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Word count: 4963


Our relationship was spiraling out of control, falling down the hill, into the depth of a cave.

It was not the same as it used to be. No, it was becoming toxic, unhealthy for the both of us. And to those around us.

Ever since the incident, we did not socialize much. Not that he did not try, but I would not listen. I did not have the urge to because I knew nothing would change.

He would be the same, no matter what.

He had been so caring with me before, but now it was the opposite.

And I was tired of it, tired of having to put up with it.

I had a plan about sneaking out of the house while he was in the shower. I needed time to think about everything that was going on, without having to deal with his irritating behavior every second.

And now my chance had come.

I grabbed my purse, tiptoeing out the door, shutting it silently. And I sucked in the fresh, winter air. It was what I had longed for in what felt like forever. Even though it had been only a few weeks of arriving there.

As might be expected, I was grateful that it was winter break, since there was no need to worry about school. It was one less thing to concern about.

Christmas had passed quickly, nothing much happening. Undoubtedly, spending Christmas with Nathan was a delight, one of the happiest I had had in a long time.

Hell, I did not remember a time I had laughed as much as I had done that night. All because of him.

The memory flashed in my mind as I walked along the snowed in street.

"Nathan, you did not have to get me a gift," I said, holding the package in my hands. It was nearly twelve o'clock, the large clock hanging on the wall was alerting us of it.

He grinned, pointing to the present. "Baby, just be happy. After all, Christmas is about being grateful. I know we agreed on not giving out presents, but I saw this and thought of you. It was a coincidence."

"Nothing is a coincidence with you." I rolled my eyes, knowing he had gotten it on purpose.

"Open it," he demanded.

I released a giggle. "You're so persistent." I untangled the small bow, unwrapping it carefully, feeling as if something delicate was inside. The brightest smile in the whole word appeared at the item. "Oh, Nathan."

"That is what I like to hear."

"Jesus. You didn't have to do this." The small snow globe filled my palms, and my heart fluttered at the miniature photo of us inside. It had been taken around the time we had started dating, in his bed, us cuddled to each other's side.

"Just say whether you like it or not."

"I love it. I really do."

And I love you, was what I wanted to say, but didn't have the courage.

Then I plastered on a cheerful grin afore handing him a small box. "Here. Now open your present."

Nathan quirked a brow in amusement. "I thought we weren't supposed to give presents."

I giggled at the accusation, the mimic of my voice he had done. "Oh, please. You can't blame me. I knew you would get me a present. I had to be prepared just in case. And see, it worked in my advantage. At least now I have something to give back to you."

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