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For the next few days, Camila put on a brave face for Lauren's sake. Ever since she had overheard Lauren telling Ashley that she loved Camila, she was confused about her own feelings and especially awkward around Lauren. She knew she definitely liked Lauren and wanted to engage in a relationship with her, but was she in love with Lauren? That, she had yet to figure out.
Now that Camila knew about Lauren's feelings, her love for Camila was blatantly obvious. They way she blushed whenever Camila would say something nice to her, the way that she was careful to never offend or hurt Camila, and her general adorableness said it all. Camila chastised herself for not noticing sooner.
Camila should've been celebrating. But instead, she was panicking. She didn't want to accidentally lead Lauren on, or get her involved in a one sided relationship. The poor girl had been hurt far too much already.
So Camila tried her best to keep a healthy distance from Lauren, still being friendly and affectionate, but not overdoing it. It was hard to resist cuddling Lauren at night though. Those green puppy dog eyes could melt even the coldest of hearts.
One night, Lauren had even rolled over and whispered "I love you" to Camila in her sleep. Camila's heart had almost stopped right there and then.
Lauren was doing better. Her nightmares had gotten less severe, and she seemed able to talk about events in her past with more ease.
Camila was only reminded that Lauren was in recovery in the first place when she saw the police patrolling the streets.
Sure, Lauren had a bit of PTSD, but that was understandable. Other than that, Camila didn't understand why such strict measures were put in place to protect Lauren.
Or to protect people from Lauren.
Camila scoffed at the thought. So what if Lauren had assassinated over a hundred people in her 19 year lifetime (which Camila still found extremely hard to believe)? Anyone who'd ever talked to Lauren for not 5 seconds would realise that Lauren was an innocent puppy.
Speaking of the green eyed devil (angel), she had crept up behind Camila, who was reminiscing over all this in an armchair. Once she had positioned herself, she struck.
"RAAAAAAAAAA!" Camila spun around in shock, coming face to face with a grinning Lauren. "Wow Laur...you really scared the crap out of me! I didn't even hear you come in."
"Well, I do know my stuff, I guess." She rubbed her neck, drawing attention to the long gash across it, and Camila forced herself to look away.
"Hey Camz, is it okay if I go for a walk? Like, around the neighbourhood?"
"Yeah, of course. Let me make myself look moderately sane first."
Lauren's face twisted. "No, I meant...by myself."
Camila paused, not quite knowing how to respond. "Uh, I don't know if that's allowed or not..."
"Please, Camz?" God, those puppy dog eyes were hard to resist. "I'm just going for a walk. You can trust me."
Camila gave in. "Yeah, okay. Make sure you're back in an hour, or mum may actually kill me." Camila bit down on her tongue. Shitty choice of words, you idiot!
Luckily, Lauren either didn't notice the comment or chose to ignore it. She shot Camila one of those award winning smiles and disappeared before Camila could get another word in.
Camila slumped back in the armchair. Lauren would be fine, she told herself. Lauren hadn't given her or Sinu any reason to distrust her.
There was no reason to worry.
At all.

Unfortunately, there soon came a very valid reason to worry when an hour had passed and Lauren had not yet returned home. Camila was anxiously pacing the living room, phone in hand, throwing it onto the sofa with a sufficient amount of force when Lauren hadn't answered for the 23rd time.
"Goddamnit...I should never have let her go out alone!" Camila was practically pulling her hair out.
"You really shouldn't have. You didn't even have the decency to ask me for permission." Sinu chastised her daughter. "Chances are Lauren is perfectly fine. Give it another hour."
Another hour passed, and Lauren still hadn't come home yet. To make matters worse, it had started heavily storming. "What if she's lost? W-what if she got hit by a car or something? What if-"
"Calm down, mija. You forget-Lauren's been trained to operate under extreme conditions. I'm contacting the police as protocol, though."
Camila nodded and desperately tried to hold herself together. What if something had happened to Lauren? What would she do without her?

Half an hour later, Camila was sprinting to the door when she heard a series of gentle knocks against it. She flung the door open and there stood a very drenched, shivering Lauren.
"WHAT THE FUCK, LAUREN? I WAS SO FUCKING WORRIED!" Tears began clouding Camila's vision. "H-how DARE you do that to me?!"
Lauren stepped into the house, leaving a puddle of rainwater in her wake. She stared at the ground and fidgeted with her hands. "I'm really sorry Camz...I didn't mean for this to happen. I was exploring the neighbourhood, and I got a bit carried away...by the time it started storming I was in a whole new suburb. I got back here as fast as I could. I'm sorry."
"Why didn't you answer your phone, then?" Camila couldn't keep the harshness out of her tone.
"I-it ran out of charge. I'm sorry."
"Well, you should have charged it properly, Lauren."
"Camz, please calm down-"
"I CAN'T FUCKING CALM DOWN LAUREN, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU." Both girls widened their eyes in surprise at the revelation. "I love you, Lauren. And I don't know what the fuck I would do if I lost you." Well, Camila sure knew her feelings for Lauren now.
A silence settled over the two, Lauren's mouth agape in shock, and Camila's face turning red with a mixture of anger and embarrassment.
"I love you too."
Lauren placed her hands on Camila's shoulders, who was now crying freely. Lauren gently brushed off the tears on Camila's face with her thumb.
"I love you, Camz. I think I have for a while." Lauren was now stroking Camila's cheek. "And I'm sorry I made you worry."
Camila pulled Lauren into their tightest embrace yet, Camila's warmth radiating into Lauren. They stood there for what felt like years, enjoying the physical comfort only the other could bring.
"I love you," Camila repeated. "God, it feels good to say that."
"I love you t-" Lauren would have replied, but turned away so she could sneeze into the sleeve of her hoodie. It was then Camila noticed Lauren's pale face and red nose.
"Oh my God, you're sick. You should have said something." Camila hurriedly led Lauren up into her room. Their room.
"I would have, but you were yelling at me the whole time." Lauren sassed, only to break into a fit of sneezes.
"I'm sorry babe, but I'm gonna make it up to you." Lauren's face lit up at Camila's term of endearment. "I'm gonna go get you something to eat, and then I'm gonna run you a hot bubble bath, okay? Hold on."
Camila was gone before Lauren could answer her, and though she was wet and cold and had a pounding headache, she was happy. She loved Camila.
And Camila loved her back.

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