Mitch nodded. “You need good things. Just don’t let him take advantage of you.” He bit his lip. “Yeah, I’m one to talk about taking advantage of you. I’m sorry, Sol. For every time I shit all over you trying to help me.”
Solara blinked. She had no clue what had brought that out of Mitch, and it took her a moment to respond. She rested her hand on his shoulder. “Boo, you didn’t take advantage of me. Not even a little. You took what I offered, nothing more.”
“I kept screwing up, though.” He looked at her with watery eyes. “You kept trying, and I kept screwing up.”
“Mitch…” Solara couldn’t even begin to figure out what to say. She looked at Hunter, hoping he would help out.
“In therapy, he’s been working on deciding who he should apologize to,” Hunter said. “You know, the whole twelve-step thing. He said you did the most for him, which means you’re the one he took the most from.”
“I see.” Solara was all too familiar with the concept of making amends. Not that Mitch had to make amends to her, as far as she was concerned. “Mitch, baby, you didn’t do anything wrong by me. Not ever. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into that skinny little body of yours, but you don’t owe me any apologies, okay?”
Mitch nodded again. “I guess.”
“Boo, I am a stepping stone, not a doormat.” Tears came to Solara’s eyes, and she blinked rapidly. She was not about to get emotional in public. Mitch was doing enough of that for both of them. “I gave you what you needed to make a good life, and I haven’t regretted it yet. Don’t be down on yourself, okay? I accept your apology if you feel you need to give it, and I forgive you for whatever you think you need my forgiveness for.”
“You really don’t think I did anything wrong, do you?”
Solara considered her answer. Mitch was strong enough to hear truth now, and if he was going to truly recover, he had to know how his actions had affected others.
“I think you did some wrong things,” she said slowly. “Not to me, though.”
“Okay.” Mitch pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes for a few seconds, then smiled. “Okay. I know you wouldn’t lie.”
Solara’s curiosity got the better of her. “Why are you bringing this up right this second?”
“Because I know what I did, and I want to make sure no one else does it to you.” Mitch tilted his head. “And because if you’re a recovering addict, you probably did some of the same things as me. You forgave me. And Hunter forgave me for what he saw before I went into rehab. If you guys can both forgive me, Navon should have forgiven you. And he should definitely tell you now that he does.”
It took a moment for Mitch’s words to sink in. Sometimes the boy was just plain astonishing. Solara grinned. “You’re pretty smart for a young guy, boo.”
“I have hidden depths.” Mitch looked proud of himself. “We have to go see Hunter’s mom. See you tonight, okay?”
“Absolutely.” Solara hugged him, then Hunter. “Drive safely.”
The two of them walked over to Hunter’s car on the far side of the parking lot. Bemused, Solara watched them get into the car and drive away.