Disclaimer: These characters belong solely to me. Any resemblance to anyone real or fictional is entirely coincidental.

Sex, Drugs, and Violence: It would seem that my disclaimers have not been strong enough. Please be warned that this story is dark and disturbing. It deals with themes such as drug addiction, sexual assault, incest, graphic violence, and lots of other angsty stuff. There is also lots of swearing and sex between women. If any of this is gonna disturb you, you might want to go find something much happier to read.

Thank you to my lovely and talented betas: Nutty and Elsieaustin whose advice and suggestions are invaluable.

Job offers in Seattle, assertions of undying devotion, smacks upside the head for being cheeky: xenacast@gmail.com

The Last Good Day

by Amy Boatman

Chapter eleven

“Tricia, come on. Cut me some slack. I’m exhausted.”

She rose up from where she had planted herself next to me on the couch. She straddled my legs and pressed her breasts tantalizingly against mine. “Just for a little while okay? Please?” Tricia leaned in close and whispered in my ear. “I’ll make it worth your while.” She knew I was a sucker for the whispering. She licked the inner folds of my ear and nipped at the skin with her teeth. “Okay, baby?” She trailed her tongue across my jaw line and then captured my lips with her own. The kiss was slow and deep and full of promise.  She ran her hands through my hair, wrapping thick strands around her fingers. She drew her sexual energy over me like a blanket, and I was helpless within it.

“I don’t know. I sure am tired,” I said softly once our lips parted. I sounded less convincing even to myself. Tricia knew all my buttons, and she was pushing them. We both knew I was going to cave. She just had to do a little more convincing.

“I have a surprise for you.” She kissed my cheek and then moved down to suck on my neck. “You’ll love it but you can’t have it unless you come out with me.” Her breath tickled my skin as she spoke. She raised her head up and took my mouth with her own. Her hands slid down my face and neck. She cupped each breast and rubbed a thumb against the hard nipples.

“What’s the surprise?” I gasped, barely able to catch my breath before she claimed me again.

She moved her mouth to my ear and whispered, “Will you go out to the bar with me?”

As it always did, her whisper set me on fire. There was just something about the soft words spoken so intimately. “You know I will. You knew I would before I even got home from work.” I grabbed her face between my hands and kissed her roughly. Part of me wanted to be angry at her. Wanted to push her off and tell her to stop manipulating me. The larger part of me wanted to throw her down on the couch and fuck her brains out. The larger part won.

Sometime later, as we both redressed in front of the mirror, Tricia attempted to tame her mane of brown hair. “I have ‘just fucked’ hair.” She let out an exasperated sigh as she sprayed a fourth bit of hairspray on one stubborn lock.

“Don’t worry. I think it’s sexy,” I said as I wrapped my arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck.

She pushed me away. “Now stop that. I’ve just redone my make up. I don’t want you messing it up. Quit fucking around and go get dressed.”

“Alright, fine.” Stung, I sulked off to my closet.

Thirty minutes later, we entered the bar. The club’s name was Petticoat Junction, but everyone just called it PJ’s. The exterior was a drab gray with suspicious fluid streaks about knee level. The smell of urine pervaded the area. Downtown Austin at night was the domain of the urban street dwellers.

Next to the door was a pay phone. A dark haired woman in jeans, black boots, and a button-down white shirt spoke pleadingly into the receiver. “It wasn’t what you think. She’s just a friend. Honest, baby, I would never kiss another woman. I don’t even look at other women. Now, please, come back and pick me up. I don’t have enough money for a cab.”

The muffled bass beat of the club’s music became a cacophony of sound as Tricia opened the door. Its little entrance hallway was about ten feet long and ended at a box office type window. A bare red light bulb gave a rosy glow to Tricia’s white blouse.

“Hey Grady! How the hell are you?” Tricia shouted to the woman perched on a stool across the window.

“I’m doin’ jest fine, little lady. It sho is nice ta see yo purty face agin. Don’t worry ‘bout the cover. Jest gwon in.” Grady’s voice dripped East Texas.

“Well, thank ya kindly. Don’t mind if I do.” Tricia reached out a manicured fingernail and drew it seductively across Grady’s cheek. “You come find me later. I’ll buy you a beer.” I was always astonished at how easily Tricia slipped on her various personas. From flirting Southern Belle to innocent ingénue to insatiable seductress in less than sixty seconds. She knew what the people wanted and how to give it to them.

We left the hallway only to almost be skewered on a pool cue by an engrossed player.

“I gotcha where I wantcha now, Billie. That 20 bucks is mine! Eight ball, corner pocket.” The woman gently tapped the cue ball. It then knocked the eight ball exactly where she said it would go. Whoops and groans broke out from the five people intent on the game.

We scooted past the pool tables and made our way through the throng to the bar. It was Saturday night, and I would have sworn every lesbian in town was packed in this crowded room. A smoky haze permeated everything, giving the flashing lights from the dance floor an ethereal glow. Tricia grasped my hand as we pushed past the groups of women laughing and talking. Finally, we made it to the bar and found a couple of empty seats on the end.

“Well hello, Tricia. How ya doin?” Carol, the bartender, flashed her yellow teeth in a big smile. “Hey Jordan.” Her tone was much less enthusiastic when directed at me. She had once dated Tricia and was not happy to see me attached to her now.

“I’m doing great, Carol. Can we get a couple of Shiner Bocks?”

“Anything for you, sweet thing.” Carol filled two glasses from the keg and placed them in front of us. At the sight of Tricia’s twenty dollar bill, she waved her hand. “Naw. You know the rule. First round’s on me.” She winked at Tricia and then moved on to the next customer.

“She still wants to be the one fucking you,” I said, jealousy hanging like a shroud over me.

“No she doesn’t.” The smug tone of Tricia’s voice put the lie to her words. She knew every woman in the place wanted her. She loved it that way. She gave people anything she thought they wanted to stay in the spotlight.

I generally vacillated between gloating pride that I was the one she went home with and gut-wrenching jealousy that she shamelessly flirted with every woman she saw. “Yeah, that’s what you always say.” My tone was decidedly pouty. “So, I’m here. What’s this surprise you promised me?”

Tricia smiled at me. “You are gonna love this.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small Ziploc baggy filled with several white and yellow capsules. “One of the guys at work came through big time. He finally scored us some Ecstasy.”

I felt my sullen mood lift, and I broke out in a huge smile. “Oh baby! Now you’re talking. Gimme one of them suckers. I’ve been dying to try this!”

She dropped a capsule into my open palm, and I felt an immediate warmth. Everything on the planet has some kind of energy, some kind of vibe. Drugs are no exception. Cocaine has a coldness to it. You can hold it in your hand and feel the frostiness. LSD feels like a warm dollop of honey on your skin. This little capsule felt like one of those little hand warmers you cradle in your palms on a really cold day.

“Okay, you’re right, this little surprise is worth it.” I pulled the capsule apart and dumped the powdered contents into my beer. I swished it around in the glass and then downed the whole mixture. I watched Tricia swallow her capsule, and then I placed my hands on her hips. “This is gonna be fun.” I pulled her against me and kissed her hard on the mouth. Our tongues wrestled for dominance until I gave in and let her take control.  Kissing her, touching her, was like a drug all by itself to me. I inhaled her in like paint fumes, and my mind become fuzzy and compliant.

She broke away from me as familiar lyrics began wafting from the speakers.

At first I was afraid

I was petrified

Kept thinking I could never live

Without you by my side

“Oh!” She squealed. “Come on! I gotta dance!” She grabbed my hand and pulled me behind her to the dance floor. A horde of excited women joined us, and we were soon dancing shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.

But then I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

All around me, women were gyrating with their hands in the air, singing at the top of their lungs. Tricia was alternately rubbing against me and the other women surrounding her. Her face shimmered in the light reflected from the disco ball slowly turning above us. The air surrounding me was hot and stifling, but the lovely smell of women floated on the current our movements created. Everyone was singing, our voices weaving together, singing our defiance along with Gloria Gaynor.

I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive (hey-hey)

The next song had an electronic beat that shook the dance floor. I continued dancing, my hips moving with the rhythm, seemingly of their own accord. My heart was beating fast, and I felt as if I had to pant for breath. The fabric of my shirt felt coarse against my skin so I pulled it over my head and threw it into the crowd of women surrounding me. Now, just wearing my blue sports bra, I felt cooler and freer. A hand caressed my naked skin, and I turned, expecting to see Tricia. Instead I was met by a pair of cool blue eyes in a face I didn’t recognize. The mystery woman ran her hands down my arms and then grabbed my hips. She pulled me against her and ground her hips into mine in time to the music. I moved against her, mesmerized by her impossibly blue eyes. I felt more alive than I had ever felt. I could smell the woman’s perfume and feel the heat radiating from her body. Her small hips fit nicely into the palms of my hands. A small bead of sweat snaked its way from her hairline down to her cheek. Impulsively, I leaned in and took it with the tip of my tongue. It was slightly salty and tasted of her perfume. I moved my tongue across my lip, marveling at the sensations this caused. All around me, the lights swirled, dipped, and dived. They were no longer separate beams but had joined together to form Chinese dragons. The giant forms weaved in between the dancing figures illuminating faces before casting them back into shadow.

As the light dragon made another pass around me and the blue eyed woman, it lit a figure standing behind her: Tricia. My eyes met hers, and she flashed me a wide, feral grin. She leaned in, pressing the woman between us, and brought her hands up to stroke the stranger’s abdomen. She lifted out a finger and brushed it across my nipple as I shimmied up and down. The woman reached her arms back and cradled Tricia’s head.

Song after song, we continued our seductive dance. We dipped and moved around each other, the music providing us with the rhythm our bodies must follow. My bra was soaked with sweat, and my exposed skin was dripping wet. My body ached to be touched in much more intimate places. Tricia’s musky scent mingled with the other woman’s and the aroma surrounding us made me giddy. Finally I could take it no longer. I leaned in where they could both hear me. “Let’s continue this somewhere a little more private.” They both smiled, and I led us off the dance floor, a hand in each of mine.

I turned towards the bathroom but felt a tug in the opposite direction. “No, let’s go this way.” It was Tricia, and she was headed towards the front door. Blue Eyes and I followed in her wake like ducklings behind their mother.

I looked over at the stranger. “What’s your name?” I thought it would be a good idea to know since we’d practically been having sex on the dance floor for the last hour.

“Gina. You?”

“I’m Jordan and that’s Tricia.”

Gina nodded. “Nice to meet you,” she said, and we both burst into giggles.

Tricia didn’t stop pulling us along until we were outside and approaching her car. The cool night air was a balm on my hot, sweaty skin, and I threw my head back and savored the feel. Tricia had dropped my hand to dig the car keys from her pocket. Gina took the opportunity to press me up against the car and run her hands up my belly to cup my breasts. I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her to me. Her lips were soft and smooth before her mouth opened to accept my tongue. She sucked hungrily, and I groaned in my desire.

Tricia came up behind us and pulled Gina away from me. She handed me the car keys. “You drive,” she said gruffly, then gathered Gina in her arms and kissed her savagely.

I moved around to the driver’s side, noticing that the street lights looked like fast motion photography. Everything was just one long string of light. Sure, I thought. No problem. I can drive. Piece of cake.

The drive home was literally a big blur. Luckily, we didn’t live that far from the bar. As if the long string of lights and other fast moving cars next to me weren’t distracting enough, Gina and Tricia were busily exploring each other’s bodies in the seat next to me. The moans and groans succeeded in stoking my fire so high, I thought I would explode

At the house, I parked the car and then hopped out. I went around to open the passenger door, and two tightly entwined women fell out onto the front lawn. We all three burst out laughing. I helped them up, and we stumbled our way into the house.

We fell immediately into bed, a jumble of arms and legs, hands and mouths. I had never been made love to by two women at the same time and was overcome with sensation. Lips and tongues sucked and lapped at my skin. Hands stroked and fondled the wet, dark places of my body. Someone, I couldn’t tell who, sprawled across me.

At some point, my senses went into overload. Feeling claustrophobic and short of breath, I disengaged myself from the other two. I lay on the edge of the mattress and watched Tricia make love to a stranger in our bed. She had wanted to do a threesome for months. I had expected it to be exciting, a big turn on. But it wasn’t. I felt a surge of jealousy as Tricia climaxed with a cry of joy and then slumped down onto Gina’s chest.

I jumped up off the bed and stormed out of the room. I couldn’t take it anymore. How dare she fuck another woman with me lying right there! I knew I was being totally irrational, but I didn’t care. I knew I had been just as eager to have this woman in our bed as Tricia was. I knew all that, but what I felt was rage. My fists clenched and unclenched. My breathing came faster and faster. The anger bubbled up inside me until I felt like I would burst if I didn’t release it. I slammed open the cabinet door, grabbed a glass, and threw it with all my might at the dining room wall. The sound of shattering glass spraying across the room lent me a small measure of satisfaction. Three more glasses soon followed the first.

I was dimly aware of voices coming from the living room. “She’s fucking crazy. I’m outta here,” Gina said and then I heard the front door slam shut.

There was a powerful jerk on my arm, and I was forcefully twirled around to face an enraged Tricia. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” Spittle rained down on my face as she shouted at me.

I pulled my arm from her grip and pushed her hard into the countertop. “WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE, YOU BITCH?” I followed my words with a sharp slap to her left cheek.

She stared at me in astonishment for only a moment, and then her face contorted in rage. “HOW DARE YOU!”

The next thing I knew, I was on my back on the floor and blows were raining down on me. I put my arms over my head to protect my face. I could feel Tricia’s knees digging into my sides, and the full weight of her on my chest was making it hard to breathe.

“DON’T YOU EVER HIT ME! NOBODY HITS ME! YOU GOT THAT, YOU SNIVELING LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT!” She was shrieking and screaming, clawing at my hands, trying to uncover my face.

I felt sharp, burning pain as her fingernails tore chunks of skin from my arms. I was terrified. I had never seen her so enraged. She had been angry with me before, but that usually resulted in snide comments and the cutting off of affections. This was the first time she had ever hit me.

As she screamed at me, she entwined her fingers in my hair and began banging my head against the tile floor. My head connected with the stone twice and then the darkness took me.

Someone was humming. It wasn’t the pleasant, Grandma’s-cooking-in-the-kitchen kind of humming. It was the something’s-stuck-in-the-vacuum cleaner kind of humming. As I listened, it became a high pitched keening sound, more like a wail. The tone reverberated around the inside of my skull, stabbing into my brain as it went.

“Jordan? Oh Jordan, can you hear me? I’m so sorry, baby. Are you okay?” Each question was followed by the piercing sound, and I realized it was Tricia crying. I felt clammy hands gripping each side of my face. Her forehead was pressed against mine, her hot tears flowing down my cheeks. The smell of sex clung to her, and I remembered why I was down here.

“Shit, Tricia, stop making that sound,” I croaked angrily. My throat was raw and scratchy.

“Oh thank God, you’re okay!”

I felt the need to sit up, but as soon as I tried, a wave of nausea and dizziness hit me, driving me back down to the floor.

“Here, let me help you.” Tricia ran her hands underneath me and pulled me to a sitting position. She eased me closer to the wall so I could lean against it.

My head was throbbing in time to my heartbeat, and I was still in danger of throwing up. I heard Tricia walk away and then return a minute later.

“Wipe your face.” She handed me a cool washrag. Her voice shook.

The washcloth was soothing as I rubbed it across my skin. I used my other hand to feel around the back of my head. There was a painful lump just to the side of my left ear. The knot was squishy and wet. When I pulled my hand away, my fingers were covered in blood. Another wave of nausea flowed over me. Other people’s blood didn’t bother me at all. My own was an entirely different story. I pressed the washrag to the wound on my head, and leaned further against the wall. The wooden surface was comfortingly solid against my none too solid body.

“What the fuck, Tricia?”

There was a long silence, and I began to believe she wouldn’t answer me. Then I felt her slide down the wall and land next to me on the floor. “I don’t know,” she said softly. “I was just so angry.” She leaned over and sobbed onto my shoulder, “I just don’t know.”

Dawn began to break while we sat on the floor. As the kitchen was softly illuminated, I could make out a small pool of blood on the stone tiles and see the broken glass in the hallway. Then the sun shone a spotlight on the refrigerator. I must have dozed off.

Tricia raised her head and looked at me. Her eyes were red and swollen. She had streaks of blood on her cheek and on her hands. “We should get you to the hospital.”

“Oh hell no,” I said a little too forcefully. The dull thud in my head became a sharp thump. “There’s no way I’m going there,” I said, my voice much quieter. “The last thing I need is them knowing my business. Besides, what if they drug test me? I can’t risk that.”

Tricia said, “Well you’re obviously hurt. Are you still bleeding?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well here, let me look.” She rose up and padded to the light switch. “Watch your eyes.” She flipped on the light just as I squeezed my eyes shut. “Okay, let me see.” She gently prodded the knot on my head. “It’s not bleeding anymore but damn, Jordan, it sure bled a lot. Please let me take you to the hospital,” she pleaded.

“No. Absolutely not. I’ll be fine. All I need is some ice and something for the pain,” I said through gritted teeth. “Here, help me up.” I raised my hand to her. She pulled me up, and I immediately fell back down as the world spun around me. My stomach heaved, and I vomited onto the floor.   

Half an hour later, I managed to crawl into the bedroom and, with Tricia’s help, onto the bed. I now lay panting, my body tense with pain. Tricia cleaned the cut in my head as best she could and brought me some ice for the swelling.

“Okay, since you won’t let me take you to the hospital and you won’t be able to swallow any pills without throwing them up again, I have an alternative pain management tool.” She spoke from the bathroom which was behind me, so I didn’t know what she meant until she had moved around to the other side of the bed. “Hold your arm out.”

I looked up and saw that she was holding a syringe and a tourniquet. She also carried a little cotton ball I assumed had alcohol on it. “What the hell, Tricia? What is that?”

“This is Morphine. Buddy, down at the bar, was a little short on my order so he gave me some of this. I was going to trade it to Brooks the next time I went to work, but it appears we need it now. So, stick out your arm.

I was too tired and hurt too badly to argue, so I did as I was told. Thirty seconds later, I flew for the first time. It didn’t take me to quite the same heights as the heroin would shortly thereafter, but it was good enough.


“Jordan, we need to talk. I have questions that you need to answer.” Bailey’s red-rimmed eyes bored into me.

I started to tell Betsy to take me back to my room. My mouth was opening to speak; my tongue was preparing to form the words. And then Bailey spoke again.

“Jordan, don’t you dare run out on me.” Her blue eyes flashed with anger. “You owe me an explanation.”

What had Tricia told her? What explanation did I need to give? My mind scrambled for answers to whatever questions Bailey was about to ask. The lies were perched on a shelf in my mind ready for use at a moments notice. “Tricia is just trying to manipulate you.” “You can’t believe a word that comes from Tricia’s mouth.”

“Betsy, can you just leave me here and shut the door on your way out?”

“Sure, Jordan.” She pushed me near the bed and then quietly left.

I stared down at my hands lying in my lap. I had stopped receiving IV fluids, but the nurse had placed an IV port in the back of my hand so she could administer pain meds and antibiotics.  Beneath the see-through tape holding it in place, my skin was bruised. Outside the door was a quiet symphony of voices carrying on everyday conversations. A cold stone of fear had settled in my stomach, and it was twisting and turning. I felt as if I might throw up. I broke out in a cold sweat, and my breathing quickened.

Finally, I knew the time had come. I could no longer avoid Bailey’s questions. I looked up into her eyes. There was not a trace of compassion, only anger.

“What…what would you like to know?” The words tripped on my tongue as they fell from my lips. 

“Tricia told me you use drugs. Is that true?” Her tone was flat, not questioning.

Even though, on some level, I had known this was what she would ask, when I heard her words, I almost bolted from the room. My hands moved to the wheels, and I tried to turn them. Betsy had set the brakes, though, so my chair didn’t move.

I realized this was one of those moments I usually only recognized in hindsight: a turning point. I had two options: I could tell the truth, or I could lie. If I lied, I’d spend our entire relationship trying to live up to that lie. If I told the truth, there might be no relationship left. Out of nowhere, exhaustion draped over me like an overcoat. I even felt my bones droop. Bailey had called it all those weeks ago during our first date. I was tired of running. It was time to stop.

I looked back down at my hands. “Yes,” I said softly. “Yes, it’s true.”

I heard her release the breath she had been holding. “She said you shoot up heroin. I suppose that’s true too.”

“Yes,” I said, my eyes still resting on the floor next to my wheelchair. I noticed a tiny drop of dried blood just to the left of one wheel. I wondered if it belonged to Bailey or if it had come from the previous occupant of this room. I pulled myself away from the red spot and looked back up at her.

“What else, Jordan? What other drugs do you do? Have you been high the whole time I’ve known you?” Her voice broke, and her eyes filled with tears. “Have I ever even met you? The real you?”

A sigh squeezed from my lungs, and I met her gaze. “I do whatever drugs I have, Bailey. Yes, I use heroin. I also use morphine, vicodin, cocaine, speed, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I’m a drug addict, Bailey. I have been for a long time.” I rubbed my sweaty palms on the blanket covering my legs. Gods, this was hard. “Yeah, I’ve been high since you met me. I’ve been high for the better part of the last five years. As for the real me, I’m not sure I’ve even met the real me.” My head dropped, and my chin rested on my chest. “I don’t know who that is anymore,” I said softly.

“God, Jordan! How could you? You’ve lied to me the whole time? You’ve…you…” The last was lost to the sobs that broke from her throat. “So everything we’ve shared has been a lie? How can I believe any of it was real? Do you even know if it was real or just some chemically-induced feeling?” Her voice cracked with emotion. “How could you do that to me, Jordan? How could you do that to yourself?”

“Bailey, I…” My voice trailed off. What could I possibly tell her? There was no excuse, no explanation. I was wrong, and I knew it. My shame was spread out on the floor like a rug for all to see. Oddly enough, I felt nothing. I didn’t feel like crying. I didn’t feel like screaming. I felt like doing absolutely nothing. Just lying down and doing nothing.

“I think you need to go, Jordan.” She turned her head away from me. She may as well have erected a wall.

 “I’m sorry, Bailey,” I said as I unlocked the wheels of the chair. I didn’t look at her as I turned around and approached the glass wall. I could see Betsy leaning against it, chatting to another nurse. My arm weighed a ton. I rapped on the wall with my knuckles. Betsy turned and nodded at me. As the door swung open, I said over my shoulder, “Goodbye, Bailey.”

Sobbing was the only response I received, and it was the only sound I could hear during the trip back to my room. All I could see was her tear stained, angry, stricken face. And yet, I still felt nothing.

As we turned the corner into my room, I saw Tricia sitting in the chair beside my bed reading a magazine. She looked up at my entrance and smiled at me. I stared into her hazel eyes, and the shroud of numbness fell away from me. Weariness draped its bulk around me. My arms and legs felt as if someone had tied weights to them. My body sagged in the chair. My eyes began to burn, and I realized I was crying.

“Why?” was all I could manage to force out of my throat.

Tricia rose from her seat and approached the chair. “I got her, Betsy. I’ll help her back to bed.”

Betsy placed her hands on my shoulder as she leaned over and asked, “Is that okay, Jordan?”

I could only nod and then I heard the door shut. Tears dripped onto my hands, and I watched as the drops scurried down my skin. The scent of lilacs wound its way up my nose as Tricia knelt in front of me.

“Jordan, I’m sorry it had to happen this way. I really am.” She cupped my cheeks with her hands and wiped the tears away. “But she couldn’t love you. Not all of you. I love all of you. There’s nothing you can do that will stop me from loving you. If she’d leave you over this, she’s not worthy of you. You deserve someone who will love you no matter what. And that person is me, Jordan. It’s always been me.”

I shut my eyes and leaned my head back. A foul stench assaulted my senses as the Nothing opened up behind me. I felt its relentless pull, and, for the first time I could remember, I didn’t resist it. What was there left to fight for? Why even bother? I always knew one day the Nothing would take me. For a brief time, I had a respite from that dread. But I had hurt Bailey, and now she didn’t want me. What else was there to fight for?

Although I knew she was still there in front of me, Tricia’s voice sounded distant as she spoke. “I stopped by your house, Jordan. I thought you could use this.”

She grabbed my hand and placed something in it. I opened my eyes and looked down at the item I now held. It was my Clinique bag. Judging by its weight, I thought she had made a visit to Bob after leaving my house.

“I know you hurt, Jordan.” She opened the bag and took out an already loaded syringe. “This will help. Bailey’s not important. She can’t love this part of you. Only I can. Only I accept you, Jordan, just as you are.”

I watched wordlessly as the tip of the needle punctured the little rubber stopper of the IV port in my hand. I saw Tricia’s thumb press the plunger down. Seconds later, I was soaring above the clouds, no longer tied to the battered body and broken heart lying far beneath me.

To be continued in Chapter 12

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