Prologue 

Daniel 

Las Vegas, NV  

Now… 

“What! I’m not good enough for you?” The frustrated sound whittled by desperation and sharpened with anger comes from deep in my gut.  

Conversation grinds to a halt and six pairs of eyes turn in my direction, but the ones I need to see, the hazel orbs that brim with emotion, are still looking at the exit as she walks away. 

I’m tired. So, fucking tired of the vapid existence where sex and liquor topped with a little cannabis got me through to the next day. 

I don’t give a damn that I’m nine years older, or that her brother is a temperamental toddle that likes to growl and make threats. Last time I checked Jessica Johnson was more than capable of making her own decisions.  

Why is she folding under the pressure now? 

“What did you say to me?” Jessica turns on the slender heels of her black stilettos, looking like the uptight socialite she swore she had no desire to be, as she takes two steps in my direction. 

“I said, am I not good enough for you.” We face each other across the very clear line that’s been drawn between us on the crap linoleum tile in the maternity ward of this hospital. 

“I tried to save us both the indignity of doing this in front of an audience but you if you don’t care, I don’t either.” She says through clenched teeth. Her lips barely moving to form the words. 

“It’s not that I don’t...” 

“Stop it! Just. Shut. Up. It’s too late. You can pretend all you want that our issues center around my family but our issues started the first time you couldn’t man up and tell your boys you wanted to date Jacob Johnson’s little sister, or maybe it was when you refused to explain to your family that contrary to the stereotypes based on color of my skin  and culture nothing about me is stereotypical.”  

Jessica’s eyes look through me like the last six months never happened, like I’m a stranger on the street unworthy of her time, and it...guts me. 

 

“Jessie, please—” I take steps on wobbling legs, but she moves back raising her hand palm facing toward me silently telling me to stop.  

 

“No, you don’t get to Jessie me. Not when you’ve hid me away like a dirty little secret. This? Where we are right now it's because of every lie you told, and every time you snuck out of my bed. So, no Daniel you’re not good enough for me. And I guess you never were.”   

 

She turns with those parting words and stomps down the hall out the exit.  

 

I move to follow but a pair of arms wrap around my chest from behind.  

 

“Nah, bro you gotta let that shit simmer all the way down.” Miles whispers close to my ear. I break from his hold but can’t force myself to follow her. 

 

Because she was right. 

 

I did every grimy ass thing she accused me of, including not manning up and tell the world she was mine.  

 

“What in the fuck did you do to my sister?” Jake demands his face a comical blend of joy and consternation. Standing at the entrance of the security doors that

separates the delivery rooms from the lobby, clad in blue paper scrubs, a gaze bounces between me and the hallway his sister exited through. 

 

“I don’t know man. I love her and I think...I think I broke her heart.”

 

I don’t give him a chance to respond. I run out down the hall after my girl. 

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Exquisitely Broken 

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M. Jay Granberry

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Las Vegas, NV 89131 USA 

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