The Girl In The Candy Dress

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Chapter 22: Heartbeat

I woke up, opening my eyelids as the colour returned to my sight. I took a deep breath and sat up, only to be knocked back down by a whirl of dizziness.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t drink last night.

My nose scrunched and I just sat up against my elbows, slowly looking around my surroundings.

This was not my bed. And this was definitely not my room.

The walls were painted a deep chocolate brown, under the window, stood a clean white desk. My eyes then move to the sleek white wardrobe and the warm, comfy bed I lay in. I sigh in confusion, my mind still very tired and muffled.

I then look down to what I was wearing and my eyes popped. These are NOT my clothes.

A large men’s black t-shirt clung to my body.

Men’s. Luke. Oh boy.

I’m lying down in Luke’s bed in his clothes. What on earth happened to me?

Oh please, don’t tell me…that we…oh god.

I didn’t even notice the single tear which streamed down my cheek. It’s not that I didn’t want to, or that I didn’t trust Luke. I just wanted to remember that special moment.

And in that exact moment, Luke walked through the door in his almighty shirtless glory.

“Morning Zo-” He was cut off as soon as he saw my watery eyes. He quickly placed the cup of coffee and a tablet on the bedside table and rushed to my side, carefully sitting next to me.

“Hey, look at me” he softly says and places his fingers on my chin, making me look at him as he uses his thumb to wipe away the tear. He wraps his arms around me, and holds me in a comfortable hug “It’s okay, you’re okay”.

We sit in silence for a moment, until I Iift my head and look up at him.

“Luke…what happened last night?” I say in a tone of worry.

He cocks his head to the side and his eyebrows scrunch together in confusion. “Wait, you don’t remember?”

At this moment, I felt so bad. Maybe we had a good night. A really good night.

And I couldn’t remember anything.

I shrug my shoulders and look up at him in confusion. “I don’t usually drink the to the point where I can’t remember anything”.

Luke’s eyebrows raised and his mouth merged into a smile, until he burst out laughing, “trust you to lighten up the mood”.

Still smiling, he stroked my hair and just stared into my eyes. I rested my palm against his chest. He didn’t need to say anything. I just felt his heartbeat. Beat after beat. His face was soft and his breathing was quiet as he just embraced the sight before him. Me.

I didn’t want to ruin this moment, but I had to ask. “Luke, what happened yesterday?” my voice filled with concern.

He lowered his head, the bushiness of his eyebrows covering his eyes. Why did he look…guilty? I placed my hands gently against his jawline, carefully raising his head to, again, softly look into my eyes.

This time I was looking for answers.

“Luke?”

He was very timid and looked like he was about to cry. I stroke the side of his face and look at him in awe.

The veins prominent on his temple and the pain in his eyes showed me his very restrained emotion. The sight before me, made me almost crack.

I took a breath in and whispered, “It’s okay, I can take it”

His expression softened, “You may be able to take it, but you will never look at me the same”. His voice dry and quiet.

“Don’t say that, you know that’s not true. Whatever happened last night I need to know. Together, remember?”

He took a deep breath, “I know Zoe, but I can’t-“.

I cut him off by pulling him closer towards me with his arms and gave him a serious look, “Luke, you can. I said I could take it. I’m sure it’s not that bad” I assure him.

He gave me a questionable look which told me otherwise. “Zoe, this wasn’t just a crazed night out. I put you in danger. And I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for it”. His voice cracking, whilst my heart cracked with it.

Trying to ease the tension, I let out a sigh and said, “Well, I’ve got all the time in the world.”

As he told every detail about last night, I must admit, it was a little overwhelming. Especially since I didn’t remember. But that didn’t change anything about how I felt. Luke is someone I cherish. He’s been my barrier, my teddy bear and my shoulder to cry on. People see him as imperfect because of his mistakes. But it’s his mistakes that shape him and make him perfect to me.

“I know it’s a little too much,” he says, “and I’m so sorr-“

This time I didn’t cut him off with the sound of words, but instead the silence as my lips locked with his. Tasting every sweet moment, feeling the soft and plump serenity.

As we pull apart, the warm colours of his face return and a smile crept on mine.

I liked this peaceful yet intense moment that captured us.

“I love you”

The words had easily and calmly left his lips. As if he was absolutely certain with himself and he had not one care in the world if I didn’t feel the same. But I did.

A smile took over my face as I pull his neck closer to mine, and whisper in his ear, “I love you too”.

I could feel his smile as he lays his head on my shoulder and breathes softly.

“Don’t move” his rasped voice sends tingles down my ear, as he wraps his arms around my back and lays me carefully down.

“I want you to be happy Zoe,” he says as he lies down next to me, hugging every inch of me as if protecting me from something that’s about to attack. “That’s all I want”.

And with that, he softly and soundly fell asleep on my chest. My heartbeat his pillow.

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