I put you and Simon in danger just by...By being here? And what's the alternative? Take off? Give up on finding your dad? Leave Simon behind? He blinked. No, I wouldn't leave...but I feel like...Feel like what? He shook his head, looking away. I walked around in front of him. Feel like what, Derek? Like you should leave? Like we'd be better off if you did? He rolled his shoulders in a half shrug, then looked away again. I was right. He just didn't like hearing the thought voiced; it sounded too close to self-pity. No one is better off if you leave, I said. Yeah. He mumbled the word, unconvinced. Simon needs you. I need you. I didn't say that, of course. How could I, without it sounding weird.? But I felt it, heart hammering against my ribs and it wasn't some romantic I can't bear to be without you nonsense. It was something deeper, more desperate.When I thought of Derek leaving, the ground seemed to slide under my feet. I needed something to hold on to, something solid and real when everything around me was changing so fast. Even if there were times I thought it would be easier without Derek there, ready to tear a strip off me at my every misstep, in some ways I relied on that—someone to keep me thinking, keep me striving to do better, keep me from burying my head and praying it all worked out.When he turned away, he must have seen it on my face. As fast as I tried to cover it up, it wasn't fast enough and when he looked at me, the way he looked at me...
Kelley Armstrong