20. Staying Afloat

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   It's been five days since that night. We sat up for hours, talking.

   Eventually, it got cold since it's in the middle of October now. It was too cold for her to sleep in the living room because we had left the door to the patio had been open, so I gave her my bed and slept on a mattress on the floor.

   I watched her fall asleep that night. Not in a creepy way, I swear. I was just observing. It's the first night she's actually fallen asleep with me. She looked so cute with her hair spread out across my pillow and her fragile body wrapped in my sheets.

   "What are you thinking about?" Briar is laying on her side in the bed looking down at me.

   I've been laying with my fingers interlocked behind my head, looking up at the ceiling but now I turn my head towards her.

   I forgot to mention that she's been sleeping in my bed since then. It just became a habit. "Nothing," I lie.

   She shuffles closer to the edge so we're closer in proximity. "I feel bad for taking your bed every night this week." A glum smile forms on my lips. She's always so caring, despite everything we've done to her. "Don't. I don't mind."

   She chuckles. "But you're the one with all the bruises and cuts, and I'm making you sleep on the floor."

   Now I chuckle. "Seriously, don't worry about it."

   She turns to face the ceiling and I see her chew on the insides of her cheeks. The morning light that's peeking through the curtains throws playful shades across her porcelain face.

   "How do you feel about skipping school today?" I ask. That draws her attention back to me.

   Her lips twitch. "To do what?"

   I shrug, not telling her my plans. "Go somewhere." I pause. "With me."

   She rotates so her entire body is facing me. She's intrigued now.

   "What do you have in mind?"

   "Do you trust me?"

She purses her lips. "Do I have a choice?"

   Ouch. That's not the answer I wanted. Well, what can I expect? I'll take it. For now.

   "Let's go."


   The pebbles bounce around the wheels as I pull the car up to a secluded pocket in the road. We're surrounded by bushes and green forest. It's probably the only place in this town that hasn't been ruined by real-estates or tourism.

   "Well now I'm worried," her eyebrows lift. I look to her with a raised eyebrow. "We're in the middle of a deserted road. Is this where you make me disappear forever?"

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