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People deserve a second chance, right? How about a third or fourth?
But what if I can’t even admit to myself who I am? I was truthful once before. I came out to one other person, and he left me broken and scarred. He destroyed the boy I was. I don’t even use the same name anymore; I go by Trent now. But I survived the streets. I got lucky and I made something of myself. I’m happy, sort of.
It’s Angelo who lights up my life. He’s my world. My rock and my family. He’s always there for me. But I keep hurting him. I say stupid things, and I always keep him at a distance. Still, he knows me better than anyone.
And I want him. But I can’t let myself go there. Not again.
I’ve lived in denial for so long and it’s killing me. In my weakest moments, I reach for Angelo and when he slips into my arms, I can breathe. He’s my solace. Selflessly, he’s there and he never expects anything in return. No judgment, not even an explanation. Having him in my arms is everything, and it’s getting harder to push him away. I’m not sure I want to anymore.
He doesn’t date, but he deserves to be loved. Cherished. Then he drops a bombshell—he’s found The One. I wish he’d fallen for me. I need that second chance to tell him. I need to risk it all because in his arms, I’m safe. I’m me.
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I stumbled through the door and closed it as quietly as I could. I had no idea what time it was, but it was late. There were no lights on in any of the houses I’d passed, and even the barking dogs were fast asleep. I wasn’t sure if I’d blacked out or not, but I didn’t remember getting tossed down the front steps of Ryan’s house. When I’d woken up, my head throbbed like a bitch and every muscle in my body ached. I was cold, my shivering so bad that my teeth were chattering. I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. I was sticky, from what I wasn’t sure but at least some of it was my own blood—my nose? My eyebrow? There were other places I couldn’t think about that were sticky too. My skin crawled. I wanted nothing more than to scrub myself down with a steel brush, to remove every particle, every cell of his off me. I shuddered.
I was dirty. Exposed. Weak.
After I’d woken, I had to get out of there. I had to leave before I vomited all over his front lawn, and there was no way I’d let him see how much he’d destroyed by doing that. So I’d crawled along the path to the brick letterbox and used it to pull myself upright. The world spun around me and I’d breathed through my swollen nose, groaning from the pain. Stepping away tentatively, I’d stumbled down the street. I fell, grazing my hands and knees on the pebbled drives and the tarmac roads. It was hard to keep upright but the fences helped. The streetlights had hurt my eyes. I’d shied away from them.
I was numb. Distant. Far away.
The walls supported my weight as I stumbled through the house to the bathroom.
Leaving the light off, I closed and locked the door, propping the washing basket behind it—as if that would stop anyone getting in there. I looked in the mirror, but it was dark enough that I couldn’t see myself. Thank God. I reached behind the curtain and turned the hot water on, not even bothering with the cold. My socks were wet. Did they get wet when I toed my shoes off outside? I didn’t know why, but it seemed important in that moment. I needed to figure it out, to know exactly what had happened to get them that way. I dropped one in my fumbling and reached down to pick it up. A piercing pain sliced through my head, fireworks lighting up behind my eyelids. The throb behind my eyes pounded. My head swam, the pain so visceral that my stomach heaved. My knees hit the floor, and I reached for the lid on the toilet. I retched into the bowl, over and over until I was spent, purging myself of everything I’d eaten. If only I could do the same to my memories. To my body.
My Truth, book 1
By day Ann Grech lives in the corporate world and can be found sitting behind a desk typing away at reports and papers or lecturing to a room full of students. She graduated with a PhD in 2016 and is now an over-qualified nerd. Glasses, briefcase, high heels and a pencil skirt, she’s got the librarian look nailed too. If only they knew! She swears like a sailor, so that’s got to be a hint. The other one was “the look” from her tattoo artist when she told him that she wanted her kids initials “B” and “J” tattooed on her foot. It took a second to register that it might be a bad idea.
She’s never entirely fit in and loves escaping into a book—whether it’s reading or writing one. But she’s found her tribe now and loves her MM book world family. She dislikes cooking, but loves eating, can’t figure out technology, but is addicted to it, and her guilty pleasure is Byron Bay Cookies. Oh and shoes. And lingerie. And maybe handbags too. Well, if we’re being honest, we’d probably have to add her library too given the state of her credit card every month (what can she say, she’s a bookworm at heart)!