart plummets into my stomach. I wipe away a stray tear that rolls down her cheek. "I'm so sorry baby, I didn't mean it."
"I'm not angry with you," she whispers. "But what you said really hurt me. I would never cheat on you, because I know what it feels like to be betrayed. And I love you too much to lose you."
Wrapping my fingers behind her neck, I lean in and press our foreheads together. "I don't want to lose you either," I breathe. I take a minute to think about how to word the question that's weighing on my mind. How I talk to her about this could possibly undo the tiny bit of progress I think we just made. I swallow hard and look into the depths of her clear, blue eyes. "Are you sure it was Jake's car you saw yesterday?"
She nods. "I know the plates."
"Has he contacted you since you left home?"
"No, I didn't tell him I was leaving. I just left. I changed my number," she pauses and I can see the wheels turning in her pretty little head. "Wait, that night you guys found me in my apartment a while ago and you kicked my door in, I got a call from my ex best friend, Taylor. I have no idea how she got my new number. Do you think that's how he found me?"
"It's possible. Do you have any idea why he would come here after all this time?"
She fiddles with her fingers. Her nervous energy is rolling off her in waves. "No, but I'm scared. We didn't exactly end on good terms. I don't know what I'm going to do if I see him."
My mind starts conjuring up ways to keep Huntley out of public until we can confirm what her douchebag ex is doing here. There's no way in hell I'm letting the fucker get close to her. I've never met the guy but I hate him.
"Do you have classes today?"
She eyes me cautiously. "No, I have to study. Why?"
"I want you to be careful until we can find out why Jake" – even saying his name makes me want to break his face – "is here."
I move the tray towards her, "Eat your food before it gets cold."
Huntley chuckles and the sound defuses the tense atmosphere slightly. "You're so bossy."
Placing my finger under her chin, I tilt her head up so that she can see how serious I am. "Just promise me you'll be careful when you go out ok?"
"I promise," she pauses, "Now can I please eat?"
"Yes, please do. I didn't slave away just so that you can stare at it," I quip, trying to be playful. She swats my arm and then starts eating her omelet.
"This is so good," she moans around a bite. "I didn't realize how hungry I was."
I watch in mild amusement as she finishes every last bite, surprised when the plate is empty. It's the first time I've seen Huntley eat an entire meal without leaving something on her plate. But now that I think about it, she has been eating more than usual. I dismiss the thought quickly though, chalking it up to it being hormonal.

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