Chapter Two - Let Her Go

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"You can unpack your things if you'd like. I'll get Jackson to bring up a drink." Scarlett led me upstairs and into a room, the one across from where Jackson's used to be, or maybe still was.

"Uh thanks." I whispered. Once I was alone I lifted my suitcase up on to the bed and unzipped it. On top of my clothes sat my blank canvases. Mom had bought me new ones and a set of oil paints to bring to LA with me. A 'parting' gift, she told me to paint my feelings, a form of therapy I'd always enjoyed. It had become so much more important over time. Aside from dancing it was the only thing that helped me escape from my dim lit reality.

"Uh Amber." Jackson's voice caught me off guard. I jumped and turned around. "I brought you an OJ" He walked in and handed the juice to me. He went to walk away, but before he did his eyes dropped to my suitcase. "You still paint?"

"A little." I whispered. "It helps me keep my emotions in check." I mumbled letting my free hand run over the canvas.

"Mom mentioned you've had trouble. I hope you're okay now." He replied.

"I'm okay." I lied. I hadn't been okay for years, I wasn't sure I ever could be okay. What scared me was the fact I wanted to be honest, I wanted to turn and tell Jackson everything. I just couldn't. No one could know everything. It was bad enough that I knew.

"Why don't I believe you?" He said not moving, I could feel his gaze still focused on me.

"Because once upon a time we were best friends Jackson." I pulled the canvases out at lay them on the bed. "If you don't mind I want to unpack."

"Oh, yeah of course." I listened as his footsteps left the room. Once he was gone I sat on the bed and let out an uneven breath. Tears in my eyes gathered before I could stop them. I rifled through my suitcase and pulled the soft pink woolen blanket out and held it close to my face.

"It's a girl." The doctor said softly as the relief of childbirth washed over me. The most intense pain I had ever felt was gone, at least until my eyes lay upon the beautiful baby the doctor lay in my arms. For minutes, maybe longer I let myself get lost in her gaze. For a newborn she was so placid. It was like she knew.

My heart ached as it both filled with love and grief simultaneously. "She's beautiful." I sobbed, Mom wrapped her arms around me, her sobs matched mine, and her tears hit my skin like warm rain. I looked up at her, and she smiled. "She looks like you."

Dad stood across the room. Afraid to come close, I had only been his baby for 16 years, and now I had a baby, although, not for very long.

I could feel the bonds between us, Mother and baby connecting at lightning pace, my heart pounded knowing inevitably I would have to say goodbye. I didn't want to say goodbye.

"I want to change my mind." I whispered, tears fell onto my daughters head.... Mine, mine... still mine.

Mom's arms tightened around me and she let out a gasping sob. She couldn't speak any more than I could think. I looked back over at my father. He walked across the floor and placed his hand on mine, his finger brushed over the baby's forehead.

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