Chapter Thirty-Eight

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When we returned back to Xavier's home after our short trip to check out the apartment, everyone's mood had shifted incredibly. I was feeling giddy, and Ariel was so excited she was constantly hopping on her feet. Vincent and Scarlett were also happy that we had liked the place, because that meant we would return after our flight, to stay.

The apartment truly lived up to its expectations. It was close to the city, and had an entire wall of windows that overlooked the best buildings. Ariel and I had instantly felt at home, and considering it was close to both Seth's and Xavier's places and came at a very affordable price, Ariel was quick to seal the deal with the owner, disregarding my nagging about how we should at least take a few days to think it through.

"Think what through?" She had said. "I'm ready to move in. You can take your time to think your life through; and once you do, the place will be ready to move into."

Back at Xavier's, we each went to our rooms to pack up the rest of our belongings. I didn't have much that needed to be packed, so I settled for my backpack only which I carried in some of my travel necessities. I was quick to change into a more comfortable attire as we were nearing our flight time and everyone was already by the door.

As I was hurrying down the grand staircase, I balanced my backpack on my arm as I was simultaneously shoving my other arm into the sleeve of a light jacket. When I neared the end, I stumbled over my feet and dropped the bag from my grip, hearing it tumble down the next few steps and fall to the bottom of the steps with a disapproving thud.

I hunched over to grab it but was surprised to see another arm extending towards it at the same time.

"I've got it."

I frowned as I came up straight, staring into Noah's jade orbs. He lifted the bag up, swinging it over his shoulder and offering me a tight smile.

Not that easily, buddy.

"No, it's fine." I reached out to grab the bag from his shoulder, but was surprised to see him lean back with a look of determination. I raised a brow in question.

"Let me help."

"I don't need your help," I seethed. This time, I reached out and yanked my bag off Noah's shoulder rather forcefully, watching as his eyes widened at my sudden show of aggressiveness. "I can take responsibility of my own bag."

When I turned to walk the other way, I did a double take as I came to notice that both Xavier and Ariel were standing by watching our interaction with questioning gazes. Forcing on a tight smile, I left through the door and made my way to the car, all the while thinking this will be one hell of a flight back.

*

The familiar scent of my home hit me right in the deepest part of my heart and clenched tightly around the bundle of muscle as soon as we walked through the wooden door. I twisted the key in the lock and pulled it out, stepping further inside as Ariel walked in behind me and then Xavier shut the door.

We had taken the flight back to our hometown in Illinois, Xavier joining along to help me pack and keep me company, and although a part of me was very ecstatic to go back to my apartment and home, another part of me was dreading the moment I'd have to walk away.

I had an odd habit of forming unbreakable bonds with routines; once I'd gotten used to something, it's very difficult to let go. Even though it's only been a couple years since I'd moved to this part of town and the apartment I was currently staying in, I held the place so close to my heart that it instantly became my home - a place I could never imagine walking away from.

"Nora?" Xavier called out to me, snapping me out of the jumble of doubts my thoughts had created in my mind. I looked over at him to see him standing beside the bookshelves set by the TV in my living-room, his eyes watching me expectantly as if waiting for a reply to an unheard question.

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