thirtieth: home

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I have never written about love as much as I have in this book. I keep doubting, am I capable of writing about Xavier and Grayson's love?

But someone told me that me writing such strong emotions has nothing to do with my own experiences. It has everything to do with the individual capacity to feel and to love. And I think it is beautiful and something I will always hold on to. Thank you IlamMalik. Grateful to have you.



"Grayson."

I called out. Or perhaps I think I did. My tongue felt too scratchy and heavy to lift.

Slowly, my eyes opened. For several minutes I kept gazing at my unfamiliar surroundings. The white walls. The soft glow of the lights. The scent of antiseptics. I was in a hospital. Although, I couldn't tell for sure. Had I survived?

My chest felt tight. My nose and throat sore. My body felt stiff. 

A dull ache pulsated throughout my body. I was in pain. I took it as a sign that I was alive. Barely breathing, but holding on. 

"Gray...?"

I spoke again. This time, I was sure I had managed to make some coherent noise. It took me a while to become aware of a strong, warm presence near my bed. My hands were enclosed gently into familiar, warm ones. 

"Gray?"

Finally, I opened my eyes fully. My dizzy brain slowly focussed on the startling green eyes.

I felt a lurch to my navel. Like I was suddenly pulled back into reality.

"Xavier." His voice was soft. Feeble. I was aware of his soft, warm lips gently kissing my temple before he leaned back and gazed at me, his hands on mine. His thumb stroking circles on the back of it.

"What... happened?" I croaked out, every word agonizing to my body. 

"It doesn't matter now," he said. I was shocked to see his face as it finally came into focus. His eyes were bloodshot. His hair dishevelled. His features emaciated. Like he had been homeless for days. 

"Gray..."  I whispered, my heart lurching from an agony that had nothing to do with the multiple wounds. 

"I'm right here, baby." He gently brushed his lips across my fingertips, stroking a thumb assuringly on the back of my hand.

I took a deep breath, the gesture sending pain shooting up my body. He rose to his feet, his hand slipping out of mine. I glanced at him in alarm. Terrified. Why was he leaving?

However, he simply made his way towards the door and called for someone. Before my palpitating heart started running erratically, he was back. His hand returning in mine. He sat silently as an unfamiliar man in a white coat arrived, followed by two nurses. I remained quiet. Letting them check my vitals and answering their questions politely. Finally, they left. I had a million questions, but I decided they could wait.

"What... happened?" I asked and gazed at Grayson again, my heart breaking at the look on his face. He looked agonized beyond anything I had ever seen. His eyes the chasms of darkness with shadows so profound that they seemed to overpower the raven of the darkest night. Like he was defeated. It was hard to imagine strong, immaculate Grayson Shelby had broken into shambles. For me.

"Rosalie shot you," he spoke softly. "Scarlett arrived and...she shot her. On her arm. There was some altercation but-" he took a shuddering breath, glancing away from me. His eyes glistening. His next words barely above a whisper. "I can't believe you left me, Xavier."

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