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Last chapter recap:

I nodded, unable to speak. I was sitting beneath the sweetest girl in the whole world. Eliza shifted her position so she was straddling my waist and reached behind me to place the drawing on her desk. She laced her arms around my neck and I held her so close to me that I could feel the heat radiating off her body. 'Three...'' I counted to myself, and then I leaned in and kissed her with everything I had. ''Remember me.''


My lips crashed against hers as I began to lose my self control. One of her hands tightly gripped my t-shirt, balling it into her fist, and the other was tangled in my hair, making slow knots against the baseline of my neck. My skin was boiling where she touched it. Her warm, tantalizing lips molded into mine, and I felt like I was burning from the inside out. Like my abdomen had been set on fire. I wanted her. I had never felt this kind of desire towards anyone before, not even Madison, and going off the fierce intensity of the kiss, I knew she wanted me just as badly.

I made my move andfound the bottom of her blue tank-top; slipping my hands under it to feel the cool, smooth skin it had been covering. Her stomach was so soft that I had to slow down to appreciate it, my lips never once leaving hers. I skimmed my fingers down her side until I hit the waistline of her jeans, and that was when I felt it. All of a sudden her skin was tight and worn, like she'd just gotten stitches removed.

I broke the kiss. "What is that?"

Eliza brought her hands down to my elbows, sliding her hands across my arms, and shifted her position so there were about six inches of inches between us. "What is what?"

I hooked my finger underneath her shirt to lift it slightly, and what I saw made my mouth drop open insurprise. A million scenarios began bombing my brain until I couldn't focus on anything except the thin, red line above her hip bone. I didn't know how to react. Mostly because I didn't know what it was doing there, or how she'd gotten it, or anything really. I didn't know what I should say to her. I didn't know if I should hold her closer to me, or pretend it wasn't there. I only knew that seeing the scar on her stomach incited me to feel sympathy in my knees, and toenails, and anatomical places I didn't know existed.

I traced the outline of her scar again, as gently as I possible could. "That."

She knew what I was asking about, and I could see the panic flash onto her face, until finally, her eyes became more collected, and distant. "It's nothing." I tried to keep my gaze locked with hers, and it took everything I had to resist the impulse to look at her scar again. A paper cut is nothing. Falling off your bike is nothing. The fading piece of work Eliza was trying not to talk about, was not nothing. My mind jumped to the past few summers, when I'd seen her in a bathing suit on the pool deck. The scar hadn't been there then. She must have gotten it when she was in Australia.

"Eliza," I started to say, but she cut me off before I could make another word.

She walked over the door or her room, cuing me to leave. "Nick," she looked distressed, “please go away.” I felt sick. The Eliza I knew didn’t build walls around herself. She didn’t go around with her personality vacillating between the sexiest girl alive to the most vulnerable one either. This was the first time, in my sixteen years of knowing her, even after Carter and I put frogs in her bed, that she had ever shut me out. Hell, this was the first time anyone had shut me out. But even through her angry façade, I could clearly see the pain in her bright, green eyes. And when she looked at me, with her pursed lips and pleading expression, I swear on the lives of every single member of my family, that I could feel what she was feeling. Scared, anxious, and isolated.

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