I considered Cole's request. Oh, God, give me the words to say.
"God, right now it seems like things are going out of control. Dakota and Dad are going through so much pain. And Devyn..." My voice broke, but still I continued. "Devyn's gotten hurt really bad, God. And it's so hard not to be angry with You when it seems like You're destroying everything we hold dear.
"God, please...Cole and I don't know what to think. Please, remind us that You love us, and You're near us. We need You, God. Please, give us the strength we need to carry on. In Jesus' Name, Amen." And there, I stopped, unable to say anything else.
"I think you need to talk with Dakota sometime soon," Cole said, putting his hand on my shoulder to emphasize the importance of what he was saying. "You need to tell him how much you care about him."
I rolled my ears, despite my tears. "He hates me."
"He only acts like he does. Nadia, I promise, he doesn't hate you. Not at all."
Right then and there, I finally let down all my guard. "I should have been a better sister," I sniffled. I lay my head in my hands and began to sob - as though I hadn't been doing enough of it already. "I should have been a better sister, Cole! I don't know what to do anymore!" Cole wrapped his arms around me, and I leaned into him. "And I miss Devyn," I said, still sniffling like crazy. "I wish he was here right now. Not instead of you, but with us both. He's the first boyfriend I've ever had, and I'm hoping we last forever." I gave a self-deprecating laugh. "I sound like some lovesick teenager," I said, sitting up and wiping the tears off my cheeks.
"I think it's healthy to express emotions sometimes," Cole said, but he looked away. Sighing, he shook his head. "No, I know it's healthy to express emotions. I just wish I knew how to explain myself, you know? I wish I knew my own feelings better. Half the time, I don't even know myself."
We were both rambling, but it seemed like the most appropriate thing to do at the moment. Sniffing rather loudly, I brushed my hair back behind my shoulders and let out a long sigh. "You know Devyn much better than I do," I said, turning to Cole. "What kinds of things can I do to make him feel better? I feel like such an awful girlfriend."
"You're what keeps him going."
I laughed mirthlessly. "Well, if I'm what keeps him going, then he doesn't have much good in his life," I said. "If I'm what keeps him going, then he'll probably end up dying soon."
"You're not planning on dying, are you?"
I shook my head. "I mean, I won't complain if God takes me home, but I'm not going to kill myself or anything."
Cole smiled. "Honestly, seeing your faith in God encourages me. I know Devyn feels the same way. And if Dakota's honest with himself, he'll admit that he does, too."
Smiling, I wiped more tears away. "Honest?"
"I'm dead serious, Nadia. Through all this, you're like the calm in the storm. You always know what to do."
Cole didn't say anything else about God that night, but I could tell praying with him had made some sort of difference. And I prayed to God that it would impact him more as time went on.