Stella's Awakening(166)

By: R.K. Ryde

“Conrad.” My voice is dull and flat, even to my own ears. “I’m sorry...”

“No, Stella, please, don’t do this. I love you. Come to me. Trust me. Just jump. Jump into my arms. I will catch you. I promise!”

His heart-broken pleas reach my ears, but they don’t register. I am numb.

My father grabs my upper arm, jostling me, snapping me from my daze. “Tell him,” he mouths.

And I do.

“I’m sorry Conrad. It’s over.”

The words are barely out before I realise what I’ve done. My legs crumble beneath me. I collapse in a heap, the phone flying from my hand, skittering across the floor.

A painful cry rips from my lungs. I slap the floor hard with my hand. Pain shoots through my palm and up my arm. I do it again. And again. Over and over I cry out, striking the floor, the physical pain somehow dulling the emotional pain stabbing at my soul, ripping me apart.

“Shhh.” My father kneels on the floor beside me, reaching for my hand, trying to stop me.

“Get away from me!” I scream, battering him away. “You’ve won! Are you happy now?”

Shock distorts my father’s face before he quickly masks it. He sits down beside me, pulling me into his lap. I struggle, arms and legs flailing, fighting off his consolation. But he persists and encircles me in his arms, holds me close and begins to rock. “Hush,” he whispers repeatedly, stroking my hair until my screams turn into sobs. Until my sobs turn into whimpers. Until my whimpers turn into hiccups.

Until I succumb to the numbness.

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