The car’s tires spun on the dry gravel as she turned into his driveway, sending rocks flying angrily behind her. Two German Shepherds began running up, happily barking, knowing full well who the girl in the driver seat was. The house, so familiar now, greeted her like an old friend, but nudged at memories she had worked so hard to bury. An inner fist clenched around her heart, drawing unwelcome tears to her eyes.
Breathing deeply, Kat managed to hold her emotions at bay, as she parked the car. Reminding herself that this could be quick and relatively painless, she climbed out of her car and opened the back door. Lying on the back seat was his plaid shirt, the one she had adored seeing him wear, and his favorite hat. Another rush of emotions threatened her as she picked the items up gently and closed the door.
“Hey,” a voice greeted her from behind.
This time it was a punch in the stomach. Her breath became shallow; her chest tight. I can’t do this, she thought to herself. Yes, you can, another voice said firmly. Taking a deep breath, Kat turned to face him for the first time since she had walked away from him at the state fair; since the moment she had said she was done.
No, I can’t, she thought once again as she cast her eyes on him. He was as beautiful as ever. His hair, his eyes, his regretful smile; she took it all in, feeling her body grow weak and her emotions swell until she felt as if she would simply break down right there in front of him.
She would not fall apart though. She could not let him see what their breakup had done to her; the mess that it had created. She cleared her throat.
“Hi, I brought your stuff. Just like we agreed,” Kat said, her voice steady, as if she was not being ripped apart inside.
He frowned as he took the items, eyeing them almost sadly. No, Kat. Do not let him rope you in again, she warned herself frantically. “Well I guess I’ll just go then. Have a nice time in Chicago,” Kat said as cheerfully as she could. Then she turned around and reached for the door handle, breathing rapidly, fighting a war with the tears that so desperately wanted to fall.
Her hand stopped inches away from the door. Her whole body felt rigid with pain, longing, and anger. She did not turn around. She just simply stopped.
His voice was closer now. She could feel him. She could always feel him, even when he wasn’t there. His presence was so suffocating, but serene, like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. The smell of shampoo and his deodorant swept over her, giving way to the memories of being close to him. Don’t Kat. Don’t.
But it was too late.
Kat slowly turned around, fresh tears on her cheeks. He was so close; so in reach. All she had to do was reach out her hand. She did, and placed it on his chest, to feel his heart beating rapidly. He took that hand softly in his and pulled her into the embrace that she had dreamed about since the day she had said goodbye. He held on tightly, promises of forever seeping back into their place between them, and the remnants of confusion and heartache streaming from her eyes.
“I love you, Kat. I love you so much,” he whispered deeply.
“I love you too. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” she choked out in a whisper. This is where she belonged, in his arms, forever. Nothing should have stopped them from being together. No one should have been able to tear them apart. For a moment, Kat let all the bad days and all the cruel words disappear and she was left with only her infinite love and desire for the man that now held her.
Too soon, it seemed, he pulled away and looked at her intently. “You have nothing to be sorry for, Kat. I was wrong. I never considered the pain you were going through. I took having you for granted. I never thought you would leave, and I should have never let you.” He grasped her arms tightly, as if scared that she would run away again.
“No more apologies,” Kat whispered.
“No more broken promises,” he whispered back.
And with that, he firmly planted his lips on hers, letting all the stress of the last few weeks rush away. Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around his neck, weaving her fingers through his hair, as he pulled her as tight against his body as possible. Kat felt her body crumble, but he was there to catch her.
And in that moment, when she fell in love with him all over again, he was there to catch her.
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