How do you know if a guy really loves you if he never consciously made the decision to like you in the first place? Aiden had been forced against his knowledge and will to bring me closer to the one who’d manipulated my entire life. The love of my life was nothing but a pawn, and he’d never truly loved me by his own choice.
My life was a lie.
Chelsea walked in and held out a glass. “Here, have some water.”
Instantly, I recognised that I was living my vision. I remembered telling her I didn’t want any and then I cried into the pillow. I was so not going to play out that scene. I sucked in my breath and held it, trying to stop the next lot of tears that threatened to spill. I didn’t want my vision to come true. Although without a doubt, it already had. But I wanted to believe my future was not set in stone and I had the ability to make my own fate. Ah, who was I kidding?
Tears rolled down my nose and onto the already soaked pillow. Aiden and I… well, there never was an Aiden and me. For all I knew, the Aiden I loved never existed. I mean, he did date Georgia, after all. Maybe he was really like her before my father got control of his mind.
Chelsea sighed and put the cup on the bedside table. “You can’t keep doing this to yourself.” She sat down beside me and brushed my hair out of my eyes. “It’s been two days. Aiden deserves to know why you’ve suddenly left him.”
While I had been lying in the bed crying, Aiden had been meeting Chelsea at the hospital to continue to take away Marie’s pain during her bandage changes. He was desperately trying to get Chelsea to tell him where I was and why I’d left him without any explanation. But being the best friend that she was, she stuck by the code, even if she had a little help from me to keep her from talking.
“I can’t see him. I’m sorry. I just can’t.” My heart felt as if it had shattered into a million pieces.
My parents had created me as if I were some kind of science experiment. Someone who I had begun to think of as a friend had turned out to be my father. I thought I was an only child then discovered my mother had been keeping Gemma—whatever the hell relation she was—from me, and then I found out I had a brother and sister. And my boyfriend… he never truly loved me.
I closed my eyes, trying to numb the pain. I wished there was some way I could take it all away. But of course, I hadn’t learned to do that one yet. And if I had, I didn’t think I would stop with just the pain. I would probably have removed all my memories of the people who had said they loved me then tried to move on as a person with no memories at all. Anything would be better than the hurt and betrayal.
Chelsea looked at her watch. “I’ve got to be at the hospital in two minutes.”
I gave her a slight nod and sat up, wiping my tears with the sleeve of my top. “Just give me a sec.” I stood and went into the bathroom.
I locked the door then turned on the taps. I didn’t bother waiting and splashed my face with the ice-cold water, wanting to feel something other than crushing pain inside. But I didn’t feel a thing. It was as if my skin had become numb to life as well.
I looked up and stared at my reflection in the mirror. For once, I could say that my appearance had changed. My face was swollen from all the tears. My hair was a mess from lack of showering the last two days and my eyes… they appeared soulless.
Chelsea knocked on the door. “Jade?”
I thought about saying I would be out in a second, but I couldn’t even bring myself to say so many words out loud. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
Chelsea stood on the other side, wearing a sad smile. “Come here,” she said, pulling me into a hug.
I put my arms around her and transported us to behind a tree on the hospital grounds.
Chelsea gave my back a quick rub. “Thanks.”
I hated seeing myself through her eyes, but she was the one person who was truly there for me without any interference by my father. I hated what I was about to do, but I couldn’t think of any other way. If I didn’t do it, Aiden and my father would possibly find out what I knew, and I couldn’t risk her like that. So I entered her mind and removed all the memories she had of the reason why I had walked out on lunch two days ago.
“Text me when you’re ready to come back,” I said after I pulled out of her mind.
Oblivious to what I’d just done, she smiled and waited for me to leave.
“Jade.” Aiden stood behind Chelsea, the pain in his eyes crushing my heart all over again.
I stared at him, knowing I should’ve left but aching to see his face, even if seeing him was going to kill me later. Not knowing I could already hear his thoughts, Aiden opened his mind as he slowly walked toward me. He feared he would scare me away if he moved too fast. He couldn’t understand why I’d left him, why I wouldn’t speak to him, and why I was blocking him from our mental connection.
Tears spilled down my cheeks, and my heart broke all over again when I heard how much he was hurting and how much he believed he loved me. All I wanted to do was to rush over to him and hold him tightly, to take away all the pain I had caused him. I wished I could forget about the last two days and live the rest of my life under the delusion that he was truly mine. But his love wasn’t real. My father had made him feel that way, and I couldn’t live a lie.
I slowly shook my head as a fresh bout of tears escaped the flood gates. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Jade!” Aiden yelled. Fear gripped his heart as he reached for me, hoping he’d get to me before it was too late. I felt his arms try to hold onto me, but I phased out before I changed my mind.
I collapsed onto the bed in the hotel room and cried until my tears ran dry. Seeing him there and hearing the desperation in his thoughts was all too much. He truly believed he loved me with all his heart and soul. And my heart shattered into a million pieces all over again.