Chapter 4: Twenty-Eight Days

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I hadn't meant to end up by Lani and Willow's apartment. I'd gone for a walk and ended up by their building as they were only about a five minute walk from the school. When I saw her run out of her building, crying, I had to follow. I didn't know what to do, so I stayed hidden near some shrubs along the running path. I don't think that she knew I was there, listening to her sob as if the world was really ending. She sat on the grass, looking up at the sky and counting from one to four to herself, saying something after each one. And I caught all of them.

"Number one," she whispered, "never take anything—or anyone—for granted. They might not be there tomorrow." That one practically sucker punched me in the gut; it made me wonder what she'd had to endure to believe that someone wouldn't be there tomorrow. Or for the rest of her life, just to watch her, to be with her. Someone like Lani...well, she was to be cherished, held onto as if your life depended on it. And maybe it was presumptuous of me because I didn't really know her that well—yet—but I think at that point, my life depended on hers. It depended on her happiness and excitement and love and kindness. Lani was one of a kind, and I could already tell she would never believe me if I told her that. She would think I'd mean it in a derogatory way. But she was so much more than she showed others. She was beyond what regular people were. She was amazing, inside and out, all she had to do was believe it. "Two, risks are a BIG no-no." she took another deep breath in. "Three, change doesn't mean it's bad as long as its controlled." Deep breath. "Four, keep everything simple, organized and on schedule." She finished, taking a deep breathe again and began listing them all off again, still staring up at the sky.

I knew then and there that I didn't need to just woo her, but I needed to prove to her that she was more than what she tried to live by. That she didn't have to be a shell of a person and never live beyond what she could control. Not everything had to be in its specific box or slot. Everything had a purpose, but that didn't mean that chaos or risks didn't have their own purpose. I just had to show her how risks could really be more beneficial than hurtful.

I wanted to go up to her, wanted to hold her until she stopped crying and felt safe again. But then she was getting up, brushing the grass from her pants, standing straight, she walked—as if nothing ever happened—back towards her apartment.

She wanted to pretend that she didn't have a break down, but I knew. I saw. 

She may not have realized this now, but I knewher better already. And I knew just the things to not only woo her, but get herto believe in herself, maybe even the world, more.  

"Dude, what's wrong?" Liam asked when I got back to our dorm room thirty minutes later after taking the long way back

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"Dude, what's wrong?" Liam asked when I got back to our dorm room thirty minutes later after taking the long way back.

"I went to see Lani, but when I was nearing her apartment building...she came running out crying." I said. All I could think of, though, was how she didn't seem to think anyone—besides Willow—would stick around for her. That, even if someone said they weren't going anywhere, it was merely a trick. That she wasn't worth 'enough' to that person and instead was left behind more often than not.

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