Della

My phone was gone. I’d unpacked all my things and my phone wasn’t there. Woods couldn’t call me. Maybe that was best. Telling him that I wasn’t good for him hadn’t worked before. His father was forcing my hand and proving to Woods the truth. I wasn’t worth it.

The idea that his father had lied to Woods to make him believe I had left voluntarily or that I actually had stolen something hurt. I didn’t want him to think I would do either of those things. I hadn’t been able to go back to sleep after waking myself and Braden and Kent up screaming last night. I’d sat up and thought about what I needed to do next. Where I needed to go. How I should live my life. Would I ever see Woods again? It had kept me from falling back to sleep and letting another bad dream come haunt me. It was all too fresh right now.

A swift knock on the door broke into my thoughts and Braden opened the door and stepped in carrying a cup of coffee.

“I thought you might be awake,” she said smiling and handing me the cup in her hands.

“Thank you,” I said and took the cup. After taking a sip, I looked over at Braden. “I’m sorry about last night.”

Braden frowned. “You have no reason to be sorry. I’m sorry that you have those damn dreams. I’m sorry that I can’t make them go away. I’m sorry that you found someone to love and it all fell apart. I’m sorry about all of the shit you’ve been dealt. But you have nothing to be sorry about Della Sloane. You never have.”

Having Braden had saved me. No one cared until Braden. Somehow I’d won the loyalty of this bighearted person who I could never thank enough.

“Do you think I’ll end up like my mother?” I asked because it was my biggest fear. Especially now.

“No. I don’t. I think your mother suffered a trauma while she had a newborn and that mixed with the post-partum depression she was suffering at the time. Remember that was found in her records. She had issues and then she lost her husband and son so tragically. No one was there for her. No family. Nothing. She just had this little baby and yes she snapped. Most humans would in her position. If there had been family to check on her and see her spiraling out of control then I believe she would’ve gotten better. That your life would have been much different. But it didn’t happen that way. She was alone and she got lost. That won’t happen to you. Because you have me and I won’t ever leave you alone. You have family.”

I wanted to believe her. I wanted there to be a reason my mother hadn’t been able to come back to me. That it hadn’t just been inevitable.“What about my grandmother? She was in a mental home,” I reminded her. That fact haunted me.“Do you even know why? Have you ever researched that? You don’t know why or if this is even true. Your mother told you this and she wasn’t mentally there, Della. I think you’ve lived believing some things that aren’t true. They terrify you. But in all honesty Della, if you were gonna snap sweetie, you would have when we walked in on your mother with the razor in her hand and the slits on her wrists. You didn’t snap. You made it through that and you were brave enough to learn to live. You can do this Della. You can live a happy full life. One that your mother deserved but was cheated out of. Don’t let your fears keep you from it. Please.”I wanted that. I wanted to live. For the father and brother who I never knew and for my mother who was cheated of a life of happiness. I wanted to live for them. And I wanted to live for me.“Why don’t you call him?”I didn’t have to ask her who “him” was. I knew who she meant. She wanted me to call Woods. I wanted a life with him. I loved him. But how could I come between him and his father? His father hated me. I would stand between him and his family. If Woods wanted me more than the life he’d been born to have then he’d find me. I wasn’t going to confuse him by calling him. He needed time to decide if losing his family to have me was worth it.“I think I’ll wait. He knows where I’m from and he knows your name. If he really wanted to find me, he could easily enough. There is a lot at stake for Woods. I’m not sure I’m worth all that.”Braden put her arm around my shoulders and rested her head against mine. “How many times do I have to tell you that you’re special? Anyone who meets you and doesn’t want to get to know you and be a part of your life is stupid. I saw it when I was just a kid.”I smiled. “No. You thought I was a vampire and you wanted to be my friend so I wouldn’t eat you.”Braden chuckled. “Well, that too. But I found out soon enough you weren’t a blood sucker and I still liked you.”We sat in silence for a few minutes lost in our thoughts.“I took off work today. Let’s go shopping,” Braden finally said.“Okay. That sounds good.” Anything to get me out of this house and my mind off Rosemary… and Woods.