Fall from India Place Page 53

“But you’re the only one who had to deal with the consequences. How is that fair?”

I shrugged. “I don’t think God’s a woman, if that’s what you’re asking.”

He choked on laughter. “You’re joking about this? Really?”

“It’s either that or I cry.” I felt my lips tremble. “Shit. I’m going to cry.” The tears fell before I could stop them, the sobs shuddering out from the very depths of me.

Cole wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me into him, his T-shirt instantly soaked where I laid my head on his chest. “You’ll get through this, Hannah.”

“I keep seeing my mum’s and dad’s faces. I watched them go through hell when Ellie was diagnosed with her tumor and I saw it in their eyes again when I was lying in that hospital bed. Their whole world nearly disappeared along with me and it’s my fault.” I sobbed harder.

“Ssh,” he soothed, pulling me closer. “It’s nobody’s fault. Everything’s going to be okay.”

The truth was, I was scared. I was scared one wrong move could rip life away from me. Suddenly pregnancy was something that could do that to me. It wasn’t rational. I knew the doctor had told me I could go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy, but the fear of another ectopic pregnancy was too great. My fear forced me to grieve too young for what I always took for granted would be in my future.

Sitting up from the cold tiled floor of my bathroom, I swiped at my wet cheeks, and pressed my back against the bathtub, wrapping my arms around my knees to draw them into me.

My miscarriage, my near-death experience, and my grief changed me. It made me a bit of a loner. I lost most of my high school friends and I created a distance between myself and my family. Partly because I felt to blame for it all. I had acted recklessly that night with Marco, and in doing so I scared the utter crap out of the people that meant the most to me. They all became super-overprotective. To the point of suffocating me. That only made me internalize everything more.

I was depressed for months. Heartbroken.

In an attempt to try to pull me out of the dark, my parents were actually the ones who surprised everybody by suggesting I stay in student accommodations at university. They believed it would force me to start living again.

And it did.

Suzanne was crazy. She was never serious. She liked to party, and I found her carefree attitude addictive during a time when I really needed that.

I soon discovered, however, that my parents were worried about me getting pregnant again. Although they’d never admonished me for my stupidity, since nature had done enough reprimanding for the both of them, I knew I’d lost something from them. I’d lost their certainty in me. They worried that I’d make the same mistake all over again and that I’d put myself in danger.

So I went with Mum and I got the pill.

I’d been on it ever since, even though until Marco there had never been any real use for it.

By the time I turned nineteen I’d gotten through the worst of it, and standing on the sidelines, waiting for me to come back to them, was my family.

And I did.

They knew I would.

Waiting at the head of that line was Cole. He was the only positive thing to come out of it all. Since the moment I’d collapsed in his arms, a bond had formed between us, gradually growing until we counted each other as best friends. He had always been there in those dark days to assure everyone else that I was still in there and that day by day I was making my way back to them.

Eventually I moved on.

I tried to let it all go.

Until Marco. He came crashing back into my life. No one but my dad knew he was the one who had got me pregnant and left me. I felt all alone again. I couldn’t talk to my dad about it. That was too weird, too uncomfortable, and so it brought everything back.

I tried to fight through the hurt and disappointment to reach for rational thought. Marco hadn’t known I was pregnant. If he’d known it would have been a different story. I was sure of that. It wasn’t his fault any more than it was mine.

Okay, if he hadn’t left me I would have had him by my side when I needed him. Maybe the days wouldn’t have been so dark. However, he’d explained why he left. And Cole had been right. I might not like it, but his explanation was a good one.

I forgave him.

My fingernails dug into my knees.

But to know now that he’d not only returned to Edinburgh without looking me up, but that he’d returned and gotten some other girl pregnant and been there for her… It was devastating.

All that pain was back full force again.

It didn’t matter if it wasn’t rational. I felt it. I felt it scoring my insides.

The hardest thing I’d ever been through and he wasn’t there for me.

But he’d been there for Leah.

I knew I shouldn’t have let him back in.

I couldn’t forgive him this.


“The turkey looks burnt.” Dec made a face at the dead bird as he approached the dinner table.

Mum had gone all out¸ just as she did every year, and the table looked beautiful.

The turkey did not at all look burnt.

“What?” Mum squawked as she hurried into the room, carrying a bowl of potatoes. Her eyes flew to the bird in panic.

I shot my brother a dirty look, ready to reprimand him for teasing Mum when she was anxious, but Dad beat me to it.

“Declan, stop being an idiot and go help your mum get the rest of the food through from the kitchen.”

Dec grunted at the order but didn’t argue with it.

As soon as he was out the door, I made a face at my dad as I rounded the table to take a seat next to Ellie. “Do you think he’ll be passing that irritating stage of teenage idiocy anytime soon? He is eighteen – shouldn’t he be over it by now?”

“I heard that!” Dec shouted from the hallway.

I bugged my eyes out at Ellie as she giggled. “Ears of an owl.”

“An owl?” Joss smiled, amused, as she helped Beth, Luke, and William settle at the kiddie table.

“Yes,” I said. “I do believe they have the sharpest hearing in the world.”

“I do believe you know a whole lot of crap that no one cares about,” Dec said as he returned to the room with a bowl of steamed vegetables.

“Ha.” I greeted him with a grimace. “I do believe I know whose Christmas vouchers are getting canceled if he doesn’t stop being an irritating d-i-c-k.”

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