A Tough Choice

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Chapter 9

When we got to Washington, I looked out the window of the plane and saw all the trees and beautiful scenery.

"Aiden, it's amazing. I can't believe you used to live here."

"Yeah, my dad and I loved going to the parks and seeing the river and waterfall."

I noticed him trying to hold back tears. "Aiden, are you gonna be okay?"

"Yeah. It just feels weird being back here. All the memories I had with him. Kinda makes me emotional."

"It's okay. I'm here. You can cry on my shoulder if you want."

"Thanks, Anna. I'm glad you're here. I need to be strong for Mom."

When we landed, a rental car was waiting for us. We went to the hotel by the cemetery. As we unpacked our things, I called James to let him know we landed safely.

"Hey, babe," James answered. "How was the flight?"

"It was good. We just got to the hotel."

"That's great. Well, have fun in Washington. And have fun spending time with Aiden. But just remember when you get back, I have you all to myself."

"Okay, James. I will." I heard Aiden call me. "I gotta go finish unpacking. I'll see you when I get back. Love you, babe."

"Love you, too. Mwah."

As I walked to the living area, I saw Aiden packing a small backpack. "Ready to go?"

"Uh, go where?" I asked in confusion.

"Hiking, of course. I'm taking you on one of my favorite hiking trails."

"Okay, cool. Lead the way."

As we walked along the trail, I couldn't help but admire the beautiful greenery and the tall trees. It was breathtaking.

After what felt like hours of walking, we finally reached the top of the mountain. As I looked out on the horizon, I felt so relaxed and free.

"Aiden, it's beautiful. I've never seen anything like this."

"I used to love coming up here. It helped clear my head. Even when my dad died. It's so peaceful up here."

"It really is. I'm glad I came here with you."

"So is it easier now for you to make your decision?" he asked as he held me in his arms.

"I don't know. I'd still have to see what James has planned for me. Even though I'm starting to feel happy and safe with you."

"You're right. You can't make a decision without spending time with him first."

The view was so beautiful that I couldn't hold back any longer. So I leaned in and gave him a passionate kiss. Our first kiss.

Our time in Washington went by faster than I expected. We visited Aiden's dad's gravestone, and I held his hand the entire time. I knew he was hurting, and I was glad I was there to be strong for him.

"Thanks for being here for me, Anna," Aiden said, squeezing my hand. "It makes me feel a lot better. And it means a lot that you're here."

"I'm always here for you, Aiden. I'm glad I came."

After about an hour, Aiden wanted to take me to the lake.

"Don't spend too much time there," Aiden's mom said. "We've got to start packing so we can leave in the morning."

"Okay, Mom."

When we got to the lake, I noticed there was a place to rent fishing poles and bait. "Hey, Aiden, why don't we go fishing?"

"Uh, I don't know. I haven't gone fishing since my dad died."

"Maybe it will be good for you. Bring back some good memories. Or make new ones."

"I guess you're right. Okay, let's go."

I had a lot of fun fishing with Aiden. And I felt that maybe this could be a good memory for us. So I asked a passerby to take a picture of us.

"This is great, Aiden."

"Yeah. You know, this was our favorite spot to fish. I felt I had to share it with you."

"Thank you, Aiden. I'm glad you did." And he took me in his arms and held me tight. I loved this feeling, and I didn't wanna let go. But soon we had to head back to the hotel, and I almost forgot I still had to choose between him and James. But I was starting to think that I wanted to choose Aiden.

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