All Good Things Exposed

By: Alannah Carbonneau

Chapter 1

My throat closed. Anguish seared through my chest in a violent torrent of loss. I couldn't breathe. He was gone. Jace was gone. He wasn't coming back. He couldn't come back to me. I'd pushed him away and now I was dying a slow and painful death without him. My stomach was heavy. I felt as though it had been cut open, filled with boulders, and sewn back together.

I couldn't breathe.

There was no air.

I couldn't breathe.

I shot upright in my bed, clutching the hot pain in my chest. Raspy gasps filled the silence around me as I pulled air into my starved lungs. Shock subsided to sorrow and tears fell from my eyes in uncontrollable rivers. My hands trembled as my numb fingers clutched at the duvet, bringing it closer to my chest as I curled into a tight ball on the corner of my bed. It was the only part of my bed that was not wet with sweat from my earlier nightmare. It shouldn't have mattered that the bed was wet. With the tears free-flowing from my eyes, it wouldn't be long before this small section of the bed was wet too. I knew this with certainty. I had repeated this exact scenario each night for the last seven weeks. Every night I relived the stormy evening I last had Jace. The evening when I'd watched him obey my only request and walk away from me without ever coming back.

I had thought then that I was making the right choice. I thought it was the best thing for both of us. But how could it be when this was the result? How could this be better than facing his demons head-on? How could this agony be any better than the agony I would face with Jace if I were to have submitted to his sadomasochistic desires?

I knew the answer. And it killed me.

I would have been better off to accept Jace for what he was. I would have been better off losing myself in him than losing myself in this hell I had grown so accustomed to. In the last seven weeks, I had felt nothing aside from this mind crushing, heart breaking debilitating pain. But each day, I was succeeding in becoming numb to the world around me and to the ache within. Each day, I was slowly succeeding in turning off my heart.

With a heavy sigh, I kicked off my blankets and strode to the bathroom. I turned on the shower and stripped from my wet clothes. My skin was covered in goose bumps and I shivered as I stepped into the glass-encased steam of the shower. My knees weakened as my mind took me back to the night Jace's past clashed with my present and bulldozed our future. I thought of that night every day. It was impossible not to when I blamed it for my current state of tormented disarray. I loathed Lexie for telling me the truth about Jace. I had been comfortable and content with the illusion I had crafted of the man I'd fallen madly in love with. I knew from the beginning he needed control. And I accepted it. I even valued it to some degree. But now I saw that need in a different light and it wasn't something to be valued. It was something to be feared. Jace was so much worse than anything my mind ever could have prepared me for. I couldn't imagine deriving pleasure from the abusive ways of a sadomasochist. But that was what he was. It was what he wanted - what he needed. And I was certain there was no changing him. But why then, hadn't I seen that side of him before? Never before had he taken an abusive hand to my body. His every touch had been coated with gentleness that now surprised me. If Jace hadn't have admitted to wanting to inflict pain and humiliation upon me, then I might have allowed myself to wade in the belief that maybe, just maybe, I could be enough to quell the malicious beast living within. But I wasn't enough. Of that I was certain.

That though was like a kick to the gut and the little strength left in my knees fled. In a heap of limps, I fell to the floor of the shower. My beaded tears mixed with the harsh pebbles of water as I lay my cheek to the floor of the shower and wept. I cried for what felt like eternity until I was again numb. I didn't have another tear left to shed and I climbed weakly to my feet to resume with my shower.

As I shampooed my hair and washed my body, I thought of Jace. He was all I ever really thought of anymore. His mouth. His touch. His ice blue eyes. He might have walked out of my life, but he still owned every crevice of my heart. I feared he forever would.

I hadn't spoken to Jace in seven weeks. But that didn't stop me from listening to the melodic sound of his voice that lived in my memory. And, I might not have seen him in seven weeks. But I knew what was going on in his life. He was Jace Rush. And his adventurous accomplishments were always spread on Google for the world to read about - for me to read about. I had to admit, I was, in some sick way, obsessed with him. I couldn't leave my bedroom without first checking Google for any 'Jace Rush' updates.

After leaving me alone with my shattered heart seven weeks ago, Jace had left New York for his trip to Paris. I surfed the net constantly for any proof that he might be as destroyed as I was inside, but there was none. Jace was still as well put together as he always was. His hair impeccable, his body toned, his eyes piercing. He was the epitome of utter perfection and I was the fucking epitome of disaster. Jace moved on with his life as though I had never held a place in it. And that devastated me - demolishing what was left of my heart. As far as I knew, Jace was in Ney York City again. But I hadn't seen him. For that small grace, I was glad. If I seen Jace, I knew I would spiral into a depression I may never climb out of. He had given me a reason to live and love - a reason to believe in something I had never been strong enough to risk. And then he'd left me without a fight. He had just walked away. But I had told him to.

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