Carry Me Home (The Home Series: Book Three)

Carry Me Home (The Home Series: Book Three) by Megan Nugen Isbell

Book: Carry Me Home (The Home Series: Book Three) by Megan Nugen Isbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Megan Nugen Isbell
and he ran a hand over his head.
    “I was in a bad place, Riley.  I’m not trying to make excuses for what I did, because there are no excuses.  But you have to know, leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
    “Then why did you?” I demanded as I felt tears burning the backs of my eyes. 
    “I was scared.  I didn’t know what I was gonna do.  I had no way of paying for college.  I had to get away.  I couldn’t stay here and I couldn’t watch as I dragged you down with me.”
    “You wouldn’t have dragged me down.”
    “This is exactly why I did what I did.  You still don’t see where I was back then.  After my dad died, I wasn’t good for you.  I hurt you over and over again and I said things to you I never should have and I did things I never should’ve done.  When I realized how messed up everything was, I just had to get away and try and figure out my life.”
    “But why couldn’t you talk to me face to face?  How could you just give Matt a letter?  After everything we’d been through, I thought I deserved more than a note,” I said, surprising myself by the calmness of my voice, but before I could stop it, a tear fell down my cheek.  I quickly brushed it away as the feelings of the day I read the letter ripped through me with renewed pain and I could tell he was struggling with what to say. 
    “You did deserve more, but I couldn’t do it, Riley.  Call me a coward, but at that point, there was nothing I could do.  I’d joined the Marines.  There was no backing out and I couldn’t watch as you tried to convince me to stay.”
    “If you recall, I didn’t try and convince you to stay after I realized it was what you wanted to do.  I was ready to support you in everything, but you decided otherwise.” I didn’t raise my voice, but it was stern and wavering as I continued to fight with the tears wanting to spill over. 
    “Because I didn’t want to hurt you,” he said gently and I looked up, our eyes locking and I could feel the pull between us that had always been there. “I know you don’t understand or even believe me, but I only wanted you to be happy and you couldn’t have been happy with me.”
    I blinked and I realized I’d lost the battle as the tears cascaded down my cheeks.  I didn’t bother wiping them away because I knew they’d just come back. 
    “What right did you have to make that choice for me?” I thought I saw him shudder at my words. “Do you know long I waited for you?  How long I waited for my phone to ring?  How long I waited for you to tell me you’d made a mistake?”
    “Riley,” he said and I saw him swallow hard. “You don’t know how many times I wanted to.  How close I came, but I couldn’t.  Not after the way I ended things between us.  I promised I’d never hurt you and I ended up being no better than Alex.  I didn’t think it was fair to call you, to barge back into your life.  I thought it was better if I just stay away. I’m sorry.”
    “Well, Jesse, you can be as sorry as you want to be, but it still doesn’t change what you did. If you didn’t want to be with me anymore, that would’ve been fine.  That would’ve been your choice, but I at least deserved to hear it from you…not in a letter with no chance to respond.  Instead, I was left to sit and wonder what I’d done to make you think so little of me that you were able to do what you did.”
    “ God, Riley,” he groaned, running a hand nervously through his hair. “I was so screwed up back then.  I didn’t know what the hell I was gonna do.  I couldn’t take care of you because I couldn’t even take care of myself and I couldn’t hold on to you for my own selfish purposes.  I wanted to be with you, but I couldn’t.  I won’t deny how I handled it was wrong, but you have to know it wasn’t because I think so little of you that I did what I did.  I did it because I think so highly of you and I didn’t want to be the one to screw up

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