“You hit him.”
“Yes, I fucking hit him. Was that not obvious?”
“How Elle hasn’t figured it out is beyond me, between the bruise on your hand and his mouth.”
“Imogene saw the whole thing.”
“Yes. Right before she flashed us her tits from the window.”
My eyes widened in disbelief. “What? Are you serious?”
He nodded. “True story.”
We burst into much needed laughter. Tears were falling from my eyes again, and I couldn’t be sure whether they were tears of sadness or laughter or both.
When the laughter faded, I looked down at his hand and said, “I’m sorry about your bruise.”
He stretched his fingers out, looking down at his knuckles. “This is nothing compared to what I fucking feel inside, Evangeline. Anyway, it really was nothing. I’d do anything to protect you.”
I love you, Sevin. I love you so much.
He looked so vulnerable and desperate, like he’d do anything to make me stay. His hair was messed up from my fingers having raked through it. He looked so incredibly sexy—hungry. I wanted nothing more than for him to ravage me on the grass. My body was tingling, throbbing, aching all over like never before.
He walked toward me. “You were crying when I caught up with you. You’re not happy. Please let me make you happy.”
“At the expense of what? I don’t love Callum, okay? You know that. But he’s the only option I have at the moment for a fresh start. I don’t know that I’m even gonna go through with marrying him. Right now, the only thing I need is another place to live for the time being. My staying will only destroy my sister and ruin your future.”
“I don’t want a future without you in it.”
“I have to go.”
“Don’t run away from me again.”
“I have to.”
Taking off without another word, I ran like hell toward the ranch, leaving Sevin behind in the middle of the road. But he was right. I could run all I wanted from him, but he was still with me. Needing him with all of my heart and soul may have been a sin, but it was the truth. He was my truth. Even if that made me a sinner. Very soon, my truth and my sins would catch up with me faster than I was ready for.
I’m writing to let you know that I will be leaving at the end of this weekend for Missouri. I know this is going to come as a shock because it’s sooner than anyone ever expected, but it’s for the best.
There is something I need to tell you before I go.
I debated for a long time whether I should write to you. I feel safer communicating with you this way because for obvious reasons, I no longer trust myself to be physically around you.
Anyway, back to the point of this letter. You said once, in regards to your mother dying, that you felt that you killed the one person who would ever love you. You were wrong. You are capable of being loved. I’m proof of that. Because I love you. Unconditionally. I wish I didn’t.
I love your passion. I love your art. I love how you appreciate my oddities. I love your music and how you use it to express yourself to me. I love the way you look at me. I love how you make me feel. I love who I am—myself—when I’m around you. I love YOU. I love you, Sevin. No matter what happens, I need you to know that.
My feelings are too strong for me to handle. Through my weakness, I’ve put myself in situations with you that tested both of us. Even though I don’t regret any of the secret time we spent together, it doesn’t change the fact that it was wrong. Sometimes, love also means putting the needs of those you love ahead of your own. Elle doesn’t deserve a big sister betraying her behind her back. If you love me, then please take care of her. The only thing worse than the hurt I’m feeling now, is imagining Elle experiencing the same if she were to ever find out about us.
I don’t want you to worry about me. I have a good head on my shoulders. If things between Callum and me don’t feel right, I promise I won’t marry him. I’m going to be making more money at Hughes Foods than I do at Sutton. I plan to save every penny until I can figure out a plan for myself.
Maybe someday I’ll get over you, and then I can come back. Until then, this is what I have to do.
I will never forget that kiss for as long as I live.
Love always, Evangeline
P.S. Please destroy this letter as I can’t risk anyone finding it.
Holding the letter in my hand, it felt like a death. For the first time in my life, it was almost possible to imagine what my father felt like when he lost my mother. In some ways, the fact that Evangeline would still be alive and moving on with her life seemed like it would be harder to handle. It would have been easier if she just disappeared into thin air.
Opening my cabinet, I took out a small bottle of Jack Daniels that had been harbored away for some time. I returned to my bed, downing the alcohol in one long sip as I continued staring down at her meticulous handwriting.
There was a knock at the door.
Shoving the letter under my bed, I walked over to answer it. It was Elle and Emily.
Elle walked past me while Emily turned on the television in my living room.
“So, I have some news,” Elle said, looking sad.
“Evangeline is leaving for Missouri this weekend. She’s moving in with the Hughes family. I thought it wouldn’t be for another few months, but it’s happening now.”