Losing Hope:A Novel

By: Colleen Hoover

Chapter Five

Les,

Happy five-week deathiversary.

Sorry I haven’t kept you up to speed lately, but a lot has happened. You’re going to love this. I, Dean Holder, got arrested.

I got into a fight at school defending your honor two weeks ago. Well, I guess I can’t really call it a fight, per se. I think two people have to be involved to constitute a fight and this incident was definitely one-sided.

Anyway, I was taken into custody. I was barely there for three hours before Mom bailed me out, though, so it sounds more badass than it actually was. I will admit, it was the first time I’ve ever been thankful she’s a lawyer.

I’m a little more than upset right now and I don’t really know what to do about it. Mom has been struggling a lot lately and my little incident at school really didn’t help matters. She thinks she failed us. You killing yourself left her completely doubting her abilities as a mother, which is really hard for me to watch. Now that I went and fucked up, too, she’s doubting herself even more. So much so that she’s forcing me to go stay with Dad for a while.

I think it’s all too much for her. After I beat that asshole up at school, she admitted to me that she thinks I need more help than she’s able to give me right now. I did everything I could to change her mind, but after my court hearing this morning, it seems the judge agrees with her. Dad is on his way here right now to pick me up. Five more hours and I’ll be heading back to our hometown.

Back to where the downhill slope began.

Do you remember how things used to be when we were kids? Before I let Hope climb into that car?

Things were good. Really good. Mom and Dad were happy. We were happy. We loved our neighborhood, our house, our cat that kept jumping in that damn well in the backyard. I don’t even remember that cat’s name, but I remember him being the stupidest damn cat I’ve ever encountered.

It wasn’t until the day I walked away from Hope, leaving her crying in the front yard, that our lives began going downhill. After that day everything changed. The reporters showed up, the stress intensified, and our innocent trust in other people completely disappeared.

Mom wanted to move out of town and Dad didn’t want to leave his job. She didn’t like the fact that we still lived next door to where it happened. Remember how she wouldn’t let us go outside alone for years after Hope was kidnapped? She was so scared the same thing would happen to us.

They tried to not let the stress affect their marriage, but it eventually ended up being too much. I remember the day they told us they were divorcing and selling the house, and that Mom was moving us here to be closer to her family. I’ll never forget it because, aside from Hope being taken, it was the worst day of my life.

But it seemed like your best.

You were so excited to move. Why, Les? I wish I had thought to ask you while you were alive. I want to know what it was you hated about living there so much, because I really don’t want to go back to Austin. I don’t want to have to leave Mom. I don’t want to have to stay with Dad and pretend that I’m okay with him giving up on his family all those years ago. I don’t want to go back to a town where every time I turn a corner, I’m looking for Hope.

I miss you so damn much, Les, but it’s different from the way I miss Hope. With you, I know it’s not a possibility that I’ll ever see you again. I know you’re gone and you’re not suffering anymore. But I don’t have that sense of closure with Hope. Because I don’t know that she’s not suffering anymore. I don’t know if she’s dead or alive. My mind does this awful thing where it imagines the worst possible scenarios for her, and I hate it.

What are the chances that the only two girls in my life I’ve ever loved . . . I’ve lost? It’s killing me piece by piece every single day. I know I should probably find a way to try to get over it . . . to let go of the blame. But to be honest, I don’t want to get over it. I don’t want to forget that my inability to protect either of you is why I’m the only one of us left. I deserve to be reminded every second that I’m alive that I let both of you down, so that I can be conscious not to let myself ever do this again to anyone else.

Yeah, I definitely need a reminder. Maybe I should get a tattoo.

H

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