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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 40)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(40) by Samantha Young
  • The tears slipped silently down her cheeks as she nodded. “I love you,” she whispered.

    I leaned my forehead against hers, fighting my own tears. “I love you too. You’re my family.”

    After a while, Claudia settled her head on my shoulder and the emotional exhaustion of the day pulled her into unconsciousness.

    I’d known as I sat there beside her that I would have to work hard over the coming weeks to remind her that she had family, a family she’d made. I didn’t want to lose Claudia to bitterness and rejection.

    I wouldn’t let that happen.

    When we landed, unfortunately, Claudia wasn’t lying when she said she was done with Beck. Her attitude toward him didn’t sway from ice queen, and a dejected Beck was silent all the way back to our apartments.

    Once we got out of the cabs, Jake helped Claudia up the stairs with our luggage and Beck held me back a minute. He had a panicked look in his eyes that unsettled me. “I f**ked up, waiting around too long. She’s pissed off at the men in her life and I happen to be one of them.” He pleaded with me with his eyes. “She’ll come around, though, right?” he asked softly.

    “Right.” I nodded, hoping my reassurances meant something. “She just needs time.”

    He looked up at the apartment. “Maybe she shouldn’t be alone tonight. You know, she’ll just dwell. Bring her to Milk. Everyone will be there.”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Try.”

    “Okay,” I agreed and patted him on the shoulder, pretty sure Claudia and I weren’t going anywhere tonight.

    I was only half right. Although Claudia stubbornly refused to remove herself from her bed, she practically screamed at me to go out. I finally cottoned on that she genuinely wanted to be left alone and I ventured out to Milk.

    I felt bad leaving her behind, but I knew that if I were in her shoes, I’d probably want to be left alone too. Eventually as the days wore on, Claudia rejoined the world of the living. Jake and I spent a lot of time cajoling her into hanging out with us—even if it meant dodging the studying we were supposed to be doing for our upcoming exams and instead taking day trips to Glasgow or St. Andrews.

    And then we convinced her to come hang out with everyone the night before the first of our exams.

    “All right.” Denver turned to Rowena with a cocky smile. “What, or should I say whom, are you going to miss most?”

    Music played softly in the background of the restaurant on Nicholson Street. We gathered around a large corner table, chatting and drinking after a great meal. Merriment mingled with melancholy. We seemed to have collectively agreed that this might be one of the last nights we all hung out together.

    Rowena pretended to muse over the question.

    “Oh, come on.” Matt winked at her. “We all know the answer, and it’s in my lap.”

    “Whit?” Rowena raised an eyebrow at him. “Chlamydia?”

    We laughed and Matt heaved an exasperated sigh, his eyes begging us not to mock him tonight.

    “You walked into that one. You’ll find no sympathy here,” Claudia teased.

    “Seriously, seriously,” Rowena drew our focus back to her, “I honestly think ah will miss Matt’s atrocious social skills.”

    “Thank you!” he said, raising his pint like he’d just been validated.

    She snorted and then looked at Jake and me sitting together. “Ah’ll miss the Jake-and-Charley saga. Better than any romance novel.” She lifted her glass to us. “Cheers for the angst, guys.”

    I laughed, only somewhat embarrassed that our relationship ups and downs had played out for our friends over the year.

    “And,” she smiled, a genuine, almost sad smile now, “ah will miss ma favorite band, The Stolen. Ah wish ye loads eh success, guys. Ye so deserve it.”

    “Oh man,” Denver pulled her into his side, “she had to go get all mushy on me. I think I might cry.”

    “Shut up.” She pushed at him playfully but stopped struggling when he tugged her close for a long hug.

    I felt a little weepy and when I looked over at Claudia, she was wiping tears from the corner of her eyes. She saw me looking and grimaced. “What?” she huffed. “I’m a girl. Sue me.”

    “Well, I would say no one would have a chance at suing you with your upcoming fancy law degree,” Lowe nudged her arm with his, smirking, “but it’s not final until you take the LSATs.”

    Claudia rolled her eyes. “Don’t remind me. Just let me get through these exams first.” She grinned at me and I was relieved to see the smile was genuine.

    This past year had changed my best friend perhaps even more than it had changed me. Although I watched her go through heartbreak, I also watched her come out the other side stronger than before. Claudia started college with me not knowing who she was or what she wanted out of life. I guess… she still wasn’t sure about that. She was still looking. But… she definitely knew what she didn’t want. She didn’t want to be second best and she didn’t know if she wanted to be a lawyer, but she was going to try her hand at it until she found her answer.

    Beck was a different story.

    While my relationship with Jake had only grown stronger over the last few weeks, my trust in him deepening now that I knew we were facing things together, Claudia and Beck’s friendship disintegrated. I knew from speaking to Jake that Beck tried to be patient and wait out Claudia’s mourning period over the loss of yet another parental figure, but as the days passed and her bitchiness toward him did not soften, Beck’s hurt turned into anger.

    Since Claudia’s friendship with Lowe hadn’t changed, it was impossible for Beck and Claud to avoid one another. So now their interactions were antagonistic and a far cry from where they’d started out. Claudia had agreed to go on tour with The Stolen this summer as their manager, so I had no idea how that would work out for them. I had my fingers and toes crossed that somehow, a miracle would happen and they’d both pull their obstinate heads out of their asses.

    As for Dustin, Claudia hadn’t heard from him since our departure from Barcelona. It was hard at first, but once I told my parents what happened, they rallied around Claudia. They Skyped Claudia just as much as they did me. The only one who didn’t was Andie. Claudia missed Andie almost as much as I did. But I wasn’t ready to let go of my anger.

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