“She really was like a sister to you guys, too, wasn’t she?” I say as we hit the car park.

West slings his arm around my shoulders. “I’m gonna miss her, Jett. She used to send me texts checking up on you when we were on the road, and then we’d chat for a bit. It was how I used to stay connected to home in a way. She’d keep me updated on everyone back here. It’s gonna suck not having that.” His voice catches and his face twists with grief.

These are the kinds of things my mind hasn’t even realised yet. They’re the little things we all took for granted, and suddenly I know they’re going to be the things that will hurt the most as we discover them missing.

Two taxis pull up and we make our way to them. I’m heading home to my apartment in the city and the three of them are going in a different direction so I jump in mine and say goodnight. I’ll come back tomorrow and collect my Jeep. Driving it home tonight was never going to happen, I shouldn’t have driven it here in the first place.

Closing my eyes, I squeeze back the thoughts rushing forward. Every time I’m alone, they come for me, and I can’t stop them. Of Claudia and I when we were kids, of her when she was dating assholes in high school, of us in Paris when I took her there for her twenty-first. Too many fucking memories.

I need to find a way to switch them off.

“Mate,” I say to the driver, “Can we head to Kangaroo Point instead of the city?”

“Sure,” he agrees and diverts our journey.

She’ll switch the shit in my mind off.

I sit up in bed and quiet my breathing so I can listen for the noise I just heard. It sounds like someone trying to break in through my front door, and my heart beats a little faster in my chest. Pushing the bed covers back, I slide out of the bed and tip toe through my apartment towards the front door. The noise is getting louder and just as I almost reach the door, Jett yells out my name as he bashes on it.

I scream and jump. “Shit, you scared the fuck out of me!” I yell at him through the door, both relieved it’s him and angry it’s him. He rang me this afternoon and said he was going out with the boys so I wasn’t expecting him. And although I’m glad to see him, I’m half asleep and my pulse is racing from the fear I had felt.

I let him in and he shuts the door behind him and apologises. “Sorry, baby, didn’t mean to scare you.” His words are slurring together and he smells like a brewery.

Motioning for him to come in, I say, “It’s alright, but I didn’t think you were coming over tonight. Are you okay? And how the hell did you get through the front door?” So much for security.

His hands grip my hips and pull me to him as he bends his face to mine and kisses me. “Some other drunk guy let me through… I’m okay but I had to see you.”

Warmth flows through me that he feels this way. “I’ll make us a tea,” I say as I turn to walk towards the kitchen.

He grabs my hand, though, and halts me. Pulling me back to him, he presses his lips to mine and kisses me again, his tongue pushing inside, his mouth urgent. One of his hands slides under my shirt, up my bare skin to cup my breast while his other hand reaches inside my pyjama shorts to find my pussy. His touch is rough and demanding, and usually I would love it, but tonight it feels off.

I push him away and take a step back. Before I can say anything, he frowns and asks, “What?”

“I said I’d make us tea so you can talk. It seems like you need that,” I say softly. Even in his drunken state, I can see the pain in his eyes. My man is hurting so bad and I just want to help him.

He rakes his fingers through his hair. “Fuck, Presley, I don’t want to talk.”

“Jett, I get that, but at least come and sit with me. We don’t have to talk if you don’t want to; we can just sit and be.” I’m hoping he’ll open up at some point, though.

He reaches for me again and I realise why he came here tonight. And it hurts that sex is all he wants from me. “Sweetheart,” he murmurs as he tries to pull me to him, but I struggle against that.

“I know you’re hurting, Jett, and I understand you don’t want to talk it over, but I don’t think burying your pain in sex is the way to deal with this.”

Annoyance flashes in his eyes. “I’m not trying to bury my pain in sex but it would be nice to fuck my girlfriend for the first time in days. And then we can talk.”

I stare at him, hating the words that just came from his lips, but at the same time knowing he doesn’t mean them the way they sounded. This isn’t the Jett I know and love; this is the Jett who is drowning in grief and fighting against admitting to himself that his sister is never coming back. So I do the only thing I think will work for now. I go to him and cup his face with my hands. Then I kiss him and press my body against his. When I end the kiss, I say, “We don’t need to talk, baby. I hear everything you’re already saying and when you’re ready to say something else, I’ll be here to hear that, too. Okay?”

His eyes don’t shift from mine and I know he’s heard me; I know he’s understood everything I just said because I see the tears building there. But he blinks and stops them, and then he grunts as he lifts me and carries me into the bedroom.

I expect him to be rough but he places me on the bed as if I am the most fragile thing in the world. His hands go to his jeans and as he undresses, he keeps his gaze glued to mine. The intense way he watches me, with his grief blaring from his eyes, hits me deep in my soul, and I know I will give him whatever he needs tonight.