Crossroads

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Chapter 36

Chapter 36: Mia

“His heart beats right into me, and I feel how exhilarated both of us are, the thunder created between us potent enough to make Thor himself look like a plastic action figure.”

PRESENT

I knew Lincoln had changed. What I didn’t know was how much he actually worked on himself, how much he reflected on who he is and what he went through. This version of him still has me speechless, even though it’s been hours since he left.

We had dinner and are now enjoying a hot chocolate, Mom and Dad curled on the two-seater while Grams and I share the large couch, eating a bag of truffle chocolates as she keeps questioning me about Lincoln.

“And he didn’t know about you when you were working at the hospital back then?” she asks, plopping another chocolate into her mouth.

“No,” I shake my head, “No one did. Well, Pops did. He noticed something was off when I came to visit you after work one day.”

She smiles and nods, heaving a sigh when she replies, “Yeah, he did always know what you were thinking, didn’t he?”

“He did,” I admit. And I can see on both her and Mom’s face that the memory of him still hurts sometimes, simply because he’s missing in this constellation.

“And why didn’t you approach him?” Mom asks, earning an eye-roll from Dad, who probably does not want to hear about this in detail.

“I told you, I was young, he was busy… It wouldn’t have worked, anyway.”

Dad shoots me a look, one I can’t quite interpret, before he says, “How did he lose his parents?”

I sigh, contemplating even answering the question. I don’t know how comfortable I am telling them about this without him present.

“They died in a car accident. He feels he’s responsible for it.”

“Did he drive?” Dad asks, and I instantly shake my head.

“No, it’s… It’s complicated. I don’t want to get into it without him here, to be honest. It’s his story to tell.”

My father nods his head while Mom sighs, shooting me a sympathetic look. “That must have been so hard on him. Poor boy… Does he have any other family?”

“Not that I know of,” I answer, really not feeling like going into this topic anymore.

“No wonder he has so much to work on. This wouldn’t be easy for anyone,” Grams says with a sad smile which suddenly turns into a frown when she turns to her daughter, “Have you heard from Max?”

The tension is instantly palpable, Mom looks not only livid but also sad as hell when she shakes her head, cuddling closer to Dad when she answers, “No. We had a talk with him after the zoo, but I told him to clear his head before he comes back. I still don’t know what the hell he was thinking when he did that…”

“He wanted to protect his sister,” Dad says, and all three of us instantly shoot our heads in his direction, my eyes wide when he continues, “Calm down. I’m not saying what he did was right. It was reckless and dumb… I’m just saying I think he had good intentions.”

“Now, that’s bullshit,” Grams says, shaking her head at my father. “He knew what he was doing. The question is, why? Did something else happen that day?”

Dad’s eyes instantly meet mine, the question in them making me sigh. God, this is so chaotic…

“We had a fight,” I say, turning the attention to me now.

“You did?” both Mom and Grams ask wide-eyed, and I instantly search my father’s glance, seeing him nod at me, telling me to continue.

“Yeah,” I sigh, “He berated me, saying I wasn’t there for you all, that I was hiding stuff and acted selfishly…”

“He what?!” my grandmother gasps, sitting up straight to look at me. I can feel my mother’s eyes burn into my head, she probably feels as shocked as I did.

It’s so unfair, really. My parents have done nothing but love and support us the best way one can imagine, and then my brother does something stupid like this and tears it all down. I can see how much this affects them, especially my mother. She has always been close to all of us, and it must be heartbreaking to watch your children hurt each other when all you taught them was how to love and be kind to people.

“Can we not get into it anymore? I really don’t feel like talking about it. I kind of want to forget all of that,” I admit, shooting my mother a smile.

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” she says, “But I get it, honey. We don’t need to talk about it. I’ll have a talk with him when he gets back, and maybe we can find out what exactly fried his brain that day…”

I nod my head, “I really hope we can…”

Because I don’t know how else I can forgive him.

I walk back to my apartment, enjoying the fresh breeze as I look up to the stars. I always walk home from my parents’ place, considering it’s only ten minutes from my house and the area is pretty safe. I enjoy just watching the stars and listening to the silence of the streets.

Right when I get to my door my phone vibrates, and I quickly pull it out of my pocket, only to have a wide smile on my face the second I read the name at the bottom of the text.

“Hey, I’ll only be done in half an hour. Sorry, this all took longer than I thought. You still up? xx Lincoln”

I consider just leaving it, texting him that I’m going to bed and that I’ll see him tomorrow.

But I can’t deny that I miss him like hell, that today was eventful and exhausting, as much as it was exhilarating and refreshing. And honestly, I’m still fired up like a bonfire on a winter night from how he acted, his behavior today still has me picking up my jaw from the floor.

Because I can only say it again: Lincoln has changed. In a good way.

And so I find myself on my motorcycle, needing this adrenaline rush after the day I had. I enjoy the wind slamming into me as I rush down the roads, letting the vibration of the engine beneath me soothe my soul.

I already see him standing at the entrance, phone in hand and furrowed brows as he seems to say something to no one. I swerve to the right, entering the roundabout in front of the entrance, the sound of my motorcycle now also getting Link’s attention.

It takes a second until he registers me, and then a huge grin crosses his face right as I stop in front of him. Taking off the helmet I now get an even better look at his handsome face, and again, he looks so goddamn good that I find it extremely hard to keep all the rules in place I set myself.

“Hi,” I say, placing the helmet on the backseat and stepping off my Big Lady. Lincoln just eyes me, taking me in with heated glances until he shakes his head with a laugh.

“You’re a damn miracle, you know that?”

I cock my head, narrowing my eyes as I try to understand what he means. But he instantly obliterates my confusion when he tugs at my hand, practically smashing me right into him before his arms circle around my neck.

The closeness immediately fires me up, and I feel his own heat seep right into me when he leans his forehead against mine, taking a deep breath as he whispers, “I was so close to just showing up at your doorstep because I didn’t get an answer from you. And I just fucking needed to see you again tonight,” he admits.

“I came as soon as I got your text,” I answer, surprised that the twenty minutes it took me to get here made him anxious.

But I guess it just shows that we have a lot to work on, that we have a lot to talk about and consider where it concerns us. As much as we both have changed - that alone is not enough to make this work.

“I know, sorry. You’re good. Just glad you’re here,” he says, and that smile on his face aims straight for my heart when he leans back, his bright aura illuminating my whole being as I look up at him.

“Of course. I wanted to see you, too.”

The smile on his lips broadens when he quirks an eyebrow, pulling me even closer as he whispers against my lips, “Is that right?”

“God, when did you become so full of yourself?” I laugh, trying to mask the scorching heat that’s coursing through my veins.

But I know he feels it, too, because that smile of his turns dangerous suddenly, his whole body seemingly flames up when he moves one hand to the small of my back, pressing me even closer against him. Our bodies are so perfectly aligned, like two puzzle pieces locked in place when he answers, “I remember this insanely stunning woman once told me I look beautiful when I’m cocky.”

His lips brush against mine when he speaks, and I already feel my knees go weak from the sparks that fly through my body, but I hold on to Lincoln, ignoring the vigorous thunder in my heart when I retort, “Sounds like a smart…”

But I don’t even get to finish my sentence, his lips are already chasing mine, the intensity of this kiss quite literally knocking the air out of my lungs when I almost stagger backward. Lincoln holds me tightly though, his arms caging me in as his tongue continues to chase, punish, devour me.

I can’t help but sigh into our kiss, and I feel the grin on his lips, a grin that just makes my heart jump again when I whisper, “Link…” But I should know by now that my warnings won’t be heard with him, and so I’m not surprised he almost silently growls before tightening his grip around me.

His own heart beats right into me, and I feel how exhilarated both of us are, the thunder created between us potent enough to make Thor himself look like a plastic action figure.

A cough from right behind him makes me pull back, but Lincoln doesn’t even regard the person, he just closes the gap again with his forehead resting against my own. “God, Mia. What the hell are you doing to me?”

He finally leans back, giving both of us air to breathe and exist, his eyes diving so deep into mine I feel like I’m drowning. “Showing up here on that damn motorcycle,” he suddenly says with a smirk, “You should’ve known how sexy that is.”

I study him for a moment, unable to suppress the grin on my face when I run a hand through his now ruffled hair. “You should’ve known how sexy you were today,” I retort with a smile, hinting at his performance at my parents’ house.

“Really?” he asks, honestly looking surprised. I can’t help but laugh at that expression, nodding my head while circling my arms around his neck.

“Really. I have to say - I’m impressed.”

And those words seem to have an effect, because that grin on his face broadens even more, serving as a blatant reminder of just how beautiful Happy-Lincoln is. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” I say, unable to look away from his mesmerizing eyes.

We just stand like that, holding on to each other while we meet each other’s gaze as if it was the last thing we needed to survive. And maybe it is. Because since Lincoln stepped back into my life, I feel like someone gave back a piece of me, like I’m complete again. Even if my heart is still heavy from the events of the past days.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” he asks, brushing a strand of hair out of my face.

“I have uni, then therapy, and then I have some friends coming over,” I answer, suddenly remembering that Riley and Jeremy wanted to have a movie night tomorrow.

“The friends from your birthday?” Lincoln asks, and I can’t help but sigh at the reminder of that night. It was hard seeing him again, so suddenly. It was even worse when I thought he kept his promise and didn’t remember me, though.

I’m glad we cleared all of that. I’m so goddamn glad we’re open and honest now, as much as we can.

“Yeah,” I nod my head, “Riley and Jeremy wanted to come over. We do movie nights every other week to get our head cleared up.”

And as much as I know he tries to suppress it, I notice how tense he suddenly gets. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t have time for him, or the fact that I spend my time with another man, but it seems to bother him.

“That sounds like something you would need,” he says, mustering up a smile.

“Yeah, they’re close friends, almost like siblings by now,” I admit, trying to make him feel better. “Are you okay?” I ask, not wanting him to suppress anything that could hurt us in the end.

He looks at me for a moment, a sigh leaving his throat before he nods his head, “Yeah, sorry. I just need to… Wrap my head around this. It’s all different now. Which is good…”

“...It’s just a lot,” I finish his sentence, and he nods his head at that.

“It is.”

And as I look up at him I suddenly realize that this is it, this is what we need. Openness and understanding. Because the only thing that can destroy us now is keeping secrets or being dishonest to one another.

“What are your shifts for the next few days?”

He narrows his eyes, studying me for a second before he answers, “I got morning shifts for the rest of the week, and I got Friday off.”

“Okay,” I nod my head, “How about this, then. We’ll go have dinner somewhere the day after tomorrow. And we figure something out for Friday.”

“I can cook for you,” he grins, obviously remembering the same thing I am.

“No cooking for me,” I gently pat his cheek, “We’ll eat outside. Get out of the danger zone.”

“The danger zone?” he laughs, and I can’t help but join in when I nod my head.

“Yes, the danger zone. You know what I mean.”

He doesn’t need to say anything though; I see it in his eyes that he knows what I mean. Hell, everyone in a two-mile-radius knows what I mean.

“Alright. I’ll pick you up at seven,” he says, and I can’t help but smile at that, suddenly feeling like a teenager going out with her crush for the first time.

“Okay. I can’t wait,” I admit, but Lincoln just pulls me closer again, his lips once again brushing against my own when he whispers, “Believe me, Mia. Neither can I.”

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