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“Oh, Sela. What have you done?”

Beck pulls away from me slightly, his hands holding my upper arms with such gentleness. Those eyes I’ve come to love swimming with fear. My own eyes fill with wetness again and with one blink, the tears go streaming down my face. I haven’t been able to stop crying since…

“We need to get her to a hospital,” Caroline says.

I immediately shake my head in denial despite the fact I’m covered in JT’s blood. Despite the fact he just tried to kill me. “I’m okay.”

Beck’s hand moves…fingers touching the base of my throat so lightly if feels like butterfly wings, which is totally at odds with the panicked tone of his voice. “You’ve got some bruises.”

I shake my head again. “I’m fine.”

Then a sob pops out of my mouth, and Beck is pulling me back into his arms to hug me tight. My face presses into his chest, my arms around his waist locking on desperately. I feel slight pressure on my shoulder, followed by a circular motion, and I know it’s Caroline offering physical comfort as well. Even with my eyes squeezed shut, the tears continue to leak out.

I have to tell them.

What happened.

What I did.

But I can’t seem to open my mouth and make the words form.

As if sensing my inability, Beck releases me and puts his hands to my shoulders. He pushes me back so we can see each other clearly and Caroline’s hand falls away. More tears stream down my face, blurring his features. But I know that same look of worry is still there.

“Is JT dead?” Beck asks in a shaky voice.

I can’t answer, but merely nod my head.

“Christ,” Beck whispers, and I rapidly blink to clear my vision because I need to know if Beck hates me for this.

When he comes into focus, I see he cuts a worried glance at Caroline, but then his eyes come back to me. His hands come up and palm my cheeks. “It’s okay, baby. It’s going to be okay.”

And just like that, the stranglehold on my vocal chords releases. My words pour out in a cascade of desperation, stuttered with tiny sobs. “I didn’t mean to. I had no choice. He was going to kill me.”

“It’s okay,” Beck says in a low soothing voice, but I know it’s not. “It’s okay. You’re safe now. I’ve got you.”

“Oh God,” I moan piteously, my eyes flicking between his and begging for absolution. “I killed someone.”

“Shhhh,” Beck says, his hands pressing in on my face to urge me to listen to him. “I need you to tell me what happened so I can figure out how to fix this, okay?”

“You can’t fix it,” I cry out as I wrench free from him. I look down at the front of my blood-soaked T-shirt and wave my hands at it. “Do you see this? I killed JT. You can’t fix that.”

“You need to calm down—”

I spin toward the office door, my head dizzy with stress and emotion. “No. I need to go turn myself in—”

Beck grabs my elbow, stopping me dead in my tracks and then pivoting me toward him. “You are not turning yourself in until you tell me what happened.”

“I murdered your b-b-business partner,” I yell at him, and it’s in this moment that I realize I still have some reason about me because I almost said “your brother.” I caught myself though, because Caroline’s in the room and she has no clue about the relation.

My body shudders as I remember JT telling me he raped Caroline. Knowing that he’s Ally’s father.

As well as her uncle.

Bile rises in my throat and I swallow against it with unyielding resolve.

“Sela,” Beck says slowly but with total command, still keeping my arm firmly in his grasp so I don’t try to run again. “Tell me what happened.”

My head swivels to the right and I look at Caroline. She has one arm crossed under her breast, the other raised so her fist is pressed up against her mouth in a thinking man’s pose. But those eyes…same as Beck’s…are totally filled with fear and worry for me.

I look back to Beck and take a deep breath. “He attacked me—”

“Uh-uh,” Beck says with a shake of his head. “Start from the beginning. I assume he contacted you?”

My legs almost give out from underneath me as I realize from that simple question that Beck never once even assumed I initiated contact with JT. He never once considered that I went to JT’s place with the intention of murder. He implicitly trusts me and I didn’t think it was possible for me to love him more.

I nod. “Left me a voice mail. I listened to it when I got out of class. Said that he had an idea he wanted to run by me that would give both of you want you wanted.”

“And you called him back?” Beck asks, his voice with a tinge of ice as he starts to understand the stupid path I put myself onto.

“Yeah,” I whisper, my face dropping to look at my feet. “I wanted to hear what he had to say. Hoped I could help make sure things worked out.”

“Then what?”

“He asked me to come to his house,” I say in a voice so soft I can barely hear it myself. It’s a voice of guilt and shame that I would even consider going to that man’s house alone.

Beck hears those emotions loud and clear, cursing in disgust. “Goddamn, Sela. You couldn’t have been that stupid to go to JT’s by yourself. Not after what he did to you.”

My head snaps up and my gaze slices to Caroline. I assume Beck must have told her, because he wouldn’t have outed me like that. Caroline’s head tilts and she gives me a sympathetic smile of sisterhood.

Welcome to the We’ve Been Raped Club.

Beck’s hands come back to my shoulders, and his grip is not gentle or reassuring. His blue eyes no longer swirling with fear but rather looking like pale ice. “I cannot believe you’d fucking do something that stupid.”

The real and normal Sela Halstead would have pulled away from Beck and lit into him for calling me that, but I can’t. I was so ridiculously stupid.

Caroline takes a step forward and in a censuring voice says, “Beck.”

Her message is obvious. Back the fuck off me with the recrimination because I’m fragile right now. But I can’t say as I blame him. I totally deserve it. I mean, What the fuck was I thinking?

“I’m sorry,” I proclaim, my eyes sincerely begging him for his forgiveness.

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