“Viola, please.”

Tears fall down my cheeks, and I don’t even have enough strength to wipe them away. “How can a relationship work if there’s no trust?” I ask, and he doesn’t answer. “It can’t.” I pull my hand back, and he reluctantly releases it.

“I will do whatever it takes to gain your trust back, but I promise, you have nothing to worry about. The one-night stands, the girls, and guys’ nights out—I’m done with all that.”

I shake my head and close my eyes. “It’s too late, Travis. I can’t do this again. I’ve given you my heart, and have been in love with you for so long that I just can’t let you throw me away again.”

“That’s the first time you’ve ever said that.” His voice is low, and when I look back up at him, I can see he’s crying, too.

“And it’ll be the last.”

“Viola…”

I reach for the door and slide inside, shutting it behind me. He’s looking at me with his hands behind his head—his eyes red and swollen—and I can’t fight back the tears. I shift the car into reverse, and once I’m able, I shift again and watch him in my rearview mirror. He’s bent over, his knees supporting the weight of his hands as he shakes his head.

My heart is lying in that driveway, shattered into a million pieces, and I’m not sure it’ll ever beat right again.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

TRAVIS

Viola’s graduation is tonight, and she hasn’t responded to any of my messages, calls, or emails. It’s been over a week. It’s killing me. I need her so fucking bad. It feels like I can’t breathe without her in my life. As much as it makes me sound like a pussy and an asshole, I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt this way before.

After Viola had stormed out, Drew sent Mia home, and he’s barely looked at me since. The fact that he’s more pissed about me being with his sister than the situation with Mia says a lot about their relationship, but that doesn’t matter because she’s full of shit. She always has been. I’m pissed that I ever supported their toxic relationship because somehow it’s bled into and affected my own.

On top of that, Alyssa has started coming around my office again, offering me her ‘services,’ and it’s taken all of my willpower to calmly ask her to leave instead of kicking her ass out like I so badly want. I’m actually proud of myself for keeping my composure, considering my world is rocking on its axis.

This week fucking blows.

And fuck! I miss Viola.

She should be here with this fucking dog and me. Gryff whines all night long, wakes me up at least three times to go outside, and barks at every car or person that goes by. The little fucker sleeps all day and then wants to play all damn night. I can’t even be mad at him for being so damn annoying because he reminds me of her. When I think about how much she loved him, it makes me smile. He even still smells like her, so when he climbs up on my bed and nuzzles his way under the covers, I wake up with her scent surrounding me, and it’s fucking torture.

Not trying to be a crazy ex, but somehow seeming like one, I parked outside her dorm one night, hoping I’d catch her walking in or out, but she never did. I’m not sure what I would have said to her anyway, so it’s probably best she didn’t. I figure she’s probably staying with Courtney, but I don’t know where she lives, so I’m stuck begging over voicemail for her to return my calls. I’ve left so many messages that her voicemail eventually became too full to receive any more.

I need her to let me explain, to tell her the whole truth and not Mia’s twisted version of the truth. She has every right to be mad at me, but I can’t bear the thought of her flying across the country without seeing or speaking with her first. So even though Drew has made his feelings loud and clear to me coming to her ceremony tonight, he can’t stop me. Their family is coming, too, so it’s not like she’ll be able to deny my existence.

I’m gone before he arrives home and find myself mindlessly driving around before I end up at the parking lot with a dozen red roses and a card. I scribble a note inside the card and will give it to her whether she wants it or not.

There’s so many smiling faces walking into the auditorium, and I try really hard to play the part. A lump forms in my throat knowing I will see her for the first time in over a week. Over the years, I’ve given her a million reasons not to trust me; but this time, my innocence is so fucking tragic that Shakespeare could have written it.


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