11.3 Scarlett's Art Of Smiling After A Week

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Exhaling a sound that is halfway between a sigh and a sob, I throw my arms around him without waiting for him to speak

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Exhaling a sound that is halfway between a sigh and a sob, I throw my arms around him without waiting for him to speak.

"Aiden," I gasp.

"Shit, Scarlett."

His voice causes my eyes to sting. It's crazy how much I've missed him and how much his voice soothes me, making me feel suddenly at home. Warm arms slide around my waist, one hand cupping the back of my head as he holds me to his chest, using his foot to slide-shut the door behind him.

"I was so worried," he whispers.

I pull back a fraction to look up into his beautifully familiar face. I haven't seen him in over a month but he doesn't appear to have changed. He's still the same Aiden with the sad eyes and kind smile and the most real expression of concern I have ever seen.

"What are you doing here?" I ask in an uneven voice.

Aiden lets a moment pass before speaking. "I thought ... I thought I should be here for you. I heard what happened. You told me about that man and in the news they said ... I'm sorry. Scarlett, I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that alone. I wish I'd been here for you, I just ..."

His arms wrap tighter around me and I close my eyes and bury my face in between his neck and shoulder.

"Thank you," I whisper, my eyes stinging. "Thank you for coming."

"Of course," he murmurs, caressing my face and head so that his touch melts my pain away. "I couldn't talk to you and I was so scared, Scarlett."

"I was scared too. My phone broke and I haven't gotten a new one yet, I'm sorry."

"Hey, don't."

Squeezing my eyes shut, I inhale his familiar scent, the warmth of his skin melting the chill that has frozen inside me.

"I messed up, Aiden," I tell him, my voice thick with unshed tears. "I messed up so bad."

"Hey, it happens. We all make mistakes, right?"

I shake my head, grimacing. "Our mistakes shouldn't cost someone their life," I argue. "He shouldn't have paid the price for my mistake. Micheal didn't deserve that. He didn't."

Aiden tightens his grip around me and inhales a deep breath. "You didn't know he'd be innocent."

"I should have known. I should have, Aiden. What good is my psychology if I can't even tell the difference between someone's lies and someone else's truth? Can I really be a good psychologist if I'm unable to decipher reality from assumption?"

I look up into Aiden's sad eyes. He doesn't argue with me and I know he can't. I'm right about myself. I know what I'm saying. I've been thinking about it for days and I know I can't be a psychologist. After what I've done, I don't think I can handle this responsibility.

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