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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 49)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(49) by Samantha Young
  • “I should’ve told you,” I said softly. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you that chance.”

    “I forgive you.”

    “Why?” I laughed unhappily.

    “Because,” he said, his countenance solemn, “you forgave me.”

    I started to smile but it wobbled as the tears spilled down my cheeks without control. “I’m such a mess, Jake. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself.”

    Suddenly he was there beside me, holding me as I sobbed into his shoulder.

    Once I’d soaked his shirt through, he got up and strode into the bathroom, returning with toilet tissue so I could wipe my tears and blow my nose.

    “I’m sorry,” I told him, still shaking.

    “You don’t have to be.” He tucked my hair behind my ear and smiled kindly. “So why don’t you recognize yourself?”

    Bunching the used tissue in my hand, I shrugged. “I used to be able to put my fear aside in most situations. But when it comes to the people I love, I seem to fall apart. When you left when I was sixteen, it took me a long time to stop moping around and start living again, and now with Andie… it’s happening all over again except it’s worse this time—more complicated.”

    “Explain it to me,” he encouraged.

    I studied his gorgeous face, his patient, soulful eyes. “You’ll think I’m crazy. Or worse… you’ll hate me.”

    Jake frowned. “You know when I said I hated you… I didn’t mean it. I was just pissed off.”

    “I know,” I said. “But now you might really hate me.”

    “Try me. I might surprise you.”

    Taking a sip of my drink, I stalled a moment, gathering the remnants of my courage. “When Andie was lying there in that hospital bed, I watched Rick fall apart, but worse I watched my parents fall apart. It scared the hell out of me, Jake. Jim and Delia Redford do not fall apart. They’re the strongest people I know. But as one day crept into the next, I watched them age, I watched them crumble, and there was nothing I could do to help them. I’d failed Andie and now I was failing them. I felt like her accident was punishment. That I was to blame for it. Which made the fact that I couldn’t do anything to fix it or my parents even worse.”

    “How was it your fault?”

    “Because of the way I treated her before it happened. Because we hadn’t spoken since I’d told her to f**k off… because,” my voice lowered, “I wasn’t there this time to shove her out of the way, to save her.”

    “Charley, somewhere deep down you know that’s not true.”

    I shook my head. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel that way, that I don’t feel to blame, ashamed and guilty as hell.”

    “And this is why you haven’t spoken to Andie? Because you feel like her accident was your fault to begin with?”

    “That,” I drew in a deep breath, bracing myself to tell him the whole crazy truth, “and because there’s this sick, dark little part of me that resents her.”

    Jake frowned. “Resents her? For what? For the way you feel?”

    “No.” This time when our eyes met, I let all the love I felt for him shine out for the first time since before it all happened. I knew the instant he felt it because he froze and his eyes grew round with surprise and confusion. “I made a promise to God, Jake. I’m so sorry.” Tears started falling again.

    “Charley, I don’t understand.” He reached for me, his thumbs swiping at the salty escapees.

    “I promised God that if he saved Andie… I would give you up.”

    Realization struck him and he looked like it had punched a mighty blow. “And then Andie woke up.”

    I nodded. “I know it’s crazy. I know that it was probably a coincidence but I can’t get rid of this fear that if I let myself be with you, something bad will happen to Andie. And now I can’t be with you and I resent my sister for it. Which is outrageous and wrong. So I haven’t faced her. I haven’t faced the way I treated her or the way I’m still treating her. That’s not me, Jake.” I punched at the mattress below me in anger. “I’m not this coward. But that’s who I’ve become. A coward. I’m a coward, I can’t have you, and I can’t be a cop because my parents don’t want to go through what they just went through again. Where does that leave me? Who am I without my ability to act despite my fears, or be with you, or be the person I’m meant to be?”

    Jake looked shaken. “Christ, Charley.” He shifted closer to me and put his arm around me, drawing me into his side. “I can’t believe you’ve been carrying this shit around for months without telling me. Without telling anyone.”

    I hugged him close. “I love you,” I told him softly. “I love you so much. But I can’t be with you.”

    The wind whipped my hair forward around my face as I stood on the bluffs by Baker Beach holding Jake’s hand.

    Beck stood lower down on the rocks from us, Claudia at his side, as he stared out at the Pacific Ocean. He spoke, his words muffled by the wind. That was okay. Those words were for his dad’s ears alone.

    After a little while, Beck let go of Claudia’s hand and removed the lid from the small lacquered box. Without a moment’s hesitation, he released the ashes and they caught in the wind as it blew out toward the ocean.

    He wiped a tear from his cheek and Claudia wrapped her arm around his waist and drew him closer. He accepted her comfort, sliding his own arm around her shoulders and kissing her head in thanks.

    Jake stroked my hand, drawing my attention from my friends to his face. He looked grim. Sad. Wary.

    After my confession he didn’t tell me I was crazy for feeling the way I felt, but I sensed a new desperation in him and I feared that it was borne of him letting go of the hope that I would come around—that eventually we’d find our way back together again.

    That I had given up hope was bad enough. Selfishly, I didn’t want Jake to.

    I spent the night with him again, positive now that he understood there wasn’t more to it than me grasping at a last chance to soak in the temporary pleasure of being with him.

    Jake leaned down to be heard over the wind. “Let’s leave them for a moment.”

    I nodded and followed him back over the bluffs to where we’d parked the car up on Lincoln Boulevard. It was much warmer in San Francisco but it was windy off the water and I was glad to return to the car.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire