The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
“He looks up to you,” I said. “You’re his older brother. He’s going to be so hurt when I tell him.”
“Then don’t. There’s nothing to tell him.”
“He needs to know the truth. He needs know what his brother is really like. You—”
Before I could finish, Max grabbed my arm hard and pulled me toward him. I lost my balance and fell onto him. He raised his fist and I thought he was going to punch me. “I love you,” he said, “I love you, I love you, I love—”
Before I could react, he kissed me. I tried to pull away but he wouldn’t let me. I felt his rough lips all over mine, and his tongue pushing its way into my mouth. Instinct took over.
I bit his tongue as hard as I could.
Max cried out and shoved me away. When he looked up, his mouth was full of blood.
“Fucking bitch!” His voice was garbled, his teeth red. He glared at me like a wounded animal.
I can’t believe Max is Gabriel’s brother. He has none of Gabriel’s fine qualities, none of his decency, none of his kindness. Max disgusts me—and I said so.
“Alicia, don’t say anything to Gabriel,” he said. “I mean it. I’m warning you.”
I didn’t say another word. I could taste his blood on my tongue, so I turned on the tap and rinsed my mouth until it was gone. Then I walked out into the garden.
Occasionally I sensed Max staring at me over dinner. I’d look up and catch his eye and he’d look away. I didn’t eat anything. The thought of eating made me sick. I kept tasting his blood in my mouth.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lie to Gabriel. Nor do I want to keep it a secret. But if I tell Gabriel, he’ll never speak to Max again. It would devastate him to know he’d misplaced his trust in his brother. Because he does trust Max. He idolizes him. And he shouldn’t.
I don’t believe that Max is in love with me. I believe he hates Gabriel, that’s all. I think he’s madly jealous of him—and he wants to take everything that belongs to Gabriel, which includes me. But now that I’ve stood up to him, I don’t think he’ll bother me again—at least I hope not. Not for a while, anyway.
So, for the moment, I’m going to remain silent.
Of course, Gabriel can read me like a book. Or maybe I’m just not a very good actress. Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, he said I’d been weird the whole time Max was there.
“I was just tired.”
“No, it was more than that. You were so distant. You might have made more of an effort. We barely ever see him. I don’t know why you have such a problem with him.”
“I don’t. It was nothing to do with Max. I was distracted, I was thinking about work. I’m behind with the exhibition—it’s all I can think about.” I said this with as much conviction as I could muster.