“Understatement of the year,” I sighed. “I would actually really appreciate it if you could get me out of here.” I finally looked over at him.

“Cool, I’ll run down and get my car; meet me out front in five.”

I stayed in the shadows hiding from everyone, while I watched Devon jog off toward his car. I hope Jaxon doesn’t see me leave with him, but he’d understand later. Especially when I tell him nothing happened. I was committed to him and Devon was committed to his fiancé; I just needed a breather.

After I hopped into his car without being stopped by anyone, he started driving up the highway that ran along the coast.

“Want me to take you home?” he said after a while.

“I don’t, but if you don’t want to hang out, I’ll understand.” My head was leaning against the headrest.

“You want to go out to bar or something? Do you have a fake ID so you can get in?” he asked.

“Actually, since it is after midnight, I can now legally get in without a fake.” He turned to look at me with a smile and I knew he was about to say that dreaded ‘happy birthday’ statement. “Don’t. Forget I said that, please. Don’t mention anything birthday related.” His mouth snapped shut and he shrugged his shoulders.

The first bar we walked in was pretty quiet, so we were able to grab a spot at the bar. I ordered my own drinks and he ordered his. Separate tabs made it known we weren’t together. I watched as he texted on his phone for a while.

“Yeah, I figured I should tell Ally what’s up before she hears from someone else I was out with Em Moore,” he laughed a little bit.

“She knows who I am?” I was shocked.

“The girl who broke my heart? Ya, she knows.”

“Broke your heart? Don’t joke about that kind of stuff,” I chuckled.

“Whatever you want to think, Em,” he replied. “Ally’s cool though, she understands.”

Could I really have broken his heart? I hadn’t thought it was that serious. “That’s nice of you to let her know what’s going on.”

Exactly what I should be doing right now with Jaxon, but I had left my phone in the car since it wouldn’t quit ringing. He’ll understand too when I explain it all to him in a couple of days. Jaxon is the most understanding person I know and I’m crazy about him. He’ll understand when I finally have the guts to tell him what tomorrow is. But for now, I drink.

We ended up going to three more bars after that one and I was able to dance to try and forget as much as possible. Devon stayed close enough to keep me safe. A couple of times he tried to ask me if there was anything going on that he could help with, but I just shook my head and continued the destruction of my liver. Around our second bar, I looked down at my hand and gazed at the small hearts that Jaxon had drawn all over my palm this morning when were lying in bed. I remember relaxing on his chest as he drew each one of the hearts. Some were big and some were so tiny you could barely make out that they were even hearts. All together, it made a beautiful collage on my hand. This morning seemed like light years ago.

Finally, right before the sun came up, Devon dropped me off at the apartment. He had to walk me up the stairs and to my door because I could barely function on my own anymore. I inserted my key as quietly as possible into the lock and walked in. Right away, I noticed Jaxon passed out on our couch. He must have been waiting for me to get home. I had about thirty missed calls between him and Quinn on my phone. They weren’t going to go easy on me once we finally talked. I tiptoed past him and went straight for my bed. I made sure to lock my door before going to sleep. The last thing I remember is my face hitting the pillow before I crashed hard.

The next day, when I started coming back from the dead, I rolled over to look at the clock on my phone. It was already after three in the afternoon, so much for trying to make any of my classes today. At least this day was almost over already. The less of this day I had to endure, the better. I had a hangover from hell and the only thing I was going to do about it was drink some more to dull the pain. I noticed I only had two missed calls, one from Jace and the other from Devon. I’d have to call them back tomorrow. I didn’t have any more missed calls from Jaxon or Quinn since I had gotten home last night, so they must know I’m here by now.

I walked to my door and quietly opened it. My plan was to hole up in my room drinking until this day was over, since I still didn’t want to talk to anyone. I needed to go to the bathroom though and grab some essentials from the kitchen. Once I got out into the hallway, I realized that there wasn’t anyone here. Jaxon must have decided to go to class, and I know he still had football practice this afternoon.

When I got back to my room, my phone was ringing. I answered it when I noticed it wasn’t Jaxon, Quinn, Cole, or Jace.

“Yes sir, can I ask who is calling?”

“This is William Gordon calling from the Law Offices of Gordon, Simon & Bates.”

“Um, okay.” I had forgotten about calling him back and now I was wishing I hadn’t answered my phone at all.

“Sorry, this call seems out of the blue. Your parents actually set up a trust fund for you when you were born. Six years ago, they came to me to control it and I am supposed to contact you on your twenty-first birthday to relinquish the funds to you. They have grown quite dramatically since your parents first set them up.”

“I’m sorry, I’m really confused about what you’re saying right now.”

“I can understand the confusion. I tried to get a hold of Mr. or Mrs. Moore first, but I haven’t been able to locate a working number for them.”

“Um… my parents actually passed away six years ago on my fifteenth birthday, Mr. Gordon.” I can’t believe I had to talk about this, today of all days. The very reason I ran away from the people I love, and I was now being forced to face it anyway.

“What? They were just in my office that morning setting up this account for you, how is that possible?” Well gee, I don’t know, why don’t you ask the lady who thought it was okay to drive while barely being able to keep her eyes open.

I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore, and I’m pretty sure all of the blood was rushing out of my body. “What do you mean they were with you that morning, Mr. Gordon? My parents were having an affair and they died in a car accident when they were going back home.”

“Oh, that’s not possible. There was no way Robert and Michelle were having an affair of any kind. I distinctly remember they could barely stand being in the same room together when they came in. I overheard him getting mad at her for being irresponsible with her car, which was the reason he had to pick her up that morning.”

“I think I have to go, Mr. Gordon, I…. have to… be somewhere… else.” I’m also freaking out, but you don’t need to know that.

“I’m really sorry if I’ve said something to upset you. Please just come by my office anytime and I’ll get you to sign the paperwork for the account. It’s quite a significant amount of money.”

The only thing I remember the rest of that day is hanging up the phone and taking shot after shot until I passed out in my bed.

I was being jostled awake and I was about to punch the person responsible for doing it. My stomach wasn’t appreciating the movement either. I remember finally waking up sick at one point last night. I’d never been this drunk, so it figures that it was time to pay the price. As I became more and more aware of my surroundings, I realized I was hugging the toilet. Yeah, now I remember spending the night on the soothing, cool tile floor.

“If that’s you, Quinn, back away, I don’t want to have to punch you. If that’s you, Jaxon, you have three seconds till I do punch you,” I moaned into the bowl.

“Yeah, if you can ever get Jaxon to talk to you again,” Quinn said.

“Shut up, Quinn, go away so I can shower.”

“Are you done being a colossal bitch? Are you finished drinking yourself stupid?” She was pissed at me. I’d have to sweeten her up later and apologize.

“Geez, Quinn, lay off. I’m sure by now you know what happened.” I moved to sit against the wall with my hands over my eyes.

“Take a shower, Emerson, you reek.” She slammed the door on her way out. She just full-named me. That means she’s extremely pissed.

I tried to take as long as I possibly could in the shower. I hated a pissed-off Quinn, but standing for too long had proven to be too difficult. The shower walls were spinning around me, so I had to get out. I brushed my teeth and walked out to the living room to sit on the couch. Cole was lounging across it when I entered.

“Oh great, have you come to view my lashing as well, or are you going to be joining in, Coley?” I noticed Quinn was in the kitchen smashing pots and pans around.

“I’m here because I’m worried about you, Emmy,” he said, looking at me sincerely.

“It’s just a bump in the road. All is well now, I promise.”

Quinn walked in and slammed a plate of bacon and eggs on the coffee table in front of me. I was starving, since I hadn’t eaten in a day and a half.

“ALL IS NOT WELL, EMERSON!” she yelled at me when I reached for the plate.

“Sure it is. I’m better now, I promise. Those are just bad days for me and you know that. Now I’ll go back to normal. I think I’m finally feeling better about opening up more to Jaxon.” I started eating my breakfast and then I remembered that phone call from Mr. Gordon yesterday, before I drank myself into a mini coma. “Shit, I forgot…”

“I found out my parents weren’t having an affair six years ago.”

“Em, people think tequila tells them things all the time. I’m sorry, but everything is still the same with your parents,” Quinn still sounded agitated with me.

“I’m being serious, Quinn, stop making me feel childish. A lawyer called me yesterday, saying six years ago, my parents were in his office transferring a trust fund that they set up for me to have when I turned twenty-one. He said they were arguing the whole time, and my dad was mad that he had to give my mom a ride there. He didn’t know that my parents had died.”

I heard Quinn gasp and bring her hand up to her mouth. Tears instantly filled her eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me this was going on?”

“Quinn, as much as you want me to talk about this stuff, it’s been too hard. I just had my world rocked yesterday. Everything I thought about what happened was a lie. My parents weren’t having an affair. My dad wasn’t cheating on Ellie. Every wall I built up was because of what I thought they had done. I have no idea what to do now. All I know is that I just want to find Jaxon and tell him how sorry I am for the way I acted, and how much I care about him. I’m such an idiot for continuing to let this get to me like that.”

Quinn and Cole just gave me a sad look. “Emmy, Jax was really hurt by what you did…”

“I know, but now I’m going to apologize,” I said, looking at both of them.

“I don’t know if it will work this time. He looked entirely defeated the other night.”

“We’ll be fine, Quinn, stop being so dramatic. Once I talk to him, he’ll understand what happened.”

“I agree with Em, you just need to find him and apologize. He really loves you.”

“I really love him.” The second the words popped out of my mouth my hand shot up to cover it and my eyes widened to see if they had actually heard that.

They had, because they were both staring at me like I’d just admitted that I would be giving them a million dollars later.

“WHAT? This is so great, Em! You have to tell him. He’ll definitely take you back then,” Quinn shouted.

“Take me back? You say that like we broke up,” I frowned at her.

“Em, I’m telling you, he was really upset with you and then, when he found out you left with Devon… I’ve never seen him so wounded,” she answered.

I looked to Cole to see if this was true and he nodded his head. “Shit. Well, I’ll think of something really good. He’ll forgive me, he loves me,” I smiled and got up to go back to my room.

I decided I needed something really good to get his attention and let him know that I loved him and I was sorry, besides just walking up to him and saying it. I opened up my laptop and started creating a mixed CD for him. He loves music. He sings along with every song on the radio. He used to work in a radio station last semester for his internship and my best memory of all is when he danced with me at his mom’s house to that country song.

I started the CD off with a song by “Of Monsters and Men,” about a guy that loved a girl, even though she can’t love him back. It seemed fitting to begin this story of songs for him like that. The CD flowed into other songs about how I wouldn’t be the same without him and then finally, the last couple of songs spoke about how much I loved him. I planned on telling him I loved him in person before he listened to it. He deserved that. The more songs I would come across, the more excited I had become to see him. I decided to call him to find out when he would be home. I knew that he had practice soon, so I had to wait until later in the evening. The phone rang twice and went straight to voicemail. That was weird, so I sent him a text.

Me: Hey, I know I upset you the other day. I want to make it up to you ;-)