Chapter 44

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"Being one with Mia feels like finding myself within her, finding the last fragment of my soul, right within hers."


I knew today would get messy.

What I didn't know was how angry I'd actually be over the fact that Mia got hurt once again. I can't stand to see her being pushed and pushed, for whatever goddamn reason. She deserves to be happy, to be kept in the loop about everything so she can live life the way she wants to.

Mia tells me about all of it on the car ride home, and I have to admit that I actually feel for her brother, as much as he infuriates me. Unknowingly all three of us suffered the same fate, being lonely and miserable, but he has been dealt the worst hand possible for something he didn't even do...

I don't feel for Riley, though. Granted, I don't even know her, but from what I can tell it feels like she knew what she was doing, like she knowingly manipulated both Mia and her brother to get what she wants - to make herself look like the victim. And that is just... Outrageous.

"God, I just want to sleep..." Mia sighs, closing her eyes and resting her head against the car seat. It pains me to see how exhausted she is, this day must have taken a lot out of her. We had a quick talk with her parents afterward, but I could see how drained she was, as could the rest of the family, and so they agreed to talk about this in more detail another time.

"We're almost there, love..." I squeeze her thigh as I round the last corner, and we arrive at her apartment only minutes later.

I can feel how at least some of the tension leaves her body when we step through her door frame, the familiar scent of vanilla candles lingering in the air when she takes a deep breath. I close the door behind me and instantly wrap my arms around her torso, intertwining our fingers in front of her stomach as she leans against my chest. "Thank you," she whispers, tightening our embrace.

"Of course." I press a kiss on her head, not wanting her to elaborate, not needing her to. "Come on, sola. Let's get you some sleep."

She doesn't even protest when I pick her up and carry her into the bedroom, her arms slung around my neck when I sit on the bed with her, just holding her for a minute. "It wasn't me, was it?" she asks, her head still resting on my shoulder when I look down, seeing those emotional eyes staring straight at me.

"No, Mia..." I shake my head. "It really wasn't. I'm sorry we all made you feel that way."

"I think we all made some mistakes. I just want to press the reset button. Want to have my family back, have my life back... I want to have us back."

"You have me, Mia. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." I brush some hair out of her face, reaching for her wrist and placing her palm on my cheek, letting her feel me.

"Do you promise?" she asks, and I see that question in her eyes, knowing that I made a hell of a lot of promises to her already, and that I didn't keep most of them.

It's easy to forget how young she is, how fragile and empathic.

Mia wears a strong mask, one that's almost impossible to see through, but I feel like she needs to sometimes. She needs to let herself be the twenty-three-year-old girl she is, to let someone else take care of her, for once.

"I promise. No more running, no more hiding... I'm here. Forever."


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