Somehow Finding Us (Second Chance Sinners #2) - Claudia Y. Burgoa Page 0,1

but he’s her Zeke. Her brother.

There’s a service car outside the hangar waiting for me. It takes thirty minutes to arrive at the rehab center. The place looks like a three-star hotel. There are more prestigious institutions that could’ve helped him. Why am I upset at something that can’t be changed? It’s done. Still, these people owe me an explanation. I might make them pay for their mistake.

I straighten my posture, erasing any trace of grief. Hiding my emotions comes as easily as lying. Maybe it’s all the same. Concealing myself is a weapon, a habit, and the way I learned to exist. These people will get the Ethan Killion treatment. They’ll regret not doing their job.

As I walk toward the reception desk a woman smiles at me, “Welcome to Bright Days Ahead. Would you like an application?”

“Call whoever is in charge,” I order.

The receptionist stares at me with wide-open eyes. “How—how can I help you, sir?”

“I need to speak to the director, manager, or whoever heads this excuse of an institution.” My voice rumbles throughout the building.

“What is it in regards?” There’s a flicker of panic in her eyes. Her hands tremble as she types on her computer.

I slam my hand on the counter. “Zeke Hutchence. He was here to get treatment. You let him leave and now… Where is your fucking manager?”

A man wearing a suit saunters into the area and stands right next to me. “Can I help you?”

“Zeke Hutchence,” I repeat his name so loud it echoes throughout the reception area.

“As we explained to you over the phone, we’re not responsible for any patient after their release.” His voice is soft. I hate the tone, I hate the pitch, I hate that he doesn’t care what they did.

Is he fucking kidding me?

“My lawyer will be closing this place,” I threaten.

“Sir, I understand this is a difficult time for you. As we told you over the phone, we don’t have anything to do with his”—he clears his throat—“with the loss of Mr. Hutchence.”

I stare at him. My jaw twitches. My hands are two fists, ready to punch someone. Anyone. I want to inflict the pain I’m feeling.

It’s unbearable.

I stop myself though. If I end up in jail, I won’t get to see him or hold his hand one last time.

“Why did you let him leave?” I question.

“He was our patient, not our prisoner,” he explains with a fucking condescending voice that is unnerving. I’m not a toddler in need of a nap. I’m a desperate man who needs answers. “The moment he signed the release forms, we had to let him go. Once he’s out, the center isn’t accountable for his actions or well-being.”

“He fucking died,” I groan.

“I’m sorry about your loss.”

“Sorry won’t bring him back,” I mutter, defeated.

I cover my eyes with the tips of my fingers. I breathe deeply, trying to keep myself together.

“He died alone and in pain.” A shit load of emotional pain that’s been haunting him for years. Like knives constantly stabbing through his heart and his mind.

My own pain grasps my throat like a fist asphyxiating me. “I caused this.”

“You didn’t,” the guy assures me, but he doesn’t understand. I caused a lot of damage. “Do you want me to call someone?”

I shake my head. “No. I…I need to see him.”

“We can get you a cab so you don’t have to drive,” he offers.

“Thank you, but I have a car waiting for me.” My voice has lost all strength and is now a whisper in the air. “I should’ve gone to the coroner’s office first. I just hoped that…”

What was I hoping for? For them to tell me that it was a fucking mistake? An April fool’s joke? That he was taking yoga, meditating, or painting? I don’t even know what they offer here, but yes, I was hoping they’d tell me it was a fucking mistake.

“He can’t be gone.” I don’t recognize the desperate voice that’s bargaining out loud. This isn’t me, or maybe this is the guy I’ve been hiding for years. “My heart can feel him. You know, the way two soulmates know when the other one is around.”

Zeke would laugh at the irony of this moment. I never told him he was everything to me, and yet, when he died, I finally recognize it in front of other people. I openly called him my soulmate.

“I understand. You’re in denial.” This man might be a saint or a holy man hoping to save one soul since he lost