XXVI

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"Lotus?"

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"Lotus?"

Juliet and I call my daughter's name, starting to run towards where the sound comes from. We stop after a few seconds, listening if she speaks again, and it's when the leaves from the willow tree shake and Jimin walks through them with her in his arms that everything in me crumbles.

The way my eyes sting when I rush to grab her, while her chubby hands are reaching to me makes my heart come to life again. It's when she is in my arms that I push away her chocolate locks and hold her close to my chest.

"Where were you?" I ask her not letting her move from my hold and being complete by her strawberry fragrance. "Are you okay?"

"She went to Rose's tomb," Jimin whispers. "I found her trying to read the engraving."

Her eyes are watery and gleam against the sunlight while a small yet endearing pout appears on her lips. Lotus glances at me; her eyes don't hold mine for even a second when she notices Juliet behind us.

"I wanted to see mommy; I know you go there to talk to her, so I wanted to see her."

"Princess," I say through heavy breathing. "If you want to see where I talk to your mom, ask me. Don't do this. Do you know how worried I was?"

"I'm sorry," she replies as the tears finally break in her coffee eyes, and I hold her against my chest, rocking us both.

By the corner of my eye, I notice Juliet. Her words echo in my head, and I am afraid even to stare her right now. I'm afraid to deal with this.

We have to talk.

But I'm not sure how that is going to go. With Lotus in my arms I know now I was on edge, I was a nerve rack and probably spoke in a way that hurt her. She has the right to be upset with me just as I have to be with her. She still lost track of my daughter, and still, something isn't adding up.

"I'm going now," Jimin says. "Be a good girl Lotus, don't do that again."

He kisses the top of her head, walking past by us three, and his footsteps fade in the grass. I sit, bringing my daughter closer to me and letting my head rest against the top of her hair. This moment, her in my arms, safe from any harm, is more peaceful than any other thing I have ever experienced in my life.

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