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"I wasn't afraid to step out of the shadows and protect what was mine."


With him behind me, I slowly made my way to bedroom I once shared with Jordan.

The nervousness and anxiety that filled through me was enough to create an earthquake around us. I just couldn't understand why he had gone through all the trouble to come here, the number one place I was already afraid of visiting.

My eyes caught the sight of four more middle-sized duffel bags sitting in the corner of the darkened room.

Even though it was mid-afternoon, the drapes had been closed shut and the sunlight was kept hidden away. The rest of the bedroom looked normal, even cleaner than it was when I had stayed. I could tell he was really going through all the work to become sober, for us.

I sadly smiled at the sight of our old bed, which was facing the doorway and was placed in the middle of the room. Only the sleeping pillows and the bedspread resided neatly on top of the mattress.

Both nightstands next to each side of the bed frame were cleaned off, the old ash trays had been removed.

Both lamps on top of the nightstands were turned off, hiding the fact that the walls were still bare other than our old pictures we had of us together.

I was sure, once those were removed, the wall color underneath would look like a brighter white than the yellow staining from the cigarettes on the rest of the paint.

I turned myself around and caught him staring at the pictures on the wall. His lips were in a tight line and his brown eyes were squinted.

It didn't take a genius to understand how uncomfortable he was when looking at my old life; knowing those smiles once held an actual, true happiness.

I swallowed hard and tried not to give away my shaky voice, "What are you doing here?"

His head slowly turned to me and his eyes held a sort of lustful darkness. This was not the time nor place to be seductive with me.

"Relax. I'm just here to have a better chance at protecting you and to keep an eye on him. I didn't want you to keep having to go through this alone," he responded, his voice calm and low.

I stayed silent and sighed deeply. Even though it took off some weight on my shoulders, I still felt a sense of unwanted dread deep in my gut.

"When were you going to tell me that you two are now friends?" I asked, my fingers making quotation marks in the air.

"Especially, after what happened last night?"

He chuckled lightly and inched himself closer to me. The distance between us closing suddenly made me feel faint in the head.

I don't think I would ever come to understand what it was about him that had such an intense effect on me.

"I didn't know when it was the right time. I didn't want to freak you out. You already had so much on your plate. I know it's very weird to see me here, in all places, but I'm telling you the truth," he said, his stare holding mine firmly.

"I'm only here to keep things in better balance."

I crossed my arms and gave up my stubbornness.

I guess he did have a point that I couldn't do it all by myself. Even though I knew I was healing quickly, I was not going to deny that I wasn't one hundred percent ready to be on my own. Maybe it was for the best that I had him here with me.

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