“What you found out. When you were with me at my dad’s house. Does it bother you?”

“Of course, it bothers me, but not in the way you think.” I touch his cheek, forcing him to meet my gaze. “I hate what you’ve endured. I hate what she did to you and how it makes you feel guilty. More than anything, I hurt for you. Your pain is still so fresh and I wish I could somehow take it away.”

“You do take it away. You make me feel like a real person. That it’s okay to be so free like this. Together. Sexually.” He closes his eyes, breathing deep. “You make me feel normal.”

Here I am being selfish and wishing he would just tell me he loves me and he’s still going through all of these turbulent emotions. Worrying that I’ll think less of him because he’s been abused. Yes, abused. He can call it an affair or whatever the hell else he says about Adele but she molested him.

I wish he could really see that.

“Drew.” I brush my fingers through his too-long hair. “No matter what, we’re in this together. I’m not going to run. Whatever we discover, whatever happens, I’m going to stand by your side and support you.”

He opens his eyes. “I have no more secrets with you. At least none that I know of. I’ve bared my soul to you. I’ve got nothing to hide.”

“Neither do I,” I confess softly. “Yet here we still are. Together.”

“Together.” He smiles faintly. “Can I tell you something? It’s been bothering me, that you don’t know this. I have to get it off my chest.”

Wariness creeps over me and I try to shove it away. “What is it?”

“I know…” He huffs out a breath. “The day Vanessa died, I know you think I was inside with Adele…but it wasn’t like that. We were having an argument.”

“Oh?” I try my best to remain neutral but anger grows inside me, like a slow, simmering pot threatening to boil over at any minute.

“I was telling her she had to leave me alone. She tried her best to convince me to uh, you know, but I refused.” He closes his eyes again, pain etched all over his handsome face. “I just didn’t want you thinking less of me. That I was off fooling around with my stepmom while Vanessa drowned. It wasn’t like that. Not at all.”

My heart hurts so much. His pain is like a living, breathing thing and I wish I could take it all away. Curling my arms around him, I crush my body to his, scooting up on the mattress so his head can rest on my chest. I press my lips to his forehead and kiss him, the tears flowing freely down my cheeks. “I’m sorry she did this to you. I hate her.”

He clings to me much like I cling to him, his face pressed against my bare br**sts, and I swear I feel dampness on my skin. Like he’s crying. Which only makes me cry more. “I love you,” he murmurs against me. “I love you so much, Fable.”

My heart cracks in two, both at his pain and at his beautiful, much-needed declaration. “I love you too.”

I’ve never felt more complete.


“I told her I loved her.” I blurt out of nowhere.

Dr. Harris nods, no emotion on her face whatsoever. As usual. “What did Fable say?”

“She said she loved me too.” I look at my hands, remembering earlier this morning. When I woke Fable up by kissing her softly all over her naked body, the rising sunlight casting her skin a golden hue. Our bodies came together lazily, our whispered I-love-yous fueling me completely.

Our two days pretending the outside world didn’t exist ended on a perfect note. Now we’re both back to reality.

“Do you believe her?”

Doc’s question surprises me. “I think I do.”


Shit. “It’s hard to believe someone loves you for who you are when they’ve seen all your faults and know all your secrets.”

“But doesn’t that make it even more believable? Fable’s seen everything. She knows everything. Yet she still wants to be with you?”

“I guess so.” I shrug and change the subject. “Adele called me a few days ago.”

“And what did she have to say?”

“She accused me of poisoning my dad’s mind with reasons why he should divorce her.”

“Is she right?”

“No. I told him he had to make that choice for himself. I’m not about to give him advice on how to handle her,” I say vehemently. My emotions turn into chaos every time I think of the woman. It’s exhausting.

“And are they still reconciling?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to my dad since he told me he might change his mind about the divorce.” I don’t bother telling Dr. Harris how Fable and I ignored everyone else and pretended we were normal. She’d probably say we were just avoiding the inevitable and accuse me of trying to have an unhealthy relationship with unrealistic expectations.

Yep, I’ve been to more than my fair share of shrinks. I know the drill. Luckily enough, I really connect with this one. She gets me. She doesn’t push and she doesn’t judge.

“It’s hard, isn’t it, being in a relationship? With all of your extra baggage, do you think you can be there for Fable when she needs you?”

Ouch. One of those tough questions the doc is famous for. “I want to believe I can be there for her. She’s strong. Sometimes I think she’s stronger than me, emotionally.”

“But doesn’t she have her own set of problems? We all do, you know. And I remember you mentioning she doesn’t have the best home life.”

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