Pulse (Collide, #2)(2)

Trying to ignore the ear-piercing sound of Blake Industries’ private jet’s engines firing up, Gavin wondered if Emily would remember things he’d never forget. Wondered how this was truly the end. He’d lost her. In less than seven hours, she would be Dillon’s for good.

He tugged his suitcase from the back of Colton’s Jeep, his heart sinking further into his stomach as he peered into the clear, cold night sky. Colton stepped onto the tarmac, his expression no more at ease than it’d been when Gavin came to him.

“You don’t have to do this, little man,” Colton yelled, tufts of his dark hair whipping around in the engines’ fury. “Bouncing out of the city in the middle of the night won’t bring her back.”

Gavin wasn’t sure if leaving would erase the mark Emily had seared into his soul. He also wasn’t sure if he’d ever be free from the ache of needing her. The only emotion he truly f*cking owned… he knew he had to get out of New York. Get the f*ck out, and get far away from the ghost of Emily that would no doubt haunt him.

“I told you, I need to get off the grid for a while, Colton,” Gavin argued, roughing a hand over his face. “I can’t be here. Just take care of switching our stocks out of Dillon’s hands.”

Colton released a weighty breath and nodded. “I’ll take care of it first thing Monday morning.” He clapped Gavin’s shoulder, his eyes softening. “You have to be good with all of this when you get back. Promise me you’ll put Emily to rest while you’re down there.”

Gavin’s chest palpitated at the sound of her name. “Yeah,” he replied, his voice grave. “I’ll try.”

After a few moments of staring at one another, Gavin climbed the stairs to the jet. Turning, he watched his brother drive off the property of the small, private airport. Mind-f*cked and in the deepest turmoil of his life, Gavin dug into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his cell phone. Without looking at it, he tossed it onto the runway. It shattered when it hit the ground. Off the grid meant off the grid. No contact with anyone. No one trying to pull him from his pain, and no one trying to convince him his actions were destructive. After handing his bags to the flight attendant, the pilot came out to greet him.

“Good evening, Mr. Blake.” The pilot firmly shook Gavin’s hand. His gray hair spilled over his forehead. “Everything you’ve requested has been prepared, and we should arrive in Playa del Carmen in just over four hours, sir.”

Gavin gave a weak nod and headed into his private cabin. He closed the door, and his eyes immediately landed on a bottle of bourbon screaming his name on the minibar. He gazed at it with contempt. Darkness seeped in around him. He peeled off his coat and tossed it onto the bed. Trying to stave off the evil angel invading his thoughts, he strode across the small space and reached for the mind-numbing amber liquid. Deciding to forgo a glass, he twisted off the cap and brought the bottle to his lips. The alcohol burned down his throat, offering up not an ounce of reprieve from his pain.

It was then Gavin knew there would never be a time in his life he wouldn’t be aware of Emily’s absence. Drunk or sober, she would riddle his heart and soul until the day he died. He loved her. Breathed her in as if she were the air around him… the air he would be deprived of forever. He placed the bottle down, ran an exhausted hand through his hair, and attempted to cast visions of Emily’s beautiful eyes staring back at him from his memory. He walked over to the window, peering out at the city below, and knew it didn’t work. Nothing would. Neither soaking his pain in alcohol nor running from her could mend what he was feeling.

She was gone. As the twinkling lights faded with the jet’s climbing altitude, Gavin’s heart continued to mourn the woman he’d lost while his mind wondered how long he would be at her funeral.

With the morning light sucking the last of the stars from the sky, and without a minute of sleep claimed, Emily sat up and made her way into the kitchen. Nausea filled her stomach. She reached for the refrigerator door, pulled it open, and grabbed a bottle of water. She sank into a seat at the table as Olivia rounded the corner.

“Hmm, I see Douchenugget dropped you off early this morning,” Olivia clipped, giving Emily a quick once-over. She walked over to one of the cabinets and tugged it open. “How nice of him to allow his bride to actually get ready on her wedding day at her place.”

“Olivia, I’m—”

“Before you defend Dillmonster, or your delusional thoughts, Emily, I want you to know how upset Gavin was last night.” Olivia slammed the cabinet closed. “I’ve never seen him so hurt.”

Emily closed her stinging eyes, her heart constricting at the thought of the pain she’d caused Gavin. She shook her head. “Olivia, please. I’m not—”

“I know, Emily. You’re not in the mood to talk about this,” she huffed, yanking open another cabinet. “Or let me guess, you’re not delusional thinking you should marry Dillon because you don’t believe Gavin?”

“Olivia,” Emily let out, rising. “You’re not listening to me. I’m not—”

Olivia whipped around, her brown eyes narrowed. “I f*cking hate saying this, Em, but I can’t be a part of this today. You love Gavin, and Gavin loves you. Done deal. I believe Gavin, and even if you don’t, you’re forcing me to choose.” She placed one hand on her hip and rushed the other through her thick blonde hair. “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to the wedding today.”

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