Title: If I Fall
Author: Amber Thielman
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Genre: YA Romance
How do you survive when your best friend takes his own life?
Khloe has no idea how she’ll live without her best friend by her side. Carter was not the suicidal type, and Khloe can’t understand his leaving her so abruptly. When she finds Carter’s journal, it’s a secret portal holding all his deepest secrets. As Khloe unravels the hidden darkness of her best friend’s life—hoping to find what drove him to suicide—she struggles without him as she stumbles back into the treacherous world she’d left behind. Prescription drugs, sex, and the tip of a needle to feel her pain for her.
Her friend Ava tries to reason with her, but the more Khloe discovers Carter’s life, the less she understands. When Khloe almost goes over the edge, a handsome paramedic, Ty, saves her life and seems intent on saving her heart along with it. But the shadows that chased Carter are hot on her heels, and unless she can find the peace that eluded him, she might follow Carter past the last page.
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The entire apartment was dark—silent. Aside from the buzzing of the fridge in the kitchen, there was no sound. I pocketed the key and felt against the wall for the light switch, flipping it on and shutting the door quietly behind me. The living room lit up, blinding me momentarily. I looked around, seeking for some sign of Carter, but the house was still. Just as expected, the place was spotless. Over the suede chaise sofa laid a hand-woven quilt, the quilt I’d made him during my long-ass, torture-filled summer at camp without him. The coffee table in front of the couch was tidy, only flaunting a few stacked magazines and an Aloe Vera plant. The apartment was clean—cleaner than my place had ever been, which was typical for the two of us.
“I’m coming up,” I hollered at the stairs. “I hope you’re decent.” I waited for some reaction; some grumbled reply or sleepy bitch-out. Instead, there was silence—a silence that chilled my core. “I know you’re here. I saw your car by the curb.” Trying to ward off the dizzying effects of my hangover, I climbed the stairs one at a time, giving Carter enough time to fully wake before I reamed his ass for hanging up on me. “It’s your fault I’m not sleeping right now,” I said. My head pounded, my vision fuzzy as exhaustion overcame me. I stopped in front of his door and let my hand rest on the handle, pushing it open. “I may very well kick you out of bed and—”
There was silence, an eerie, terrifying silence that seemed to freeze time. In that silence, someone started to scream. For a fleeting second, I wanted to cover my ears and yell at them to shut up: grow up, be quiet, get the fuck out. Shut the fuck up.
Then I realized it was me.
I spotted the bottle of pills first, a neon orange prescription bottle lying open on the floor. The lid was off, and it was empty. Next to the empty bottle of pills, he was there.
With a sob, I dropped to my knees in front of him. I could hear my breath coming in quick, short gasps of panic as I reached out and allowed my trembling hand to feel for any sign of life. His lips were tinged blue, his eyes partially open and staring at the ceiling above us. His skin, at one time running so much warmer than everybody else’s, was cooling down. Chilled and waxy.
“No,” I screamed the word until it hurt my throat. “I don’t understand what’s happening. I don’t understand what’s happening. Carter? Carter. Tell me—tell me what’s happening. Carter!” I collapsed onto him, letting my head rest on his chest. “I need to call 911,” I murmured. Jumbled thoughts raced through my mind, none of them making a bit of sense. I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and dialed the emergency line. My hand shook so severely I dropped the phone twice.
“It’s okay,” I said to Carter. “They’ll be able to help you.”
“911, where’s your emergency?” asked the operator on the other end of the line. I touched my face, only just noticing the tears rolling down my cheeks.
“My friend,” I said. I reached down and squeezed Carter’s hand. “He’s-h-e needs help. I need an ambulance. We’re in the Kirkwood Meadows apartments, number sixty-one.”
“I’m sending Paramedics now,” the dispatcher said. “Ma’am, can you tell me what happened?”
“No. I don’t know. I just-I need someone to come and help him. I need someone to come and save his life and I—” The cell phone dropped from my fingers. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard it clatter to the floor, bouncing against the hardwood floor of his bedroom. I reached for him again, resting my hand on his, our temperatures clashing. I could feel my face and fingers start to tingle and numb, threatening a panic attack.
“It’s going to be okay,” I said, lacing my fingers together over his chest. I began compressions, holding my breath, as the seconds ticked by in slow motion. I paused for a moment and checked for a pulse. There was nothing. “I love you, Carter,” I whispered, pumping his chest again. “I’m so sorry, just stay with me. They–they’ll help you.” Then, in the silence of the house, amongst the midst of death, I lost it.
Amber Thielman is an avid reader and writer of dark, edgy Young Adult and New Adult books that push the boundaries and challenge your comfort zone.
Despite her love for taboo, realistic subjects, Amber reads too much Stephen King and grew up devouring every Fear Street novel R. L. Stine ever wrote. When she’s not writing, Amber enjoys traveling, practicing the art of staying on her horse, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with her husband and their adorable tiny human Aidyn in Southeast Idaho. She also has an undying love for pumpkin-flavored anything, Autumn weather, and all things scary.
You can find Amber wasting her time on social media when she should be writing the pretty words. Join her, won’t you?