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May 24, 2011.
“I- I think I love you.”
“Oh, come on. Don’t do that to me right now.” He sighed and opened his car door.
“I mean it. You know I do.”
It was an early Sunday morning, early enough that the hot summer sun hadn’t had the chance to heat up the earth yet. Elle had her hand clasped around her “boyfriend’s” hand. They weren’t officially together.
Zeke bit his lip and looked back at the girl he was talking to. This silly little girl who he had traveled 1,200 miles to see. This silly little girl whom he just spent an amazing two weeks with. This silly little girl who had just said that she loved him.
“Damn it, Elle, don’t do this to me right now.” He walked around the back of the car and put the suitcase in the trunk.
“This isn’t fair,” she murmured.
“Get in the car.”
He turned and looked at her. She looked so small, so broken. Her hair was still messy from sleeping and her eyeliner was smudged beneath her eyes. She was wearing his shirt—the long sleeved white one from Hollister that she loved—and had the end of the sleeve balled up in her hand.
“Elle, get in the car.”
“No. You can’t make me.”
Zeke smiled ever so slightly. She was so damn stubborn.
“Your shoe is untied, darling,” he whispered as he kissed her ear and bent down to tie it for her.
“Don’t change the subject, Zeke.” She picked her foot up so he couldn’t tie her shoe.
“I just told you I loved you and you didn’t say a thing. You can’t keep doing this to me. I- I know you live so far away and I know you don’t believe in long distance relationships, but I really, really do love you,” Elle said, tears brimming in her eyes.
Zeke closed his eyes and pressed his hand to his forehead.
“Get in the car, Elodie.”
She felt defeated. She stepped in the car and slammed the door behind her. He walked around the front of the car and sat down in the driver’s seat.
“You know how I feel about long distance things. You know how my last one worked ou—“ he said as he broke the deafening silence.
“I’m not her,” Elle muttered.
“I know that. I never said you were.”
Everything was silent again. Elle cracked her knuckles and looked out the window.
“I love you, too, Elle,” he murmured over the hum of the motor.
“No, you don’t.”
“Yes, I do. Ever so much.”
Elle ran her fingers through her hair and sighed.
“Do you really? Enough to overcome the fact that we live 1,200 miles apart?”
“I’m not sure, babe.” He trailed off at the end.
“Yes or no. Take me or leave me. I’m done with this s***,” she said, tears starting to stream down her cheeks.
“I’ve changed so much for you, Elodie, you don’t even know. When we first started talking, I would have never thought that we would be this close. I would have never even considered coming up here, just to see you. Don’t f***ing push me,” Zeke snapped.
“Why do you keep leading me on then?” she muttered, “If you don’t want to be with me, then don’t be with me. It’s not that hard.”
“I do want to be with you!” he shouted.
Elle went silent.
“More than you can imagine,” he said softly.
She shook her head and looked out the window. Zeke reached over and laced his fingers with hers. He rubbed his thumb across the back of her hand, knowing that would calm her down.
“It’s been six months,” she murmured.
“Then I think it might finally be time for me to ask you this,” he said, looking away from the road for a second to look into her bright, hazel eyes.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
“Took you long enough,” she laughed and squeezed his hand.