Ricochet (Addicted #1.5)

By: Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

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I fucked up.

That’s the only thought I have when I digest my surroundings. A live DJ blasts music from wall-engulfed amps while people guzzle colored drinks. My youngest sister, Daisy, sips beer from a Solo cup, scouting her model friends. I fear that she’ll pull a guy over and try to hook us up—to take my mind off Loren Hale. Five hours ago, I believed a house party would be a safe choice.

Not true.

So. Not true.

I should be chastely tucked beneath my comforter, sleeping through the New Year’s riffraff at my place with Rose. Only days ago, Lo—my best friend, my boyfriend, literally a guy who encompasses my entire life—left for rehab. Rose and I spent a full Monday packing my belongings. And I sorted through pictures, knickknacks and valuables, bursting into tears in random spurts. Besides clothes and toiletries, what’s mine was Lo’s. I felt like I was going through a divorce.

I still do.

Only an hour in, Rose called movers and paid them to finish packing my old apartment and unpacking at our new house. She bought a four-bedroom villa near Princeton with five acres of sprawling, lush land and a white wrap-around porch, black shutters and purple hydrangeas. It reminds me of the southern homes in Savannah or the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. When I told her this, she stood with her hands on her hips, appraising the building with those powerful, yellow eyes. Then she broke into a smile and said, “I suppose so.”

The isolation from male bodies doesn’t stop my flyaway mind from traveling to bad places. Mostly, I worry about Lo. I toss and turn at night only to have to swallow large doses of sleeping pills to rest. I miss him. And before he left—I never imagined a world without Lo here. My throat closed up at the idea, my heart dropped and my head spun. Now that the moment has arrived, I realize that he took a piece of me with him. When I told this to Rose, she patted my shoulder and said I was being irrational. That’s easy for her to say. She’s intelligent, confident and independent. Everything I’m not.

And I don’t think…I don’t think many people can really understand what it’s like to be so invested in someone—to share every single moment and then to have them ripped from you. We have an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship.

I know this.

And I’m trying to change, to grow beyond him, but why does that have to be a stipulation?

I want to grow with him.

I want to be with him.

I want to love Lo without people telling me that our love is too much.

One day, I hope we’ll get there. Hope, that’s all I have to go on right now. It’s my driving force. It’s literally what keeps me standing.

The first few days in withdrawals tortured me, but it helped that I hid in my room. I refused to see the real world until I could push past the most fervent urges. So far, I’ve contained my sexual needs by drowning in self-love. I’ve thrown out half of my porn to try to appease Rose and to convince myself that I’m on the path to recovery like Lo. But I’m not so sure that’s the case. Not when my stomach clenches at the thought of sex. But mostly, I want to have sex with him.

And I worry about that fifty-percent chance where I’ll drag another guy into a bathroom, where I’ll pretend he’s Lo for a single moment to satisfy my hunger. I shouldn’t be here. At a house party. Distance from wild things has helped so far. This—this isn’t even close to my wildest moments, but it’s enough to push me someplace bad.

When Daisy called and invited me to a “house party,” I imagined a few people mixing strong drinks and huddled around a television to watch music performances. Not this. Not an Upper East Side apartment crammed with models…male models. I can barely scoot an inch without a body part invading my personal space. I don’t even look to see what kind of ligament brushes my skin.

I should have told Daisy no. I have many fears since Lo has left, but my greatest one is failing him. I want to wait for Lo, and if I’m not strong enough to squash these compulsions before he returns from rehab, then our relationship will really be over. No more Lily and Lo. No more us. He’ll be healthy, and I’ll be stuck on a destructive turntable alone.

So I have to try. Even if something in my brain says go. I keep reminding myself of what waits for me if I don’t wait for him. Emptiness. Loneliness.

Also By Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

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