I loved him, too, I admit. The feelings were so overwhelming that they’d terrified me, but I couldn’t fight it. He was beautifully proud, but so broken inside. Just like me. He’s fixed parts of me that I didn’t think could ever be healed and I believe I have done the same for him. I don’t tell her that I consider one of my greatest accomplishments to be that he rarely has nightmares anymore. They had become worse for a while after he’d stopped using cocaine, but now they rarely occur, and even then, never to the level they used to. I know he still struggles to handle extreme stress without his old crutch, but even with the Monique situation, his eyes are clear and his resolve stronger than ever. He occasionally smokes, but he hates it so much that I don’t see that becoming a regular occurrence.
My heart went sluggish, a curtain of drugs falling over me.Tess… Q’s voice lost its perfect baritone, morphing into my enemy. I need to know the truth—why did you sacrifice yourself? Why did you let me almost rape you? French accent traded for Spanish, and Leather Jacket swirled into being.
No longer hazy or unformed—every inch of him was real. The blindfold didn’t keep images out anymore. I saw him plain as truth. His yellow-stained teeth and creaking, reeking jacket. His greasy black hair and dirty fingernails.Did you like my fingers inside you, puta? Leather Jacket sneered.Q. God, please let me wakeup. This couldn’t be real.
I licked my lips, invoking courage I no longer had. Let me go.He shook his head. Not until you answer me.
Tell him. Tell him before he hurts them!
Honesty exploded up my throat, not answering Leather Jacket—but Q. The admission was for him even though he no longer existed. I wanted to make you happy. I’d gladly give you my life to do that.His face remained unreadable. Why do you want to play?
I clutched my fork, turning my knuckles white, brandishing it as if it would save me from the awkward conversation. Because it will force you to answer questions you might not want to otherwise.His eyes narrowed. What sort of questions do you have in mind? His fingers twitched around his glass, giving the impression he didn’t want to play, not because it was a stupid game, but rather because he had too much to hide. I wanted to know what he kept hidden.
I wanted to know why he hadn’t stopped glowering around the restaurant. I wanted to know why we stayed in a hotel with thumbprints for keys.I don’t know. Probably stupid things that you won’t care telling me. It’s just the structure of the game that’ll make it easier.