Chapter Six

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I'd only ran along one walkway before Dillon caught me. His arms were strong, secure, but tender and as he held me to his chest and I dragged air into my lungs, I panicked. I'd shown myself, for the first time in so long, but I still kept my tears locked up. The emotion had taken over my small bubble, the one I had formed around me, the bubble that kept everyone at arm's length. This strange, strong, beautifully tender man had smashed through the exterior and seated himself right beside me, in my inner sanctum. Holding my hand and looking forward, facing the pain with me, head-on. He was allowing his strength to flow from his fingertips into mine and fill a desperate void within me, he was filling all my cracks. Saving me from splintering open even more, saving me from breaking completely, saving me from myself.

We sunk onto the damp floor and Dillon tucked my head under his chin as I let the tearless emotion drain from me.

"You can share, let me take some of your pain, let me shoulder it, ease it...let me be that for you." He murmured.

"Why?" The question slithered from me.

"Because I can, because I want to."

His cheek met with my palm as I cupped his face, then I dropped my hands into my lap and sat up so we were facing each other, slowly our foreheads met and rested together.

"I don't know you, but I know you more than almost anyone else in my life." I whispered with my eyes closed.

Dillon moved his head away, then touched my chin, guiding my lips to meet his, the velvet feel of his mouth as it covered mine was one I knew I wouldn't ever forget, my best first kiss. He was everything I would expect of someone who I knew, but at the same time couldn't possibly know. Our touches, kisses, they were effortless, like our bodies were always meant to be joined, like they had finally come home.

"Annika." His hot breath ghosted across my lips. Dillon pulled back and with my eyes now opened I watched as he searched for something. "I won't apologise for that." He confirmed what I already knew. "I've wanted that kiss since I spotted you in the hotel, and you tasted exactly like I thought you would."

I touched my lips. The need stirred in me, it was the first time in so long. I waited for the regret to hit, but as I sat staring at Dillon, it didn't come, it just felt right.

"Come on, let me take you somewhere else." He pulled me up and didn't let go of my hand until we reached his car. When he slid back into the driver side and we were moving, his hand once again found mine and as his thumb made patterns on my skin, he started talking.

"My dad met mum in high school, it was that total clichéd young love thing, but it lasted. They had me." His jaw worked back and forth, like he was trying to get the words ready. "Dad died when I was ten, undiagnosed heart problem."

My other hand shot out and gripped his thigh, belatedly I recognised that once again it felt natural.

"I was always close to dad, we spent a lot of time together, surfing, riding and building this car. It wasn't finished when he died, so when I was about fifteen I picked it back up, I didn't know dick back then." He snorted with humour. "I was such a shit-bag, I had to work at the local garage after the owner found me thieving stuff." He turned to me and smirked then turned back. "It worked out though, I had no fucking clue what I was doing, Dennis was the guy in charge and he taught me, helped me build her." He pulled his hand from mine and patted it on the steering wheel, as though I needed reminding what he was referring to.

"What happened to your mum?" I questioned softly.

His body stilled for a second, before a small sigh escaped his lips. "She re-married. You remember our friend Soufflé?" He asked and turned to smirk at me. "He's my step-brother." His eyes found the road again and he shook his head. "I was twelve, it was eighteen months after dad died, eighteen months is no time, but she was already fucking married."

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