Completely Consumed (Addicted To You, Book Eight)
Author:Covington, Lucy

“Listen” Driscoll said softly. “You’ve got Nick’s card. Now you’ve got mine, too.”

 

Another business card appeared in front of my downcast eyes. I took it, no longer scrutinizing it the way I had the first card. I nodded, but didn’t look at him. “Thanks.”

 

“Give some thought to what we told you here today, Justin,” Driscoll continued.

 

“You might not like it, but we played it straight with you. Either way, Quarry is going down and he’s going to take everyone and everything with him when he goes.”

 

I watched as the two FBI agents exchanged glances, as if they were both thinking that I was a lost cause.

 

“Don’t be stupid, Brown,” Nick Cairns said, and then they left.

 

The door slammed and I just stood there, not able to move for a long time.

 

***

 

It must have been an hour later when someone knocked on my door again.

 

I had hardly moved a muscle, ignoring my phone and sitting on the couch in a kind of daze. I was stunned. It felt like my life as I knew it was over.

 

The knocking on my door got more insistent. For some reason, I thought that maybe the agents had come back again. Maybe they’d decided it was time to arrest me this time.

 

But when I opened the door, it was the last person I’d expected to see who was standing there.

 

“Gilbert, what the fuck?” I said, staring at my smiling friend, who looked pretty amused by my confusion.

 

He laughed and gave me a big hug. Then he slapped me on the shoulder and went past me into the apartment. “Didn’t expect to see me, huh?”

 

I turned and followed him. “You look…”

 

He gave me an amused glance. “Like I took a shower in the last month?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“That’s because I did. I’m clean, brother.” He turned around again and smiled.

 

“I’m really clean. Been sober since the night you found me in that crack house.”

 

I wanted to believe him, but it was difficult. Gilbert had lied to me so many times over the last few years. Still, I had to admit he looked different. His eyes were bright and his skin didn’t have that pale, yellowish tint anymore. His hair was styled, he’d shaven, his jeans were clean and unwrinkled—he was even wearing a nice button down shirt that didn’t have a stain on it.

 

“You look good,” I said, still surprised. “Why so dressed up?”

 

“I had an interview this morning over at CVS. They’re going to hire me.”

 

“Even with your record?”

 

“Someone from the shelter put in a good word.” He crossed his arms and locked eyes with me. “What’s wrong with you anyway?” he asked.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean, you’re not even happy that I’m alive and getting healthy. You look like someone just knocked you upside the head with a baseball bat.” He walked closer and grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me. “Wake up, JB. Wake the fuck up.”

 

I pushed him away. “Get the fuck off me, Gil.”

 

“What? What are you going to do about it, tough guy?” he laughed, grabbing my shoulders again.

 

“Gil, I’m fucking serious. I’m not in the mood.” I grabbed his arms and tried to force him away from me.

 

He ducked under and grabbed me by the waist, hoisting me in the air. “Not in the mood, huh? You freaking baby!” he yelled, hysterically laughing. “Now what are you going to do, huh JB?”

 

I pushed myself off him and he let me go. I stumbled backwards, my face red with anger. “I should knock your teeth out,” I said, my fists clenched.

 

Gilbert’s laughter faded, along with his smile. “Dude, you’re seriously mad right now?”

 

“You can’t just walk in here and act like everything’s cool, Gil. You’ve been sick for years. Years. You’ve messed with my head too many times.”

 

His smile went away. “Don’t get like that with me, JB. I don’t owe you anything, man. I’ve been sick, okay? Do you yell at someone who’s got cancer for messing with your head?”

 

“You don’t have fucking cancer, though. You’re a junkie.”

 

As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it. Gil nodded his head once, turned on his heel and walked away from me. I stood there, feeling stupid, but angry and embarrassed too. It was a bad combination. Part of me wanted to apologize, but the other part of me wanted to justify what I’d said.

 

I thought about all the times I’d been scared he would die on me, all of the times I tried to talk sense to him, risked my own safety to try and help him.

 

Meanwhile, he was leaving. The door to the apartment opened and slammed shut as he exited.

 

I stood there, my thoughts racing. I didn’t want to be the one to say I was wrong, but it occurred to me that this was exactly the kind of confrontation that might make him fall off the wagon again.

 

Did I really want to be responsible for Gil getting fucked up again?

 

The answer was obvious, and I bolted out of the apartment after him, catching him just as he went outside.

 

“Gil!” I yelled, but he ignored me and kept walking.

 

I left the building after him, and finally got him to stop and turn around. When he looked at me, he had tears in his eyes. “Junkie? Is that what I am to you? A fucking junkie?” he yelled.