Eighteen // Never

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I go for a jog.

It's been a while.

As always, I jog to McGuff's.

I see Casey eating alone.

I walk up and hug her.

"I'm kind of sweaty. And it's raining." I laugh.

She smiles.

"It's fine. I missed you. How's Cal?" She asks.

I groan.

"A douchebag. An asshole. A complete prick who's absolutely pathetic. But I can't get over him."

She nods.

"I know how that is. I used to be like that with Ash. Look, I don't know what anyone else told you, but trust me. If you care enough and you've been through enough, hold on to him. You guys are amazing together. Please don't let that go." She says.

I hug her again and order my sandwich.

As I'm walking outside, Aaliyah calls.

"It's Tati." She says quickly.

"What about her?"

"She's in the hospital. Come now, please. I'm alone."

"I'm on the way."

I hail a cab and text Peggy.

-

Tatiana had a nosebleed and passed out.

The doctors are running tests on her.

I'm shaking in the lobby when I see Peggy.

And Calum?

"I had to call him. I'm sorry." She says.

Aaliyah comes into the lobby.

"Uh, Caro. Would you mind going to get me some food from the cafe down the road? I haven't eaten all day." She says.

I nod.

"No problem, Aaliyah. I'll be back soon." I walk out.

Someone is following me, but I don't turn around.

"You know what, Caroline?"

It's Calum.

"What?" I mumble.

"You're always upset with me. You never tell me why."

"Drop it, Calum." I keep walking.

"No. I'm tired of being in the dark about this."

I stop and turn around.

"Yeah, well I'm tired of being in the dark about us. I already wasted so much time chasing you around. That's time I'll never get back."

"Why do you say that?"

"Don't you get it?"

He stares at me.

"God damn it, Calum! I love you, okay? I'm fucking in love with you, and you don't care about me at all."

My heart is beating faster than ever right now.

"I'm scared."

"You're not scared of anything."

"I'm scared because I know you're too good for me. I leave so that you can't get attached. I try to drive you away, but it doesn't work. You don't deserve any of the shit I put you through. But you won't let me go." He says.

"I can't." I whisper.

"I love you, Caroline. More than I've ever loved anyone or anything. And that scares me. I've never been in love. And I'm fucking it all up."

"How do I know if you're being honest?"

He grabs my waist and pulls me in.

The minute our lips meet, I can't think.

I can't move.

I'm not functioning.

I forget about everything that happened between us.

It doesn't matter anymore.

Because I know he's telling the truth this time.

He pulls away but doesn't let go.

"You're my girl, Caroline. I'm never leaving you again, okay? Never. I love you."

I wrap my arms around his neck and nuzzle my head in his shoulder.

"I love you too."

My phone rings, and I jump to answer it.

Aaliyah.

"It's cancer."

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