Chapter Twelve

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"When It hurts so much that you can't breathe;

that's when you know you're still alive."

-Grey's Anatomy

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Once she was outside and a few feet away, she slammed into the railing, gulping down giant mouthfuls of air that somehow still didn't seem like enough.

The sun was so bright that it reflected off the waves and blinded her. The cold breeze pricked at her exposed legs, causing the skirt of her dress to sway and her lungs to ache with each frozen breath she took.

She gasped in a few more mouthfuls of air, forced herself to get a grip and wiped the tears from her eyes. Once she was sure she was in control of herself, she spun around but wasn't prepared for the sight awaiting her.

Hector stood just outside the doorway to the ballroom, his hands stuffed into his pockets, waiting for her.

The breeze blew a few strands of hair into his eyes which he shook away as he shifted his gaze from the ground and up to her face. He looked at her apologetically, as if he'd intruded on a private moment, his eyes full of concern and understanding.

For the first time in a long time, she didn't want to to avoid him.

"I was just-"Rachel stammered, wishing her voice didn't sound like she'd just been crying. "Getting some air."

Hector nodded his head, gesturing towards a nearby bench.

Rachel followed him toward it but didn't sit down. She tugged at the edges of her jacket, wishing desperately that she knew how to bridge the chasm between them.

A chasm you created yourself.

Being with him before had been so effortless, as easy as breathing. But now all her baggage prevented her from being the person she knew he deserved.

"I'm going to miss her too." He said gently and she believed him.

"I still can't wrap my head around it. It still doesn't seem real."

"It's hard," He murmured back. "Losing someone you love, I understand."

He leaned against the railing, his eyes cast toward the ocean. The sun caught the lighter flecks in his eyes making them looked like melted honey.

Rachel nodded her head in agreement, swallowing down the lump in her throat.

"I'm sad but mostly I'm just so angry and I don't know why."

"I get that too. You sit there and wish all these people would stop saying they're sorry. Most of them didn't even know this person, at least not the way you did. What are they even sorry about?" He shrugged one shoulder. "And you're angry at her for dying--you're angry at yourself for letting her die."

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