Drawn to You: Volume 1

By: Vanessa Booke



“Because I remember you,” she says as she grabs my hand. “We missed you when you left. I couldn’t believe it those first few days…”

Guilt racks its way into my chest as she purses her lips and carefully studies my face, looking for any hint of recognition. I need to get the hell out of here. I can’t do this. Coming here was a mistake. I didn’t think I would feel this way seeing her. Her beautiful smile is an ugly reminder of everything I lost. Now, the only thing I have to go home to is a dumpy apartment and a sick mother.

“I need to get back to my shift.”

“Wait!”

I step around her and return to the party just in time to catch sight of Nicholas nudging Alexander’s shoulder. I slow my step just to capture the image of them in my mind. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but they laugh together clinking their glasses of champagne. I wince at the realization that they’re going on with their lives just fine without me while I’m barely holding myself together. Just like my mother. The thought leaves me breathlessly in pain. I scan the room for Vivian, but she’s nowhere in sight. Fuck it. I’ll apologize to her later.

Stefan’s voice calls out to me as I’m halfway across the ballroom floor. The conversations of his guests die down to a murmur as he walks over to me. I keep my back to him hoping that I can still slip outside without causing a commotion, but I know it’s too late.

“Tristan, stop.”

I’m tempted to tell him to go fuck himself, but I hold myself back at the sight of Emily entering the room. Her cheeks turn red as she rushes over to me, her hand still wrapped in gauze. Fuck it all to hell. I turn to find a gray haired Stefan staring at me with wide eyes. His gaze washes over me as he grinds the end of his cigar on a nearby ashtray and walks past a gawking crowd. I step back in reaction as he comes closer. Even my body is telling me to put space between us. Although it really doesn’t matter the amount of space I put between us because it seems it will never be enough to forget him.

If I ever needed a cigarette, right now would be the perfect time.

“What are you doing here?” he asks.

I’m sure he never thought he’d see me again. I’m tempted to make a fool of myself and knock him in his teeth, but I can’t seem to muster the strength with everyone watching. God, this is so fucked up. I force myself to remember the image of my mother lying passed out on the bed after I helped bathe her and the way she cried out for Stefan when I burned the newspaper article with his name.

“I was just leaving,” I say through gritted teeth.

“Son, wait.”

I’m not your son, you fucking shit. My fists clench at the way the word son rolls off his tongue. He reaches out to touch my shoulder, but I dodge his grasp. His face turns red in frustration as I stand there trying my best to look completely unaffected by the frown plastered to his face. I’m sure he hates being embarrassed in front of his guests. I spot Vivian maneuvering through the crowd of people still holding her silver tray. She’s far enough away that I can’t hear her, but I see her waving stop at me through the air. If I get in a fight with Stefan now, I’m sure she’ll be fired for recommending me to do this gig.

“Is this how you treat someone who helped you?” Stefan asks, pulling my attention.

“Helped?” I scoff.

“Wait, what?” Alexander, Emily’s eldest brother, steps through the crowd of onlookers and joins his father’s side. “Dad, maybe we should take this outside.”

I was never close to Alex, but it was probably the differences in age growing up. He was almost never home when he was away at college and when he was, he didn’t even have much time to hang out with his own siblings.

“I think it’s time for me to go.”

“Tristan, wait,” Emily squeaks. She fidgets with her dress staring past me as the words tumbled from her beautiful lips. “Stay. You’ve been so missed.”

Nicholas’s frown lightens as a small smile breaks across his face. He steps forward, hesitating just slightly before he pulls me into an embrace.

“Where have you been?” he asks. “High school wasn’t the same without you.” The surprising gesture sucks the tension that radiates beneath my skin as I return the embrace.

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