Chapter 8: Five Days Left

Start from the beginning

"There are tons of people around on that route. Plus the bus takes forever." Gideon said angrily.

"Gideon, any one of those people could wish to harm you." Her voice cracked.

"And that's somehow different than before now?" Gideon's loud, booming angry voice seemed to echo.

"Do not compare our life here to there!" Lani snapped, but I could hear the hurt and pain in her voice. "We are safer here, Gideon, but that doesn't mean that you can just go where ever you want to without letting me know. You can't walk home alone. Please. Find someone who walks a similar route—and let me know when you're on your way home—or take the bus with your sister. Those are your choices."

"You are not my mother!" he cried. I heard the startled gasp from Lani and a chair scrape against the floorboards.

"I'm not your mother, Gideon. And I never will be, I promise you that. But that doesn't mean that I will let you wander home in a busy city alone without telling me or having a buddy. I can't protect you every second of every day, Gideon, but I need to know that I can trust you to be careful and safe. I need to know you're safe, Gideon." I still didn't know what had happened to them that Lani became their legal guardian. I didn't want to think of the many reasons why she would become this for her younger siblings. There were too many possibilities and, while it may have been terrible to wish so it was better than the other options, I kind of hoped she'd become their guardian because her parents had died. The other possibilities weren't much better, and if Lani and her siblings had to go through something like abuse or worse...I don't know what I would do. At this point especially. I just hoped that one day; Lani would feel comfortable enough to tell me and know that I would be there for her no matter what.

After hearing nothing in response to Lani's plea to Gideon, I knocked on the door, calling through that it was me. Almost immediately, Lani pulled the door open her beautiful face was tear streaked and slightly red and her gorgeous silver-blue eyes were shiny.

"Lani." I breathed, pulling her into me when I walked into her apartment. To my utter relief and shock—if I'm being honest—she snuggled into my arms, wrapping her arms around my waist and holding on tight. I rested my cheek against the top of her head, breathing in her intoxicating scent of lavender and vanilla. "What's the matter?" I whispered.

"I..." she trailed off, sniffling softly and tried to pull me in closer if that was even possible. I squeezed her within my arms gently, trying to reassure her.

"We can just sit if you want." I told her softly. I felt her shake her head.

"I want to tell you, I just...there's more to it than just..." she trailed off again, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "You always smell like chocolate." She murmured against my shirt. I chuckled softly.

"It's like honey for the ladies." I said smiling. I felt her breath against my neck as she laughed as well and I couldn't help but grin. It felt amazing to make her laugh when she was sad or upset. The fact that I could do that, could make her feel better, even just a little, just enough to laugh was...well amazing. I never wanted to lose that feeling. I never wanted to lose her. And the biggest question, though, was did I even have her?

"Such a player." She pulled away slightly, laughing and smiling up at me a little. I smiled down at her, hoping it was reassuring, hoping it eased some of her sadness and anxiety.

"Lani," I said, turning serious, I cupped her face in my hands, brushing a stray tear with my thumb and trying to ignore how insanely soft her skin was. "I just want you to know that I'm not seeing anyone else. Maybe this isn't the best time for me to say this, but I want to be your boyfriend. I want you to be my girlfriend. I want to be with you. Only you." Lani's silvery-blue eyes seem to clear and widen as she stared at me, her mouth slightly agape at my words. For a moment we just stared at each other, me hoping—praying—she wasn't about to reject me and tell me to leave and never come back and her...I couldn't read her. She looked almost frozen, unsure, as if I hadn't said anything at all, or she wasn't sure that I had. "Lani?" I asked, raising my eyebrows a little. She opened her mouth to speak then closed it, then opened it again.

Little Miss Nobody (Book 1 of Montgomery University)Read this story for FREE!