Home > Who We Love (Perfect Everlasting Duet #2)

Who We Love (Perfect Everlasting Duet #2)
Author: Claudia Burgoa

 


Chapter One

 

 

Matthew


I tap the wheel while waiting for the light to change green. I’m only a couple blocks away from the penthouse.

Fucking traffic was a killer after the concert.

Thea isn’t answering her phone, and something tells me she’s not okay.

Just as I’m about to turn left, there’s another detour. “I swear, one more red light, and I’m abandoning the car.”

“I told you walking would’ve been faster,” Tristan says. “Hey, aren’t those your parents?”

Tristan taps my arm. I glance at where he’s pointing toward the opposite sidewalk. I see a couple of silhouettes. My focus goes back to the road just as I almost crash into the car in front of us, which isn’t moving. We’re yet again stuck at a red light. Fuck!

I blink a couple of times to make sure I’m not hallucinating. “Yes, it’s them. Is that Thea? What’s wrong with her?”

Tristan leans, squinting his eyes. “I think it’s her, why are they there?”

Something is not right. I wait until we move, then look both ways, press the gas pedal, run the light, and make a U-turn, almost hitting the median strip.

“Fuck, what’s the matter with you? Are you trying to get us killed?”

I don’t listen to Tristan. I have to get to our girl.

Several drivers honk at me. I almost abandon the car, but instead, I park, shut down the engine, and take out the keys.

“Thea! Butterfly!”

Both my parents freeze when they hear my voice. Thea’s body stiffens, and my heart screams that something is very wrong.

“What are you doing over here?” I yell as soon as I catch up to them. I take off my leather jacket and wrap it around a shivering Thea. “You’re freezing, baby. Why aren’t you at my place?”

She doesn’t answer. In fact, she seems completely vacant. Her eyes are watching her phone, which drips with vomit and rain.

I glance at my parents. “Papa, Dad?”

They shake their heads and shrug, indicating they’re just as clueless as I am.

“We’re going to take you home.” I draw circles on her back while helping her walk toward the car.

She tries to fight me, but she doesn’t have the strength to fight.

My parents remain silent during the short walk, but both look concerned. Either they’re about to lecture me, or they’re worried about Thea.

“Why don’t we go to my place so you can change?” I look at my parents. “Afterward, I’ll take you to your house.”

Tristan is already behind the wheel, his eyes focused on Thea, who hasn’t responded to me yet.

“Dad, you sit up front with Tristan.” I open the back door. “I’ll ride with Thea and Papa in the back. She’s too cold.”

I adjust her seat belt before settling in and hugging her against me. There’s no resistance, but her body isn’t molding to mine either.

“In two hundred feet, take a—” The screen of her phone goes black.

“My phone died,” her soft voice murmurs. “I only have my keys. The keys to a place that won’t exist anymore. I don’t belong anywhere. I never belonged. He took everything away from me. Everything.” Her silent sobs are killing me. “And he’s back.”

Who the fuck is she talking about?

I glance at Papa, who’s watching Thea with that helpless fatherly look he gave Ainsley when we were young and he had no fucking idea how to help her.

“You want me to take your parents?” Tristan questions as he parks in front of the building.

“No.” I unbuckle her. “Let’s settle you guys in, and I’ll drive them later.”

Tristan helps me with Thea. My parents join us, and we go up to my place. My parents head to the guest room, where I have some spare clothes for my family. The three of us go to my room.

“She needs some clothes.” I point toward my drawers. “Please hand me a pair of sweats and a T-shirt. Let’s try to keep her warm. Did she drink tonight?”

Tristan shakes his head. “Not a drop, Matt. She was okay when she climbed into that car, I swear.” He stares at Thea. “Well, anxious, but she’s been like that all night.”

I take off my jacket, unbutton her polo, and she runs to the corner. “Don’t touch me. Please don’t touch me.” She cries louder. “I’m not her anymore. You can’t use me.” Thea folds in half and pukes all over the floor.

Tristan and I look at each other, not knowing what to do. Fuck.

“Butterfly, calm down. You need to get out of those clothes.”

“No. Don’t touch me.” She dry-heaves. “He can’t make me do it again. Never again.”

Papa enters the room, approaching her cautiously like one would a wild animal. “Sweetheart, can we help you? Your clothes are soaking wet and you’re cold.”

She hugs herself and shakes violently. “Don’t touch me.” She starts crying again. “I’m not her. She’s gone.”

Papa takes a few steps back, glancing at me and says, “Call Pria. She can help.”

Pria? No, I can call my sister. She’d do anything for me. “Ainsley?”

Dad shakes his head. “Call Pria. It’s late, and Ainsley can’t be out late. Gracie needs her.”

Matt: I need your wife, please.

 

 

Jacob: What, why?

 

 

Matt: Thea is having a bad episode—nervous breakdown. Papa thinks she can help.

 

 

Jacob: I’ll take the bike. See you in a few.

 

 

“Hey, Papa,” Pria greets Papa, who leans against the doorframe watching Thea.

For the past twenty minutes, she’s been dry heaving, crying, and mumbling nonsense. If we get closer, she freaks out, begging us not to touch her.

“It’s a little late for house calls, isn’t it?” Pria peeks through the door and retreats, giving me a frown. “That’s Thea, the bartender of Silver Moon.”

“Thank you, I knew she looked familiar.” I fake a smirk.

She squeezes my arm. “I’m here to help, no need to be sarcastic.”

She glances at her again and asks, “Is she drunk?”

“You know?” I’m astonished she’s aware of the secret.

She shrugs. “I guessed. One time she was staring at a shot of vodka,” she explains. “I asked why, and she answered, ‘To build strength.’ Pretty self-explanatory.”

“She’s not drunk.” Papa closes his eyes. “Someone or something triggered her memories, and my guess is that’s why she developed those addictions at a young age. To protect herself.”

My father wipes the corner of his eye. “She needs to feel safe, Pria. A man can’t be near her right now. But a friend can. Would you mind helping her?”

“I’m happy to do it, Papa.” Pria enters the room, shutting the door behind her.

I lean against the closed door, wishing I were inside, making everything better for her. “What happened to Thea, Papa?”

There’s no answer, and I turn to where he stood to find the spot empty. So much for fatherly support. He left me without a word? I go looking for him and find him at the bottom of the stairs with Jacob, Tristan, and Dad.

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