27 Lies(10)

By: MJ Fields



I’m ready to break his fucking neck. The worst part is that I can do it in two seconds, and I know that.

“You hurt her, and you’ll see what a hero is. I will rip you apart with my bare hands. You hear me?”

“Hear you? Like your opinion or words mean dick to me. Ava and I are getting married. We’re already trying to start our family. You’ll rip me apart? Pft. I will fucking shatter you and make it look like an accident. Stay the fuck away from her. You hear me?” he mocks. “Stay. The fuck. Away.”

I am two seconds from killing him when Ava walks out.

“Hey, guys. What’s going on?” she asks in a tone filled with nervous anxiety.

“Getting some fresh air,” I tell her quickly.

“You ready to get home, Ava?” T asks, giving me a taunting smile.

“What I’m ready for is peace!” she snaps, fully aware there is an issue.

I glare at her, pissed at the discoveries I made. Her word was not good. She lied to me.

“I hope you’ve found it.”

“I’m pretty sure I have,” she says, her voice again full of nervousness. “T?”

He doesn’t budge.

“Thomas Hardy, are you gonna stay here all night? I’m going home,” she says as she walks past him.

“You’re driving, Ava. Your boy’s drunk,” I tell her, my eyes deadlocked with his.

She gets defensive.

Defending him.

Fuck.

“Enough.” She points at me then him. “Let’s go.”

“Good luck.” I laugh, feeling anger as I walk into the house.

***

I have reflected too damn much these past few days. Emotions make a person weak. Feelings cause emotions. More to the point, sadness, anger, hurt, worry—those emotions cause weakness. I allow myself to feel emotions here at home.

Ryan, for all intents and purposes, is my father. I have guilt and shame for how I spoke about him to Ava. The man has been nothing but kind to me. Always has. He loves me, and I love him.

Worry for his health is at the forefront of my mind. I will hold on to the strongest emotion—hope—that he is all right, that he is fine. But damn if I can’t sense the worry in Mom.

She lost a man she loved once, the man whose shadow I live in here, always have. She is strong, but a lot of her strength comes from Ryan’s kindness and his love. Without him, Mom would have forever been conflicted about ever moving on in life, knowing that Tommy Lane was replaced. She would have been crushed. My brother and sisters would not be here.

Then I reflect on how I don’t want to tarnish the memory of my father, a man who was, from what I hear, perfect. But damn, my family makes that hard when they make me need to be as good as their Tommy, their hero.

Without me, they would not have a piece of him. And my grandparents get to see the man Tommy would have grown into had he lived his life for himself and not his friends.

The struggle is fucking real. Playing peacekeeper and hero to so many who expect it is the hardest thing I have ever done. But the truth...The truth would crush them.

Then there is Ava. I am so fucking pissed at her. I don’t even want to reflect on that, but I do.

Her needing me, a friend, a protector; her seeing me for the man I needed to become—that was all lies.

A childhood of lies.

The girl who showed her soul in her words, actions and, to me, in her fucking eyes, made a fool out of me.

Seven years of lies.

I watched her fall apart because I had to let her go. The hurt I caused her that day was less than it would have been if I could have gotten past the shock and anger I felt when she told me she loved me. She was never supposed to love me. We had a deal.

Now...Now she is being true to her word and moving on, filling the void. She is doing it with a man who fucks her knowing I’m standing right there.

I miss the girl who wore a fucking crown and tutu, defended herself against the snickers of peers and playmates with her hands on her hips, scowl on her face, and most of the time, sticking her tongue out at them.

The girl who took no shit from anyone, until she turned away and showed me her eyes.

The girl who I knew was too fucking stubborn for her own good.

The girl who needed a boy to let her stomp and scowl, and go off on tangents, and be pissed when anyone stepped on a spider, yet was terrified of them.

My chest tightens at the memory of Ava’s childhood hurt.

My chest tightens at her strength and determination, regardless of the detriment it has to her true feeling.

My chest tightens knowing, in some twisted, six-degrees of separation, she is just like me, except her fight is external and mine is internal.

Do I love Ava Links?

The truth is...yes.

Yes, I fucking love her.

Yes, I fucking want her.

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