14 | damsel in free-fall

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d a m s e l   i n   f r e e - f a l l

It seemed like mere seconds when Miles pulled away from our kiss, but I knew that several minutes had passed. We were silent, and I thought about how I never saw Miles this way before; flushed cheeks, red lips, bright eyes. He never looked so relaxed before.

Reaching up, he rested his palms on my cheeks and leaned in to brush his lips against mine one more time. Then he pulled back and there was a familiar determination in his eyes. "Don't do it."

I blinked. It took me a good few seconds before I realised that he was referring to my decision to join Ursa. Then I was frowning, knowing that he was about to say something I wouldn't like to hear. "What are you – "

"Don't join the sorority," he said gently, cutting me off with another soft kiss. I almost sank into it again, almost, but I forced myself to return to the matter at hand. "You're not going to be happy. And I don't want you to do it for me. It's not worth it."

"You are worth it."

"In exchange for three or four years of unhappiness?" He shot back, and I remembered that he was intelligent and quick on his feet. It was an argument I was fast losing. "I don't think so. I'm not going to let you do that. Listen, Darcy, you did more than I could ever ask for when you offered to help me get into Corvus. You don't have to do anything more for me."

I let out a shaky breath, suddenly feeling overwhelmed by the gratitude in his voice. It made me feel like I'd done the whole damn world a favour, when in actuality, all I'd done was a little planning and a little rescuing. I sighed and admitted, "but I hate feeling so – "

" – helpless," he finished and laughed when I stared up at him in surprise. "Yeah, I kind of figured. You've got to live with it though. And you've got to live with seeing me go through the Durden all on my own, without anyone to help me. And I'll be fine, I promise."

A part of me blanched at the thought of having to watch him go through it all alone. Miles was right, I hated feeling helpless. I needed action, needed to feel like I was making a difference. But it was his decision and I was in no place to argue with him about it.

"Seems like the damsel doesn't need the knight anymore," I muttered huffily, in resignation. "Fine then."

Miles's eyebrows rose at my words, and I let a slow smile curve across my face to let him know that I was joking. "I'll have you know I was always the knight," he returned, "just a knight-in-distress, that's all."

"And I'm the damsel to the rescue," I quipped playfully and he laughed, his chest vibrating beneath my arms. I stared at him for a moment, wondering if my gaze was clear and plain enough for him to see, wondering if he could see the affection I felt for him and all the other things in between.

"I love when you're like this," I admitted and he frowned in confusion, but I hastened to smooth his frown away with my fingertips. "Laughing. Happy. Safe."

"Yeah, and I love – "

" – you?" I supplied bluntly, cutting him off mid-speech. It was a shot in the dark, solely meant to be a joke, and so I didn't expect his reaction. I didn't expect him to fall silent, a flush spreading rapidly across his cheeks. Lifting his face up so he was looking at me again, I let a smile spread across my face, the most genuine kind that didn't need to be faked or forced. "I know."

2.4 | Knight In Distress ✓Where stories live. Discover now