“Are wewe okay?” Brooke looked up towards the sound. She’d been sitting on their bed, thinking, when Lucas had walked in. It had been an saa since their disaster of a lunch, and although she’d tried to play it off as if it hadn’t been completely terrible, Brooke had not enjoyed it - at all.

Her brief encounter with Nathan had been the only highlight of the afternoon; and not even an amazing one at that.

“I’m fine.” She pulled off her shoes, climbing back onto the bed. All she wanted to do was sleep. She didn’t care that she was in her expensive dress, au that she was wearing makeup. All Brooke wanted to do, was pull back the covers, crawl deep into her warm bed, and sleep for days.

“Are wewe sure?” He couldn’t have looked zaidi worried. As Brooke studied him quietly, she realized that dark circles had formed underneath his eyes, and he looked just - generally tired. She almost wanted to tell him to crawl into kitanda with her, but decided against it.

“Yes, Lucas. I’m sure.” She spoke with attitude in her voice, her thoughts finally deciding they wanted him to leave her alone.

“Okay.” He shrugged. This wasn’t the first time he was worried about her; she could tell. He probably didn’t even sleep at night anymore. Neither did she.

“I just thought maybe, maybe you’d want to talk.” He ventured deeper into the room.

“No. No, I really just want to take a nap.”

“Okay, maybe I’ll-”

She cut him off. “Alone.”

“Brooke, why are wewe uigizaji like this?”

“Like what? Lucas, this is what I’m like now! This is what has happened to us. To me.” She frowned, pulling back the covers, and climbing under them, blocking out the outside world in which he belonged to.

“Since when? Why aren’t wewe happy? I just want wewe to be happy.” His voice filled with tears, but she didn’t seem to notice, as she stayed underneath the covers, ignoring him.

He stood there for minutes, waiting and hoping for a reply. When she did not give one, he shrugged, leaving the room.

She jumped, upon hearing the door slam, and quickly crawled out of bed, scurrying towards the window, and peaking outside. Her husband’s hands rested on his head, in a confused matter. He growled, kicking at his car, until he finally climbed in, driving off.

She stared after it, and then sighed.

“I’m scared, Lucas.”

-

Peyton applied blush to her already rose cheeks, smiling softly at her reflection the mirror. She tugged at her strands of curly hair, knowing there was nothing she could do to contain the mess.

There was a knock at the door, and she groaned, pulling herself off her bathroom counter, and quickly walking towards the front door.

She pulled it open, and looked at the person on the other end, suddenly happy she’d put on makeup.

“Hi.” David smiled awkwardly, and she gave a slight wave.

“Hi. What are wewe doing here?”

“I just - well, I ordered food, so I could watch the game in utter happiness. And I accidentally ordered too much. And since you’re my only young neighbor, I was thinking maybe you’d want to come help me get it all eaten up.”

She grinned. “Are wewe sure wewe didn’t purposely order too much food?”

Sheepishly, he looked down. “Sorry, but I can’t answer that question.”

A chuckle escaped her lips, and she pushed him out the door. “Well, I guess you’re lucky I’m hungry.”

-

“Haley, come on. Don’t start this.” Nathan rolled his eyes, kicking his feet up onto the coffee meza, jedwali kwa the TV.

“Don’t start what?” She demanded, hands on her tiny hips. Haley was small, but she could be a fierce woman when she wanted to be.

“Another fight. Like wewe always do.”

“Nathan, the only reason I always start fights, is because wewe never want to talk! All wewe ever do is sit around and watch TV, and eat! wewe don’t ever want to discuss au do anything with me!”

“That’s because,” He stood, “You’re not entertaining. All wewe ever want to do is fight! Sorry I don’t feel the same way!”

“Well, then what do wewe feel? Nathan, don’t wewe realize that wewe never do anything? I mean, that could mean a series of things! One being depression. It’s just - I mean, wewe don’t even ever work! I thought wewe were working on your big break, au whatever! You’ve done nothing!” She shrieked, advancing towards him. All she wanted to do was open his eyes; allow him to see life through hers. It was hard having to support yourself and your husband, who was willing to do absolutely nothing.

“God, Haley! Why does everything have to have a reason with you? Let me tell wewe something. Not everything happens for a reason. And everyone that thinks otherwise is completely fucked up.”

“You know what? wewe are not the man I married at all. You’re-”

“You’re not the woman I married either, Hales! Haven’t been for years! So maybe I’m a little zaidi cynical then before. Honestly, have wewe ever aliyopewa me reason not to be?”

She pulled her hand back, slapping him hard across the face. “Get out.”

“What?” He laughed, although there was nothing funny happening.

“I said, get out! wewe smug son of a bitch. You’ve never let that go - throughout all these years! I’ve sat here, and listened to wewe hang that over my head for as long as I can remember! Well, guess what? I don’t feel guilty anymore. wewe can’t make me feel guilty about that anymore! And wewe know what? I hate you! I hate you, and the way wewe make me feel,” She pounded her fists against his chest, “So, get out! Get out of my house!”

He was shocked. Completely, utterly shocked. “Hales, wewe can’t do that.”

“I just did. Come kwa between the hours of two and four tomorrow to get your stuff.”

“Fine. Fine!” He laughed, bitterly, “And f-y-i, had it been me, I wouldn’t have ever let myself not feel guilt about what happened.”

-

Lucas pushed open the door, looking around at his surroundings. The bar was anything but classy. It was littered with drunks, and girls with their thongs hanging out of their pants and short skirts.

He frowned, taking a kiti, kiti cha at the bar, running a hand through his short locks.

“What’ll wewe have?” The bartender, an odd looking man, asked him.

“Uh, tequila. Straight.”

“Okay. It’s uh, on her.” He gestured towards the girl sitting a few empty seats away from Lucas. She was pretty, he noticed. Her hair was a reddish, strawberry-blonde color. She wore a tank-top that left little to the imagination, and a short skirt, along with long, flat-heeled, suede boots.

He nodded thankfully towards her, before taking a sip, making a face at the strong, uchungu, chungu taste. In seconds, he’d realized that the girl had slid over, and was now sitting beside him.

“Hi.” She purred. He noticed her eyes were green. Not like Brooke’s eyes, which were an mizeituni, mzeituni green, mixed with gold. Hers were pure, deep green.

“Hi. Thanks for the drink.”

She smiled. “I’m Hilary.”

“Lucas.” He bit his lip, hoping she wasn’t looking to hook up with him. If that was the case, this would be an embarrassing evening for both of them.

“So, what are you-”

“I’m married.” He stated quietly, lifting up his hand to onyesha her the ring on his finger.

“Me too,” She chuckled, inaonyesha him her own, “Of course, my husband and I don’t really have a relationship, so even if I wanted to sleep with you, it wouldn’t matter.”

“Brooke and me, we aren’t like that.” He shook his head, almost sure of it.

“Brooke,” She stated softly, “That’s a nice name.”

“Yeah. Brooke Scott.” He almost smiled.

“So I take it you’re Lucas Scott?”

“Guilty as charged.”

“Well, well, Lucas. I’d say wewe were very broody. Don’t wewe ever smile?” Hilary giggled.

He couldn’t help it. The corners of his mouth lifted up, ever so slightly. “It’s been a rough night.”

“It’s always a rough night.” She spoke quietly, so that he almost could not hear her.

They were silent. Awkwardness had settled in, and both stared down at their drinks, having no idea what to say.

She looked up at him. “So, handsome, care to share what’s going so wrong in your life?”

“Not really. But since wewe bought me a drink, I guess I owe it to you.” He grinned.

“Well, my wife and I, we’ve been going through some problems lately. We never speak anymore, and she’s always really - really sad. I think she might be depressed. Anyway, we went to see my parents tonight, and well, it didn’t go to well. My brother was there, and he and my dad aren’t too fond of each other, so all hell broke loose.”

“Back up. Why’s your wife always so sad? Like, do wewe have any idea?”

“Yeah.” Lucas nodded, looking down, tearfully.

“Care to tell?”

“She was pregnant,” He’d tried so hard to forget. To pretend it didn’t happen. But it was too hard. Especially for Brooke, “Seven months. And we’d been trying for so long, too, so we were really happy. Things had really been going great for a while, wewe know? We’d hit a few rough patches, but we were - really, really happy. Nothing was supposed to ruin what we felt.”

Hilary nodded. She had a feeling in her stomach she knew where this story was heading.

“Anyway, one day, she was at the house; I was at work. She was supposed to be in kitanda all day. I told her that she was too big to be walking around the house, but she was bored. So she didn’t listen. She was walking out of the bedroom, and she saw a man. He was, he was a robber.”

She bit her lip.

“And he’s found this box of hers. This box that she’d kept with all this stuff. It had all the upendo letters I’d ever written her, and some jewelry, and some money, and stuff from high school - but mostly, I think she just cared about the stuff that was of me and her.”

“Oh God,” Hilary squeezed her eyes shut.

“So, not even thinking, she yells, ‘Please don’t take those!’. And he turns around, and looks at her with utter hatred in his eyes. And of course, she can’t believe she’s made herself known. He was leaving. He was going to leave, and then she spoke up.” Tears now visibly threatened to spill from the handsome man’s eyes.

“And he just - he just charged at her. wewe know, I don’t know if she expected him to have compassion, because she was pregnant, au if she knew. But in seconds, he had her up against the wall. He raped her. Brutally raped her. And when he was finished, he threw her down the stairs, as if she were nothing. She Lost the baby.”

Hilary covered her mouth, a gasp escaping her lips. Tears filled her eyes at the heartbreaking story.

“And I know she thinks it’s her fault. And she thinks everyone else does too. But it was an honest mistake; her calling after him. If he’d found her, it wouldn’t have been any different.”

“Did they catch the guy?”

Lucas laughed bitterly. “Yeah. But the son of a bitch, kahaba had the nerve to say that she’d told him not to go, so that they could have sex. Of course, it wasn’t true. But wewe should have seen this guy. Cruel as could be.”

“I’m sorry.” Hilary reached out, grabbing his hand.

“I haven’t - I haven’t actually ever told anyone that. I mean, that’s the first time I’ve ever told someone what happened to her.”

“It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. I mean, it has to be.”

“No. It won’t be. She’s so unhappy. She acts like she’s okay now, but I know it’s an act. And I don’t think she knows that I can see right through her.”

“Then onyesha her.”

“What?”

“Look, wewe can’t just expect her to go through this alone. Tell her that you’re there. That no matter what, you’re going to take care of her. upendo her. Make sure she’ll be okay. Make upendo to her, and onyesha her how different wewe are from that asshole.”

“I don’t know if she wants me anymore.”

“Well, it’s time to find out. Go nyumbani to your wife, Lucas. Save your marriage while wewe still can.” The tears never left her eyes. The sadness didn’t either. It was apparent the woman had been through a lot herself. She obviously had expertise in the area.

“Thank you,” He nodded, kissing her cheek softly, before walking away, “Oh, and Hilary?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sure whatever’s happened to you, with your husband and everything, It’ll work out. I can tell that you’re a good person. wewe deserve to be happy.”

She smiled, not so sure he was right. “Yeah. wewe too.”