Chapter 20

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For the first time in awhile I woke up without Carl's arms wrapped around me. I chuckled at how strange it felt. I hopped out of the wooden bed and slipped on my worn old boots before heading into the kitchen.

Carl sat feeding a happy Judith, who was sitting on his knee. I smiled and dished out a bowl of food for myself that Carl had also made.

"Arn't you the great roommate." I chuckled and Carl flashed me a smile. I was glad that there wasn't some awkward tension between us after that kiss.

"I decided to let you sleep, you looked like you needed it." He chuckled and put Judith down on the floor. Judith gurgled and crawled towards me, I picked her up and tickled her sides making her giggle. I set her on my hip and picked up a blanket.

"You coming outside?" I asked Carl and he nodded with a smile. I honestly didn't think I'd ever seen Carl smile so much.

I bounced Judith on my hip and threw the blanket down on the dry grass. I set her down and she climbed up my side, hanging onto my shoulder for support.

A few minutes later, Carl emerged from the house with a few toys from the nursery, he dumped the toys down infront of Judith and she squealed in delight before grabbing the toys and shaking them pretty violently.

Carl smiled again and Judith threw the rattle down on the ground before climbing onto my crossed knees. She raised a finger and poked my cheek before opening her mouth.

"Mama."

My heart froze and I turned to Carl, expecting a look of hurt and pain to cross his face, but instead he smiled widely.

"Y-You don't mind?" I stuttered, searching his face for any sign of him lying so I didn't feel guilty. Judith just called me something only her real mother should have the pleasure of hearing, but circumstances always seem to make things worse for people like us.

"Of course I don't. You are practically her mother and she sees you like that too."

I let out a sigh of relief and set Judith down on the soft blanket. She squealed in delight and began rolling around the grass making me laugh. My eyes glossed over and I patted the young girl on the head.

"Mamamama." Judith repeated and gurgled happily, grabbing my hand to play with. I laid back, leaning against Carl as he wrapped his arms around me, settling his hands on my lap.

"Do you think this will work?" I asked him quietly. I felt like something would ruin our little ounce of perfection. I knew that we couldn't live in perfect peace. For one, we needed to find the group and Carl and I were still teenagers, we couldn't raise a child on our own, loaded with the responsibility of caring for her until she was old enough to care for herself.

"I think it will work if we make it work." He said softly and kissed my cheek.

We both knew that we wouldn't be staying here forever, because at some point something bad is going to happen, and we were going to have to leave. So, for then, I would enjoy every minute of serentiy I had.

"And this reminds me." He mumbeled and I turned my body to face him. He was smiling to himself.

"What?"

Carl shifted and slipped his hand into his pocket pulling out a small gold ring.
"This is a Cladagh ring, it was my moms. She gave it to me before she died and I want you to have it."

I smiled widely and my breath caught in my throat. I choked on my words.
"Carl I can't take this."

"Please take it. I don't want anyone else to have it. She would love for you to have it." Carl took my hand and slipped the ring onto my ring finger, making me smile freely and carelessly

"I love it." I mumbelled before wrapping my arms around him in a tight hug.

"One more thing." He whispered in my ear and I looked up to him questionally.

"Will you, Lauren Dixon, be my girlfriend?"

I laughed and looked at the ring that wrapped around my finger.
"You know I'm not one for stupid labels, Carl."

"So here I am trying to do some romantic gesture and you shoot me down." Carl rolled his eyes and laughed. "You know this isn't easy. I'm only one guy and my moves aren't that smooth."

"You can say that again." I teased and he swatted my arm. I leaned against him and he sighed in content.

"Just say yes so I can cross 'Having a super hot girlfriend' of my bucket list." He mumbelled and I snorted.

"You're a total dork." I laughed and he pouted like a child. He made the gesture of a broken heart with his hands and I rolled my eyes, smiling at how hard he tried.

"Fine!" I laughed. "Yes, I, Lauren Dixon, the totally awesome, machete-weilding dark angel will be your girlfriend."

Carl laughed again and spun my around until I was sitting on his lap.

"That's better." He mumbelled, a smirk played on his lips.

"Now, that was smooth."

Carl laughed and brushed away the strand of hair that escaped from my ponytail. I felt the heat rise to my cheeks and I bit my lip to stop myself from smiling like an idiot. Ever so slowly, he inched closer to my lips, just teasing me. I assumed it was because of my reluctance to accept his proposal. I rolled my eyes and kissed him gently, letting my hands cup his cheeks. He rested his hands on my hips, smiling to himself. When I finally pulled away, I rested my head against his and smiled.

"You're an idiot."

"I'm your idiot."

-

The rest of our day was spent in the same place on the blanket. Judith occasionally squealed in delight and threw her rattle clattering across the ground before racing to get it back.

I don't know how long I layed with Carl. It was peaceful, I closed my eyes and listened to the rhythm of his heart beat, how his chest rose and fell every few seconds. It was dark when I finally emerged from my apparent daze.

I got this strange burning sensation every time I looked at him, and even more so when he looked at me. I couldn't deny I had fallen for this boy, and I had fallen hard. I knew it was stupid, and it would get us into trouble in the future.

I have learned over the years that you have to protect what you have with your life, because without it, you have no life. I knew in that moment that I would give my life to protect the people I care about, and these people were right beside me.

The safety wouldn't last forever, but when it ended, I was ready. I was ready to fight and protect my everything. Nobody is going to stand in my way. I have found where I am happy.

In the words of Luke Hemmings:
'Find something that makes you happy and don't let anyone take it away from you.'

I found my happiness.

As you can probably tell, no more rainbows after this chapter! Yay xD
All this mushy shit is makin me sick

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