( chapter sixteen. )
Edited 12/25/2015 @8:30 PM
Edited 07/12/2016 @7:52 AM
Edited 11/27/2017 @4:09 AM
THE DREAM HAD BEEN SHORT and, yet, Andrea still awoke with a knot in her chest. She opened her eyes to the feeling of a gentle nudge, a frown on her lips. It took her a moment to fully wake herself and, when she looked up at Steve, she furrowed her brow upon seeing the concern in his eyes.
"You were crying in your sleep." He told her, his voice soft as he stepped back to let her sit up. Andy reached for her cheeks, shame burning through her chest as she quickly wiped away any evidence of her tears. She'd shown yet another weakness, how many incidents would there be? Why was it so hard to just be strong?
At the time she needed her strength the most, the world seemed dead-set on battering her further. Maybe it was a test, a call for her to prove that she deserved this second chance. With determination hardening her heart, Andrea knew that she would. In whatever way the world needed, she would be the person that deserved another chance at life. She'd make sure of it.
"Was it because of him?" Andy tensed at Steve's words, freezing just as she was about to exit the car. She couldn't bring herself to meet his eyes; to let him see the sadness that ricocheted right through her at even the mere mention of his existence. She didn't want Steve to know how much it still hurt, even after all these years.
She could recall the memory vividly, from the smell of her room, to the sight of the fire, to the press of Bucky's lips against her forehead. The Jones girl felt her heart ache all over again. Would it ever stop being painful? Would she ever be able to look back and not feel a tremendous amount of loss?
The female heaved a sigh, pushing the memory from her mind before getting out of the car. "Yes." She admitted softly, knowing it was better to be truthful rather than lie. She'd told herself that she wouldn't push him away, but it scared her to show her sorrows in front of him. What if he ran once he saw how truly damaged she was?
Andrea forced herself to meet his eyes and, with a jolting shock, she realized how very wrong she was.
She saw it in his face. His eyes held a pain she resonated with all-too-well and, suddenly, she remembered that it wasn't just her who had lost someone. It wasn't just her who had suffered. He may not have had to endure torture, but he'd still lost his best friend and the girl he cared for as well. Grief had ruined the both of them.
In that moment, as her lip trembled, Andy didn't care for weakness or strength. She didn't care what the world needed her to become; in her mind, the only thing that mattered was what Steve Rogers needed her to be─ and that was his best friend. The Jones girl pushed herself into his arms, tears springing to her eyes as she finally let go of the dam inside of her.
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