Chapter Twenty.

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Songs for this chapter are:

Waiting Game- Banks

Lego House- Ed Sheeran

Haunting- Halsey


The last thirty minutes have been confusing to say the least. I don't know how to stop this spiral, or even if I should. Her words mean so much to me, but there's a hint of something missing, some small part of me that isn't connecting to her words. I feel slightly skeptical and I don't know if I should be so quick to jump when she says jump.

The spiral has much more pull on me than the nag of something missing does and I don't want this moment to end, I don't want her to go. I want her to stay and make up for the times when she left me and feel normal again. It's easier to focus on other people and make everyone around me happy than it is to come to terms with the fact that maybe I'm a little lonelier than I care to admit. It's so easy to fall back into this routine with her. I used to think that I was made to protect her, that every atom of my body was created solely for her purpose. I was happiest when I had her, when I had someone that made me feel important, needed.

Dakota came here, she ran to me. Is she done running from me? Her body is so close to me now, so close that I could reach a hand out to her and pull her into my arms if I wanted to, and I do want to. I just need her touch. I need to know if that familiar tingle will spread through my body in the wake of her fingertips. I need to see if she can fill the empty parts of me that she left, like holes in my body.

I take another step and wrap my arm around her small frame. She leans into me without missing a beat and my lips move with caution, to find hers. Her mouth is so soft, her lips are clouds that I want to be lost in, high above the word of logic and far away from our shared pain. I want to float in this space where it's her and I, and me and her. No breakups, no tragedy, no shitty parents or exams or long hours of work.

The moment my lips graze hers, Dakota's breath hitches and relief floods me. My mouth is timid, careful not to rush into this. My tongue glides over hers and she's melting into me, as she always did.

I bring my other hand to the small of her back and pull her closer. The material of her tutu shuffles against my sweats and she uses both hands to push the sparkling fabric down. I hear the skirt hit the tile floor and she presses her body against mine. Her body is harder than I remember, the hard work she's put in is paying off and I love the way she feels now, solid and mine. She's actually mine, maybe not forever, but for right now.

Dakota's mouth is slightly slack, as if she's forgotten how to kiss me. I rub her back as she tries to remember my mouth. My thumbs trace small circles on the small of her back and she sighs a breath between my lips. Her kiss is slow and her mouth tastes like tears and I don't know if they are mine or hers. She sniffles and I pull away.

"What's wrong?" I ask her, my throat is full of molasses and my words are slow, stuck in my throat, "Are you okay?"

She nods and I look down at her face, taking her in. Her brown eyes are shining with tears and her lips are wet, pouty, and turned down into a frown.

"What is it?"

"I'm fine," she wipes at her eyes. "It's not that I'm sad, I'm just overwhelmed. I've missed you," she sniffles again and a single tear escapes and runs down her cheek. I pad at it with my thumb and she breathes heavily, into my hand cupping her cheek.

"Will you give me time to figure my shit out? Please Landon, I know I don't deserve another chance, but I will never, ever hurt you again. I'm sorry."

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