Am I A Ghost Or Real?

Everything

"Gail!" My mother breathes out once she sees my face. My father is right behind her.

"Mom." I greet.

She however just rushes in and hugs me.

"Ow." I grunt in pain but I attempt to hug her anyways.

"You're alive." She breathes out but still doesn't let me go.

"Mom…" I need to get her to let me go but she's not listening.

"Mom, you're causing her pain." Steve says and just as his words register with her she immediately lets me go, but she keeps me at arms length as she looks me over.

"Two broken ribs, a bullet grazed shoulder and a busted lip." I say even though she didn't ask. "That answer your silent question?" I add.

"I heard you. I heard it blow up. We thought you were dead." She says as she lifts her hand to my face so she can help herself inspect it better.

"What…" She however doesn't continue her question.

I groan before I realize I should say something. Anything to explain what's happening. After all, it's my family that's in this room.

"I was hoping I'd get a chance to rest and debrief before I met up with you to explain things, but I guess that'll have to happen now." I say as I take a step back and sit on the examination table again. A seat that makes me closer to where Holly is siting. Do I explain everything? Truth comes out now? I guess there's no time like the present.

"You might want to sit if you want to hear this." I gesture towards the chairs at the other end of the room and they both comply.

"Um…" Where to start? How to start? I take a deep breath, trying to find the words to begin with. Holly seems to notice my hesitancy and she reaches out to hold my hand. I squeeze her hand in thanks. I can't look at her now, or I'll crumble. I'm sure she wants to know as much as they do.

"When I left, I didn't plan on staying away." I start. "I mean, Nick left me, so I didn't want to come back immediately. I was on my way back to Toronto but when I got close I couldn't face you, so I continued on and made it to Ottawa. I thought I'd get myself together and come back, maybe it'd take a week or two max. But…" I hesitate before I explain this part. Do I really want them to know exactly how and when I got into this line of work? Not a story for now. I might just tell Holly later. But with my mother in the room, I think I'd explain it to her some other time.

"I was found by agents. And when they saw that I was capable of defending myself, they asked me if I was interested in working with them. It took me a while to decide, but I agreed, and I knew it would be a dangerous life, and I decided not to come back, to keep all of you out of the dangers that come with it. So I gave up on Gail Peck, and took a different name. And then five years later, a mission I've been working on for a year, well mostly a guy I've been trailing for a year, ends up here. And so do I. Imagine my surprise when I found out he was a cop. So I was sent in. I was the most believable as a cop, I had the perfect background and I had the name that wouldn't make him question me. But this guy is the best at his job, so I had to keep my distance, show interest in someone else and little to him, make sure he doesn't suspect who I am and what I'm meant to be doing." Shit, Holly just extracted her hand away from mine. I cave and look at her and she has a betrayed look on her face. Oh no. She understood the meaning behind my words but she misunderstood my intent. I need to explain things thoroughly to her.

I give her an apologetic look and turn my attention back to the whole room.

"But the mission turned out to be bigger. This guy wasn't even the bad guy. I found myself working on something I wasn't even assigned to. And I was dragging cops into something way bigger than they're used to. It got complicated."

"Wait, you mean other's knew? Who knew?" Steve interrupts me.

"Steve."

"WHO KNEW?" He's mad now. I'm guessing trusting others over him is pissing him off.

"It's not like I told them. I ran out of the station for an emergency and they followed me out." I try to reason with him, making sure he knows I didn't tell them my secret, but they just stumbled upon it.

"Who?" He pushes for answers.

"Nick." I hesitate but I have to tell him who else. "And Traci."

"What?" He's shocked and now he has a betrayed look on his face.

"Oh come on! She couldn't tell you, so don't blame her for anything. She wasn't allowed to tell you." I defend.

"Allowed?" He asks.

"It's just how we work. If she told you, she'd be in danger, and so would you. She knew, so she took orders from us then. It's how we work. Besides, she has Leo to think of. Her knowing who I was, was dangerous enough, so I made sure she didn't know anything about my mission. So don't blame her for anything or get mad at her." I say and he nods.

"Nick on the other hand learned about the mission, because of you." I add. "You had to send Andy in, didn't you? We've been after these people for two years. So many of our agents died. We've been gathering information and sending our people undercover, and yet when you found out about them, you sent someone in without getting the clearance. You sent someone into something you had no idea about. So Andy had to know as well then, and she needed someone to keep her safe, someone who wasn't us, so I had to tell Nick about the mission. And we were close, so close to finishing it. Until they found out my name. They wanted me dead, at all costs. So Carl, who you know as Ian, made sure he'd be the one to kill me. So we planned it, he and I. He had a deadline to follow, and I had people to keep safe. If I wasn't dead, they'd have come after you. And believe me they would have. I got a few threats when some of them saw I was alive. They were most eager to hurt you Holly. I couldn't let that happen, so I had to die, and you had to believe it, cause they'd be watching you. They deemed me dangerous to their work, so they had to make sure I was an eliminated threat."

"Why call me then?" My mother asks.

"Someone had to make it believable. They had someone watching my death scene and someone had to sell it to them. They wanted me to call Holly, but I just couldn't. So I called you mom. You're the strongest person I know. You would make it believable but you wouldn't completely break down either. It was still cruel though, and I'm sorry for that. But somehow I knew you'd be the only person to understand my motives then."

"And since then I've been trying to finish this mission as fast as I could, because seeing you all in pain was killing me. So we planned, and it came down to this big battle. And I'm sorry, so, so sorry." I apologize while looking at each and every one of them.

Mom and Dad get an understanding look on their face, Steve's face is kind of unreadable, but I guess he's okay, Holly however still has a betrayed face.

I need to fix this.

"Holly." I call out to her.

She meets my eyes with the same expression on her face.

Before I can change that look she has, Caroline walks into the room.

"Gail." She calls me by name, and it sounds weird coming from her. She's been calling me Sawyer since we met.

"Caroline." I greet back.

"Verdict?" She asks. I know the question is about my health though.

"Two broken ribs." I explain, she already knows about the arm bullet and lip.

"How close were you shot from?" She asks.

"Closer than you are to me." I answer.

"Well we got him now. He's never seeing the sunlight again." She informs me about Greene.

"I never thought he'd be the traitor. You didn't even mention we had a traitor." I tell her.

"I didn't know. We only thought…" She stops abruptly and looks around the room noticing my parents, Steve and Holly around.

"It's okay, they know." I tell her, so she can explain more.

"Okay. We thought only the CIA had rogue agents, but it turns out we had one too. He's the one who coughed up your name. He got access to your mission file somehow. According to what they've tracked down of his phone so far, he's been tracking you." She informs me.

"That's how they knew about Holly?" I guess and she nods.

"What happened at the morgue?" She asks then.

"Dead, all of them. They left one behind to watch the lobby, I shot him. Then after making sure Holly was okay, I made my way to the second level where Carl was waiting for me. Then the two of us shot everyone in the room. You can see the footage, I'm sure the camera's we'd installed were recording. Though if you see Carl raising his gun at me, he did it to shoot the guy behind me." Just in case they see it and think Carl was trying to harm me.

"We then came back to help. We thought it'd be a good idea to infiltrate the building and watch the battle from a high place, so we can shoot the bad guys when necessary."

"Carl didn't debrief yet?" I then ask.

"Carl has been taken by the CIA, along with all the other agents who were thought to be dead. They can get back to their lives now." She tells me.

"What about Marcus?" I ask.

"He's a few rooms away from this one. They got the bullet out of his leg and he's been sedated for the pain. So he's asleep." She assures me. I guess the CIA didn't take him with the others, he won't be going just yet. I'll get to say goodbye.

"And, Ashley?" I ask worriedly.

"She'll be fine. She lost a lot of blood, so they had to give her blood transfusion after they took out the bullet."

"And the others?" There were others brought here as far as I can remember.

"Two dead, Miller from the CIA, and…" She stops at the second name, this means it's someone I know and probably have worked with. It means it's someone she knows. "Connors from ours."

"No." I worked with agent Connors before. He was someone I actually didn't mind working with at the agency. He wasn't very talkative, so he didn't ask me a lot of questions, or try to judge me.

"I'm sorry." She's probably as upset about his death as I am. "The others will be fine though. Everyone will be transported to our medical center once they can move." She adds trying to kill the sad mood.

"Good."

"Well, I'll continue my round. I'll get back to you in a bit then Agent Sawyer." She says.

"Wait." I stop her before she turns around. "Is Ashley awake? Can I see her?" I ask.

"I was on my way if you want to come." She informs me. When I nod in confirmation she stands by the door waiting for me.

I stand up slowly, trying to feel as less pain as I can.

"Mom, dad, Steve, can we talk later? Like maybe tomorrow? Dinner?" I hope.

"Yes, be there at 7. Not a minute late." My mother says and I smile. Still the same mother I know.

Whatever talk we just had wasn't enough, tomorrow will be more intense, but they'll wait for tomorrow. They're already forgiving me for what I did. They're cops, they understand the hard part of this job. Holly however can't wait for tomorrow. I need to fix things now so I turn my attention to her.

I stand in front of where she's seated.

"Holly." I say in hopes she'd meet my eyes. "Can we talk later today?" I ask hopefully once she does meet my eyes. "Please? I need to explain so much to you."

"Okay." She agrees in a small voice.

"Can I come by your house in an hour or two?" I know Zoey will be there, but I don't know where else to find privacy or where else she'll be comfortable.

"Yeah sure." She agrees.

I come closer to her, with attempt to kiss her forehead or cheek but she turns her gaze away from me when I do that, so I just nod and walk towards Caroline.

And together we walk out towards Ashley's room.

.

Upon entrance we see that Ashley is awake.

"Hey." I greet her as I Approach her bed.

"Sawyer." She croaks out. "Caroline."

"How you feeling?" Caroline asks.

"High." I guess they gave her a lot of pain meds. "What's the verdict?"

"Let's just say their organization is no more." Caroline answers with a smile.

"Good." Then Ashley turns to me. "Your girl?" I guess she's referring to when I left to the morgue because Holly was there.

"She's okay." I answer with a smile. EVen though Holly may be confused and mad at me right now, She's okay. I can try to fix the rest, but as long as she's okay, then I'm okay.

"When do we go back to base?" She asks looking at Caroline. By Base I'm guessing she means Ottawa headquarters.

"You and I go back as soon as it's safe for you to walk. Sawyer however doesn't have to go back till next month, when she hands in her resignation." She informs her, then looks at me. "That is if you haven't changed your mind yet."

"Wait what's going on?" Ashley wasn't aware of my decision.

"I'm leaving the agency. I'm staying here. Be a cop." I explain not being able to help the smile that takes over my features.

"A detective you mean." Caroline corrects me.

"What?" I ask.

"You already have training that surpasses the average cop. You'd do better as a detective." She explains. "Besides, it pays better."

"You do know I probably already have all the money I'll need?" Which is true, the more dangerous the mission, the better it pays.

"Which reminds me, I've asked for your stuff to be shipped from Ottawa." She then reaches into her pocket and pulls out a key. "The house we've been staying at, it's yours. Base and all with it." She then hands me the key.

"What? No. I don't need a base. I mean thank you for shipping my stuff, but the house is too much. And the base is no longer for me." I remind her with that, that i am leaving.

"You might use it for other purposes. Or you can just change it into a basement. Do whatever you want with it. But the house is yours." She sounds sure of that, and says it in a way that shouldn't leave any place to argue.

"Wait, you're staying for Holly?" Ashley interrupts us. "Awwwww." She then coos when my look gives her confirmation.

"Ugh stop it." I complain at her behavior.

"But seriously. Even if you're staying here, and will no longer be an agent, does that mean you still won't help us in the analysis department? You're like one of the best we have." Ashley then brings up a good point.

"I don't know. I don't plan on leaving here so."

"But you get the house with a base! You can analyze things from here. I'm sure you'll be needed eventually." Caroline seems to like Ashley's idea and starts to reason with me.

"Just analysis?" I ask to be sure.

"Yes."

"Then that can be arranged. Besides, analyzing things and computer work is my favorite part of the job. It means no bullets fly my way then." I agree.

"I'll miss you Frosty." Ashley exclaims.

"I'll miss you too." I say back.

"Awww, she does have a heart!" Ashley coos and I give her my famous icy glare.

"Don't worry, I'll still annoy you, and meet up with you to tell you all about my adventures." She's a handful this girl. If we didn't get paired up on several missions we probably wouldn't be friends.

"I'll look forward to that." I tell her. "You too." I say that part to Caroline.

Then I remember.

"Wait. When you say all my stuff…?" I trail off with the question.

"All your stuff. Even the car. You can do what you want with the apartment in Ottawa, I can't exactly ship it here." She gets my drift and I chuckle at her words.

"Thank you."

"Now go, talk to your girl. Then we can talk about when you can meet us in Ottawa so we can finish the paper work. You're off duty for a month. Enjoy it!" Caroline orders.

"Thank you." And then I do something that totally surprises her, and maybe even me, I hug her, gently, because I'm sure my ribs can't take any more crushing hugs. And just so Ashley doesn't feel left out, I give her a kiss on the cheek.

"Holly has made you a softy. Thank her for me." Ashley uses her smartass mouth with that exclamation.

"Sure."

Before I walk out of the room and go to find Holly, I remember I have to ask Caroline something. "I need Permission to extract my file and share it with my family."

She looks at me for a few seconds, looking for something in my features that I'm not sure what yet. But she must have found it, because she nods her confirmation.

And with that I leave them in the room, and get myself ready to face Holly.

.

I was faced with gun point several times, I almost died several times, and yet none of those times was as nerve wrecking as standing at Holly's doorstep at this moment.

"Here it goes." I mutter after i take a deep breath, and then ring Holly's doorbell.

A couple of nerve wrecking seconds pass by before someone answers the door.

"So it's true?" Zoey stands at the door with a shocked face.

"Little Stewart." I greet in my usual annoying yet charming self.

"You faked your death?" Her voice rises and it's on the edge of anger. "I thought we agreed you weren't going to hurt my sister!"

"Well I died to keep her safe." I retort, hoping that she'd move aside and let me in, because discussing this outside isn't ideal.

She however scoffs at my answer.

"Zoey. Is Holly here?" I ask, because I really need to have this conversation with Holly, not Zoey.

"Are you going to hurt her some more?" She asks with squinty eyes.

"No. I just want to explain everything to her." I say honestly. Hurting her is the last thing on my mind. I want to take away the hurt I've already caused instead.

She steps aside without a word, inviting me inside.

She walks me into the living room.

"Wait here. She's upstairs, I'll go get her." She says before she walks up the stairs and I find a seat on the couch and wait.

When she comes down with Holly, I notice that Holly looks pained. Her eyes a bit red and puffy. Has she been crying? Damn it! I thought the tears would stop once she saw I was alive, but I managed to mess it up with my unplaced words.

She must think that I only used her to distract Ian away from me. And then I died without telling her anything. Only to show up alive. I can already see how bad this is for me.

"Hey." I greet gently.

"Hey." She croaks out. Yes she was definitely crying.

I can feel the awkwardness in the air, but I can't really reach out to Holly, or start explaining anything when Zoey is standing there glaring at me. But I address Holly, hoping she'd be the one to ask her sister to leave us alone.

"I have so much I want to tell you. So much I wanted to tell you probably since the day we met." I start.

"Then why didn't you? Why didn't you tell me?" She asks, hands on her waist, challenging me.

"I wanted to, and I almost did, until things got more complicated. It got to the point where you'd be in danger just by knowing, and I couldn't live with myself if you were put at harms way because of me." I defend.

She opens her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out, she just shakes her head as if in denial.

"Holly, I didn't plan any of this. I didn't even plan the mission, but everything just happened." I continue, hoping she'd look at me, hoping she'd motion for us to sit, so we can talk better, hoping she'd believe what I'm saying.

"Then why did you let it happen? What was I? A distraction? A means for you to accomplish your mission?" The anger in her voice is getting over powered by sadness, and it kills me that it has gotten to this.

"What? No! You are…" I try to find many words to say, but I realize that I can just say it in one word. "You are everything." I say quietly, sincerely and I see her soften at my choice of words. "You are what I didn't plan. But you happened. And I became so attached to you, that I was scared I'd fail the mission, and fail you."

"And now what? What's the point of you being in here now? You're still leaving! Isn't that part of your job?" Okay, now the anger is overshadowing the sadness.

"Not anymore! I'm staying. Do you really think that now, that I found you, I'd leave you?" All the words I'm saying are unplanned. I thought I'd have a better way to explain everything. But all the sadness and anger is bringing out the wrong words out of both of us, and if I don't find a way to calm this, to make this talk go the way it should, we could mess it up. But Zoey's there still glaring at me, and Holly is shaking, and I am barely making any sense.

In exasperation, I take a step closer to Holly, in attempt to meet her eyes.

"If we keep this pace of conversation, I'll end up using stupid words, and I'll mess up everything. Can you please just give me a chance to explain? Give me a chance to tell you everything? I'll even tell you the boring details." I offer.

"Fine. We can talk in my room." Holly relents and turns around to climb the stairs.

Zoey however grabs her arm to stop her from moving any further. "Oh no, I'm not leaving you two alone together! I'm not leaving you with a ghost." God, if eyes could kill, she'd have killed me several times already.

"Zoey, I know you hate me right now, but please, I need to talk to her alone." I try to reasons with Zoey, but I have a feeling that it would've been better if I didn't open my mouth.

"You're right I hate you. Because for the past two weeks, I've seen my sister cry constantly. I've had to tuck her into bed, keep her out of trouble, and see how tortured she felt, when everyone told her you were gone, while she just kept holding on to hope. She was a mess, because of you, because she thought she'd lost you, but it was all a lie?" Zoey throws at me. "Where were you? Why did you even do it?"

"You're right. But I can't explain things to you, unless I've explained it to Holly." Don't cry Gail! I repeat in my head. Zoey's words were killing me because I witnessed the pain Holly went though, I saw it when I looked through the camera footages, and I tried to ignore it because it was too painful and I almost caved so many times and almost contacted Holly to tell her the truth about everything.

"Zoey, it's okay. I'll be okay." Holly gives her sister a reassuring look, conveying with her eyes that she can handle what I have to say. And after a few seconds Zoey nods. And that's when Holly continues her ascend of the stairs and I follow suit.

.

When we get inside the room, Holly sits on the bed, and she scoots herself to the headboard, where she lays her back on it, she lifts her knees up and wraps her arms around them. Then she lays her shin on her knees and regards me with caution as I make my way across the room and take a seat on the bed close to her.

"I'm going to talk. I'm going to start at the very beginning of everything, and I'm hoping you listen to everything. And after that if you want me to leave, I will. But please, just listen." I plead and Holly just nods, and that's all the encouragement I need.

"Nick and I had been dating for over a year when we thought it'd be a good idea to elope and get married. But honestly, I think I just wanted to do it because it would really piss my mother off. That didn't go as planned. Nick walked away and I was left scared of facing my mother. So on my way back, the fear took over, and I ended up in Ottawa. I'd saved up a bit of cash, I wasn't going to use debit cards and risk her tracing me, and I knew how to take care of myself, so I thought I'd stay there for a couple of weeks. That should be a good amount of time to calm down and get myself ready to face my mother. But I ended up staying there."

I don't think I'd tell anyone other than Holly this next part.

"My mother had taught me that timing was everything. And that's how it all happened. I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. It was probably Two AM, and I was headed back from a late walk or a bar to the hotel room, it was dark, and the streets were weirdly empty, except I heard noises in an ally way, and upon looking around the building, I saw one man with a gun pointed at another. Everything about the situation screamed 'back away and call the cops', and I probably was about to, until I heard the man with the gun say "You really thought you could take me in? You good guys need to learn that you don't always win." And I realized that the guy in danger is the cops, and by the time the others get there he'd be dead. I was foolish, but my mother's words kept ringing in my head, "Don't be a coward Gail" "Don't disappoint me Gail" "You're a Peck, you're supposed to know how to face these situations, no one has to teach you", everything I ever learned from her, everything her and my dad implanted in my brain since I was five took over and I ended ignoring the warnings my brain were throwing my way and going into that alleyway. I'd been training in combat and I was trained at the range, I was a pretty good shooter, so it was easy to creep up behind the guy, he didn't even hear me coming, and I kicked his knees down, then his chest, until he fell, then when he turned to point the gun at me, I kicked that out of his hands immediately, giving the other guy a chance to pick it up and point it at him. He cuffed the bad guy and called in for backup."

"I thought the cops would come and I'd stay to answer a few questions, and then my name would go into their system and my mother would find me. But one person showed up for back up. And she only looked to be two years older than me. It was Caroline. The girl who walked into the room at the hospital?" She nods in recognition, and I continue. "They weren't cops, they were spies, and when she heard what I'd done, she was impressed and so was he. So they offered me a job, and they gave me a chance till noon to decide. I was given an address to meet them at if I accepted."

"I thought hard about it for the next hours, on one hand I'd ignore it, go back home a week later, have my mother control me and tell me I was wrong, and then end up joining the academy anyways, and have her criticize every part of my job, or I'd stay, take the job, become bigger than she expected of me, and just erase all ties with my past. Eventually my fear of facing her won. And I met up with them, took the job, and forgot all about Gail Peck. I was Charlie Sawyer from then on, agent in training. For a year I had extensive physical training, hardest training I'd ever endured. The intellectual training was easier for me though. That's when I realized I made the right choice. I was good in computers, good in reading people, and a pretty good actor. And once I was ready I was sent into the field."

"All those missions, I wish I could forget some of them. I lost count of how many times I'd almost died, or how many times I was badly hurt. I made sure I didn't get attached to anyone when on the field then. I'd heard enough stories about people getting hurt by the bad guys, just so they can get under an agent's skin. I refused to drag people into my mess. And that's also why I never came back. Every time a mission ends, I get time off, and I could've come back in that time, I could've just come back for a while, but I didn't. Instead I went off to see the world. I've been to countries you would never have thought I'd go to. I've seen some amazing things. I've been to Siri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Russia, Tanzania, Romania, so many countries, and I'd love to take you to some of them if you'd let me." I can see her eyes warm up.

"I didn't come back home till a job required me to. A rogue CIA agent was traced to Canada. So they sent their agent to work with ours, and I was picked for the mission. For moths we'd been tracing him around Canada. Until it lead us here. I was mistaken for a criminal and arrested just when I was close to catching the guy. And then we learned that he was posing as a cop. I thought this was the worst job ever. I'd have to be Gail Peck. Face everyone. Come back to my family. And still have a bad guy to catch. Being Gail Peck was the perfect cover though. The guy we were after was Ian. I had to make sure he wouldn't know who I was. Which is why I kept a reasonable distance between him and me. And then he took a weird interest in me. He was one of the best agents the CIA had. If he ever suspected anything I'd be dead immediately. So they asked me to keep up a normal life, even find someone else to date so I can get him away from me. But I kept refusing. I didn't want to drag anyone into this mission, especially not anyone who was close to it and to him. Because you see the only person I was ever interested in was you. And I fought so hard to keep my mind off of you. I fought so hard to keep my feelings under check, but I lost. I was already a goner from that moment I bumped into you outside of the precinct. Even when at that moment I thought I'd never see you again, I was lost in you. It wasn't easy to have friends in the agency. I probably have two people that are really my friends, aside from Marcus who I've been working with for the past few months. But with you it was easy. It's like we were friends for a long time already. But the mission kept getting more complicated; it wasn't just about one person then, it was about a whole group. But I still couldn't keep away from you even though I wanted to. And when I realized that there's no point fighting this. I gave in to my feelings and I kissed you."

"Holly, you were the most real thing out all of this. On my birthday I thought about telling you everything, because throughout this whole time I just wanted this mission to be over so I can tell you the truth about it all. But it got complicated then. I learned that Ian wasn't rogue, he was pretending to be one of the bad guys, so he can bring them down, especially since there were traitors among the agencies. Nick and Traci knew because when we were at parade I got an emergency call from a nearby agent, and they followed me when I bolted out of the room, and I had no time to kick them out of my car. Andy knew because my brother and Sam sent her into the lair of the bad guys, blind, and I had to take over their mission. But though all of this, the only person I ever wanted to tell was you."

"But it kept getting worse. Because they got my name. My real name. They were killing our agents, and they were coming after me. Ian, who had been pretending to kill CIA agents and our agents for a while, convinced them to send him. All of the supposed dead agents were hiding in one place, and I was to join them after they formed my fake death plan. And I hated the plan, but I had no choice. Ian saw what they'd do to agents who fought back, and I couldn't risk them coming after you and my family, because if they knew my name, then they were definitely tracing me. They wanted me to fake my death while on the phone with you Holly. But I couldn't do it. Because if I heard your voice, I'd back out, because just the thought of you in pain was killing me, but I had no choice, I had to keep them away from you. And my death would keep them away, and give me an advantage to attack them. So I let the mission take place. And I've been waiting ever since for this day, when it all finishes, so I can come back to you."

I scoot closer to Holly and when I reach out to take her hand in mine she doesn't flinch away, she lets me.

"Holly, I'm so sorry for the all the lies and the pain I caused you. I'm sorry I made you doubt the reality of what we had. I'm sorry. And if you forgive me, I'm not going anywhere. Where you are, I am." I add in promise.

She meets my eyes and speaks for the first time since we entered her room. "What about the job?" She asks.

"I quit. I'll be a cop or a detective. I'll be here. I can't be away from you, unless you ask me to. Because Holly I meant it before, you are everything." I confess and I try to convey the truth behind my words with my eyes as I wait for her to say more.

She however surprises me as she attacks my lips.

Her hands cradle my cheeks and she presses her lips to mine so fervently. And even though my lip hurts, I kiss her back with the same intensity, ignoring the pain. Because I've missed her lips. I've missed her closeness. I've missed everything about her. And because she's kissing me. Which means she's not going to ask me to leave, right?

So I lift my arms to lock them around her neck and I pull her face closer, to kiss her deeper, and then our tongues are touching, tangling, and I moan, giving into the feeling.

After a few minutes of doing just that, kissing intensely, she breaks the kiss.

"Don't you ever die on me again." She warns before she captures my lips for another strong kiss.

"Not gonna happen." I say between kisses.

The kiss intensifies and I can't help but push her back to the bed and climb on top of her, because I need this. I need to feel her close to me.

When she wraps her arms around my back to pull me closer, I flinch, and she hears me hiss in pain. She extracts her arms and gently pushes me to lay beside her.

"And never get hurt like that again." She breathes out.

"I don't plan to." I tell her, as I let my eyes take in every part of her face. The face that I've missed staring at.

She notices my stare, and gives me a peck on the cheek, then she cuddles closer to me, trying her best to keep away from my broken ribs, so that I don't get hurt. And we lay like that in silence, glad we're together.

"And just so you know," she says after a few seconds, lifting her head to meet my eyes. "You're everything to me too."

I peck her on the lips. And then we go back to our previous position.

"We still have a lot to talk about though. You kind of promised me boring details." She says, and I chuckle.

"I'll tell you anything you want. No more secrets." I promise.

"Good." She stays quiet for a few more minutes.

"Gail?" She then asks.

"Hmmm?"

"I'm going home next week for the holidays." She informs me.

So I'll have to spend more time away from her.

"Come with me?" She asks. "Please?"

I may not be good at meeting parents, and they probably hate me just like Zoey does, but if Holly really wants me there, I'll go.

"Are you sure?" I ask.

"I don't think I'll let you out of my sight for a while. Not after I've thought I'd never see you again." She confesses.

"Then I'll go." I don't think I can let her out of my sight either.

So we lay there in silence for a while.

We lie there, until a knock on Holly's bedroom door startles us.

"You two alive in there?" Zoey asks through the door. "Or am I interrupting something?"

Holly just chuckles at her sister.

"Come in." She says to her. She doesn't change our position though. She is still cuddled into me.

"So I see you forgave Casper." Zoey says once she walks into the room and sees the position we're in.

"Casper?" I catch on to her new nickname for me and Zoey just smiles evilly at me.

"You're going to keep calling me that from now on aren't you?" I ask, once I realize the reason behind the even grin.

"Oh yes." She nods.

"Does this mean you don't hate me anymore?" I say hopefully.

"Holly seems to have forgiven you, so you must have said something right. But you're still on my bad list. For a while." She tells me. I guess I can live with that. I'm sure I'll do my best to get off that list.

"Fair enough." I say.

"Now, both of you need to come downstairs. I ordered some food. And I'm sure you've both barely eaten all day." She orders.

"We'll be right down." Holly tells her as she lifts her self into a seated position.

"Okay. Besides, since Gail already explained things to you. I want to hear about it too." She reminds me, that I told her I'd explain things to her, but I have to explain them to Holly first.

"Of course." I say.

"You have five minutes to be downstairs, or I'll come back and drag you down." With that said, Zoey walks out of the room, and leaves the door open behind her.

Holly turns to face me once her sister leaves. She's seated while I'm still laying down.

"Let's go eat. Then I want to hear about the countries you've been to." She tells me, then she lowers herself to kiss me.

A soft gentle kiss, full of promises.

She then pulls away and gets off the bed and stands there, waiting for me to follow her up.

When I attempt to get up however, I realize that I haven't taken my pain medication yet, and they're out in the car. When I attempt to lift my self, my ribs hurt badly.

"Uh, Holly? I kind of need help?" I confess.

She chuckles at that, but she comes over to the side of the bed and helps me stand up.

"Thank you." I peck her on the lips in gratitude.

"Your lip is hurt, yet you keep kissing me." She notes.

"You're worth the pain." I truthfully tell her. "Let's go downstairs before your sister comes up here again. Besides, I need to get my medication from the car."

Then she takes my hand and walks me downstairs. Her grip on my hand never faltering. As if she needs to keep contact with me. She even goes out with me to get my medicine. And she keeps close to me when we sit in the living room, waiting for dinner.

I don't mind one bit though.

Later we'll talk.

But for now, having her close is all I need.


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