Chapter 20

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‘Camila’ it flashed on the display and I found myself at crossroads. I looked to the young singer then my phone again, sighing deeply before grabbing the vibrating device and making my way out of the crowded club. There was no way I would understand a single word in there. Taking a very deep breath when I reached the outside, I picked up.

“Lauren?”, Camila’s shaky voice immediately asked.

“Yes”, I said as emotionless as I could at this point.

“Where are you? I need to see you…we have to talk about this”, she pleaded.

“That’s kind of hard to do since I am not in Miami anymore”, I replied matter-of-factly.

“Then tell me where you are and I’ll get there as soon as I can…please”, her voice cracked and I swallowed lightly.

She sounded so broken and it still pained me to hear this amount of distress in her beautiful voice. I exhaled loudly but couldn’t bring myself to answer her. Leaning against the brick wall, I slid down until I was sitting on the sidewalk. There was another battle between my heart and head going on and I wasn’t sure who was going to win in this one.

“Why?”, I heard myself ask just above a whisper. “Just…why did you do it?”

There was a pause on the other side of the line and she must have realized that I was not going tell her where I was.

“You were right about what you said”, Camila spoke unsteadily. “I was still scared of what would happen if I let you in completely. In my mind, it was inevitable you would realize that you deserved much better than me and leave me at some point. Losing my mom…the pain of that was so excruciating and I became even more afraid of losing you. Maybe I was forcing what was inescapable in my head, or maybe I was just unable to cope with the fact that you actually loved me. I’m not sure I can give you an answer that is satisfying but I…realized how wrong it was immediately. Being faced with the actual possibility of losing you forever, was the most horrific feeling but I don’t want to be afraid anymore. All I can ask you for is your forgiveness and one last chance, to prove to you that I can love you the way you deserve it.”

I hadn’t realized I was crying once again. My head leaned against the wall while I listened to her. I hated and loved it equally when the sensitive woman spoke that genuinely. My heart hurt like there were a thousand needles just pinching away. She was being honest and I could tell; which made it so much more difficult to be mad at her. But I also couldn’t ignore what was going through my head. Closing my eyes, I inhaled deeply before breaking the silence.

“You know what the saddest part about this is?”, I asked rhetorically before elaborating. “All of these things you named, that you loved about me…I became that person because of you. I wanted to be all of these things for you…so you would maybe look at me someday and think that I was good enough. You made me a better person. Someone, I never thought I could be. For some reason, you were always able to connect with a part of me that I had detached. Being with you made me whole. You were my person…”

I had to stop for a second because I felt a sob coming. Swiftly wiping my tears away, I squeezed my eyes shut because this next part was going to hurt.

“When your mom passed, it dawned on me for the first time that I may not be the same for you. The fact that you were able to connect with Hanna, on whatever level it might have been, is just proof of that. I’ll always forgive you, Camila…but I’ll never forget that I am not your person.”

Camila was now sobbing on the phone.

“That’s not true-“, she said trembling and I felt more hot tears rolling down my cheeks.

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