Losing Hope:A Novel

By: Colleen Hoover

Chapter Three-and-a-half

Les,

Amy’s here. She’s in your room, going through your shit.

I wonder if she had any clue as to what you were about to do? I know sometimes girls share stuff with their girlfriends that they wouldn’t share with anyone else—even twin brothers. Did you ever tell her how you really felt? Did you give her any hints at all? I’m really hoping you didn’t, because that would mean she probably feels pretty damn guilty right about now. She doesn’t deserve to feel guilty over what you did, Les. She’s been your best friend for seven years now, so I hope to hell you thought about that before you made such a selfish decision.

I feel guilty for what you did, but I deserve to feel guilty. There’s a responsibility that comes along with being a brother that doesn’t necessarily come along with being a best friend. It was my job to protect you, not Amy’s. So she doesn’t deserve to feel guilty.

Maybe that was my problem. Maybe I spent so much time trying to protect you from Grayson that I never thought who I really needed to be protecting you from was yourself.

H

? ? ?

There’s a light tap on my bedroom door, so I close the notebook and set it on the nightstand. Amy pushes open the door and I sit up on the bed. I motion for her to come in so she eases through the door and shuts it behind her. She walks over to my dresser and sets the pictures she collected down, running her finger over the top one. Tears are silently streaming down her cheeks.

“Come here,” I say, holding a hand out to her. She walks closer to me and takes my hand, then completely breaks down the second she makes eye contact with me. I continue to pull her forward until she’s on the bed and I wrap my arms around her. She curls up against my chest, sobbing uncontrollably. She’s shaking so hard and it’s almost a devastated cry, but like I said before, devastated should be reserved for mothers.

I close my eyes tightly and try not to let it all hit me like it’s hitting Amy right now, but it’s hard. I can hold it in for my mother because she needs me to be strong for her. Amy doesn’t, though. If Amy feels anything like I do, then she just needs to know there’s someone else out there just as blindsided and heartbroken as she is.

“Shh,” I say, stroking her hair. I know she doesn’t want me to console her with empty, overused words. She just needs someone to understand how she feels and I may be the only one she knows who truly does. I don’t tell her to try to stop crying, because I know it’s impossible. I press my cheek against her head, hating the fact that I’m now crying, too. I’ve done a pretty damn good job of keeping it in, but I can’t anymore. I continue to hold her and she continues to hold on to me because it’s nice to be able to find solace in such an ugly, lonely situation.

Listening to Amy cry reminds me of all the nights I used to be in this same position with Les. She wouldn’t want me to talk to her or help her stop crying. Les just needed me to hold her and let her cry, even if I had no idea why she needed it. Just being able to be here for Amy in this same small way gives me that familiar sense of being needed like I used to feel with Les. I haven’t felt needed since Les decided she didn’t need anyone.

“I’m so sorry,” Amy says, her voice muffled by my shirt.

“For what?”

She catches her breath and attempts to stop crying, but her effort is wasted with the new tears that follow. “I should have known, Holder. I had no idea. I was her best friend and I feel like everyone blames me and . . . I don’t know. Maybe they should. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been so wrapped up in my relationship with Thomas that I missed something she was trying to tell me.”

I continue stroking her hair, empathizing with every word coming out of her mouth. “You and me both,” I sigh. I wipe the moisture away from my eyes with the back of my hand. “You know, I keep trying to pinpoint moments that might have changed the outcome. Things I might have said to her or things she might have said to me. But even if I was able to go back and change something about the past, I’m not sure that it would have changed the outcome. You don’t know that, either. Les is the only one who knows for sure why she went through with it and unfortunately she’s the only one not here to enlighten us.”

Amy lets out a small laugh, although I’m not sure why. She pulls back slightly and looks at me with a solemn expression. “She better be glad she’s not here, because I’m so mad at her, Holder.” Her somberness gives way to another sob and she brings a hand to her eyes. “I’m so, so mad at her for not confiding in me and I feel like I can’t say that to anyone but you,” she whispers.

I move her hand away from her face and look her in the eyes because I don’t want her to feel like I’m judging her for that comment. “Don’t feel guilty, Amy. Okay?”

She nods and smiles a sympathetic smile, then looks down at our hands resting on the pillow between us. I lay my hand on top of hers and smooth reassuring strokes across the top of it with my fingers. I know how she feels and she knows how I feel and it’s good to have that, even if only for a moment.

I want to tell her thank you for being there for Les all these years, but it seems so inappropriate to thank her for being there when she’s feeling the exact opposite right now. Instead, I remain quiet and bring my hand up to her face. I don’t know if it’s the magnitude of the moment or the fact that she made me feel somewhat needed again or if it’s simply because my head and my heart have been numb for so many days. Whatever it is, it’s here and I don’t want it to go away yet. I just let it completely take over while I slowly lean forward and press my mouth to hers.

I didn’t intend to kiss her. In fact, I expect myself to pull away any second, but I don’t. I expect her to push me away, but she doesn’t. The moment my mouth meets hers, she parts her lips and sighs as if this is exactly what she needs from me. Oddly enough, that makes me want to kiss her even more. I kiss her, knowing she’s my sister’s best friend. I kiss her, knowing she has a boyfriend. I kiss her, knowing this isn’t something I would do with her under any circumstance other than in this moment.

She slides her hand up my arm and slips her fingers inside the sleeve of my shirt, lightly tracing the contours of the muscles in my arm. I pull her closer to the middle of the bed with me and deepen our kiss. The more we kiss, the more we both recognize the fact that desire and need might just be the only thing that can minimize grief. We simultaneously grow more impatient, doing whatever we can to rid ourselves of the grief completely. Every stroke of her hand against my skin pulls me farther out of my own mind and more into the moment with her, so I kiss her more desperately, needing her to take my mind completely away from my life right now. My hand makes its way up her shirt and the second I cup her breast, she moans and digs her nails into my forearm, arching her back.

That’s a nonverbal cue for yes if I’ve ever seen one.

I’ve only got two things remaining on my mind as she begins to pull off my shirt and my hands are eagerly fumbling with the zipper on her jeans.


1. I need to get these clothes off her.

2. Thomas.


I normally don’t make a habit of thinking about other guys while I’m making out with girls, but I normally don’t make a habit of making out with other guys’ girls. Amy isn’t mine to kiss, but here I am doing it anyway. Her clothes aren’t mine to be helping her out of, but here I am doing it anyway. Her panties aren’t something I should be slipping my hand inside of, but here I am doing it anyway.

I pull away from her mouth when I touch her and watch as she moans and presses her head back against my pillow. I keep doing what I’m doing to her with one hand while I lean across the bed and pull a condom out of the drawer with my other hand. I tear it open with my teeth, watching her intently the whole time. I know that neither of us is in the right frame of mind right now or this wouldn’t be happening. Regardless if we’re in the right frame of mind or not, at least we’re in the same frame of mind. I’m hoping we are, anyway.

I know how incredibly and completely wrong it is to ask a girl about her boyfriend when she’s thirty seconds away from completely forgetting all about him, but I have to. I don’t want her regretting this any more than she already will. Than we both will.

“Amy?” I whisper. “What about Thomas?”

She whimpers slightly and keeps her eyes closed, bringing her palms up to my chest. “He’s at his house,” she mutters, giving no hint that the mention of his name is making her want to stop what we’re doing. “He had to go help his dad with some yard stuff after school.”

Her exact repetition of the answer she gave me when I asked about him in the driveway makes me laugh. She opens her eyes and looks up at me, probably confused about why I would laugh at a time like this. She just smiles, though. I’m thankful she smiled, because I’m really sick of everyone’s tears. I’m so damn sick of all the tears.

And shit. If she doesn’t feel guilty right this second, then I’m sure as hell not about to feel guilty. We can regret this all we need to later.

I lower my mouth to hers at the exact moment she gasps, then moans loudly—completely and wholeheartedly forgetting all about her boyfriend. Every last bit of her attention is one hundred percent focused on the movement of my hand, and every last bit of my attention is one hundred percent focused on getting this condom on before she starts thinking about her boyfriend again.

I ease myself on top of her, ease my mouth back to hers, ease myself inside her, and completely take advantage of the situation, knowing how much I’ll regret it later. Knowing how much I already regret it.

But here I am, doing it anyway.

? ? ?

She’s dressed and sitting on the edge of my bed, putting on her shoes. I’ve already got my jeans on and I’m walking to the bedroom door, not sure what to say. I have no idea how or why any of that just happened, and based on the look on her face, neither does she. She stands up and walks toward the door, picking up the pictures she grabbed from Les’s room as she passes by my dresser. I hold the door open, unsure if I should follow her out or kiss her good-bye or tell her I’ll call her.

What the hell did I just do?

She walks into the hallway and pauses, then turns around to face me. She doesn’t make eye contact, though. She just stares at the pictures in her hands. “I just came for pictures, right?” she asks cautiously. A worried frown consumes her face and I realize she’s afraid I might think what just happened between us was more than it actually was.

I want to reassure her that I’m not going to say anything. I lift her chin so that she’s looking me in the eyes and I smile at her. “You came for pictures. That’s it, Amy. And Thomas is at home, helping his dad with the yard work.”

She laughs, if you can even call it that, then she looks at me appreciatively. There’s an awkward silence for a moment before she finally laughs again. “What the hell was that, anyway?” she says, waving her hand in the direction of my bedroom. “That’s not us, Holder. We’re not that type of people.”

We’re not that type of people. I agree with that. I lean my head against the doorframe and already feel the regret seeping in. I don’t know what came over me or why the fact that she’s not remotely mine for the taking didn’t stop me in my tracks. The only excuse I can come up with is that whatever happened between us just now is a direct product of our grief. And our grief is a direct product of Les’s selfish decision.

“Let’s blame it on Les,” I say, only half-teasing. “It wouldn’t have happened if she had been here.”

Amy smiles. “Yeah,” she says, squinting playfully. “What a bitch, making us do something despicable like that. How dare she.”

I laugh. “Right?”

She holds up the pictures in her hand. “Thanks for . . .” she looks at the pictures and pauses for a moment, then brings her eyes back to mine. “Just . . . thank you, Holder. For listening.”

I acknowledge her thanks with a single nod and watch as she turns to head down the stairs. I close the door and walk back to my bed, picking up the notebook on the way over. I open it up to the letter where I left off before Amy walked into my room an hour earlier.

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