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HANA

I don't want to get up. Like at all.

I want to stay in this position forever. Wrapped in Luca's blanket, with Luca's arms wrapped around me. Our legs tangled together, our skin sharing each other's warmth.

It's so warm here. So comfy, and so safe. Nothing bad can happen here.

A lot of bad things can happen outside of here. Like how obsessive exes show up inside your house and assault you. Or waking up alone in a bed that's so cold, it might as well be a coffin.

Suddenly, his arms wrap around me tighter, like those snakes trying to kill their prey. I could die happily right now. A chin rests on my shoulder, his breath tickling the skin on my neck.

"What are you thinking about, amore?" His voice so raspy and deep, I can feel the vibrations all the way to my stomach.

Ugh, and that stupid little nickname. It makes me want to shrivel up and cry.

"I'm planning on how to hide your body after I murder you."

"Hmm," he hums, "Under a bridge. It'll take authorities at least a month to find me."

It hurts, but I smile. "I don't wanna leave, y'know?" I say quietly.

His hand finds mine under the blanket, and holds it to my chest, feeling my own heartbeat. "I know," he whispers back.

But the rest of our words linger in the air. But I have to.

"Just don't let go of me," I murmur into my pillow, "At least not yet."

"I wasn't planning to."

He kisses my shoulder and we lay here, clinging onto the little time we have left together. I focus on our synchronized breaths, on the heavy feeling in the back of my throat, on how I keep my eyes closed, because I'm afraid if I wake up, it'll all be a dream.

But it comes to an end, as all good things do.

I drag my feet every step of the way. From when I walk into the bathroom to brush my teeth. From when I get dressed. From when I have to throw my remaining clothes into a luggage to bring 'home'.

Luca and I end up downstairs, making breakfast when we hear little footsteps barreling their way towards us.

"Hana!" I hear a tiny voice cry. I turn away from cutting strawberries to find Carina, wearing a burgundy dress, running at me.

I put down the knife just in time to prepare for the impact of her colliding with my legs. She wraps her tiny arms around my knees, burying her face into the side of my thigh.

"I thought you left already," she says, her voice filled with a sorrow that's even audible through the muffling of my jeans.

A tiny piece of my heart breaks off.

Running a soothing hand through her curls, I assure her, "I would never leave without saying goodbye first."

She looks up at me, and her eyes are glassy and wide. The sad, puppy dog-like expression on her face makes me want to do anything in my power for her to be happy. Her hold on my legs is so tight, it's like she thinks if she lets go, I'll disappear.

I know what that feels like.

"So you're not leaving yet?" She blinks, her tone hopeful.

I smile at her, "Not yet."

And with that, she buries her face back into my jeans, hugging me one last time before racing off into the living room where her coloring supplies are. There's an unsettling lump in my throat as I watch her short hair sway with every step she takes.

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