He has vowed to set things right for Rory, and he’s determined to get her back. But the destruction left in the wake of Hallie’s letter is not the only obstacle he must face. Houston must find a way to win Rory back by showing her their story isn’t over yet.
In her desperation to move past the anguish of Hallie’s secret and Houston’s lies, Rory seeks solace in Liam. When Liam is transferred to another tech company in California, Rory jumps at his invitation to leave Portland, and her broken heart, behind. In California, Rory finds a friend who opens new doors for her in the literary world. But does this new friend have ulterior motives?
I had planned to tell my mom about Hallie’s suicide note after Tessa and I were divorced and Rory and I were officially back together. But after everything blew up with Tessa and Rory at Wallace Park, that plan was also blown to bits. I don’t know if I’ve felt more guilt for keeping the letter from my mom or Rory. They would both be devastated by the news of Hallie’s affair with James, but there was nothing my mom could do with that knowledge other than use it as fuel for her anguish in the moments when she missed Hallie most. Rory, on the other hand, might lose her father forever.
I struggled for so many years with the burden of Hallie’s secret. And now I’m passing the weight of it on to the two people I love most in this world. It doesn’t seem like a very loving or fair thing to do. Though the uncomfortable truth can sometimes seem like the less humane option, in the long run comforting lies are far more destructive.
I stare into the mirror in my new bathroom in my new apartment. My gaze falls on the word tattooed across my chest: LOYALTY. For a long time, this tattoo was my reminder to hold tightly to the lies.
The truth is that lying is not humane, it’s just easy. Lying is an easy way of postponing consequences. It’s especially easy to lie in the name of a noble cause, like loyalty. I hid behind my loyalty to Hallie. My loyalty was the perfect shield, protecting me, Rory, and my mom from the truth. I regret using Hallie’s note this way. But most of all, I regret that it took losing Rory a second time for me to understand this.
I raise my gaze to look my reflection in the eye, then I make myself a few promises.
I promise I will never lie to the people I love.
I promise I will be loyal to people, not ghosts.
I promise I will find Rory and I’ll never lose her again.
***end of excerpt***