VictoriousKobo
Author:M.S. Force

“My baby sister isn’t a baby anymore, is she?” I’m saddened to have missed so many years with her and Livvy.

 

“I haven’t been since a monster attacked my big sister and ruined all our lives.”

 

It has never once, in all the years since I last saw them, occurred to me that what happened to me ruined their lives, too. “I pictured you guys going on like nothing happened.”

 

“That’s not how it was. We were heartbroken. Nothing was ever the same without you.” She covers our joined hands with her other hand. “I’d like nothing more than to be close to you again.”

 

“I’d like that, too. More than you could ever know.”

 

“Talk to me, Ap— I mean, Natalie. Talk to me, Natalie.”

 

“You can call me April. It’s okay.”

 

“You’ve made a whole new life as Natalie. That’s who you are now, and I want to respect that. Livvy does, too.”

 

“She’s so grown up, too. I can’t believe how amazing her grades are and that she has her pick of colleges.”

 

“Natalie…”

 

I sigh, realizing I can’t hide my torment from my sister. “Flynn and I are taking a break.” I keep my voice down so only she can hear me.

 

“You just got married!”

 

“Believe me, I know.”

 

“What could’ve gone so wrong so fast?”

 

“He kept something from me. Something important. And then when I found out about it and confronted him, he lied to me.”

 

“Oh damn. Wow. You guys looked so happy on TV. I watched every second of the SAG Awards. I couldn’t believe that was my sister on national TV!”

 

“It was a very exciting night.” Recalling Flynn winning two Actor awards, making love in the limo on the way home and then eating In-N-Out burgers and fries in Hayden’s living room brings me to tears again. The weeks I spent with Flynn had been the sweetest time of my life, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do without him.

 

“So is it over, then?” Candace asks tentatively.

 

“I don’t know.” I don’t know anything other than he lied to me, and I had to get away from him to get some perspective.

 

“Well,” she says after a long pause, “if he’s making you stay at a hotel, I assume he’s paying, so we might as well take full advantage. I have to work tomorrow, but I don’t care. We can stay up all night watching movies, sleep in and order room service.”

 

Candace’s cheerfulness and upbeat personality are a balm on my wounded soul. Her plan sounds heavenly, and it’s just what I need.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

 

 

 

 

I’m losing my mind. There’s no other way to describe the desperation that has overtaken me. I can’t eat, sleep, breathe or think about anything other than Natalie and what I can do to fix things between us. I can’t live without her—not for a minute, a day or a week. I’ll go mad if I don’t see her for a week.

 

She told me to leave her alone, but she didn’t tell me I had to stay in LA and leave her alone.

 

True to her word, Addie brings my cell phone to me around five that afternoon.

 

“I need you to get me on a flight to New York. Tonight.”

 

“I’m not sure I can get you a private plane with so little notice.”

 

“Then I’ll fly commercial.”

 

She hesitates, and I know she’s thinking that I’ve been asked not to fly commercial because of the uproar my presence causes in the airports. At times like this, I fucking hate the fame that comes with my chosen profession.

 

“How long is Natalie planning to be in Colorado?” Addie asks.

 

“I don’t know.” I don’t tell her I didn’t know she was going there. “She’s got security with her, right?”

 

“Two guys, and they’re staying at a Marriott rather than at her sister’s place. I took the liberty of overnighting the credit and debit cards you asked me to get for her to the hotel. I hope that was the right thing to do.”

 

“Yeah. I want her to have money, even if she doesn’t want me anymore.”

 

“She still wants you. I’ve seen the way she looks at you. Whatever this is, you’ll never convince me it can’t be fixed.” She withdraws her phone from her pocket. “You still want to go to New York?”

 

I think about that for a moment. “You said when you talked to Candace about coming here, she had a really busy schedule at school, right?”

 

“Yes and a part-time job, too.”

 

“So it’ll probably be a short visit. I’ll go to New York. Natalie will end up there sooner rather than later.”

 

“I’ll see what I can do.” Addie gives my arm a squeeze before she heads off to make arrangements. A team of workers is finishing up replacing the window I smashed with a crystal vase this morning after Natalie left. I need to get a grip on my rage. That’s not going to help anything in this situation.

 

I scroll through the calls and texts I’ve missed since the FBI took my phone and see two calls from my mother. Since she usually texts, I decide I’d better call her back, even though I don’t want to talk to anyone—except Natalie. “Hey, Mom, what’s up?”

 

“There you are. I was starting to wonder if you two would ever come up for air.”