by Abbi Glines
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Everyone has that defining moment in their life. That one choice you have to make. I had my moment, and it has haunted me ever since. In those defining moments, you either pave a road to happiness or you regret every step from then on. For me, I don’t know which road would have been the best because between my two choices, neither of them included her.
I had been young and so fucking scared. Scared of being forced by my parents to be someone I didn’t want to be. Scared of making the wrong choice. Scared of leaving her. But mostly I’d been scared of losing her.
She was my regret. Leaving her changed me. The moment I climbed on my bike and drove out of Rosemary Beach, Florida, I left true joy behind. I’d only had that summer with her, three months that altered me forever. But what I would never be able to forgive myself for was that they had changed her just as much. She was beyond broken now. I couldn’t reach her.
Seeing her in pain broke my soul. Losing my cousin, Jace, had caused a deep pain in both of us, one I never wanted to relive. He would forever be in my heart. I’d never forget his laugh and the easy way he loved and lived his life. He didn’t live in the world of fear I inhabited. He chose his path and he walked it. He was the better man. And I had been able to stand back and let him have her. She deserved the better man.
Now he was gone and both of our worlds were thrown off balance. Because I couldn’t stand back anymore. No one was protecting her. No one was holding her, but and she wouldn’t fucking let me near her. She wasn’t going to let me fix the past. I’d severed any hope of that when I’d driven away and left her with no other choice but to be with Jace.
If only I could embrace the emptiness and accept it. But I couldn’t. Not when I saw her lost, beautiful face. She needed me as much as I needed her. Our story wasn’t over. It would never be over. If I had to stay here and watch over her, even though she wouldn’t let me get near her, I would. For the rest of my motherfucking life. I’d stay right here. Making sure my Bethy was okay.