chapter 79.

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Los Angeles, California

Our flight home ended up being delayed after everyone was on board, so we sat on the tarmac for two hours and what was only meant to be a five hour flight, ended up being seven and a half hours long.

It's was already dark out when our Uber dropped us off and not to anybody's surprise, Rose came running to the door with a squeal the moment we stepped inside.

"Hi Lexie!"

"Hi Rose!"

"I missed you so much," she tells me, tugging at my right arm to be lifted up. "I missed you so much too," I admit, picking her up from under her arms and placing her on my hip.

"Hi Dad," I say as he comes to the front door with Cosmo in his arms. "Hey Lex."
The smile on his face is sad as he wraps his arm around my back and kisses the top of my head. I spoke to him everyday whilst I was in Atlanta and after he found out what happened, he sent a really long message reminding me that I was loved and cared for and I don't think I've ever cried so much over a text.

"Lexie," my little brother says reaching his tiny arms out to my face as I lean towards him and he places a very sloppy kiss on my cheek. I kiss his cheek back which he immediately wipes away with a very unamused expression, making me giggle.

After putting Rose back down, she grabs ahold of my suitcase which is more than half her height and tries to drag it up the stairs.

Unsuccessfully, you can imagine.

"Honey, let me get that," Mom orders gently, taking the suitcase from her. "No mommy, I got it."
"You're gonna hurt yourself, Rose."
"I wanna help."
"Here, you take my bag then and I'll get Lexie's suitcase."

With a bit of reluctancy and a pout, she complies and takes the bag off of Mom's shoulders instead.

It feels good to be in my own home again. It's a safe space, therefore a place I know I can heal. There have been only good memories made with the people surrounding me and that is something my fourteen year old self would tell me to never take for granted, so from this moment forward I want to cherish what I have.

No matter how alone, isolated and worthless my mind makes me feel sometimes, my parents don't deserve to carry the guilt around of losing their child. Rose and Cosmo don't deserve to lose their sister. Addy doesn't deserve the pain of losing her girlfriend, and Annie doesn't deserve to lose her best friend.

I could be anyone to them and know that they deserve nothing but joy, so if recovering for myself isn't enough, I'll do it for them.

One Month and Nine Days Later

When I walked into Olivia's office this afternoon, for the first time in a very long time, I took one of the Lindt chocolate balls she has resting in a little bowl on the table next to her beloved couch.

I honestly don't remember the last time I ate chocolate, let alone without guilt and by some miracle, I did it today. Almost without thinking.

Yes, there's a long way to still go but I am proud of the progress I've made in the last month.

After giving her my weekly update, Olivia comes over to me with a sticker pad and places one on my forehead without saying a word. I frown, peeling the it off to see what it is.

One month clean.

"I know technically it was two days ago, but I've been excited to give you that," she admits, taking a seat on her couch. I smile widely and place it back on my forehead.

"Now, miss gingerbread house, I think your base is has made some amazing progress and you're ready to start putting the icing on," she starts as I let out a small giggle. Ever since that FaceTime call she hasn't let go of my gingerbread analogy and it's our thing now.

"Does this mean I'm off suicide watch?" I ask hopefully, lifting my eyebrows. "It means that you have more freedom, but it doesn't mean you're off the hook completely. As for letting you go out on your own, that's a judgment call your Mom gets to make, but I think you're ready to go back to school."

"You got my hopes up for school? And you know my Mom won't let me go out on my own," I whine, throwing my hands down on the couch dramatically.

"Well, I trust she knows what's best for you," she quirks an eyebrow. "You're mean," I pout. "I could always keep you doing what you've been doing the past month?" She teases.

"No, I wanna go back to school. I miss seeing Addy and my friends everyday, and Mrs Linch of course."

"That's what I thought. I don't want you jumping straight back into a full load though, so we'll start you off at three days for the first couple of weeks and see how we go from there."

"Yay!" I smile genuinely, kicking my legs excitedly.


After my therapy session, Mom and I went out to do some grocery shopping before picking up Addy on our way home. Her car is being serviced today, therefore she's not able to drive herself.

The twenty minutes it takes to get from her house to ours is spent screaming Taylor Swift at the top our lungs. I recently found out that when I go to the People's Choice Awards in a couple of weeks, I'm going to be in the same room as her and I don't think I'm going to be able to contain myself.

I so desperately want to have a conversation with her, but I wouldn't even know where to begin, especially since I'm literally a stranger and she has no idea who I am.

Once all the groceries are brought in, Addy and I make our way upstairs.

"Can I use your phone charger?" She questions, already plugging her phone in. "Yes," I giggle, climbing onto the bed next to her. "Thanks Sexy Lexie."

"What?" I quirk an eyebrow.

"I'm trying out new nicknames."

"Oh really? What else you got?"

"Smexy Lexie," she grins widely, laying her head back on the pillows. "Very versatile," I joke, throwing one leg over her body to straddle her waist. "I know right."

Her lips meet mine in a gentle kiss before trailing down my jaw and neck. "We can't right now, Add's. My entire family is home," I remind her. "We can be quiet," she whispers, her lips ghosting over my collarbone.
"Yes, but my sister takes after my mother you see and has not yet mastered the art of knocking, and I don't have a lock on my door."

With a childish pout she pulls away before wrapping her arms around my waist and pulling me into her for a hug.

"You wanna know something?" She questions as I tuck my head into her neck. "What?"

"I love you Lexie, even on those days you feel unlovable."

I feel my breath hitch in my throat as I lift my gaze to meet hers. "I love you too, Addy. Forever and ever."

one more chapter!! It'll be out tomorrow <3

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