Chapter Thirteen.

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Songs for this chapter are:

Rock Bottom- Hailee Seinfeld

Never Forget You- Zara Larson & MNEK

No One's Here To Sleep- Bastille & Naughty Boy


Without giving Dakota time to answer, I continue.

"I need to know this, Dakota. I think it's more than obvious that I miss you, that I've missed you since I left Michigan. I missed you before and after you visited me. I would say that me moving across the country to be with you shows that I missed you."

She thinks on my words for a beat. She looks at me for a second and then stares past me. The clock on the wall is ticking, humming in the silence.

Finally, she opens her mouth to speak. "But did you miss me? Or was it just the idea of me, the familiarity? Because there were times when I literally felt like I couldn't do anything without you and I hated it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could take care of myself. After Carter died, I clung to you and so when you left me, I had nothing. You were my safe place and you took it with you but then when you said you would move to New York with me, I felt like I was going to be stuck in that safe place with you. There was no chance for adventure, nothing unexpected could possibly happen with you around to save me."

Her words burn as I digest them. They pull at the most insecure part of me, the little voice in my head that's worried about what people think of me. I don't want to be the boring guy. I've been the nice guy for twenty years now and I still can't grasp why women want drama over normalcy.

Just because a man doesn't bash the face in of someone for hitting on you, doesn't mean he doesn't care about you. It only means that he has his temper under control and he's respectful and trained to be a functioning member of society. I will never understand why the nice guys have it so damn bad.

However, if you think about it, the nice guys usually end up being the husbands. The women go through trial and error with the hot bad boys for a while, but eventually most of them want to trade in the motorcycle for a Prius. That's me.

The human version of a Prius.

Dakota would be a Range Rover, sturdy and luxurious, yet still beautiful. Nora would be a Tesla, sleek and new and fast.

"Until I broke up with you, then there was adventure. I was alone to navigate this big city and all the trouble that comes along with it," Dakota continues her warped version of what went wrong with us, and I stop comparing Nora's curves to that of the body of a Tesla.

What is wrong with me?

I'm here, inches away from Dakota, her hands in mine, Nora shouldn't be on my mind.

This is the worst possible time to think about Nora and the way her eyes are impossible not to get lost in, the way her bottom lip pouts out further than the top.

Thinking about Nora is much less complicated than trying to understand Dakota's logic. I don't have a clue what to say to her right now. She's telling me that I did too much for her, that she was in someway prohibited by me to do things for herself, and I'm too afraid of pissing her off to come up with anything decent to say.

She shifts on the couch and tucks her feet under her body, still holding my hands, waiting for my response.

Finally, I begin to speak.

"You can't expect me to apologize for being good to you," I tell her.

Her hands are still in mine. She pulls one away and tucks her hair behind her ear before she looks at me.

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