Chapter Forty-Four

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The moment I land in New York, I feel the dread I'd been anticipating for a little over a week. I managed to distract myself on the plane. I read an e-book on my tablet I'd forgotten to bring when I left for college and slept for the remainder of the short two-hour ride. In the taxi cab ride, I took in the sight of the clear blue skies weaving through skyscrapers as we crossed the Manhattan bridge. I did everything to clear my mind, but nothing worked. I would be surprised if it did, though. What I ran away from couldn't be completely ignored. It's permanent and serious and all-hell terrifying. And I can't just hide from it.

"Thank you," I say as I slide out of the cab after paying. I walk around to the trunk and pull out my hot-pink suitcase. I step onto the sidewalk as he drives off. Staring up at the glass building, I step forward and accidentally bump into a businessman. I utter an apology, but he's still pissed and gives me the middle finger and continues down the street. I sigh. "Boy, did I miss New Yorker's ethics..." I say sarcastically under my breath.

Wheeling my suitcase behind me, I head inside the building and head straight up the elevators to the dorms. The doors slide open, revealing a cluster of kids my age in the lounge talking all about their Thanksgiving breaks. As I walk down hallways leading to my room, there are even more chatting about how they spent their break. According to my unintentional eavesdropping, most practiced for the showcase while others put their talents to the side and stuffed their faces, complaining about how much weight they put on. They should just wait until Christmas break, everyone will be waddling around. This is why I lowkey hate the holidays; you always gain weight eating and eating and laying around because it's that time of year being lazy and pigging out is more than acceptable, it's expected. I don't participate, though.

When I arrive at my dorm room, the door is unlocked, and I hear Riley's voice. I smile. I've missed her, and Finn, and... Blue. I gulp. I have to find him and talk to him after I finish getting settled in. I push open the door and instantly gasped, shocked at what I stumbled into. Riley and Blue are standing on her bed; she's instructing him while he stands on his tippy toes and lays out a strip of fairy light along the part of the wall she can't reach. My heart speeds up at the sight of him, even though I can't see his face. But I do notice the tight muscles move under his black t-shirt and his unruly hair.

"Move it down a little lower. I don't want the ceiling to glow," Riley whines and puts her hands on her hips.

"Couldn't you have put on high heels to reach up here, or something? I know you're a hobbit, but jumping is a thing," Blue groans but carefully brings the light down the cream-colored wall.

They bicker back and forth about the positioning of the light. I don't make myself known because 1: I'm scared of how he'll react, I still haven't listened to any of his voicemails or seen any of his text messages. And 2: I'm unsure of what to say to him. What are we going to do about the Evie situation? Will she keep it? Will he break up with me to be with her and help take care of the baby? So many questions plague my mind and makes it hard to focus on anything but them.

"You owe me for this, you know," Blue says. "I was supposed to be settling in my damn self, but here I am helping you with this fucking light, and—"

I haven't made a sound of moved from my spot, but, as if sensing my presence, Blue suddenly stops talking and turns around. His eyes meet mine, and his annoyed scowl turns into a blank expression. I open my mouth to say something, but the words are trapped in my throat. I don't know what to say, or how he feels with my return. Should I go over and hug him? Or prepare for him to yell at me?

"What is it?" Riley asks in an irritated voice, but then she turns to see what he's staring at and squeals. "Lily! How long have you been standing there, creep? I'll hug you right after he puts up this light. I hope you don't mind it, I just think it'll really make the room pretty. My mom got it for me, and..." She rambles, unaware of the intensity between Blue and I.

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