By: Sawyer Bennett

“Did I do something last night?” I blurt out in a panic, my hands coming to her shoulders. I need to hold on to her…desperately. “Please tell me, I don’t remember shit.”

She shakes her head and pushes up in the bed. Her hands come out from under the quilt to pull it up to her chest as she rests against the headboard.

“What the fuck, Vale? Why did you stay here last night?”

She looks at me with dead eyes and says, “It doesn’t matter.”

“It does fucking matter. The only thing I remember is you wanting to leave the party and me not wanting to. I woke up on Oliver’s living room floor. Now what the fuck happened in between?”

If it’s possible, Vale’s eyes look even more fatigued and she takes in a shuddering breath. Just as I think she’s getting ready to enlighten me, her door opens and Oliver sticks his head in. “Dude, you have got to hit the road. As it is, you’re going to be lucky to make your flight.”

His eyes cut from me over to Vale, who turns her head away to stare at the wall.

I scrub my hands through my hair, which I’ve always worn long, between chin and shoulder, depending on my mood. “Fuck…give me just a minute, man.”

Oliver nods and eases out, shutting the door quietly.

I turn to look back at Vale and she won’t give me the courtesy of a return glance. So I take her jaw, squeezing slightly, and force her to turn and look at me. When she does, I feel my heart shrivel up and die.

There’s nothing there.

It’s just…dead.

“Are we over?” I ask her quietly.

“Yes,” she says, with absolutely no hesitation, but there’s a warble to her voice and a quiver to her lip.

“Will you at least tell me why?”

“No,” she says just as resolutely, but tears fill her eyes. “I don’t want to discuss it with you.”

I have one more question as I feel my entire world start to darken. Depending on how she answers, this decides whether or not I miss my plane. Because if there’s even a chance that I think I can reach her, I’m going to sit on this bed and talk to her until I’m blue in the face.

“Do you still love me?” I ask, practically choking the words out.

I brace as if I’m about to get pounded by the biggest goon in the league. I know that her answer has the power to hurt me worse than I ever have been before on the ice.

She stares at me a moment…a single, silent tear slips down her cheek. Then she lowers her face and says, “No. I don’t love you, Hawke.”

In that one moment my entire world stops spinning. I go deaf, my vision dims, and I swear the breath just evaporates from my lungs. Time stands brutally still, holding me captive in a nightmare. I can do nothing but stare at the girl who in one instant has my heart, and in the next instant makes it disintegrate.

Absolute and utter quiet.

Me staring at her.

Vale staring at her lap.

This moment could go on for an eternity, but then I hear Oliver’s car engine start from out on the street, a subtle reminder I have places to be.

Everything starts moving again.

My heart begins a steady thumping. I can hear Avery emptying the dishwasher in the kitchen, and I can hear Vale’s ragged breathing as she refuses to look at me.

I stand from the bed and look down at her, willing her to look up and tell me she just lied to my face.

But she doesn’t.

So I turn around and walk out of her room, but not without letting her know that this isn’t over. “I’ll call you tonight after I land.”

She doesn’t respond, and somehow I just know. When I call tonight, Vale’s not going to answer the phone.

Chapter 1



The vibe in the air is palpably electric. Makes my skin prickle and my blood race.