21 | Together We Stand

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Demarcus stirred beside me for the hundredth time in the last fifteen minutes and let out an exasperated sigh

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Demarcus stirred beside me for the hundredth time in the last fifteen minutes and let out an exasperated sigh. I rolled my eyes. He was the one who showed up to my dorm at an ungodly hour this morning, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, when Daxson's flight wasn't even expected to land until nine. His growing impatience was only adding to my unsafe anxiety levels. I picked at my cuticles and focused on taking a few deep breaths.

Demarcus stretched his body out on the metal bench, propping the heel of his boot on my knee. "Man, white girl. I can't believe my brother actually went to the NFL combine. It's getting real."

I eyed his tan Timberland boot that was almost the size of my leg as he relaxed, placing his back on the bench.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the fact that Demarcus had reached some new level of trust with me, but there was a fine line between comfortable and disrespectful. At least, that's how I was raised.

"Do I look like a foot rest?" I shoved his boot back onto the floor with a loud thud.

Demarcus rolled his eyes and sat up. "You told me his flight landed at nine." His eyes dropped to his diamond encrusted watch. "It's ten-fifteen."

"Flights get delayed all the time." I shrugged. "If I knew you were going to complain, I would've left you at home."

His full lips formed an 'O' shape and his eyebrow arched. "Is everything okay? You seem a little more irritable than usual today."

I sighed and glanced out into the crowd of people gathered along the wall blinking with flight schedules. Daxson asked you not to tell him, Allyson.

"I'm fine. I just can't wait for your brother to get back."

Demarcus chuckled beside me. "A week without him. I'm surprised you made it that long."

I couldn't bring myself to look back at Demarcus, not after I lied to him. "Stay here, I'm going to check the schedule."

With a few quick steps, I'd left him on the bench and disappeared into the crowd. The more distance I put between us, the less lies I'd have to tell. No matter how many times I'd lied in the past, it never got easier. I tried to convince myself that I was protecting the people I was lying to, but I'd decided that was a really twisted way of looking at it. A lie was a lie.

I weaved through the bustling people in the airport to come to a stop at the edge of a crowd surrounding the towering wall of flight schedules. The blue screens flickered every few seconds with new updates. A squeaky voice echoed out through the terminal. I couldn't see the owner of the voice from my place between two foreign men with pointy elbows, but it didn't take long for the man with the high-pitched voice to weasel his way to the front of the crowd.

"I'm a priority customer, and I still can't get home without a delay for my connecting flight," he huffed, tucking his carry-on bag further beneath his arm.

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