25: good days, great days

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T W E N T Y - F I V E

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Callan's POV

I zipped up my small traveller bag, glancing around to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything.

I peeked into the bathroom, ensuring all the lights and taps were off.

My eyes looked around the room, committing everything to memory.

Time had slowed after what happened with Frank.

And then we came here.

And it felt like I took a single breath and a whole week had flown by.

I bent down to pick up the suitcase, not wanting to linger too long because it would make me want to never leave. I hoped I could come back someday.

My hand had just brushed against the handle of the bag when:

"Eliana. No."

I straightened up, my brows furrowed in confusion.

He crossed the room in a stride and picked up my bag effortlessly.

"I was getting that Elijah," I stifled a smile at the look he shot my way.

"Your stitches. It'll hurt."

I put my hand on my hips and lifted my brow in mock anger, "Are you calling me a heavy packer?"

His lip twitched, "Well...this bag isn't light."

With that, he turned around and walked downstairs to put my bag with the rest of our luggage.

I looked around one final time before sighing wistfully and walking down the stairs. I felt an ache in my chest that had grown overnight.

It was partly because I was afraid of going back into the real world and partly because I didn't want to ever leave this safe haven that he had created for me.

Going back to my regular life would make everything that had happened so real all over again.

I still didn't know how to navigate that.

He noticed the look on my face as soon as I came into view, despite my attempts at hiding it.

My poker face wasn't as good as his.

"We don't have to leave."

I shook my head, "W-We can't stay. I can't stay here forever."

My eyes flitted across the kitchen to the deck outside, "I can't run forever."

His jaw tightened, "There is nothing wrong with taking time to heal, Eliana."

I smiled sadly, "I know," I whispered, "But I'm running away from healing."

I swallowed the lump in my throat and walked over to grab a hold of his hand. I brought it up to my lips, brushing a kiss against his knuckles, "I could never even begin to explain how being here with you made me feel. Our time here gave me strength, a-and I need to use that to move forwards."

He pulled me closer, his hands on my waist, "We'll come back, soon."

I smiled up at him, my hands on his chest, "I'd be upset if we didn't."

His shoulders were no longer tense when he leaned down to place a chaste kiss on my forehead, murmuring, "We can't have that now, can we?"

I let out an embarrassing giggle, feeling my cheeks turn red.

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