The Need Boxset(4)

By: K.I. Lynn & N. Isabelle Blanco



“Dummy, gimme your other hand!”

She’s still staring at the ground crying but throws her other hand up in a movement that almost jerks her other one out of my hand. All of her weight pulls me forward and she drops. Her scream pierces the air, but I’ve still got her.

“Kira, you need to calm down.” She’s struggling, freaking out, making it harder for me to lift her. I adjust my legs, pressing one knee next to the opening and the other higher to give me some leverage.

“B–Brayden!”

“Listen to me.” I need to calm her down so we can get her up. “Put your feet against the tree.”

“What?”

“Put your feet against the trunk. Can you do that?”

Hiccupping whimpers come from her, but she moves. On the first attempt, her foot slides and her body swings back.

“Kira!” Ryan’s back and his eyes are wide, locked on his sister.

“Go get a ladder from the garage!” I scream down at him.

He nods and runs across the yard.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

“I’m scared!”

“I know, but I’ve got you. I’ll never let you go.”

Her bottom lip trembles. “Promise?”

“I promise.” My shoulders ache and my hands are getting sweaty. It’s such an awkward position, I’m not sure how much longer I can hold it. If only I could get a better grip.

She almost slips out of my grip again and her scream pierces through me.

There’s no way I can let her fall.

No way I can let her get hurt.

If something happens to Kira, I’ll never be okay.

Ever.

What if she dies falling from this height?

I can’t live without her. I just freaking can’t!

A rush goes through me—of anger, of strength, I don’t know, but grunting, I throw my upper body back and heave her up through the opening, yanking on her arms so that she flies right onto me.

She lands on top of me, crying, trembling.

I trap her in my arms, squeezing down on her with all my might, shaking just as hard as she is. Whimpering, she hugs me back, sprawled on my lap, alive. Okay.

I got her. I saved her. “You scared the shit out of me, dumbass.”

“You’re not supposed to cuss at me, dumbass.” Her reply is shaky, but has enough of her trademark attitude in it to make me smile.

I’ve never felt this light-headed. Tightening my arms around her, I press my lips to the top of her head. Her cat ears must have fallen off. “You can’t do that ever again. Can’t scare me like that. I thought you were going to die.”

“An–and you would have cared?” Her whispered, sad question angers me so much I can’t talk for two seconds.

“Of course I would, damn it! You’re my best friend!”

She snuggles into my chest, her head tucked under my chin. “You’re my best friend, too. Thank you for saving me. I love you, Brayden.”

I never imagined I’d hear those words from her. Throat tight, I whisper into her hair, “You, too, Kira,” and it doesn’t feel awkward like I’d imagined.

It feels right, actually.

Ryan returns with the ladder and he climbs back up toward us with a pale face and wide eyes.

“She’s okay. I’ve got her.” I try to move Kira off my lap so we can climb down, but she shakes her head and refuses to let go.

And that’s more than all right. I don’t want to let her go either. It’s going to be tricky to climb with her in my arms, but I’ll figure it out.

“Here, let me help you with her,” Ryan says, reaching for her.

I tense.

Kira does too and burrows closer. “Let him carry me, please.”

I’m glaring at him, angry that he wants to take her out of my arms for some reason.

His worried eyes bounce between her and me, doing that weird thing where he seems like he’s scanning us.

I don’t care. I’m not letting his sister go.

After what just happened—that feeling of almost losing her in my life—I don’t think I’m ever going to let her go.





October 2, 2008





The pond I’m sitting in front of is still, quiet. Buildings reflect off the glassy surface, making me miss the green of our suburban neighborhood.

I hate being here. Hate why I’m here and what brought me to this place.

The divorce.

Because it’s finally happening, and although it feels like it’s a long time coming, it still blows.

My father cheated on my mother and she caught him. For months, I fucking knew it was his fault. Having it confirmed just makes me feel even more sick inside.

They were yelling and screaming, and I had to get away. I’m just outside, waiting, deciding. It’s plagued me ever since they told me: who am I going to live with?

Also By K.I. Lynn & N. Isabelle Blanco

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