You think trying to survive the Amazon rainforest is hard? Try
being thrown back into reality. Back to civilian life. It’s not so easy
conforming to what is socially acceptable, and when you have to
do it alone, your sanity starts to toy with your emotions.

Going back home was what she wanted, or at least that’s what
Brittany Powers thought. But being forced to go with people she
despises wasn’t what she planned. She no longer fits into the
mold of what society thinks is right, and when she tries to find her
own place in this world she once called home, the people around
her think she has gone mad.

Cooper Owens won’t ever be the same. Not after he watched the
love of his life leave with the people he knew she hated. And now
he has to deal with the fact that he was the one that put her
there. He’d do anything to get her back, but he’s lost his way...

The road of life has many paths. But when it’s true love, the stars
align in a way that paves the walkway to meet in the middle. It’s
up to Brittany and Cooper which roads they choose to take. If
their love is strong enough, they’ll find each other on the road
less traveled.
I hear a car door slam behind me. I don’t need to turn around to know it’s Chad. I
can smell his cheap cologne from here. Gagging. I can’t believe I actually use to
like that smell. He follows the crackle and the glow of the flame to where I’m resting
and takes a seat on a rock across from me. “Hey,” he mumbles.

“Hmm.” I vaguely respond.

“We have to talk about this, Brittany. We have too much invested in this
relationship to not communicate, don’t you think?”

I roll the chicken in my mouth a few times before I sit up, crossing my legs and
resting my elbows on my knees. “We have no relationship, Chad. There is no
reason to communicate when there is nothing to say.”

I can tell he’s flustered by the way he is clenching his jaw and running his hand
through his hair. “Look, I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intent to hurt you. I’m not going to
lie, after the first month, I thought it was a long shot that they would ever find you,
but I never stopped loving you.”

A half-ass chuckle escapes my lungs. “Well you could have fooled me,
considering you had your cock shoved so far up that girl’s ass. I mean, honestly,
Chad, tell me the truth. How long have you been banging her? Either you were
shackin’ up with her even before I left, or you just moved on to the next rather
quickly. I mean, yeah, I was gone for over three months, but you repainted the
whole condo, and yellow at that,” I say scathingly.

He didn’t know what to say. I’d never spoken so bluntly before, so hearing words
so sharp roll right off my tongue must really come as a shock. I was a mouse
before, who never really had a backbone. I let him and my parents walk all over
me. Why? Because I didn’t know any better except that it always just pissed me
off. Now, I’ve found my voice. “The only thing I can’t figure out is what’s in it for
you? Philip and Susan have their talons in you. Is it money or something?”

His eyes shoot up to mine, and his body goes as hard as the rock he’s sitting on. I
struck a chord and the pure delight I’m getting deep in my belly watching him
squirm is downright evil. I should stop, but that wouldn’t be fun.

“I’m giving you notice. It is my condo, after all. I paid for it and my name is on it. I’ll
be putting it up for sale by the end of the week, so you have thirty days to move
you and Miss Hussy elsewhere.”

“You’re being ridiculous, Brit,” he sputters.

“Oh, am I? It’s just business, Chad. Plain and simple. Cut and dry.”

“Okay, fine, you’re right. Sadie and I have been together for…a while. It wasn’t like
she moved in right away, though, Brit, I swear. But after that first month, I saw no
point of hiding it anymore, especially when your parents showed up.” He pauses
before he adds quietly under his breath, as if barely speaking the words would
mean they would have any less impact. “They paid off the condo, Brittany. Told
me Sadie and I could rent it from them. When we found out you were alive, they
came back and said they would put the property in my name if I helped them bring
you back, play it off for six months, then break it off.” He hangs his head with
shame. It is probably the first time he hears himself say this out loud and realizes
how douchey it sounds. “Oh, God, Brit, I’m so sorry.”

It’s funny. I should feel something…anger, sadness, hatred, but I feel
nothing…absolutely nothing. All I find myself saying is, “Well, thanks for not being
such a pussy and telling me the truth.”

I don’t bother putting the fire out. It will go out on its own. I gather my leftover
chicken, blanket, and pillow, and head for the house. As I approach my door,
Chad calls out to me. His voice is strained...worried. “Brit, they told me six

I look back at him with no emotion and casually say, “Don’t worry, Chad, I can
continue playing their game. You’ll get what they promised you. Just don’t bother
coming around here anymore. I’ll tell them I’m going into town to see you every
Thursday. They’ll like that I’m getting out, and you and I will both like not having to
see each other. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

“I will always love you, Brittany, please know that,” he says as I’m opening the
door. I breach the doorframe, my back still toward him and stick my hand up in the
air. I wave him off, closing the door behind me.
Lost Without You
D. M. Thornton
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Available in Print & e-book
June 2016

$11.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-940707-80-8
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