Chapter One

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It's six o'clock in the morning and I'm all fucked up. As I look back at you sleeping, curled on your side the way I remember from so long ago, I know that I should leave. I believe all the things you told me, I believe you believe them. But I should go. It should be like I was never here, just a ghost in the night. Then you could go back to your life without interruption and I can go back home where I belong.

I feel like I haven't slept in years. The weight of a life unlived bears down on me with every step I take. And as much as I try to toe the line, do right, smile and not make a fuss, all I want to do is run away with the top down so I can feel the wind.

Yesterday when you kissed me I was sixteen again and you held me so tightly, the heartbreak faded away and I fell in love with you again. But it's only the echo of love. Now in the early morning light lying next to you, the memory of the life we didn't live dies. It's a life I can hardly imagine. Shadows crisscross your face and your skin glows with the kiss of dawn.

You twitch slightly in your sleep and roll toward me. A warm arm snakes around my naked waist and pulls me close. I fit against you easily, my curves soft against the hardness of your body. Your chest is broad and warm against my back, a heavy weight pins me in place. You moan contentedly without waking and my heart breaks a little more with every breath.

I breathe you in, the smell in your small room filled with last night's passion. I know as surely as my heart beats that I should go, but I don't know if I can take it. How, then, do I expect this to end? I don't know if I can mask my feelings enough from you...from him...from myself.

Here you are, open and alive, the past forgotten or washed away with the landslide of time and I am sliced in half. I should tell you all of the things I have done since we last spoke. I should tell you of the life I've led, but when you asked last night, I merely smiled and told you truths that did not convey the whole story. I never lied to you. I never will.

Always there was a shadow across my heart that was shaped like you. A voice in the back of my mind—calling to me—that sounded like you.

My heart aches to cry as I disentangle myself from your arm and quietly climb off of the bed. My underwear in the corner, my jeans lying on the floor, pulled inside out in your haste to remove them from my body. Looking at you the weight of my life traps me, telling me to go, to leave you to your life, that I can only make things worse. I know I need to let you live your life but the thought of another woman in this bed kills me. I should be alright with the thought of another body beneath you, I have no right to stake a claim here.

I sit down on the un-upholstered chair in the corner and close my eyes. I can feel the sun as it rises outside, my legs and soon my whole body warmed with its light. Time passes and I can't bring myself to move. My life hasn't been all that bad and there's no reason for me to wish to escape it, but here in love's limbo I wish for impossibilities.

I hear when you roll over and sigh heavily, your peace so complete. I pull my phone out of the bag next to me on the floor and see I have no messages, no texts, no one wondering where I am. Why should they? No one was expecting me tonight. The guilt of my relief is tangible and looking at you again I swear that this is all we have.

Standing up I grab my underwear and stuff it in my purse, all evidence of last night safely hidden from the light of day. Pulling my shirt over my head I smell your cologne in the fabric.

You kissed me softly in the doorway

You held my hand and asked if I was sure

I allowed myself to forget the world

As you put your hand on my waist and leaned downto me again