Mending Scars (The Scars of Us #2)
by Nikki Narvaez
Even though Kaleb is out of Kaiya's life, the scars he left behind remain a constant reminder of the pain he subjected her to for most of her life. Still tormented by those old demons, and plagued by the events of that traumatic night, Kaiya has more to deal with as she moves forward with Ryker.
Ryker's past continues to haunt him when something unexpected flips his and Kaiya's lives upside down. Neither are prepared for what's to come.
What happens when the past refuses to stay buried?
Will their love continue to be enough to overcome the obstacles they'll face, or are their scars too severe to mend?
When I reached my apartment, I slid my key into the lock and twisted the knob. Anxiety knotted my stomach when I entered, worry for Kamden eating at me since he hadn’t answered my phone call. “Kam?”
He didn’t answer.
Probably passed out, wasted.
I made my way to his room, and the door was wide open. Kamden lay face down, wearing a muscle shirt and a pair of gym shorts. A half-empty bottle of Jack was tipped over on the floor beside the bed. Kamden’s arm dangled over the side of the mattress next to it. “Kam?” I slowly crept toward him before sitting beside him.
No response again.
His mouth was wide open and drool dampened the pillowcase.
I gently shook him on the shoulder, but he didn’t stir. I jostled him more forcefully, making his upper body shake. He grumbled obscenities and moved slightly, but didn’t wake up. I continued to shake him, and he finally jerked awake, sitting up and roughly grabbing me by the forearm.
“Kam! It’s just me—it’s Kaiya!” My heart pounded as I attempted to pry my arm from his grasp, pulling at his fingers with my own. He squeezed my arm so tightly that I knew I was going to have bruises.
His glazed, bloodshot eyes darted over me before he let go. “Sorry,” he muttered, rubbing his hands over his face. I couldn’t help but notice his stubble—it looked like he hadn’t shaved in days.
I pulled my arm to my chest protectively and rubbed it with my other hand. Glancing down, I could see bruises from Kamden’s fingertips already forming.
Shit. Ryker’s going to be pissed.
When I looked back up at Kamden, he had his elbows on his knees, cradling his head in his hands. His eyes were closed, and his face was scrunched in discomfort.
“Let me get you some water,” I said as I stood. I walked to the kitchen and grabbed a water bottle out of the refrigerator before returning back to Kamden, who was still in the same position.
Sitting back down next to him, I nudged his arm with the water bottle and handed it to him. He took several slow sips before laying back on the bed and groaning.
“You need to stop drinking so much, Kam. I’m worried about you.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’m fine,” he mumbled, draping his arm over his eyes.
I scoffed. “You are not fine. Look at you!” I gestured at him with my hands, even though he couldn’t see me.
“Don’t fucking start, Ky,” he growled in a combination of anger and irritation.
We’d had this conversation before, and I usually let it go because one, I was a coward, and two, I didn’t want to fight with him. He had always been there for me, and I wanted to give him his space and let him cope in his own way like he had let me. But this was getting out of hand. “Kam, please talk to me. Don’t shut me out.”
“Oh, so you can do it to me, but I can’t do it to you?” He sat up abruptly and glared at me before pointing his finger in my face. “You’re such a fucking hypocrite, Ky.”
I flinched, hating the way his words cut through me and impaled my heart. My eyes watered as I meekly replied, “Kam, I-”
He looked away from me, avoiding my gaze. “I think you should go.”
I was about to do as he said, but the stubborn side of me said fuck that. I swiped the few tears that had fallen down my cheeks and crossed my arms over my chest. “No.”
Kamden’s head snapped to me, and his nostrils flared. “Get out, Kaiya.”
He may not have been yelling, but there was no mistaking the ire in his low tone. He was pissed off—really pissed off.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, and held my ground, maintaining eye contact as I repeated, “No.”
We stared at each other for what felt like forever until he finally sighed and dropped his head, grumbling under his breath.
Uncrossing my arms, I reached one hand toward him and linked our fingers together. “I’m here for you, Kam.”
After several seconds, he finally squeezed my hand back, but remained silent, almost as if internally debating whether or not to confide in me.
“Talk to me.” My tone was pleading, practically begging him to open up.
“I’m tired of talking—that’s all the therapist wants me to do is talk, talk, talk. And for what?” He thrust our joined hands and his other arm forward as he spoke, the volume of his voice increasing with every word. “She doesn’t understand shit. She doesn’t know our family. She doesn’t know what we went through, what you went through, so what’s the fucking point?”
He was right—that’s why I never went to therapy. A psychiatrist would never understand what I had experienced. But Kam and I had endured everything together and understood what the other had gone through.
“What if I go with you? Would that help?” I spontaneously spoke, then immediately regretted it.
Shit, why did I say that?
He brought his eyes up to mine, and the hope that lay beneath the drunken haze in them tightened my chest. I knew I’d do anything to help him if that glimmer meant I was getting my brother back.
“You’d do that for me?” Even his tone was brighter, optimistic.
Yeah, I’m fucked.
I smiled softly. “Yeah, I would.” I squeezed his hand tighter.
“You hate therapists,” he remarked with a chuckle.
“I do,” I admitted with a shrug. “But I love you. And I’d do anything to help you.”
My words caused something amazing to happen—Kamden smiled. The first real one I’d seen since the shooting. Months had gone by since I’d seen his beautiful smile, the one that had gotten me through so many rough times. The one I missed seeing every day.
“I love you too, sorella.” Pulling me to him, he embraced me in a hug. I scooted closer on the bed and wrapped my arms around his waist. He smelt like liquor and sweat, but I didn’t care. I was taking another step to getting my brother back.
“We’ll get through this,” I promised.
I wasn’t going to fail Kamden, just like he’d never failed me over the years.
I am 28 years old and live in the great state of Texas. When I'm not writing, I'm either playing poker or reading. I have 2 dogs, Bella and Oreo, and a cat, Cupcake, who love to cuddle with me while I'm writing.
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