I’m running through the city streets like a madman and screaming Lilly’s name…wishing everything was different.

I never once regretted ki lling him.

I never once regretted taking his life…never had a single ounce of remorse for being a mu rderer.

I never thought I would.

I never had a reason to.

My soul feels like it’s split right down the middle.

Half of it belongs to Lilly- I know that even in the afterlife…we’re tied together and our bond will never be broken.

The other half of my soul belongs to Alyssa.

The rest of me is stuck in turmoil because I don’t know how to process this new feeling and I don’t think I can handle what it must mean. Because if it means, what I think it means…I don’t think I can live with myself.

BLAME IT ON THE PAIN : EPISODE 51 – 60. Thingscouplesdo

I reach my apartment…at least, I think I do. I’m a complete mess. I don’t know how I’m functioning or taking in air.

I must be worse off than I thought because when Lou-Lou finds me on the floor in the lobby. She freaks the fk out, picks up her phone and dials Tyrone. “I don’t know, Tyrone. He just keeps screaming for Lilly. Get your as s down here!” she yells into the phone.

Less than a minute later Tyrone’s helping me up the steps. He tells me that it’s going to be okay. He also mumbles something about him calling Momma and her taking the next flight out here.

I’m too far gone to be embarrassed by being such a wuss at this point.

He sits me down on the couch and pats my back. “Jackson, please talk to me. I know you hate talking. But right now you’re really scaring the sht out of me.”

I feel some wet sht on my face and I can’t stop myself from screaming Lilly’s name again.

I keep imagining what it would be like if she was still here now….living. She would be gearing up for graduation, probably valedictorian because she was so smart…and I would be so proud of her. I would tell her how proud of her I was.

I’d sneak into her first courtroom case and cheer for her in the background. I’d probably be fi ghting the urge to pun¢h the judge if he ever dared to rule against her. But, I’d make her hot chocolate with cinnamon and whipped cream if she lost the case.

I close my eyes…the wet stuff on my face is getting worse, and my thoughts are firing off like a cannon.

Maybe, she’d be an aunt now. I always wanted to have a family. My kids would adore her…I know they would. She would be the best aunt in the entire world.

Lilly would have liked Alyssa. She would have been concerned at first, like the good sister she was; but I know she ultimately would have ended up loving her, just like I do.

The reality slams into me like a blazing wildfire.

I’ll never have any of that now. And neither will she.

There’s no graduation, no first courtroom case, no hot chocolate, no family, and no Alyssa.

Because Lilly’s tiny body is de ad on the floor beside the couch. Her pink nails have bIood caked under them…because she fought like h’ll. Just like her big brother would have wanted her to.

But she lost her fi ght. Because I didn’t protect her like a big brother should.

But I got vengeance for her.

I murd ered that son-of-a-bch for ki lling my baby sister.

So, how could I have a moment of regret?

I wipe the tears off my face and look at Tyrone. “If I love Alyssa…it will mean that I love Lilly less.

It will mean that I accept Lilly’s de ath and that in the end, I’m okay with what happened to her because I had a moment of regret for mu rdering Mike when Alyssa told me she loved me.”

He looks confused but I continue, “So you see, I can’t love Alyssa because I can’t not love Lilly.

If I love Alyssa, then I have to regret both loving Lilly in the first place because I have to be fine with her de ath and regret ki lling him.”

Tyrone shakes his head. “I’m not following you. Did you tell Alyssa the truth about everything?”

I lean forward and put my head in my hands. “No. But let’s just say that I’m certain she’ll want nothing to do with me if she ever finds out.”

He scowls. “You don’t know that, Jackson. There are extenuating circumstances and you know it. Again, I think you’re not giving her the benefit of the doubt here and just assuming—”

“Her father was mur dered. I can’t go into any more detail about it because it’s not my place, but her father was mur dered when she was a kid.

Let’s just say that she has a very set in stone outlook when it comes to mu rder in general. Trust me.”

He stands up and runs a hand along his jaw. “It’s not always black and white or cut and dry.” I open my mouth to tell him that for her it is, but he cuts me off. “And I think that if you told her, not only would she see that…but you would as well.” He holds up a finger. “However, we have a few more things to work out before we come back to that. Starting with you and your feelings.

First, I do think you need to accept Lilly’s de ath. It doesn’t mean that you loved her any less and it sure as heck doesn’t make you a bad brother for accepting it.

It simply means that you are aware that her de ath happened, that you processed it.” He sighs. “And you need to process it, Jackson…because she’s not coming back.

No matter how many people you beat up in that cage or how much you blame yourself—it will never bring her back. Her life is over…but yours doesn’t have to be. She wouldn’t want that…she would want you to go on living. You know I’m right, brother.”

I nod my head softly and he continues, “Which brings me to Alyssa. Now, you said before that you can’t love her because you felt this moment of regret about ki lling him.”

“Yeah. I’ve never had that feeling before. I don’t know how to explain it. But, I know I don’t regret getting vengeance for Lilly.

So I don’t understand how I had this moment of regret because—” I pause because my heads going around in circles right now and I don’t know how to sort out my thoughts.


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