My tears, my heart, my laughter, my soul. Shattered like broken glass, raining down around me.

I wrap my arms over my head and try to wish away the last ten seconds.


“Goddammit, Lily,” I hear him say. “It’s not funny. This hand is my fucking career.”

I don’t look up at him. His voice doesn’t penetrate through my body this time. It feels like it’s stabbing me now, the sharpness of each of his words coming at me like swords. Then I feel him next to me, his goddamn hand on my back.


“Lily,” he says. “Oh, God. Lily.” He tries to pull my arms from my head, but I refuse to budge. I start shaking my head, wanting the last fifteen seconds to go away. Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person.

Fifteen seconds that we’ll never get back.

He pulls me against him and starts kissing the top of my head. “I’m so sorry. I just . . . I burned my hand. I panicked. You were laughing and . . . I’m so sorry, it all happened so fast. I didn’t mean to push you, Lily, I’m sorry.”

I don’t hear Ryle’s voice this time. All I hear is my father’s voice.

“I’m sorry, Jenny. It was an accident. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m sorry, Lily. It was an accident. I’m so sorry.”

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I just want him away from me. I use every ounce of strength I have in both my hands and legs and I force him the fuck away from me.

He falls backward, onto his hands. His eyes are full of genuine sorrow, but then they’re full of something else.

Worry? Panic?

He slowly pulls up his right hand and it’s covered in blood. Blood is trickling out of his palm, down his wrist. I look at the floor—at the shattered pieces of glass from the casserole dish. His hand. I just pushed him onto glass.

He turns around and pulls himself up. He sticks his hand under the stream of water and starts rinsing away the blood. I stand up, just as he pulls a sliver of glass out of his palm and tosses it on the counter.

I’m full of so much anger, but somehow, concern for his hand still finds its way out. I grab a towel and shove it into his fist. There’s so much blood.

It’s his right hand.

His surgery Monday.

I try to help stop the bleeding, but I’m shaking too bad. “Ryle, your hand.”

He pulls the hand away and, with his good hand, he lifts my chin. “Fuck the hand, Lily. I don’t care about my hand. Are you okay?” He’s looking back and forth between my eyes frantically as he assesses the cut on my face.

My shoulders begin to shake and huge, hurt-filled tears spill down my cheeks. “No.” I’m a little in shock, and I know he can hear my heart breaking with just that one word, because I can feel it in every part of me. “Oh my God. You pushed me, Ryle. You . . .” The realization of what has just happened hurts worse than the actual action.

Ryle wraps his arm around my neck and desperately holds me against him. “I’m so sorry, Lily. God, I’m so sorry.” He buries his face against my hair, squeezing me with every emotion inside of him. “Please don’t hate me. Please.”

His voice slowly starts to become Ryle’s voice again, and I feel it in my stomach, in my toes. His entire career depends on his hand, so it has to say something that he’s not even worried about it. Right? I’m so confused.

There’s too much happening. The smoke, the wine, the broken glass, the food splattered everywhere, the blood, the anger, the apologies, it’s too much.

“I’m so sorry,” he says again. I pull back and his eyes are red and I’ve never seen him look so sad. “I panicked. I didn’t mean to push you away, I just panicked. All I could think about was the surgery Monday and my hand and . . . I’m so sorry.” He presses his mouth to mine and breathes me in.

He’s not like my father. He can’t be. He’s nothing like that uncaring bastard.

We’re both upset and kissing and confused and sad. I’ve never felt anything like this moment—so ugly and painful. But somehow the only thing that eases the hurt just caused by this man is this man. My tears are soothed by his sorrow, my emotions soothed with his mouth against mine, his hand gripping me like he never wants to let go.

I feel his arms go around my waist and he picks me up, carefully stepping through the mess we’ve made. I can’t tell if I’m more disappointed in him or myself. Him for losing his temper in the first place or me for somehow finding comfort in his apology.

He carries me and kisses me all the way to my bedroom. He’s still kissing me when he lowers me to the bed and whispers, “I’m sorry, Lily.” He moves his lips to the spot on my eye that hit the cabinet, and he kisses me there. “I’m so sorry.”

His mouth is on mine again, hot and wet, and I don’t even know what’s happening to me. I’m hurting so much on the inside, yet my body craves his apology in the form of his mouth and hands on me. I want to lash out at him and react like I always wish my mother would have reacted when my father hurt her, but deep down I want to believe that it really was an accident. Ryle isn’t like my father. He’s nothing like him.

I need to feel his sorrow. His regret. I get both of these things in the way he kisses me. I spread my legs for him and his sorrow comes in another form. Slow, apologetic thrusts inside of me. Every time he enters me, he whispers another apology. And by some miracle, every time he pulls out of me, my anger leaves with him.

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