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chapter six: fear
I had no answer. None.
"Will you let me explain?" I jumped and saw Aoran sitting by another tree to my left.
"Explain what?" I questioned, curling myself up and resting my forhead to my knees.
"Myself; so you won't be mad at me."
"Conceited much?" I muttered under my breath.
"I'm trying, Sophie."
"Trying to what?"
"Explain." I lifted up my head and looked at him. He sat cross-legged like a lovesick school boy. I put my head back down sideways- still staring at him, waiting for him to continue.
"Gerry did it."
"He texted you that night- on prom night." No. NO, NO, NO! This isn't happening. Please, no. "I didn't do it. I never wanted-" I stopped his rush of an explanation.
"Why can't you just accept it?" I don’t want this. I don’t want him.
"What?" Aoran's questioning gaze looked into my eyes and I held it steadily.
"Accept that maybe I've moved on." I could push him away- far away. I could start over. I could do it. I could live without him.
He looked down at his hands and was silent. "If that's the case, then-"
"That is the case." I lied. I just wanted him gone and out of my life.
"Are you saying that you don't have any- at all- feelings for me?" In his voice I heard the pain I inflicted on him. I was sorry, but not that sorry.
"I'm saying that I want you to leave." The words hung in the air and even as much as I wanted to hurl myself into his arms, I had to say it.
He stood up and stepped closer to me. I looked up at him. "If I leave then that'll be one of the biggest mistakes of my life."
"And yet I still want you gone."
"And what if I don't want to go?"
I met his eyes and on the brink of tears I said, "Then I'll go." But my voice cracked and he heard it. He grabbed me and held me tightly against him. I struggled against his arm, but it was no use. Aoran had me and forced me to cry on his shoulder just like the first night he came back. He wouldn't let me run away. He knew me too well. He knew that I still loved him. He wanted me. Why else would he be here?
"Don't go, Sophie. Let's try again, please." He begged.
I didn't answer. I couldn't answer. I was still crying against his shoulder. His fingers ran through my hair and his other hand was locked around my body, holding me close to him. "I- I can't." I stuttered through my sobs.
"We've been together for three years. We can be together. Please." I looked up into his eyes and saw the true sincerity there. "I won't hurt you. I could never do that. I love you too much remember?"
I didn't want to say it. I didn't want to be pulled back into our love, but I couldn't stop myself either. "I love you, too."
He began to close in on me. He wanted to love me. He wanted to kiss me. But I pulled back.
“I can’t. I can’t do this.” I mumbled.
“Because! You- you’re… your not supposed to be here.” I cried.
“But I am here!” he screamed at me.
“You should have left!”
“But I didn’t! I can’t! You’re here! Do you know how WRONG it feels for you to be here while I’m all the way across this darn country? I can’t live like that! I need to be here!” his voice lowered to a whisper as he held my hand with both of his. “I need to be with you. Can’t you tell? Can’t you see that I still love you?”
I could see it. As clear as glass, as clear as the cloudless night sky, I could see truth. But my fear was just as clear to me. And this struggle between Aoran and I was not between us at all. It was a struggle between his love and my fear. It wasn't a fight either. The winner, if there was one at all was just the person who lasted the longest.
Love that lasted this long and even longer was true enough. Fear that overcame it was true also. And I was scared. Scared of him, scared of myself and of the future that was in front of me.
“Yes,” I answered.