Chain Letters

Chapter 10

"Hold on." You said edgy and you tried to close the door, but Darren interposed his hand to keep you from doing so.

"No. If you close that door, probably I'm gonna go away. It's now or never." Darren said looking into your eyes with a nervous look, still holding the door.

"But..." You said looking at yourself. You were a complete mess and this situation took you by unsuspecting.

"This isn't the first time I see you like this, and I honestly don't mind. All I want is to talk." Darren said softly, stepping forward. "Can I come in? But if you prefer, we can go to some coffee shop or whatever but in that case we're gonna have to deal with people who come to us."

"I wouldn't like it. So yes, come in." You said opening the door wider and stepping aside to let him in.

Darren entered your apartment and he stood there looking around with his hands in his pockets, shyly. It seemed as if it was the first time he was there, as if you were strangers and he didn't feel comfortable being there. You closed the door, but you stayed behind Darren, looking his back and cursing yourself inside for being this mess and not knowing what to do. First of all, you needed to make him feel comfortable there, otherwise this was going to be an awkward situation and not a simple and honest conversation as it was supposed to be. It was supposed that you needed to feel secure because you were waiting for this moment to talk to Darren for so long, but you were feeling the opposite. The reason of feeling nervous and insecure was because you weren't expecting Darren to come over, because you gave up. But having him in front of you in this moment, made things different. He came to your place without you have asked him so; he took his own decision to talk although all the things you said to him last night. This was something important. What could have changed his mind? Maybe you would know once you talk to him. For now, you were going to try to break with the discomfort and tense situation.

"There aren't so many places to sit, but there's a really comfortable couch which would be glad to receive your ass." You tried to joke but you feel really stupid inside. That was a stupid comment. Anyway, Darren turned around to look at you less nervous and with a half-smile on his face; apparently your comment has worked.

"I bet your couch missed my ass." Darren continued with the joke and it made you feel a little better. "I wouldn't want to make it feel miserable, so I'm gonna fulfil its wish to receive my ass."

"I take your word." You said smiling slightly at him. "Do you want something to drink?"

"Well, I wouldn't refuse if you tell me you have beer. But considering is noon and today is New Year's Eve, probably it isn't a good idea. I'm fine, thanks." Darren said, walking toward the couch to sit there, making himself feel comfortable.

"Good, because I don't have any beer." You said smiling and then you walked toward the couch to sit next to Darren a little shy, looking down. But then you heard Darren laughing softly, what made you look up at him. He was looking at you and laughing jovially. "What? Why are you laughing?" You asked frowning and suspiciously. You didn't say anything funny and you didn't do any weird gesture, or at least that was you thought.

"It's just...your...your hair!" Darren said choppy because of the laughter.

"What? What's up with my hair?" You said getting nervous and touching your hair.

"Just..." Darren said amused and he leaned to accommodate a few locks of your hair. "There...it's better now." He said still smiling amused and you of course blushed.

"Oh my God. I told you to wait, this is embarrassing."

"Embarrassing?" Darren asked frowning but still with that amused smile. "To have a natural look? As if I never saw you like that!"

"Oh please, no, just no. You're making this even worse." You said blushing even more, and combing your hair with your fingers.

"Why?" Darren asked frowning and he helped you to comb your hair with his own fingers. "Your natural look is my favorite one, especially the one you have when you just wake up. No makeup, a really messy hair, your sleepy eyes and particularly your teddy bears print pajamas. Just like now, except you aren't wearing your teddy bears print pajamas and your makeup from last night is run." He winked and giggled softly.

"I hate you right now." You said, cleaning your running eye makeup with your fingers.

"Oh, come on." Darren said grabbing your hands to put them away from your face. "You look good, no need to get nervous."

"Yeah, surely I look fantastic to go to a super important event. I'd totally rock and I'd look like a princess like this." You said sarcastically, trying to clean your eye running makeup again and Darren laughed again.

"I'm sure of that. Who said that princesses are perfect all the time? That's bullshit!" Darren said smiling amused, putting your hands away from your face again and this time grabbing them to prevent you to do it again. "Anyway, you're in front of me, not in front of a stranger. You have no idea all the times I saw you with your running makeup and I never said a word of it. I just like to see you like that, I don't know...weird."

"Oh my God! Why did you do that? Darren, there's something you have to learn about women. We definitely don't like when our makeup is run! It's embarrassing, nasty and ungraceful!" You said frowning and surprised by his confession. "I surely looked like a bad-looking and calamitous woman!" You said worried and Darren laughed out loud.

"You're so exaggerated! Haven't I told you so before? I love the way you tend to overstate everything. Everything is a big deal and terrible! There's black or white, not gray in the things you say." Darren said gesturing with his arms, still giggling; and you frowned, grumbling and pouting. "Oh my wizard God, you're cute like that."

"Stop making fun of me!" You said still frowning and pouting, nudging him playfully and a bit amused this time.

"What if I don't want, miss pouting?" Darren said challenging amused and raising an eyebrow.

"Then the miss pouting is gonna kick your ass or worse yet..." You said raising an eyebrow with a mysterious look.

"Or what?" Darren said getting closer and looking you deep into your eyes, more challenging.

"I don't know if you remember the time Sami and I beat you with the tickle thing."

"You wouldn't dare." Darren shrugged, laid-back.

"Prove me." You said defiant, raising an eyebrow and completely amused.

"I challenge you." Darren said looking deeply into your eyes, with his face very close to yours. Gosh, what the hell was happening? You were very close to each other and you were actually having a good time, you almost forgot why Darren was there. But you needed to take advantage of this situation.

"You asked for it, Mr. Criss." You said amused and then, without thinking and surprised of yourself for being so outgoing, you started tickling him.

Darren started squirming on the couch and kicking the air, unable to control his laughter and trying to stop you with his arms. You've forgotten how sensitive he was with the tickles and how much you missed hearing his contagious and amazing laughter. You didn't know how you both ended that way after the tense situation you were experiencing before, but you were enjoying it. If only things were so good like this all the time. You didn't know how you got in top of him, tickling him and he laughing out loud trying to stop you; you didn't know where you took the courage to do that. You, the shy and insecure girl. Finally Darren reached your hands and he pulled you closer to him, grabbing your hands strongly to prevent you from tickling him again, still laughing. He was looking at you deep into your eyes with his big hazel eyes, really amused.

"You're such a wicked woman! I'm gonna start to call you Lucifer, seems like an angel but is actually an evil devil." Darren said still giggling and looking really like himself, something you haven't seen in a while. "I can't believe you did it!"

"Well, you challenged me, Mr. Criss. I'm a girl of my word." You said playfully and smiling.

"Now I'll think twice before challenging you. Imagine if someday I dare you to stab me. i really don't want to be stabbed so please don't do it." Darren said, widening his eyes and then he smiled at you.

Oh boy, that was a smile you missed seeing. The kind of smile that always worked on making you feel good and loved. Then Darren did something you weren't expecting. He pulled you into a hug, a very tight hug. He was leaning on the couch and you were in top of him, he hugging you very tight, as a resemblance of what you were used to do when you were fine. In that moment you couldn't express what you were feeling, you only let him hug you.

"I miss all of this and I can't understand why we end up so screwed like now. Why have we let this happen to us?" Darren whispered in your ear, still hugging you tight. You couldn't see his face but you could hear his sad voice. His heart was beating fast against yours and you trying to contain your nerves. The time to talk was coming finally.

"Darren..." You said, trying to sit and to look at his face, but he pulled you again against him firmly.

"Please don't stop hugging me. Just for a few minutes." Darren begged, holding you tighter.

You rested your head on his chest and wrapped your arms around his neck, while he wrapped an arm around your waist and with his free hand he started caressing your hair. After a few minutes, Darren moved his face and he lifted up your chin to make you look at him; he was still laying down on the couch with you on top of him and he did nothing to change this position; neither you did something about it.

"What you told me last night made me realize I was making a huge mistake to let you go. I only needed to hear that to be sure I don't want you away from me. The way you were talking, really hopeless and honest, seeing you giving up because you were tired... I knew that I lost you and it got me crazy." Darren said looking into your eyes, with a hint of desperation. "But you were right. Probably I won't be able to forgive you; probably I'll hold a grudge all my life."

"That's why I said what I said. Maybe the best for the two of us will be if we end this right here. This way probably things between us won't end so badly. I don't want you to hate me; neither do I want to hate you. Not after all we shared, all we had together, all you meant in my life. We can end this in a friendly way, even though it kills me inside now. But is not gonna be the end of everything. We're gonna learn to be away from each other. You surely will find a girl who's gonna love you and you're gonna love, maybe more than you love me. Probably I'm gonna find a man to love, probably not. But we can choose now to end this now so in a future we're gonna remember what we had with a smile and not with anger or hate. Because what we had was really good and I won't forget it; but all things in life, like a play, have a beginning, middle and an end. It's up to us if we want a happy ending or not. It seems hard now, but maybe in days, months or years it won't." You said heartbreaking, but it was the best for the two of you. You really didn't want to end your relationship with Darren in a bad way. Darren was looking at you with teary eyes.

"It scares me the way you're talking. It scares me to think about it." Darren said looking fixedly at you.

"It scares me too. Believe me when I say is really hard for me to say all of this, to picture my life without you. But think that maybe this is the right thing to do. We can't predict what is gonna happen. We actually don't have a damn idea if this is the best, but it seems it is now. Darren... you told me it, we lost the main thing in a relationship, the trusting. You even wrote a song for me about deception, betrayal and lies! This is not gonna work if we don't trust each other. We can choose be friends and not to throw it all to hell." You said trying hard not to be weak and make a mistake. This was really hard and it was breaking your heart. Darren finally sat cross legged on the couch but he grabbed your hands.

"I can't be friends with you. And please don't misunderstand me, it's not like I don't want to keep in touch with you. I can't be friends with you because I don't love in the way someone is supposed to love a friend. You're my best friend, but you're more than that, I love you in the way when someone is in love. Don't tell me I'm gonna find a girl to love and be loved, probably I'll find that girl in the future if this is over because you want it. But I won't love that girl more than I love you, that won't happen. And I want you to be that girl. You said that things in life are like a play with a beginning, middle and an end; but you forgot to mention the kind of plays that have an open ending. Maybe that's what we can have. I also want in a future to remember what we had with a smile, but I want you by my side when I remember it, I want to remember it with you. I want to have a lot of grandchildren to tell them our story, to tell them that we had a lot of bad moments but we didn't let those bad moments winning all the good things we have; I want to tell them so with you." Darren said looking at you with teary eyes, grabbing your hands and placing them on his chest. You couldn't hold your tears at his words. "I wrote you a song, yeah it was for you. But I wrote it the day I figured out I never knew your real name. I was angry, I was upset, and I didn't want to see you. And yeah, I wanted you to listen to it and I wanted to let you know how you made me feel. But why do you think I said I had to work on the song? Because that song says only the bad things we had been through, but it doesn't say all the good things that are stronger than the bad things. I'm sorry for that, I admit I was selfish, I noticed it when I saw your face while I sang it, and your face broke my heart. Because dammit! I was making you feel miserable and I didn't want it. I'm a fool."

"You're not..." You barely could say with choked voice.

"Yes, I am. That day you came to my hotel room...the way you left...I didn't believe a shit that you were going to have a dinner with April. I knew you wanted to leave because of my fault and I felt so fucked up that I was too coward to text you, to call you again. And I wasn't expecting you last night, but you went there anyway. When I saw you there... crap I wanted to hug you, I wanted to kiss you and say to you how happy I was to see you there, in that night that was important to me. Like in other time my family and friends were the reason I did my best on the stage like once I told you in a letter; this time I tried to do my best for you, because before starting the play I knew you were there, I performed for you. I wanted you to feel proud of me and not disappointed of me, because I know I made you feel disappointed of me several times. And I saw you with that good-looking guy and all Mia said, I couldn't help to feel jealous. I said things I shouldn't have said. But try to understand me, I thought you were being happy with that guy and just thinking of the fact I lost you and you found that guy, killed me. Then you said this won't work again, but what if yes? What if it can work again? Well, I want it to work again, but only if you want the same." Darren said with hope i his eyes, still holding your hands.

"Please Darren don't make this harder than it already is. You know it won't work, you know it!" You said with tears in your eyes.

"Why do you give up? It's hopeless to see you giving up!" Darren exclaimed desperate.

"Because we fucked everything up, Darren! Because you can't trust on me anymore no matter what I have to tell you. Because you can say you trust on me, but you know you don't and you won't." You said letting him know why you were so hopeless.

"Then make me trust on you again!" Darren almost yelled with choked voice because of his desperation, wide-eyed.

"I can't because I don't know how." You said looking down, shedding some tears. Darren remained silent, he bit his lips and he also started to shed some tears. You saw him crying only a few times, he almost never cried and it was really heartbreaking seeing him like that. "I'm sorry."

"I want you to answer me something with complete honestly." Darren said still looking down but then he looked up at you to see you nodding. "Do you still love me?"

"Yes, I do." You answered with difficulty, as if was an answer that would change your life.

"How much?"

"Darren I don't see your..."

"Please." Darren interrupted you. "Just answer it frankly."

"As much as someone would love the person who changed her life for good although everything seemed lost." You said frowning to try to stop the tears falling down your face.

"If I tell you to hold my hand and to try to figure out together the way to trust each other again, doing whatever it takes to get it... Would you do it?" Darren said looking deeply into your eyes and extending you his hand.

You looked at his hand hesitant. You knew that what you decide to do now would change everything. You wanted to hold his hand, but you knew if you did it maybe things between you both weren't going to work and things were going to end worse than already were. But you also knew that if you didn't do it, you were going to regret, you were going to lose Darren and this tie forever because it was the final decision. Darren didn't press you to make this decision quickly, he was waiting for your decision patiently and you could notice he was nervous. You slowly grabbed his hand, you couldn't leave him; maybe you needed to take that risk. When Darren felt your hand on his, he let out a sob in relief, closing his eyes. But then he looked into your eyes with a hopeful look before hugging you.

"Thank you for not giving up on us." Darren whispered with choked voice in your ear. Then he broke the hug to look at you. "I want to know the reason why you hid from me your real name. From there we're gonna figure out how to make this work, together."

"Is a long story and I'm not sure if you're gonna understand me." You said looking down, but Darren lifted up your chin.

"We have time and I want to try to understand you. I won't judge you, I only want to understand which are the reasons that led you to make these decisions in your life, I want to know your whole life story. Just be honest, whatever you have to tell me it's not gonna make me love you any less. Don't be afraid because I'm here to help you to move on together." Darren said caressing your cheek to make you feel comfortable. You sighed and took a long breathe before starting tell him all the things you never told him. He deserved to know everything, even though you were going to have to revive the most terrible things that happened to you. It was time.

"When you were in the hospital in coma, you heard me. I don't know if you remember me telling you that there were still a lot of things you didn't know about me." You started to say, trying to take the courage to say it all.

"I remember it, but I never wanted to force you to tell me those things. Now I'm willing to know it all if you feel good with it." Darren said kindly.

"I'm not good with it. Not because I don't want to tell you all of those things but because you don't know the worst things that happened to me. A lot of things that I never told anyone because I never wanted to revive it all and because I never wanted anyone to feel pity for me or I never wanted to bother anyone with my things." You said sobbing, you couldn't avoid the crying.

"Listen... I don't want to force you. I know I said I wanted to hear your reason, but if you aren't ready..." Darren said comfortingly.

"No, I'm ready. You deserve to know it all. I just don't want to bother..." You started to say, but Darren interrupted you.

"Never again think that you bother me. It's all the opposite. I won't feel pity for you, I only want to know all about of you, and you can't keep all inside of you because it hurts. You're not alone now; you have me to lean on." Darren said, grabbing your hands tightly and looking deep into your eyes reassuringly.

"Fine. I... I...oh god." You stuttered, feeling really nervous with a pressure in your chest.

"Relax. It's just me." Darren leaned to kiss your lips softly. It was only a short and slight kiss but it meant a lot for you. It gave you the strength to finally say what you were keeping within you your whole life.

"You know that my father died when I was eight, but I never told you why he died, the real reason of why his death meant the separation of our family. I was eight and since then I wanted to be an actress. My mother said I was a stupid girl for wanting it, that it was stupid and I didn't have the talent to do so; that I needed to be a lawyer like her. My father, instead, always supported me; he wanted me to be happy with whatever I wanted to do. The differences of opinions about me and my future led my parents to argue almost all the time. My mother always blamed me because of that and I felt she was right, and that made feel my father even madder. He always told her that she was a bad mother, a selfish person that only was thinking about money and not in my happiness; he told her that she was inhibiting my ability to make decisions in the future that lead me to be happy and not materialistic. The situation in my house was hard and tense, my brothers started to blame me all of that, all of them except Jack. One day it was important me. It was going to be my first performance in front of the whole school, something I was practicing for months. That day my parents argued like never before; my mother didn't want me to go there and my father wanted to take me there at all costs. Then he asked my mother the divorce. It was awful; I knew it was my entire fault although my dad was trying to convince me it wasn't like that. He reassured me and he told me I needed to be happy because that night I was going to shine on the stage. Only my father was going to see me performing, only him. And...we were in the car and...and...Oh god." You started to cry inconsolably and Darren pulled you softly to make you sit on his lap. You snuggled into him like a baby, placing your head on his shoulder to sob while he started to caress your hair to reassure you in silence. "I never arrived to the show because in the car my father started to tell me that I shouldn't listen to the people who tell me that I can't do what I want, that whatever I wanted to do he was going to support me. He looked away from the road to look at me because I was crying. He didn't see that the car in front of us had stopped. He only had the time to cover me to protect me. Then he...he saved me, but he...because of me...my fault..."

"Oh holy shit." Darren murmured, kissing you head which was leaning on his shoulder and rubbing your back. "Shh, it's okay. It wasn't your fault."

"It was, I shouldn't have been crying. After it everything changed." You said wiping away your tears. "My mother of course blamed me; she told me I was a murderer; that because of my selfishness and my stupidity I provoked my dad's death. She told me a lot of harsh things; she told me I should have been the one who deserved to be dead. I was eight years old and I heard my mom telling me that I needed to be dead, that I wasn't her daughter; that maybe I could be alive but I was dead for her."

"What kind of mother is that woman?" Darren said completely in a rage. "Who the hell is so cold-hearted to say something like that to a girl who's eight? Goodness, your mother. Ugh." He said tensing his jaw.

"It's my mother, she's like that. Well, she was like that only with me. She never wanted me; I was an accident, therefore the difference of age with my brothers. She wanted to abort me and my dad refused, that's why she never loved me."

"She wanted what? Are you fucking kidding me? Does she even have a little love in her heart?" Darren said incredulous and bewildered.

"She has. She gave everything to my brothers; she was a really good mother for them."

"I can't believe it. She's your mother. It's supposed that a mother loves her children equally." Darren said frowning and aghast.

"Well, I told you. I was an accident." You said looking down. "So those were the things I heard when I was eight. Then we started to grow up, I grew up alone only with help from Jack. My older sister, Susan, was the one who was feeling really miserable. She couldn't accept my dad's death. She was really depressed and once I came back to my house and there was anyone there...and I saw her." You started to sob again, remembering that day. "There was a note next to her. She...her lifeless body was hanging on a gallows in her room and the note said that she was going to find dad because I caused their separation." You sobbed covering your face. It was something really awful to remember, you were trying for years to forget that memory from your mind but now it seemed it was yesterday when it happened.

"Oh my god." Darren exclaimed horrified and shocked. He held you tightly and you snuggled into him even more. You noticed that his body was trembling and you felt really bad because of telling him this all.

"Darren, I don't want to make you feel bad or uncomfortable with all of this."

"Screw that! I don't matter here. Holy crap! How the hell have you had to live all of this?" Darren exclaimed still shocked. "What exactly the note said?"

"It said...ah." You inhaled and exhaled really starting to panic. You never forgot those words. "Life has no sense now dad isn't here. My stupid sister killed him and now I'm alone without him. I'm going to find him and tell him that my sister is gonna pay for his dead. Fortunately I won't see her again because she's going to go straight to hell. She not only destroyed one life, she destroyed the whole family and now I'm gonna be happy with my dad and not in this hell I'm living seeing my sister's face and wanting to kill her. I'm going to greet dad for all of you. That was exactly what the note said. And I found it, I found her."

"Oh shit. You...the note, you shouldn't. Damn, why?" Darren complained gloomy. Oh no, he was starting to feel pity for you.

"Darren, I don't want you to feel pity for me. Please I beg you."

"I don't feel pity. I just I can't understand why they were so unfair with you. Why they thought it about you. Which head should be thinking that way about your own family? It was an accident, you were only eight. What the hell?" Darren said disconcerted. "You didn't deserve being treated that way." Darren said looking into your eyes distressingly and then he kissed your forehead.

"Apparently I deserved it. After all I was the only one who was with him when he died. And he died to protect me." You looked down frowning and sad. "When my mother came back and saw this, she got mad; like really mad. She was out of control and she was blind with anger, she didn't know what she was doing."

"What did she do?" Darren asked worried and cautiously.

"She was blind. She really didn't know what she was doing."

"God, tell me what she did."

"She hit me. She hit me really badly. All I remember is she hitting me with her fists and then I woke up alone in my bedroom, the door was closed and I started to yell, but no one heard me. They were gone and they came back a week later."

"What? What?" Darren seemed really shocked. "She hit you? And all that time you were locked in your bedroom? Without anything? No food, no water, no anything?"

"I was locked in my bedroom without anything. Yeah. But then she came back and she begged me to forgive her that she didn't know what she was doing. And I forgave her; after all she was my mom."

"You have a golden heart. After all she did. It's insane, it's inhuman."

"She was my mom, Darren. I needed my mom, despite all her flaws. That was the time she started to be an alcoholic and junkie. Then it happened all you already know. The arguments with her, and Jack protecting me. Then it was when she brought this man to our house and he...he molested me. And it wasn't only that time. He molested me for four months, all Saturday nights and my mother never did anything about it. She always said it was what I deserved, to be suffering for all I did, that I was paying all the murders I caused. Jack wasn't there anymore to protect me and I was too scared to run away. I was scared to be hit by my mother again, I was scared because I didn't have any place to go, because I was scared she would find me if I run away and it'd make things worse." Your tears started to fall down your face again and you felt a tear on your shoulder. You looked up to see Darren shedding some tears in silence.

"Why haven't you done anything? Four months. Why haven't you filed criminal charges of sexual abuse and domestic abuse? You could have lived in peace and not scared all the time. Why?" Darren asked distressingly, caressing your hair softly and still shedding some tears.

"Would you have filed criminal charges against your own mother? I couldn't do it. And I was scared because she was a violent person; no one can know what she was going to be able to do if she finds it out. It's not so easy, Darren. It seems easy to file criminal charges, but it's not. I felt scared for my own life."

"But how the hell?"

"I don't know, Darren. She wasn't a sane person. Then it comes the part you wanted to know. One day I decided to be strong and not let her to hurt me. I wasn't going to let her and that man to molest me again. It was Saturday night when she arrived with the man. I was ready; I was in my bed with a baseball bat. They entered into my room and when the man lied down in my bed I hit him with the baseball bat. I left him unconscious, then it was my mother's turn, but she was faster. She always had a knife on her pocket. So she did it." You turned around and lifted up your shirt to show Darren a big scar on your back. He looked at it horrified and he slowly ran his fingers on it. It felt weird, no one before did it, and it felt nice; as if he really didn't think it was disgusting, that he really cared about it.

"I saw it before, but I thought it was because you once stumbled upon something while doing childish pranks." Darren said horrified but with a soft voice. You placed your shirt in its place again and turned around to look at Darren who had sad eyes.

"It wasn't. She almost killed me that day. I had to go to the hospital by myself as I could. I have no idea how I managed to arrive there alive. It was really bad." You said with an empty but dismal look. "That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I went to my house when I knew she was working. I took all the necessary stuff to go away from my house and never come back. I had no idea where to go, but I knew I couldn't be there anymore. I started walking with my personal stuff to nowhere. I needed to find a place where to stay, I knew I needed to finish high school and I needed to get a job to maintain myself. But first of all I needed to find a safe place where my mother wouldn't find me because I knew that after all that happened she'd be really angry and after the way she hit me, I didn't know how she would react. Then I found this room to rent in an elderly couple house, I found a job as a waitress in a night bar and with that I got the necessary to pay the rent and finish my studies. My mother didn't find me until a month later; fortunately I was with this elderly couple, walking in the park; so she couldn't do anything to me. I saw her angry eyes and I got scared; now she knew with whom I was staying and she followed me to their house. But I wasn't the same teen girl than before; having had to start to maintain myself, I had to mature to the force. This time I wouldn't allow her to abuse me. We argued and she tried to hit me, but I took the strength to stop her and she was really surprised. The elderly couple watched the situation and they called the police; my mother was a recognized lawyer so there were no charges against her, but they gave me the emancipation. Now I was completely separated of my mother and since that day it was like she wasn't my mother anymore, since that day I realized that I was all by myself and I wouldn't get any kind of help or support from her, it meant our definitely separation. Although I was living by myself and my relationship with my mother was a real shit, it felt really bad to know that I haven't had a mother anymore, I haven't had any family and I was only sixteen. I was really depressed for a long time. Have you ever felt as if you were completely alone? As if you don't have anyone who loves you? No family, no friends, no future? That was the way I was feeling." Your look was empty, coolly recalling those events.

"You were emancipated at sixteen? You were really young to be by yourself." Darren said frowning, with a dreary look. "Haven't you had anyone to support you in that moment?"

"No. I didn't have friends in high school because I was a private person. Everything that happened to me caused me a lot of aftermaths. I couldn't trust anyone and all the time I was thinking that someone would hurt me, I couldn't relate socially with others. I didn't have any family, not even grandparents, no aunts, and no uncles. Nothing. But I could keep moving, I had the hope my future could change; but for that I needed to change my life, I needed to start over again. That was the time when I decided to change everything about me. I started by changing my name legally. I left in the past the person I was to became the person I was a year ago. I started a new life, living in another place, with another name, with another job, with no past. This person was a depressed person, but stronger. At least I thought I was stronger but it didn't last. You know that I was weak, really weak. I told you what I tried to do in my letters to you. The person I'm now, I owe to you. You're the one who taught me how to be myself and how to leave the past behind because there are a lot of good things in life even though everything seems dark. And that's why I never told you my real name, I never told anyone my real name because that's not my name anymore. I'm not that person I was in the past; I don't feel identified with that person. The name you know, my actual name, is for me my real name, not the name my mother gave me the day I was born. And when I said I never lied to you is because of that, because my birth name isn't my name. I know you won't understand it and probably you'd think it's stupid and it makes no sense. But it makes sense for me and I won't force you to understand, I only wanted you to know why I never told you my birth name. I'm sorry; my intention never was to make you feel betrayed. You know my real personality; I never tried to be another kind of person in front of you. But I won't ask you to believe me because I know probably you won't. I only wanted to explain you this." You looked down, shedding some tears. You didn't know if Darren would believe you or not; but you took a huge load off your mind now that Darren knew your real story; now that at least someone knew your real life story. This you were feeling was something new. You were crying of sadness because finally you faced the most terrible things that happened to you, because you remembered all of that; but also you were crying in relief to know that someone listened to you, that someone cared about you to listen intently your whole life story, and that never happened to you before, no one before asked you to tell your real story. And it felt embarrassing at first, but then it was the best that happened to you; now you weren't carrying this by yourself.

"I believe you." Darren said, grabbing your hand and placing it in his heart, looking deeply into your eyes. "I saw honesty in your eyes in every single word you were saying, and your eyes can't lie. You were really true-hearted and I know it was hard for you telling you all of this, but I can't understand why you kept it by yourself for so long. You shouldn't have been through all of this alone."

"I never trusted anyone before the way I trust on you." You said this time looking frankly into Darren's eyes. That was the most honest thing you've ever said. "I'm sorry for not have told you this before."

"No, no. I'm the one who should apologize. I was the foolest man who couldn't understand all his girlfriend was going through. It never crossed my mind that you were feeling all that, that what happened to you was really terrible. I was selfish and close minded, I only thought about how I was feeling after I found out you never told me your birth name. But now I understand and I feel like a jerk, like an outrageous boyfriend. I'm so sorry because I couldn't understand you, because I haven't helped you." Darren said with choked voice and teary eyes. He hugged you tightly, burying his head on your shoulder. "Please forgive me, I didn't know... You are... Damn! Everything is so unfair. You never should have been through all of this shit. All that happened to you in your past, and the way I treated you. You don't... You should... You deserve to be happy after all the crap you had to live." Darren broke the hug to look into your eyes, now you were crying again. You didn't know what to think, you never expected Darren to apologize because he shouldn't be doing it. Nothing of this was his fault, and he wasn't a terrible boyfriend; he was for you the most wonderful person you've ever met because he was the one who saved you from your depression. "Give me a chance to try to make you feel as happy as you deserve to be."

"Darren, you cannot be serious." You said with choked voice, very touched by his words.

"I am." Darren pulled you closer and he held you by your waist, resting his forehead on yours and looking into your eyes. "Let me do it. If you want to be with me, of course; I won't force you. Tell me if you want the same."

"No, Darren..." You said still with choked voice and you stopped talking because you had a lump in the throat; you couldn't believe this was happening. Why was he telling you that?

"I screwed this too much, didn't I?" Darren said looking at you with his hazel sad eyes. "Just give me once more chance, I swear I can make it right again; I promise to do my best to be happy together again." Darren said grabbing your cheeks. "Give me a last chance; and if I fail, you're allowed to kick my ass and to tell me to go to hell."

"Darren, no!"

"I beg you." Darren begged grabbing your cheeks firmly and touching your nose with his. You were very close and your heart was beating so fast that you thought you could have a heart attack in any moment.

"No, wait, Darren." You started to say and Darren opened his mouth to say something but you interrupted him. "No, don't interrupt me; let me finish. I won't give you a chance..." You said but then you saw Darren opening his mouth to talk again. "Don't say anything. I won't give you a chance because you don't need it. You never needed a last chance with me, because I was never mad at you. You don't need to try to make me happy, because you already did. Gosh, you changed my whole life, Darren. With you I learned how to be happy, just look at you makes me happy. And you don't need to apologize because there's nothing to apologize for. I only want to ask you something and I want you to be truly honest, no matter if the answer hurts me or not."

"Ask me. I'm gonna be honest." Darren said, still grabbing your cheeks and resting his forehead on yours.

"Are you doing this because of pity?" You asked quickly and a little ashamed. "Because if you're doing this because of pity, because of my story...I don't want it, I'm fine now and I'm fine thanks to you. But I understand if you don't really want to be with me again, I'd be fine... I learned..."

"Woah, woah!" Darren exclaimed, interrupting you and grabbing your hands; you only looked down a bit ashamed. "I don't feel pity for you, not at all. Yeah, I think life was very unfair with you and you had to live terrible moments. But I don't feel pity for you, because I'd feel pity if I'd be seeing now in front of me a girl who's deeply down, and you aren't. You kept going; you overcame all your traumas to be the cheerful girl you are now. Maybe you haven't overcome all of them, but now I'm with you to help you. What I feel for you is something very different than pity, I feel proud of you; you astound me. I'd never be with you because of pity. I want to be with you because I love you, I don't know what you did to me but every time I see you I have this need to hold you in my arms and just..." Darren said looking into your eyes and shrugging. "Be with you."

"Can I ask you something else?"

"You just did." Darren joked and laughed softly and you nudged him playfully. "Ask again."

"Now I don't wanna ask you anything. Screw you." You said jokingly, crossing your arms and faking a pout.

"Have I said I love when you do that?" Darren said looking straight your mouth with an amused smile.

He pulled you closer and turned you around, so now your back was resting on his chest. He wrapped his arms around your waist and rested his chin on your shoulder, still looking at you with an amused smile. You turned your head to look at him frowning and curious, also amused. It was unbelievable how the situation between Darren and you went from being tense and cold, to be like this: nice and funny, natural and enjoyable like before. It was extremely different. But there was something that was worrying you: neither of you dared to kiss each other. It was feeling a little uncomfortable to do so, as if you weren't ready yet to do that. If neither of you could do so, maybe it was because you weren't really sure to be together again, maybe there was something else that couldn't be fixed. Were you doing the right thing? Had been separated and distant for a long time and then, all of a sudden, be good again? Maybe it'll take time to be really good like before, maybe it was a process you had to go through; or maybe it'd never be the same again like before. Maybe you needed to show Darren that thing you never showed anyone before; maybe it was what was missing to be truly good. Darren looked at you with a smile and he softly kissed your cheek. Your cheek.

"Come on, ask me." Darren said wrapping his arms tighter around you.

"Why have you changed your mind? Why have you decided to come here today and talk to me?" You asked serious and really curious. Darren, suddenly, wiped the smile off his face and got nervous.

"Uhm, well…" Darren said, pulling away his chin on your shoulder. "I've talked to Joey."

"To Joey?" You asked frowning. You never expected that Joey was the reason why Darren decided to come here and talk to you.

"Yes, please don't misunderstand this." Darren said defensively and you raised your eyebrows because you didn't know why Darren was acting on the defensive. "I wanted to talk to you, I did. But I wasn't sure because I don't know man… I was scared; scared to maybe hear something I wasn't expecting and to lose you. Yeah, I heard something unexpected but it wasn't the same I was thinking to hear."

"What were you thinking?" You asked curious.

"It doesn't matter…" Darren said looking away. Was he blushing?

"Darren…" You emphasized and Darren sighed, apparently resigned.

"Well. Fuck, this is gonna sound totally lame and stupid." Darren shifted on the couch uncomfortably. Oh god, he was blushing. Darren Criss blushing, it was epic; it amused you a bit, but you tried to remain serious, maybe he was going actually to tell you something serious. "You know how I am in relationships. You know, after Mia..."

"Yeah, Mia..." You murmured upset just to have thought of her. Darren glanced at you and got even more nervous, wincing in discomfort. That was weird, but you let him continue.

"Yes, Mia. Well, all the time we were distant I was trying to find out which were the reason why you lied to me. And I did something I shouldn't have done. I compared you with Mia." Darren said looking down and you frowned. Why the hell has he done it? "Don't look at me that way, please."

"I'm not looking at you in any way." You said shrugging but inside you were really upset. He could have compared you with the person he wanted. But Mia?

"Yeah, okay." Darren said raising an eyebrow and looking down again. "Fine, so i did it and I know I shouldn't have done it. I thought you were lying to me for the same reason she lied to me. Not that I thought you'd been cheating on me with another guy like she did. But I thought you were lying to me because you really didn't love me. I thought that probably you were with me because...Uhm..."

"Because?" You asked frowning because you couldn't get why Darren was that nervous.

"Because of my...Damn it's stupid, it sounds completely absurd..." Darren said frowning, apparently upset with himself. You remained silent, looking at him intently. "Because of my popularity."

"Your what?" You looked at him incredulous. What the fuck? Was he really thinking you were with him because of his popularity? "Darren...Do you really think I'm that kind of person?"

"No, I don't!" Darren exclaimed quickly.

"You did. Oh god." You shook your head in disbelief.

"Okay yes. I did. But it was because I was blinded, I really wasn't thinking clearly. I made up on my mind absurd things." Darren said defensively. "I know you aren't that kind of person. I have no idea why it crossed my mind. I was trying to find any kind of excuse, I was confused. It's stupid, damn."

"Alright…" You said, looking away. You were now tense, because it really made you feel annoyed. You couldn't believe he thought it of you. "Now I'm the girl, more like the bitch, who takes advantages of the billionaire and popular man." You said ironically.

"No, it's not like that." Darren said firmly. "That wasn't the point... Shit, don't be like that! Hey, really I don't think it about you. I only thought it because I was insecure, because I needed to find any kind of excuse which could make me think about something else but not of you. You know, when people are insecure in a relationship; they cling to lame excuses, only to make good with themselves; because actually they can't face the reality. The reality that I knew I was hurting you and I wasn't brave enough to hear that you were tired and disappointed of me."

"Just... Forget it, Darren."

"No, I won't leave it there. Not if you don't believe me. I don't want in our relationship more unsolved things that we avoid to talk because we're scared. We need to clear absolutely everything. Then, we're gonna be fine." Darren said this time really firmly and determined; his reaction surprised you, it seemed he wanted to say it since long ago.

"Alright. Then what you want? Do you want me to tell you what I think about this with honesty?"

"Yes, that's what I want." Darren said abruptly, looking at you intently. Now the two of you were being firm, determined and rude.

"Fine. What I thought is that there's no way you'd compared me with Mia. Mia, Darren; you know what I think about her. And I honestly I can't understand why you thought I was with you because you're popular and super famous and recognized worldwide. I thought I made you clear what kind of person I am; both in my letters and in the whole time we were together. I can't believe you thought I was using you because of that. I don't care a shit you're famous. Even more, I hate the fact you're famous and believe me when I say there's no jealousy in my words. I hate it because I never can do something normal with you, because our whole relationship is going to be a routine, always doing things in private places, worrying all the time to not to be caught! But hey, you're the famous guy and everything revolves around you. Do you have any idea of how i felt the time we were together, not being able to show up in public? The hot, sexy and talented and famous guy with the lady nobody!" You said it all at once; not thinking, only saying. "And do you want to know what I think right now about us? That we're like a merry-go-round, all the time with comings and goings, with ups and downs; never nothing clear, never nothing firm and consistent. We're spinning, going round and round. We're fine, we're bad, we're funny, we're angry, we treat each other in an extraordinary way, we treat each other in a shit way. Look at us now! You came here and we were uncomfortable, then we were fine trying to be understandable and supporting each other, and now we're arguing again! What the hell is that? Why does it always have to be so unpredictable and inconsistent? Damn, look at us! We don't even dare to kiss each other even though we affirm supposedly to love each other. What is this supposed to mean? I'm starting to think that maybe we're together because we're just used at this, because we don't feel so alone this way; because we stayed in the past when everything was perfect and we didn't know each other so much, because it was something unprecedented and peculiar how we met, because it was something new that we were living. But what if that was what we liked about our relationship and not the fact of how we are personally? I can't fucking find a reasonable explanation of why we're like this." You were gasping; apparently your face was red because you said all you were holding inside. Something that you knew you shouldn't have said. You realized it in the right moment you saw Darren's face. Darren was looking at you with wide eyes and raising his eyebrows, completely shocked by your confession. Wow, you crossed the line.

"Woah. That was really honest." Darren gasped. You looked into his eyes even though he was looking down; his eyes denoted a hint of sadness. Shit, you were a terrible person. Once again, you said to yourself you needed to learn to think before talking. "You told me all you thought; now it's my turn to say all I think. I think that you hate Mia for no reason; actually I have no fucking idea of why you hate her so much because the real fact is that you never told me your reasons. All the time thinking shit of Mia and you don't even know her!"

"Oh great, now you're defending her." You exclaimed ironically and incredulous.

"I haven't interrupted you, you don't interrupt me." You looked up to see Darren whose face was completely transfigured. He seemed really mad and his voice sounded harsh. "I'm not fucking defending anybody. I'm sure we all are old enough to defend ourselves and our own opinions and thoughts; we don't need a person to talk and act for us, it would be really stupid and immature. I'm not on Mia's side, I'm not on your side, I'm not even on my mom's side; being on the side of someone. What the fuck is that? How old are we? Ten? I do what I think is right and hell yeah, I make a lot of mistakes just for the simple fact of being a human being. But I do what I want to do, not what another person tells me what to do; I assert my own decisions and I won't let anyone drive my life at will and pleasure. I was only saying that you don't know Mia at all so you can't judge her the way you do. You said you hated the unfair prejudices but you're doing it with Mia."

"Darren!" You exclaimed incredulous and hurt. You couldn't believe Darren was saying it about you. You couldn't believe that Darren forgot what she did to you. Yes, he was right when he said we shouldn't do what people tell us to do; but you couldn't take the fact he told you that you were a judgmental person. "I can't… You know what Mia did to me and you're still wondering why I hate her? Really?"

"Really. She did it once. What if that time she was drunk? What if that time she lost control? What if it was only that time? You never talked to her again, maybe she was regretted, and maybe she wanted to apologize. You can't affirm you know Mia only because you saw her twice and you talked to her once. And hate… You shouldn't hate anyone. To hate someone is the most terrible thing you can do; you've been hated in your past. How did you feel? Terrible, because is an awful thing. Why do you do what people did to you in your past?" Darren said frowning and with a prepotent voice, over his control.

"Oh my god. I can't believe you're saying that." You said with choked voice and teary eyes. Not only apparently what Mia did to you seemed a minor thing to Darren, like it didn't care how she made you feel; but he was messing with your past that took you a lot of courage to tell him. He emphasized the fact you were hated, something that hurt you a lot not only in your past but now also. Not only that, but he was saying that you were doing the same that all those people in your past did with you. There was no comparison, and he knew it; or at least you thought he knew it. It really hurt you. "You're comparing me with those people. You're taking what I told you, what was a really hard thing to do for me, in a derogatory way. Don't mess with it, Darren. Don't mess with all the things I had to live and don't you dare to compare me with them; because you have no idea..." You broke into tears, because it was a very delicate topic to talk about. And Darren did nothing. "About Mia. You gave me your point of view, you told me that you assert your own decisions and points of view; well then, I can do the same. I don't think the same than you think. What's wrong with that? I won't like a person who hurt me, who treat me like shit and who told me horrible things. And look at yourself, the way you've been with Matt. Damn! With Matt! My best friend; my best gay friend. He never even treated you the way Mia treated me, yet you treated him in a really inappropriate way. You did it and you're claiming me for thinking what I think about Mia?"

"Whatever. Maybe you should talk to her, she wants to apologize; she told me she was regretted for what she did to you that night. Maybe you should stop being so closed minded about Mia. Despite all that happened between her and me, she's my friend and I wouldn't like to know that you hate one of my friends." Darren said coldly.

"Well then, guess what? I wouldn't like to know that you hate my friends as well. So then why don't you apologize to Matt, to Nick? Why don't you apologize to all of them, who did you nothing?" You said still shedding tears, but now you were annoyed.

"And why don't you go with Mia now? So you can talk to her private things about us as surely you've been doing! Go and tell her all of this, she'd be glad!" You said almost yelling.

"What the hell are you talking about? That's absurd." Darren said still upset but now uncomfortable.

"Yes, Darren it's absurd. Everything is absurd." You said sighing, standing up but Darren grabbed your hand and he pulled you to make you sit again.

"Wait." Darren said, softening his voice but still with a hint of annoyance. "I haven't finished." You sat and crossed your arms to listen to him, but looking away. "I told you i didn't mean it. I told you that I don't think that about you; you know, you being with me because...that stupid thing. You totally misunderstood me. I said it because I was looking for excuses which could help me to not to face with the fact of realizing that being away from you was my fault! And it really made me feel like crap when you said you hated the fact of me being... famous or whatever. Do you think it's easy for me? Do you think I don't feel exactly the same than you, that I'd like to do things like a normal person? Of course I want to do things I can't do; of course I'd love to show up in public places and not to worry about being caught or interrupted. I don't want our relationship to be a routine, because let's face it, routine is dull and humdrum; no one would like to live all the time a routine. But I always tried my best, I tried it; I tried to make you feel as if we were a normal couple. Do you think I haven't heard when you were telling to someone how you were feeling about me and not having the chance to do normal things? You said you weren't sure of being with me because of that. Do you know how I felt? Miserable. Because I thought I wasn't trying the enough, because I wanted to make you feel happy with me but I was making you feel insecure and sad. Then I decided to take the risk and start doing things in public. After all, fuck everything! You were my girlfriend and I was proud to call you my girlfriend. If I never introduced you in public it wasn't because I didn't want they to know who you were; it was for you, because I didn't want you to have the life I have, I didn't want you to lose your privacy, i didn't want you to be bothered every time you needed to go to some random store to buy gums or whatever. So I took the risk and I took you to that quirky bar, I took you to the cinema, to ice-skating. I wanted to do those things with you, and I had really good times with you; I don't regret to have done it. So it hurts me to hear what you said, because I tried my best. Because I thought you understood me, that you were fine with it. And I can't change it; you knew which were our limitations and the things we were going to have to experience if we were together; you knew who I was before starting our relationship as lovers. I thought finally I found a person that wasn't only marvelous personally, but a person who could deal with this dilemma." Darren said frowning and gulping, looking down. "And to let you know... I don't consider myself as the hot, sexy and talented and famous guy and you like the lady nobody as you said. You're so wrong when you call yourself as a nobody; I thought you had more self-respect. You may not be famous, it doesn't mean you're nobody; I could be famous, it doesn't mean it makes me fabulous and important, and you know it." Darren said resolute and then he looked up to you. You were still looking away with your arms crossed, but now you weren't so annoyed, now you were feeling like a selfish person who couldn't understand Darren as you thought you did. "And about us now. There's something you need to understand. Every single couple in world has arguments, ups and downs, and comings and goings; it'd be a farce if everything was perfect. It's normal, and arguments like this we're gonna have for the rest of our lives, with me or whomever you decide to be with. That is what makes the relationship stronger, when you have arguments but we find the way to solve them. Yeah it's hard, awful and hideous; but you cannot deny that when we overcome those situations, we feel more connected and great. And yes, sometimes I can't understand why we're like this; and there are moments I feel tired and I want to throw it all to hell, moments I feel hopeless or distressed, moments when I want to be away from you because I get mad; but also there are moments I feel completely happy to have you with me because you're the one I love and I know everything would be fine if I'm with you, moments when I want nothing but to be with you, moments when I say...Damn! This is the time of my life; I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. And the goods moments outweigh the bad moments for me. That's why I don't want to walk away from you." Darren said and finally your eyes met his. His hazel eyes were shinning; you didn't know it was because of happiness, if it was because it reflected honesty or if it was because he had teary eyes; but his eyes looked beautiful like that. You couldn't utter a word. "You said you were starting to think we're together because we're used at it. It's not like that for me. Yeah, I love the weird way we met, it was one of the craziest things that happened in my life and I love it. But I love even more how you are personally, I love the way you are and that's what makes me happy. It makes me happy all your perfection and your personal shortcomings. Yes, I'm used to be with you; but... Have you wondered why we are used to be with each other? I know that answer; I'd never get used at you if I never loved you; and the accurate answer would be that I love you and I got used to love you, not to be with you with any feelings involved. And you said you cannot find an explanation why we're like this. Well, not all the things have an explanation. Maybe we're like this because we're different, because we had different ways to live our lives, because we don't think the same about everything, because you like the damn disgusting flax seed crackers and I totally hate them, because for me sushi is fucking delicious and for you is gross, because I love Transformers and you love The Notebook, because the first thing I love to do in the morning is to drink a huge cup of coffee and sing and you to start cleaning the room, oh damn I hate when you do that, but I love it at the same time! Because I'm a totally fool painting and you're so good, because you totally suck at ice-skating and thanks to you I ended up all bruised when I tried to teach you but I loved doing it. And I think that things that differentiate us make us learn more about each other. Imagine if we liked the same things! It'd be creepy and totally boring! I think we only need to take those differences as a way to learn new things and not to let them to be a reason to argue. Or maybe this isn't the real explanation; maybe it has no explanation." Darren said shrugging, still looking into your eyes with a half-smile and you smiled back at him because it cheered you up a bit. Maybe he was right, maybe you overreacted. "Love is like that, weird. And I'm sure I want to have a weird and quirky thing with you. I want to have with you a weird relationship, a weird house, weird children, and weird everything. But I can't do it if you think that those weird things are something negative, if you don't want to have this weird relationship because you want someone better, someone who can be with you all the time, someone with whom you can do normal things as any other couple would do, someone who isn't like me. I know I can't be with you all the time and there are gonna be times when I'd have to be away for work, but there's something you'll never miss, and that's my love for you. I'm sure of what's what I want, now you are the one who needs to be sure if this weird relationship we're gonna have is what you want. I can change things; I can stop throwing my clothes on the floor when I take it off, that I know it annoys you, if you ask me to do so to improve our relationship; but I can't change my lack of time and I can't change the fact that we're gonna be interrupted our private time if we go to a public place to walk or whatever as much as I'd like it. This isn't easy for either of the two, so you really need to be sure. As for me, what I want is to spend my life with you, maybe this is gonna change in the future or maybe not; but this is what I want now. Now the decision to be together is subject to what you want. I won't force you to do anything you don't want. And if I haven't kissed you yet, is because I respect you and whatever your decision is gonna be."

This was the most intense conversation you've ever had. Darren and his words made you feel a lot of emotions: anger, sadness, disappointment, cuteness, cheerfulness, and love. He said awful things but he also said lovely things. You didn't know what to do; your head was spinning, your heart was beating fast, your throat had a lump, your eyes were full of tears, and your entire body was trembling. What the hell to do? You were really insecure and you needed to be secure; you didn't know if you were going to be able to handle that kind of life but at the same time you wanted to be with him. You were scared. Then you asked to yourself the question that helped you to make a decision: Would you be able to take the risk of changing your life for Darren, the guy who you truly loved? Yes, you would. He changed your life before and it was for good; Darren got you up from an all-time low, he was the only one who could make it; how the hell this new change in your life could be bad? You always pictured your life with Darren in your future. Why it would be so hard to decide? You knew which your answer was, but you were scared and that was what kept you from saying it out loud. This was up to you.

"Would you stop leaving the bathroom wet when finished bathing?" You asked almost in a whisper in a very soft voice, looking into his eyes. Darren raised his eyebrows in surprise when he heard the sound of your voice and then he giggled slightly; it seemed a giggle of relief.

"I would." Darren said smiling fondly at you, grabbing your hands.

"Would you be willing to learn to cook and stop ordering food?"

"Dammit, that's so fucking hard. But I would if you want so." Darren said softly, resting his forehead on yours.

"Would you promise to love me even though we're gonna be away several times because of your work?" You asked shyly and closing your eyes.

"Look at me." Darren asked kindly and you opened your eyes to find Darren's shinning eyes looking at yours. "Always."

Darren leaned to kiss your lips softly, still grabbing your hands and placing them on his chest. That was the kiss you were hoping to feel again; the kind of kiss that sealed the love you felt for each other. It was the most perfect and sweet kiss in a distressing and hard situation. That kiss was what missed you to be sure of the decision you made to be with Darren notwithstanding all the limitations and inconvenient you were going to have in your relationship. You softly broke the kiss, but both of you remained forehead to forehead.

"Would you forgive me for being such a scared, insecure and jerk girl?" You asked in front of his lips with choked voice and teary eyes.

"Then you'd have to forgive me for the same thing." Darren whispered and then he pecked your lips. "I'm sorry if I lost my control, if I was rude to you. But we really needed to say to each other all the things we were keeping inside for so long. Now this is gonna work because we were extremely honest."

"I guess so. We needed this."

"Right." Darren smiled in front of your lips. "I love you, I always did."

"I love you too, and I always did." You smiled back at him and you kissed him, this time deeper. "Darren?"

"Mhm?" Darren mumbled with closed eyes while he wrapped his arms around your waist.

"I want to show you something really important to me. Something I never showed to anyone, but I want to give you everything about me."

"What?" Darren asked opening his eyes and looking at you curiously.

"Come with me." You said standing up and grabbing his hand. Darren smiled at you when the two of you started to walk holding hands as you were used to do when you were fine.

You led Darren to your bedroom and then you let out his hand to walk to your wardrobe, looking for something there. Darren didn't say anything but he sat in your bed; all the time looking at you and your movements apparently really amused.

"What are we supposed to be doing here?" Darren finally asked from your bed while you were stirring the clothes that were in the wardrobe.

"I'm just looking for something." You yelled because by this moment you were almost burying your head inside the wardrobe. "Shit! It isn't here." You said grumpy, crossing your arms and frowning, trying to remember where the hell the thing you were looking for was.

Ostensibly this was funny for Darren because he laughed out loud from your bed. You turned around to look at Darren even grumpier, this wasn't funny. You needed to find that something, it was very important to you.

"Hey you! Don't look at me that way!" Darren exclaimed with an amused smile on his face.

"This isn't funny." You grumbled and pouted, huffily. At that time, Darren stood up and walked toward you, still with that amused smile. He stood in front of you and placed his hands on your waist, pulling you softly towards him.

"We can always change the plans." Darren said naughtily, winking at you seductively.

"Get out of here!" You softly nudged him, still frowning. "Damn, I can't believe I lost it!" You exclaimed worried.

"Is it so very important?" Darren asked frowning when he noticed your concern.

"It is. Well, at least it is for me." You said perturbed, this time getting taciturn.

"I could help you to find it, then. But you have to tell me how it looks like, because I have no idea if I should find a pink elephant, a dysfunctional computer or a sexy bra." Darren said winking with a seductive smile and you just looked at him serious. "I'm just kidding! What are we supposed to look for?"

"It's a box. Like a big box, it's blue and it looks more like an old chest. But I was sure it was here. I don't know why the hell that shit isn't here." You huffed, grouchy and Darren chuckled softly.

"It's totally awesome to hear you cursing. Like I'm a bad influence on you." Darren said amused. "Maybe it could be under the bed or in that other wardrobe." Darren said pointing the wardrobe next to this one.

"No, no. Under the bed is impossible because I'm sure I put it on the wardrobe. And I'm sure it was this one, it wouldn't fit in that wardrobe." You said, concerned again and trying to remember again.

"Well, when was the last time you saw it? Maybe you forgot it when you moved here with Sami."

"No, I didn't forget it. I packed it... Oh damn shit! I couldn't have forgotten it in the moving van!" You exclaimed hysterical, placing a hand on your forehead.

"Hey, chill out." Darren said reassuringly, grabbing your hands and looking into your eyes. "You haven't yet looked up there." Darren said pointing to the top of the wardrobe. You looked up and you begged it was there. "It seems you'd need some extra help to take a look there." Darren said with a slight smile, looking at you from head to toe.

"You asshole! As if you were a giant." You nudged him playfully and Darren burst out laughing.

"I'm taller than you. Ha!" Darren exclaimed, raising an eyebrow amused and then he kneeled. "Come on, sit on my shoulders; I'm gonna lift you so you can take a look."

"But...no, I couldn't have left it there. I mean, look at me. I never could've put it there by myself." You said doubtful.

"C'mon! You have nothing to lose. I'm sure I'm strong enough to have you on my shoulders." Darren insisted, still kneeling.

"Fine, if I break your bones, don't blame me. It was your idea." You said, sitting on Darren's shoulders and placing your hands on his head for balance.

"Well, I'd win. You'd have to take care of the poor guy who has all his bones broken." Darren joked and then he stood. At the time he stood you almost fall off and because of your desperation, you yanked his hair and Darren wailed in pain; but he grabbed your legs tighter. "Holy crap! The fact that you leave me bald wasn't part of the deal. I like my hair."

"I'm so sorry!" You exclaimed apologetic, really nervous still scared of falling. Your body was trembling of frighten.

"It's okay! Now you have some of my curls as a souvenir." Darren joked and he walked closer to the wardrobe. "Chill out! I won't let you fall. Just take a look there!"

You tried to relax and then you took a look there. There it was the big blue chest. A feeling of relief ran through your entire body when you saw that the old chest was still there and you haven't lost it. Still scared of falling, you extended your arms to reach it.

"Here it is!" You exclaimed happily and grabbed the trunk, pulling it to you.

You've forgotten how heavy it was. When you finally had it in your hands, you lost the balance because of its weight, what caused Darren to lose his balance as well. Darren tottered and he tried to remain standing, but he failed. You let out the chest just in time when Darren fell on top of you because you were on his shoulders. You felt how your head hit hard the floor. Although Darren was tiny, he weighed more than you; so it was very painful. Darren quickly kneeled next to you, grabbing your head and looking at you concerned while you were shedding some tears of pain.

"Oh damn. Are you okay? I'm so sorry, I lost my balance. Did I hurt you?" Darren asked altered, holding you in his arms.

"I'm fine, I'm fine." You answered with shrill voice, wincing in pain and trying to sit on the floor.

"You don't look okay. Dammit, I hurt you!" Darren exclaimed perturbed, helping you to sit, and still holding you in his arms.

"No, I'm fine. It was nothing." You said shaking your head and finally you sat.

"No, I..."

"Darren." You said firmly, placing your hands on his cheek and looking at him into his eyes. "I'm fine. We need to practice more the piggyback ride and that's it." You assured reassuringly.

"Yeah." Darren gasped, still nervous but more relieved. "Tomorrow I'm gonna take you to the park to practice the piggyback ride."

"Deal." You giggled and so did Darren. Then Darren stood up and he gave you his hand to help you to stand up. "Now I don't wanna show you a damn shit of that crap."

"C'mon! Show me!" Darren said more excited, walking towards the blue chest and sitting on the floor cross-legged. "What's on this? Is this a pirate treasure? Are we gonna find gold and relics with allegedly curses?" He asked curious and jokingly and you sat next to him also cross-legged with a slight smile.

"Exactly! If you look inside, you probably would end under the curse of the Black Pearl pirate." You joked and giggled along with Darren. "Well, it's something like that. You came here to get some answers about how my real past was. Inside the chest you're gonna find everything."

"What? No, hey... You don't have to if you don't want. I believed you, I don't need to..." Darren started to say a bit nervous and you grabbed his hands.

"No, I want you to see it. I should've showed you this long ago, but... well, I guess... I wasn't so sure to share all about me. But now I am, and I want to share this with you." You said smiling at him.

"Really? Are you wholly sure?" Darren asked looking into your eyes and you nodded. "Okay." He smiled fondly at you before opening the chest.

You haven't seen inside the chest since so long ago. A feeling of yearning and melancholy pervaded your body. You were seeing a lot of pictures of your childhood, when you were happy; various pictures in different places. There was also a lot of little letters that your dad was used to write to you, birthday cards, some of your longed toys, some stuff that belonged to your dad, clothes when you were really little, among other things. Darren started to grab some things carefully, looking at all of them with a smile on his face. He started grabbing some of your toys and he played with them, making some jokes. Then he grabbed a pair of little colorful socks and he looked at you with sweetness, showing you them.

"This is so fucking cute! Look! It fits on my finger!" Darren laughed, putting your little sock on his finger. "Hi, I'm mister socky and I'm really colorful and cheerful!" Darren faked a squeaky voice, moving his finger and you laughed because of his silliness. "Does it belong to you?"

"Yeah, my first pair of socks. It's stupid to keep them, but I don't know...I like them." You said, looking at your socks with a smile of remembrance.

"It's not stupid. I still have my first pair of shoes. You gotta see them one day, are totally awesome; I think that those could still fit on my feet." Darren said giggling and he left your socks on the chest carefully. Then he grabbed a small pink long skirted ballet dress, and he looked at it frowning and amused. "Not fucking kidding! Were you a ballerina?"

"Oh yeah, I was!" You exclaimed with a huge amused smile. "I took ballet classes since I was four until I was eight. One of the best of my class." You winked and laughed amused.

"Oh dammit! I need to see you dancing like a ballerina." Darren said with wide eyes and you looked at him amused but didn't say anything. "C'mon! Now!"

"What? No, no fucking way." You said frowning and giggling, but Darren stood up and he made you stand up. "No, stop Darren! It has been years since the last time I danced, i forgot all the steps and dance techniques! I wouldn't do it right."

"I don't care, I'm sure you'd be really good. There are some things you never forget. It's unfortunate that this dress is too small to wear it; but screw it! You really don't need a dress to dance. C'mon, show me how you dance!" Darren exclaimed really excited that produced you cuteness.

"Fine, but just a bit!" You said amused and started to flex while Darren sat on the floor again, looking at you fixedly.

"Wait, I need popcorns, this is like a movie or something! Maybe i could pretend I'm watching the Black Swan!" Darren joked and you shook your head amused.

"Well, just a little bit and remember I don't dance this since I had eight." You warned him.

You started dancing as you remembered but, as you said, it's been a long since the last time you did it so you failed several times. At first you staggered, but then you started to be more self-confident and remembering why you loved so much dancing. It made you feel free and happy, it was like be flying. You forgot everything that was around you and you just focused in the feeling that dancing produced you. Of course you couldn't dance like before and you lost flexibility; but you didn't do it as bad as you thought you would do. When you finished dancing, a big smile was on your face; and then you realized where you were and with whom, what made you blush a little. Darren was looking at you with his lips parted and with an astonished look; and when he realized you finished dancing he started clapping excited.

"Holy damn shit! That was totally awesome!" Darren exclaimed astonished, still clapping. "You never fail to amaze me. I wouldn't imagine in a million years that you were an excellent dancer."

"Oh please! It wasn't so good and I'm not an excellent dancer. That was..." You started to say embarrassed and blushing.

"Outstanding." Darren said with wide eyes and a big smile on his face. You sat again next to him on the floor, blushing even more.

"Stop it, Darren..." You said, placing your hands on your cheeks which were burning.

"Do you know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to enroll you in a classical dance school, so you can keep practicing. I'll pay everything, you don't have to worry about anything; but you're gonna do it." Darren said determined and excited.

"No, Darren! Not at all, you're not gonna do that. It has been years..." You started to say frowning because you didn't like the idea of him paying you something.

"You have a damn awesome talent and you don't have to neglect it!" Darren said stunned.

"Darren, no..."

"Let me do it for you." Darren said looking at you fixedly. "When I saw you dancing...you were all like nothing mattered but you and your passion, you were so into the dancing that it was awesome seeing you so happy. You seemed...all relaxed and free. I loved seeing you like that, you need to keep dancing, and you're so very talented. And there's no joke in my words. You loved doing it, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did. But there's no way you pay..."

"Forget about the money! Money comes and goes, and I'm able to pay for it. But your talent... it's something that has no price. I wouldn't forgive myself if I don't do this for you."

"Yeah, but no..."

"Do it for me. I wanna see you on a stage, dancing the way you just did; sharing your talent with the whole world. I wanna see you on a stage and see you shining." Darren said, dazed and happy and you couldn't avoid giggling.

"You make it sound as if I'm gonna be the super dancer." You giggled again.

"You're gonna be, I'm sure of it. Why don't you wanna do it? Don't say it's because the money, because I have it and I'd be honored to spend it for something that is invaluable."

"Well...I'm not sure if I can do it. It's been years and let's face it, I won't be on a stage, Darren. We have to be realistic." You said looking down.

"Don't do it. Don't give up on dreams. If you don't have a dream, then you don't have a goal. Sometimes reality sucks; we need those dreams to change reality. Look at me! I never gave up on my dreams, I never thought I could have what I have now but here I am. If that happened to me, why wouldn't it happen to you?" Darren said, grabbing your cheeks and making you to look into his eyes.

"Because. Well, it's obvious Darren. You're really talented, damn! You aren't only an actor, you also can sing and play an obscenely amount of instruments; you can speak a lot of languages and you're very charismatic, friendly and charming; not to mention your amazing self-confidence." You exclaimed, now admiring him.

"Bullshit. I saw you acting and dancing, you're good at both. Maybe you can't play all the instruments I play, but as I remember, you learned to play the piano very fast; you have this ability to learn really fast because you're very dedicated and you aren't an average person. You're also friendly and charming and you have this thing that automatically you make people like you; you always got them with your smile. Maybe you aren't self-confident, but that's something you have to work on; you have so many talents that should make you feel proud of yourself and not embarrassed. You're so used to see yourself as an unnoticed girl and it's not like that; I don't know if you don't notice that wherever you go, you always get the attention of all the people who are around you because of your charming. Everybody can shine, it's just you're afraid of it. It's time to stop being scared and stand with proud, showing the world that you have something that no one is gonna be able to take away from you, that something that makes you irreplaceable and unique. Start loving yourself and all your good thing; if you don't do it, no one is gonna do it for you. You're beautiful and you have so many things that make you special, show it to the world and feel proud of it; no one is gonna judge you. And if they do, screw them! They're just jealous because they can't have what you have, it's how this works." Darren said looking at you fondly, with a comfortingly smile.

"You're right, but not everybody think in the way you do." You said looking down and frowning.

"Then screw them! Nobody can take away from you what belongs to you. Don't let them to bring you down. And do it for yourself, don't think about what others think. It's your life and only you can decide what to do with it, they're nobody to tell you what to do or not. Dancing makes you happy? Then dance. Acting makes you happy? Then act. Peeing in the pool makes you happy? Then pee in the pool, but please don't do it when I'm there too." Darren laughed softly and you laughed along with him.

"You're right. I need to start doing things for myself. All my life I've been thinking about what others think about me that I forgot to think what I think of myself, what makes me really happy and what I'd like to do without thinking what others expect me to be or to do. I need to be what I want to be and fight for it, never give up although things get hard; then the result is gonna be worthy." You said, thinking out loud.

"That's the girl I love, the one you are when you stop thinking about everybody and think about yourself. The mysterious girl once I met through letters. Damn, letters! It's crazy, and that craziness made you happy in the same way it made me happy. All of us need to be crazy sometimes, right? It's time you show the world all your craziness that got me so into you." Darren said smiling brightly and he pecked your lips, caressing then your cheeks. Then he returned his gaze to the chest and he grabbed a picture and looked at it with a nicely smile. "Are you this little girl?"

"Yeah, it's me and my dad. My favorite picture." You said looking at the picture with a cheerful smile. Other times you looked at that picture, your eyes were full of tears and sadness because you wanted to come back to that time. But now it was different. Now you weren't sad, now you were remembering that time as a good memory that you'd never erase. Maybe your dad wasn't with you physically, but he was in your heart and you shouldn't be sad every time you looked at him in an old picture, you should be happy because all the time you shared with him; he'd always be with you as long as you remember him. "We were in our backyard, playing that he was a king and I was a princess. I remember we imagined that tree over there was a dragon who wanted to destroy our kingdom. We fought with the dragon and we beat him! My mother wanted to kill us when she saw we ruined her tree." You laughed amused, remembering that moment as if it happened yesterday. Darren laughed along with you.

"That's a good memory." Darren said looking at you fondly. "Do you mind if I keep it?"

"Why would you want to keep it?" You asked curious and frowning.

"I don't know. I just want to keep it, I like this picture and I'm gonna be able to look at your little you. You were so fucking cute, not that you aren't now... But look at your adorable rosy and chubby cheeks! And your freckles! It's totally adorable. Can I pinch your cheeks? I'm tempted now." Darren said looking at you and showing all his teeth mischievously.

"What?" You looked at him frowning and totally amused. "You're so out of your mind...Why the hell would you want..." You didn't finish saying it because Darren started pinching your cheeks. "What the hell, Darren?" You laughed out loud.

"Sorry, I needed to do it." Darren laughed along with you. "Then I took it as a yes, I can keep the picture."

"Yeah, you can if you want." You said, shaking your head and smiling. Darren put it in his pocket and then he grabbed a paper that was on the chest.

"What's this?" Darren said looking at it and frowning, now serious.

"That was the most important thing that I wanted to show you." You said looking at the paper as well. "These are the papers of my birth, my real name contained therein."

"No, I don't want to see it. I don't care how your birth name is if you don't feel identified with it. Your real name is the one I know and not this one." Darren said, shaking the papers.

"You deserve to know it. I don't mind if you know it." You said looking at Darren fixedly. Of course you were nervous, but you were sure that you wanted to show Darren all about you.

"I just don't care. You're not this person; you're the person with the name I knew. That's all I want to know, this is your past that you wanted to forget and I respect it. I don't love the person who has this name, I love the person who has your actual name and that's enough for me. So I'm just gonna put this inside the chest again and enjoy the time with this person who has the name I know." Darren said smiling, putting your birth papers on the chest again. This was something you weren't expecting and it made you amaze. Darren understood that your birth name wasn't important to you because you didn't feel comfortable with it, Darren trusted you again and you felt really touched. Suddenly, you hugged him tight and it surprised him. "And why's that for? Not that I'm complaining." Darren said smiling and hugging back at you.

"Only because I love you." You said and surprisingly you kissed his lips.

"I think I could get used at this." Darren whispered in front of your lips, with closed eyes. Then he placed his hands on your cheeks and he kissed you deeper, moaning softly during the kiss. "Yeah. Definitely I could get used at this."

"But maybe not now. Look what time it is. Soon it's gonna be New Year and you surely want to be with your family." You said, smiling sweetly in front of his lips.

"They could survive without me." Darren said shrugging and smiling. "I want to spend it with you."

"No, really Darren. You should be with them." You said this time serious and Darren looked into your eyes.

"It's not negotiable. I'm gonna spend it with you and it's a statement."

"Darren…"

"Nothing. I'm staying here." Darren said resolute.

"We don't have any food, any drink. We have nothing."

"We don't need anything. Just you and me, celebrating this New Year to come. Could it be more perfect?" Darren smiled and pecked your lips.

"You're so stubborn!" You nudged him playfully.

"I am; the biggest pain in the ass you'd ever meet." Darren laughed and pecked your lips again. "Change your clothes."

"What? Do I look really terrible like this?" You giggled because you knew you were a disaster, but you didn't get why he was telling you so, like a demand.

"No, you don't. But you said you didn't like people to see you like this, even though I love when you look natural." Darren said mysteriously and shrugging.

"What's on your mind?" You asked suspiciously.

"We're gonna watch the ball drop at One Times Square. The best thing you can do on New Year's Eve." Darren said smiling brightly and you just frowned.

"Darren, do you realize there's gonna be billion people?"

"I do."

"Then you surely thought it's not gonna be a good idea."

"It's the opposite. I think it's a totally awesome idea, who wouldn't like to be there on New Year's Eve?"

"Darren...there's gonna be billion people who are gonna recognize you and they're gonna see us... Maybe you wouldn't like it so much..." You said frowning and very bewildered because he wasn't seeing this point of view.

"I know, but you're wrong. I won't like it, I'll love it. You and me on Times Square watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve. Sounds perfect to me. Trust me, we're gonna have so much fun." Darren said excited, still smiling brightly. "And about the people... Who cares if they see us together? I wouldn't be ashamed of being there holding hands with you. We need to do crazy things sometimes, remember?" Darren winked at you.

"Darren, are you sure? Because...well, you know more than me how the media are." You said frowning completely stunned.

"I don't care what the media are gonna say; we know how things actually are and that's what matters." Darren said. He was being completely rebel and spontaneous; damn you loved it. "Anyway, what would they say? That I have a love affair with you? Isn't it like that? Let the world know it, I don't care! I'm happy to be with you. What else would they say? That I'm gonna act like a madman? That's how I am, and you know there's nothing more badass than being yourself. Let's see what else they'd say...That I'm in a public place around billion human beings? I'm just a simple random guy with the person I love, having fun and enjoying New Year's Eve as anybody else. It's not such a big deal; I don't see what the problem is."

"You got me with the badass thing." You said laughing and Darren raised his eyebrows and laughed out loud.

"Of course I did. You badass girl!" Darren said and he grimaced a badass face.

This was going the very first time you were going to celebrate this New Year's Eve in a happy way with the person you loved. It was a really wild and crazy idea, but you just didn't care. As Darren said, we need to do crazy things sometimes. Those crazy and spontaneous things that make us very happy; because those are the things that we really want to do but we never dare because we are always too worried and busy thinking about what others would say.


Darren and you were holding hands in the Times Square around billion people. As you thought, a lot of people recognized him and they started to take some pictures. But the weird thing was that no one interrupted you both. Darren seemed extremely happy and he was yelling and cheering in excitement. Not even the people who were taking pictures at Darren, not even the looks directed at the two of you, not even the media mattered. You were two normal human beings celebrating this traditional New Year's Eve on Times Square, this was something that surprised you; and you couldn't be happier. The moment got even more exciting when the countdown started. Darren inserted his hands under your underarms and he tightly clasped your shoulders from behind whilst digging his face into your right shoulder with a bright and huge smile. Finally it was midnight and among all the yelling and cheering; all the confetti, all the fireworks, all the people hugging each other; Darren whispered something in your ear, looking deeply into your eyes.

"Would you want to start over again, leaving behind all the bad things we've been through? Would you love me as much as I do? Would you be officially my girlfriend? Here, now, in public and for a lot of years to come?"

You looked at Darren deeply into his eyes, very moved. You couldn't believe Darren was telling you this in a public place and just when the new year started. Now you understood what people meant when they said New Year, fresh start. Maybe this New Year that came was going to be better than the last one; maybe this new fresh start would mean all the adversities you had to go through and how you can keep going and making it work despite the storms. And why was he asking you that in a public place? Did he want to make your relationship public? This was a very huge step and maybe a little risky; once he did it, he wouldn't be able to regret. What if soon things weren't going to work? It'd be a disaster. Crazy things. This was one of those crazy things and this was what you really wanted; to be with Darren no matter what people would say about it. You were waiting for this moment to be fine with Darren again for so long and now you couldn't back off because of your fears and insecurity. Casually, isn't love unpredictable? Aren't all the relationships based on risking everything for something you want but you don't know what will happen? You needed to forget what you mind was thinking about this and do that thing that your heart wanted to do. To be with Darren. You looked into his eyes, with teary eyes and a bright smile on your face; Darren was still looking deeply and fondly into your eyes with a twinkle on his eyes.

"Yes, I would." You said with choked and emotional voice, still with a bright smile on your face.

"I love you so much." Darren said happy by your answer. He leaned and placed his hands on your jaw line before kissing deeply your lips.

You continued the kiss really shocked by his action, but really radiant because of this. There you were, Darren and you in the New Year, kissing each other without worrying of other people who were looking at you, without worrying where you were and what they would say about this; without worrying about people taking pictures. And it felt absurdly good. You forgot about your fears, your insecurities, your oscillations; you only focused on your happiness and on the love you felt for Darren. You knew this was a huge step and maybe Darren didn't know what this meant, but none of that mattered now; because he seemed as happy as you were. The kiss lasted several seconds and when you broke the kiss you looked around to see all the people who were now looking at you both with wide eyes and a shocked expression. Some people were muttering comments under wraps whilst looking at the two of you; and some people were taking pictures openly. You knew that Darren now was going to be attacked with several questions about this; that all the media and fans were going to find this out and they would want to get some answers. Suddenly you didn't feel so good, not because of what people were going to think, but because of how Darren was going to have to deal with this.

"Darren..." You whispered in his ear, still looking at the people around you who were still gossiping. "Do you realize what you did? Now everybody is going to talk about this and you..."

"I know exactly what I did and I don't regret a damn shit. I'm happy here and now and I don't care a shit what people are going to say. You're my girlfriend and I'm happy for that, Why should I hide it?" Darren said with a huge smile on his face. "Happy New Year, boo." Darren smiled in front your lips and he pecked them.

"Happy New Year, Dar." You giggled and you hugged him, digging your head on his chest whilst he wrapped his arms around your waist and rested his chin on your head, also giggling.

"Boo… Do you remember that time we were going to have our very first date?" Darren asked, still wrapping his arms around your waist.

"Yeah, I remember." You answered frowning and curious because you had no idea why Darren came up with this. It was the time he and Lyla had that terrible accident, a moment very blurred and sad.

"Do you remember where Lyla and I went?"

"Yeah, that jewelry store. I remember I wouldn't forget that moment."

"Right. And do you remember what I said when I...when we went to Lyla's grave?"

"Some things, yeah. What's this about?" You asked frowning and curious. You didn't know why Darren started talking about all of that in this moment.

"I said that I promised something to Lyla, a promise that involves you, both of us; and I said I was going to fulfill it, but I never did. I let myself being insecure, and that was a huge mistake. But now is a New Year, a fresh start as some people say." Darren said looking at you and you looked at him confused. What was all of this about? You still couldn't get it; it was weird he was talking about this and you had no idea what that promise was about and why it involved you and him.

"Yes, the promise. Darren I'm sorry, I'm not getting this." You said feeling very stupid. Then Darren grabbed both of your hands and looked at you into your eyes. Was he trembling?

"It's understandable you're not getting this, because I never told you what this promise is about. The reason why we went to the jewelry store is also because of this promise. Before going to that store, Lyla and I had an intense talk about you and I and she went with me to that store to start fulfilling that promise. Before the...accident, before those thieves popped in the store, I managed to hide what I bought." Darren said shrilly. Definitely he was trembling and you couldn't get why he was nervous. You thought that Darren would be sad and gloomy talking about this awful and terrible moment, but it wasn't like this. There was something you didn't know. "Today I brought with me what I bought for you that day. I have it right here on my pocket."

"What? What are you talking about?" You asked really bewildered. "Darren, how didn't those thieves know you had...? Why was that jewelry store involved on that promise? What did you talk with Lyla? Darren, I'm so confused. It doesn't make any sense to me; I don't see how all of those situations are connected. I don't think it's a good idea to talk about this here, a lot of people are still looking at us and I don't feel very comfortable."

"I know. I need to tell you everything. But I want to tell you this here, where you accepted to be officially my girlfriend." Darren said looking at you nervously, still grabbing both of your hands.

"Darren, this isn't a good idea. This is something very private and anyone can hear us here. Please, let's go somewhere else and you can tell me this. But not here, not now. If you want to tell me this in a special place for both of us, we can always go to the Gapstow Bridge over The Pond in Central Park."You said, trying to sound convincing. You didn't want to talk about this private thing in this crowded place. You knew that probably someone would hear and the gossip would be spread.

"Okay, I agree. Let's go there." Darren said nodding still nervous and he held your hand, walking away from there and leaving behind all the people who were looking at you and muttering things.

You finally walked away from the Times Square getting the attention of all the people around. Some people tried to stop Darren to get a picture and an autograph, people who glanced suspiciously at you; but Darren said that maybe in other time because now he wanted to enjoy this New Year as anybody else. Some fans got really disappointed and some of them understood him; some fans looked at you in a very scary way and some of them smiled at you. It was extremely weird for you. You arrived to the Gapstow Bridge holding hands, and you looked around. Almost anybody was there and it was reasonably quiet and a little dark. Darren led you to that famous large tree for you and you sat on the ground cross-legged. You stayed in silence for several minutes, still holding hands. It was extremely cold and there was an obscenely amount of snow.

"Wait." Darren finally said and he stood up. "My ass is gonna freeze soon if we sit here for so long." You laughed softly and you also stood up. Darren took off his jacket and put it on the ground. You tried to do the same with your jacket but he stopped you. "No, I'm gonna sit here and you can sit on my lap, so you won't freeze."

"But Darren, I'm not so skinny; your legs will cramp." You said, looking at him serious.

"Bullshit, as if I never had you on my lap." Darren said and he sat on his jacket, pulling you to sit on his lap. "Like this we aren't going to freeze" Darren said wrapping his arms around your waist, resting his chin on your shoulder and nuzzling his nose on your neck. Damn, his nose was very cold and that gave you a shiver. "I'm sorry but your neck is so warm!" Darren laughed softly.

"It's alright; but please if you do it again, warn me before! That feeling was kind of creepy." You giggled softly.

"Will do." Darren nodded and kissed your cheek sweetly. Then you stayed in silence for a few minutes again, just looking around.

"Well, now we're here...What was that thing you wanted to tell me? Because I didn't get it, Dar." You finally said and you felt how Darren's heart started to beat faster. Why was he so nervous?

"I'm gonna tell you all since the moment I left your apartment that day." Darren said with trembling voice and you started to worry because maybe it wasn't something nice. What if it was something bad you didn't want to hear? That day was a terrible day and you didn't know why Darren wanted to talk about it in that moment and why he wanted to talk about this in a special place. Nothing had sense to you. "When i left your apartment I was super wee, because we were going to have our first date and I realized how fucking much I loved you and how much I missed you. When I arrived at Lyla's house she asked me why I had that huge smile on my face and why I was so bright and cheerful unlike the previous days. And that's when we started to talk about you and me. I told her that I was the happiest I could ever be because finally I realized how amazing was to have found you and how in love I was like never before. Like never before, this is important because I never loved anyone more than I love you." Darren emphasized and you didn't know if you should smile or frown because you didn't know why he emphasized it. But you remained silent, listening to Darren intently. "I told her that you're the girl I always imagined to have as a girlfriend, and that you were that special person I'd choose to have a family and settle down. But I also told her that I was freaking out because this was a feeling I never felt before and I was super scared to fall so deeply in love and then end up heartbroken. I told her I was frustrated because I love you so fucking much but I was so fucking scared to give you it all. She, of course, told me I was a stupid little boy and she told me that I have a lot of things to learn. I remember she asked me ...How do you expect to learn new things if you don't take any kind of risk, if you don't do any kind of crazy things?...And she was so right, you know? She exemplified me our situation with the situation she lived with Steven, you know, Sami's dad."

"Yeah, I know who he is. Grant told me his name when we were at the hospital and he told me he was..." You suddenly got nervous; it wasn't appropriate talking about this.

"Grant told you so? Of course, Steven was Grant's cousin. Yeah, he unfortunately died." Darren said frowning and looking down, but then he sighed. "Anyway, Lyla exemplified me her situation with Steven. She told me that at first she was scared to be with him because Steven was older than her and her parents wouldn't accept him; she loved him with all her heart and he loved her as well. But they always had this problem, the age difference. I know it's not like us, but wait...it's something similar. She wanted to be with Steven and love him, but she was scared to fall so in love with him because she didn't know what was going to happen between them in the future. She was used to think more than do what she really wanted to do, what really made her happy. She was really sad about her whole situation, and she and Steven were apart for so long because they worried too much about what others would say about them and because they didn't want to end up with a broken heart if what they had wasn't going to work. That was the saddest moment in her life, she told me. Then it came a moment when they saw each other again, and when they saw each other all the love they felt for each other appeared again. They decided to take the risk of loving each other and just be happy as they'd be together, leaving behind all their fears, all the thoughts about what others would think, all their insecurities. And it worked, they had Sami and they were the happiest family I've ever seen until Steven died. She was very depressed when Steven died, and she cursed herself for falling so deep in love with him because now she couldn't live without him. But with time she realized she has Sami, the proof of their love; and even though Steven wasn't with her anymore, she was happy because she kept him alive in her heart all these years, because he was the best thing that happened in her life and she has really good memories with him." Darren said with choked voice. This story made you feel so moved because although it wasn't completely like your relationship with Darren; it was very similar, all the fears, the insecurities, the thoughts about what others would think and the biggest fear of end up heartbroken. You remained silent, looking at Darren with teary eyes because of your sensibility. "It made me remind our relationship and I started to wonder why we were too scared to take the risk, we didn't have anything to lose and this was what we wanted; I started to wonder that if we didn't dare to take the risk we were going to be worse than ending up heartbroken. She told me I needed to stop being scared and I should start doing what made me happy and that was you. She told me we were going to be fine if we really loved each other and if with time we realized we weren't destined to be together, it was going to be a learning experience. But I shouldn't give up on you and all I felt for you because of fear. And she was so right as always. She told me I looked really happy whenever I was with you and that you seemed a very nice and sweet girl not to mention beautiful. Then she asked me if I truly loved you; and I remember I answered her that I loved you with all my heart. Then it was the time when she made me promise something." Darren said, now getting nervous again. He was going to tell you what that promise was about and then you started to feel anxious and nervous as well.

"What did she make you promise?" You finally asked curious. You needed to know it now; you never dared to ask Darren what it was about even though you thought every day about what Darren said when you went to Lyla's grave.

"She made me promise that I wouldn't give up on us even though things get hard, she made me promise that I was going to love you and never think about what others would think and not let people to bring us down, I promised to try my best to make this work if this was what both of us wanted, I promised to propose you something as a proof that we're going to go through all the difficult things in the relationship together. And there was a last promise, never let my thoughts and fears be bigger than my love for you. She told me only this way I was going to be happy with you, only this way both of us were going to be happy." Darren said, looking sweetly into your eyes and you smiled at him fondly.

"That's wonderful." You said kissing softly his jaw line and then you looked up at him again. "But I still don't get what it has to do with the jewelry store."

"Well, it has to be with the promise to propose you something." Darren said and his heart, over again, started to beat fast.

"What? What's that thing you were going to propose me?" You asked frowning, nervous and…scared? Darren mentioned promise, propose and jewelry store. You didn't want to imagine anything. No, that thing you were thinking was completely crazy and it wouldn't have any kind of sense. No, you didn't meet so very much that time; well yes, you know each other pretty well, but it was the second day you finally were fine. You needed to stop overthinking and just listen what Darren had to say to you.

"Well, I went there with Lyla because she was going to help me to choose this I have in my pocket for you." Darren placed his hand on his pocket and he looked there for a little black box. Oh no, what was that? "This." Darren said, opening the little box and showing up a gold ring.

"What's that?" You asked suspiciously and freaking out. God, you were really flipping out. Why has Darren had a ring for you? What did it mean? It seemed that your face reflected real horror because Darren was looking at you embarrassed and a bit gloomy now.

"This is a..." Darren stuttered even more nervous than before and then he sighed, closing the black box. "I'm sorry, it's super cheesy and oh damn. I'm so fucking fool, right?"

"Hey no!" You said feeling very guilty and you grabbed his cheeks to kiss his lips sweetly. "You're not a fool, and if you're cheesy then I'm the cheesy queen. I just wanted to know what it was and why you bought a...ring." Darren smiled at you and he grabbed your legs to spread them to the sides of his lap, pulling you closer to hug you tightly. He opened the black box again and he took the ring, grabbing one of your hands. Now you got nervous again.

"This ring was to propose you a kind of proof of our love. Hey, don't worry it's not a wedding ring, it's more like a symbolic ring." Darren said when he saw your horror face again. Not that you didn't want to marry him sometime, but it was very soon for that and that's why you were freaking out. Now you giggled nervously but a bit more relaxed. "I wanted to give you this as my promise to love you and fight for our relationship, to go through all the hard moments together, in good and bad times. This was a ring that was going to symbolize that I will never give up on us and it was going to mean that I was leaving behind all my fears to take the risk to be with you and be happy together." Darren said looking at the ring and then he looked up to you with a twinkle on his eyes. How couldn't you have tears of joy on your face? This was one of the sweetest things Darren ever told you. You were very touched and you could do nothing but hugging him tight, shedding those tears of joy.

"Dar, that was...the best thing someone ever told me. You have no idea what it means to me...I...Dar..." You said with choked voice and Darren broke the hug to look at you with a fondly smile.

"I love you too." Darren giggled and so you did. "I never show you this before because the ring brought me bad memories, you know, about the accident. And because I let my fear be bigger than my love, and that was my huge mistake. I felt so down and lost without Lyla that I totally forgot about the promise. And well, then we went to a very hard moment and I wasn't sure to give you this. But today, actually yesterday because now is a new year; I took the decision. I wanted to be with you but my stupid fear to end up heartbroken again won me. That's what Joey made me see after you left the after party of my show on Broadway. I needed him to tell me how stupid I was to let you go only because of my proud and shit, if what I wanted the most was to be with you." Darren said raising an eyebrow and looking down, but you lifted his chin to make him to look at you.

"You're here now and that's what matters, right? It's a new year, a fresh start as you said, isn't it?" You smiled sweetly at him and he smiled back.

"Boo... Would you still take this ring as my promise to love each other and never give up on us though everything seems hard and lost?" Darren said looking deeply into your eyes and grabbing your hand and the ring.

"I will." You smiled brightly at him and so he did, pecking your lips before putting the ring on your finger.

"I fooled you, it isn't a symbolic ring. Now you're married to me." Darren said serious looking at your finger with the ring and you looked at him frowning. Darren looked up and he tried to remain his serious face but he failed and laughed out loud. "Just kidding. But someday, you're gonna marry me. So watch out because I could kidnap you!" Darren laughed and he pecked your lips.

There you were you and Darren being happier than ever and showing all the love you felt for each other. Nothing could be more amazing than that moment. You were so focused on your love that you didn't notice that some people followed you and observed everything in disguise.


You were with Darren lying on your bed, snuggling very close to each other, trying to warm up because you were freezing after spending more than an hour sitting on the snow.

"This is a good way to start the New Year." Darren whispered, nuzzling his nose on your neck and then he rested his chin on your chest to look into your eyes. "I'm happy right now, you know?"

"I'm happy too." You smiled at Darren and leaned to kiss his lips.

Darren moved to line up your lips with his and kiss you deeper, placing one of his hands on your cheeks. He gently got on top of you and you, instinctively and surprisingly for you, opened your legs to wrap them around Darren's hips whilst you wrapped your arms around his neck. It seemed this also surprised Darren, who started to kiss you even deeper and fiercely, placing his free hand on your waist. The kiss lasted several minutes and suddenly you weren't cold anymore, this was feeling really good and gosh, you missed this. But then Darren broke the kiss softly and he looked at you with a wild look and rosy cheeks.

"Maybe we should..." Darren painted, still looking at you wildly.

"No, don't stop, I missed this."

"But...if we don't stop, you know..." Darren said, looking at his bulge and then he looked up at you again.

"Don't stop, Dar." You said biting your lips softly and Darren focused his gaze in your lips, looking at them with parted lips.

"You're so fucking mean." Darren moaned softly, still with his gaze on your lips.

Darren leaned to kiss your lips again, this time wilder. He placed a hand under your shirt and started to rub the part where your ribs were, running slowly his finger in each one of your ribs. You placed on of your hand on his hair and started to run your fingers through his curls; and you placed your free hand in the back of his neck, pulling him closer to you to deepen the kiss. Darren put his body completely on top of you, and you felt how he was half hard when his bulge touched your pelvis. Instinctively, you placed your hands on his back under his shirt and you started to rub it, while you broke the kiss to start licking his neck while Darren was just moaning softly with closed eyes. You continued licking his neck going up until you reached his earlobe and you started to suck it. Darren moaned out loud when you softly nibbled it; and that was the time when Darren turned his face to look at you wildly with his cheeks extremely rosy. He raised his body and tugged your shirt, so you arched your back to let Darren to take your shirt off. When he took it off, he observed your body and then he leaned again to pant in front your lips and bite them softly. You took advantage to kiss him again hurriedly and he started to kiss you in an eager and lustful way. You licked his lips and nibbled them what made Darren thrust his hips against yours letting out a low moan. You started to kiss his neck again and you tugged his shirt; Darren, hurriedly, took his own shirt off dropping it on the floor. Darren leaned again but this time to start sucking your neck. God, those kisses on the neck were the best for you, damn he was an excellent kisser. You started rubbing his hands up and down on his back, going down to start rubbing his back dimples. For some reason it seemed this excited him because now he was completely hard and he thrust his hips against yours even harder. Darren went down to start kissing your bare stomach and lick it slowly, going all the way from under your breast to your lower stomach; you arched your back in excitement and this time you were the one who let out a moan and Darren smiled naughtily at this. Now Darren did the same, but this time he licked slowly your lower stomach going to under your breast; Darren placed his hand under your body and he slowly unhooked your bra, taking it off and throwing it on the floor. He observed your naked body and he exclaimed something you couldn't understand; but before you think about it, Darren leaned to start kissing your bare breasts. Wow, this was something new and it was feeling amazing, you felt how his wet mouth was kissing your breasts and nipples; it was a feeling that made you shiver. At this time you couldn't do anything, you couldn't move and you couldn't kiss him because you were enjoying his kisses the way too much; you were so carried away. You tried to continue rubbing his back, but Darren grabbed your hands and placed them on his waist.

"Don't do anything. Leave it in my hands, you just enjoy." Darren moaned in front your lips and you nodded without being able to utter a word. "Mhm, you got me in the heat."

He kissed your lips eagerly and he ran his fingers slowly from your neck going down for your breasts and stomach to end up on your lower stomach. Then he did something that got you really horny. Darren placed his hand underneath your jeans and panties and started to run his fingers on your groin going down to your vagina. Oh god, what the hell was he doing? This felt really good and you couldn't stop moaning. You instinctively tugged his jeans and Darren broke the wild kiss to look at you with lustful eyes.

"Are you sure of this? We can stop right now if you..." Darren started to say with difficulty to talk and panting.

"I'm sure, Dar." You answered with your last breathe.

"Don't feel pressed if you say no. I can stop right now if you don't feel ready, really." Darren panted looking into your eyes.

"No, I want this; if you want this as well."

"I do." Darren answered and he kissed your lips again but this time softer. "I love you." Darren whispered in front your lips before going down to unbutton your jeans.

He kneeled on the bed between your legs and he finished unzipping your jeans. You arched your back so Darren could take off your jeans and throw them on the floor. He unzipped his own jeans but when he was about to take them off, you also kneeled on the bed and placed your hands on the waistband of his jeans and Darren looked at you surprised, but he put his hands away to let you taking them off. Meanwhile he placed his hands on your panties and started to take them off slowly, and you did the same with his boxers. After few seconds, both of you were kneeling on the bed, observing each other's completely naked bodies. You were admiring his very well-toned and naked body from head to toe. Darren was also looking at your whole naked body, dazzled. Then your eyes met and he you remained looking into each other's eyes for a while.

"You're so fucking beautiful." Darren exclaimed fascinated.

He pulled you closer to him to kiss your lips fiercely, placing his hands on your waist and leaning both of you on the bed again. It was a weird feeling to feel Darren's naked body against your naked body. Once you were completely leaning on the bed, Darren placed his hand on your inner thigh and he started rubbing it, going to your groin, while kissing your neck. He made all his way kissing your whole naked body from your neck, stopping on your breast to then go down to your lower stomach where he liked it slowly. Then he continued licking your lower stomach to then start licking you groin and he stopped on your clitoris. Something really weird happened in that moment. Suddenly everything went dark and you started to imagine a very shine place with a lot of green trees and colorful flowers, with little cute animals and happy and kind people, you started to imagine you were seeing this landscape while riding an unicorn, you saw your dad waiting for you to hug you tight with a big and bright smile. You couldn't hear anything that was around you in the reality, you only could hear the sound of a waterfall near where you were in this imaginary place, some laughs and the sound of the wind. A feeling of horror started to run throughout your whole body, which caused your body tensed. Bad memories popped on your mind: the sounds of hoarse groans, the unpleasant sweat on your body, the smell of whiskey on your face, the mean laughs as a background sound. You tried to think about that happy imaginary place, to get out of that creepy imaginary place you were now, and you wanted to come back to the reality where you were with Darren, not with anybody else. You wanted to come back to the reality where Darren and you were making love, love and not something lewd, obscene and libidinous. Love, love, love. It was about love; you were with Darren, the person you loved, the person you chose to spend your life, the person you chose to give everything about you. What you were imagining was your past, it wasn't the same than now. That time love wasn't involved and now it was. Why were you feeling this way? Why were you remembering it all as if it were happening again? You tried to take all of those memories away from your mind, but you couldn't. The man who raped you several times was on your mind as if he were in real life, laughing at you and satisfying his sexual needs. Your whole body started trembling and you burst into wrenching and silent tears, panicking and having difficulties to breathe.

"Stop it! Stop it!" You yelled desperate still crying inconsolably; trying to get out of the darkness which prevented you from focusing your sight to where you were.

Darren suddenly stopped abruptly and shocked. He looked up at you and when he saw you crying his face reflected horror and concern. He kneeled and he walked on his knees to sit next to you, hurriedly. He placed his hands on your cheeks and wiped the tears of your face softly, still looking at you completely shocked and disturbed.

"What happened? Why are you crying? Did I hurt you?" Darren asked very nervous and startled, caressing your cheeks softly and not knowing what to do.

"No, no...No, god. I can't do this...I can't...you...this...I...Oh god." You gasped and stirred, sobbing even harder and covering your face with your hands. Darren wrapped one of his arms on your back and with his free hand he grabbed yours, placing it on his chest. "I'm so sorry, I don't know what happened! I'm really sorry!" You sobbed uncontrollably and Darren kissed your forehead sweetly, making you rest your face on his chest and caressing your hair.

"Is this the first time...?" Darren whispered fondly and reassuringly in your ear, still caressing gently your hair while you were sobbing heartbreakingly on his chest.

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