Frayed Page 84

’’I can\ fail at something else. I fail at everything I do.’’ The words come out without thought.

He swallows. ’’You are beautiful from the inside out. Failure is never anything you have to worry about. And what happened today is just proof of that.’’

My eyes fill with more tears.

Pressing a kiss to the top of my head, he holds me tight to him. Once my sobs are under control, he pulls away. ’’Give me your hand.’’

I just look at him in confusion.

He lifts one of my hands to where he\s holding the towel. ’’Keep this tight to your head.’’

I nod.

He lifts me off the floor and cradles me to him.

’’What are you doing?’’ I yell.

’’I\m getting you out of here.’’

’’I can walk.’’

’’I can walk faster,’’ he says. ’’Just hold the towel.’’

I band my arms around his neck.

He makes his way down the hallway and stops in the employee entrance. ’’Which locker?’’

I point. I\m not sure if it\s my head, or what happened with Tate, or the fact that he\s here, but I\m feeling as though I\m in shock.

He manages to open it with me still in his arms and grabs my bag and carries me to his car before setting me down.

I look up at him, a little dazed. ’’I can\ leave my car here.’’

’’I\ll send someone to get it.’’

When he gets in the car he pulls up his GPS and selects the nearest hospital. After watching him for a minute, I sag back against the seat and shut my eyes.

His hand squeezes mine. ’’Hey, don\ fall asleep, S\elle. Not that I think you have a concussion, but you never know.’’

I glance down at his hand and give him a slight smile.

’’I think I should call your mother.’’

’’No!’’

My panicked reaction seems to surprise him and he glances over to me. ’’Hey, you didn\ do anything wrong. You know that. Right?’’

’’Please don\ tell my family.’’

’’S\elle, he attacked you. You have to call the police.’’

’’He didn\ attack me.’’

’’I saw him.’’

’’It wasn\ an attack. He would have left me alone.’’

’’I\m not sure of that and I don\ care what it was. He\s a f**ker!’’ Ben yells, and slams his hands against the steering wheel.

I flinch.

’’I\m sorry, I didn\ mean to yell.’’ He moves his hand to the towel. ’’Press a little tighter. Okay?’’

I do. We both stay silent the rest of the drive.

When he pulls into the hospital, he puts the car in PARK and turns to me. ’’S\elle, I really think you should call your mother.’’

I sigh, knowing he\s right, and pull my phone from my purse where I tucked it when we got in the car. ’’Will you call her? I\ll just cry and she\ll think it\s worse than it is.’’

He nods. ’’Sure. But let\s get you inside first.’’

CHAPTER 27

Counting Stars

Ben

Charlotte and Jack Tyler arrive just as the doctor finishes the last of S\elle\s five stitches, both of them speaking at the same time.

’’Bell, darling, are you okay?’’ Charlotte exclaims.

’’What happened?’’ Jack questions her.

I release S\elle\s hand. ’’Hey, I\m going to arrange to have someone pick up your car.’’

’’You don\ have to leave¸’’ Charlotte says to me.

I give her a slight smile. ’’I\ll be right back.’’

Jack extends his hand and I shake it.

When I get out into the hallway I lean against the wall and bow my head, noticing there\s blood smeared across the corner of my shirt. Tate Wyatt has obviously been harassing her for a while even if she didn\ see it. Who knows what he would have done to her tonight? The situation could have been so much worse. And I accused her of sleeping with him. I take a few more deep breaths and squeeze my eyes shut, cursing my own stupidity.

After a few moments I pull out my phone to call Trent and Caleb and ask them to pick up her car. After explaining what happened and that I tucked the key in the wheel well, I get off the phone and make my way down the hall. Jack is standing outside the door of her room. When he sees me he starts walking my way.

He claps my shoulder, the one without the bloodstains. ’’Bell told us what happened. I think she\s downplaying it. What did you see?’’

’’What did she tell you?’’

’’She said he was drunk and that he didn\ really mean anything by it.’’

I stare at him. Eye to eye. Man-to-man. ’’That could be the case. But he was being forceful with her and she was trying to shove him back.’’ I can feel my stomach lurching.

His face heats in anger. ’’Oh, Christ.’’

’’I don\ know how far he would have taken it. I don\ know if he\s done anything like this before. But I know she was scared even if she won\ admit it.’’

Jack runs his hands through his hair. ’’She\s worried he\s going to press assault charges against you.’’

I shrug. ’’Let him. Let him try to explain why I had to shove him off her to begin with.’’

His eyes glisten with unshed tears. ’’I worry about her, you know. She wants everyone to like her. She wants to make everyone happy. But I never thought this guy was like that. I got her the job, for Christ\s sake.’’

I take a deep breath. ’’I don\ know what he\s like. But I saw him with her over the summer and he rubbed me the wrong way. Of course he didn\ push himself on her then.’’


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