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Chapter 40

Chapter 40: Mia

“When I lost you, it felt like I lost myself, too. ”


My heart feels so light and so heavy at the same time.

Because Lincoln and I reconnected on a different level last night. We reconquered something that was taken from us so brutally, that we both needed to feel this connection, the symbiosis of our bodies to know that it is still ours.

And looking at him right now, sleeping peacefully between the sheets, I just know that we will be okay. We are different this time, and yet so familiar, so beautifully reminiscent that it takes my breath away at times.

Still, I couldn’t reciprocate his words yesterday. I feel them, I know I do. Truth is, I didn’t stop loving him either. But as much as I want to forget what he did back then - I can’t. No matter the influence, he broke my heart and trust, mercilessly at that, and I can’t just forget that. I need time.

“Morning...” he mumbles, opening one eye before pulling me closer, brushing his nose against mine with a smile.

“Good morning, handsome,” I whisper, pressing a kiss on his nose before he leans back and looks at me, stroking some hair out of my face.

“How did you sleep?”

“Like a baby,” I answer, and it’s true. I don’t remember the last time I slept this well. “You?”

“Me, too. I always do when you’re sleeping next to me, sola…”

“What does that mean?” I ask, referring to the nickname I noticed he uses a lot lately. “Sola. Is that Italian?”

He nods his head, a thoughtful smile on his lips when he brushes his thumb over my bottom lip. “It is.”

When he doesn’t answer I bite down on his thumb, eliciting a wide grin from Link before he looks at me, those amused blue eyes meeting mine when he asks, “Impatient?”

His question makes me bite down on his thumb more forcefully now, and Link hisses before pulling his hand away, looking at me with wide eyes, “Ouch! You’re brutal, Mia…” he laughs, and I just shrug while tapping his nose with my index.

“You’re so secretive. That’s what you get,” I say before stretching out my tongue. “Okay, it’s my turn to take you out today. We need to get dressed.”

“What do you have planned?” he asks, propping himself up on his elbow, revealing his way too toned body with a smirk.

I can’t help but take him in, appreciating the sight with a smile before meeting his eyes again, and I can’t help but laugh when I see the heated expression in his eyes. We won’t get anything done today if I don’t stop now. “You’ll see, big boy. You’ll see.”

He groans when I press a quick kiss on his lips and jump out of bed, looking for my clothes that are still scattered around the bedroom floor. I can feel his eyes on me as I get dressed, and I turn with a raised brow when I’m back in my clothes, watching how he’s still just lying there, buck naked with a grin on his face.

“I can go alone if you don’t want to,” I say with a smirk, eliciting a laugh from Link when he responds, “No, no… Sorry. I was just admiring the view.”

We somehow manage to actually leave the house after having breakfast and some coffee, Lincoln’s hand tucked in mine as we turn the last corner to my destination. The cheering and laughter are already prominent when we walk down the road, watching the blinking lights by the pier with a smile.

“The carnival?” Link asks, and I nod my head, squeezing his hand as we keep walking.

“Yeah, I love it there. Is that okay?” I stand still, pulling him to the side so we don’t stand in the way of the dozens of other people walking down the street. “I know there’s a ton of people there. You just need to tell me when you’re uncomfortable.”

Lincoln just smiles, cupping my face with his hands before tilting it upward, that spark in his eyes shooting straight into my heart when he presses a kiss on my nose and whispers, “I’m good, Mia. I’ll let you know when it gets too much, okay?”

The way he looks at me, that content smile on his face and this ocean of emotion in his eyes, I can’t help but believe him. “Okay,” I say before pressing a swift kiss on his lips, knowing I need to trust him now.

“Come on, let’s get some cotton candy,” he smiles, shooting me a wink before we make our way to the carnival.

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Even though I love it a lot, it still reminds me of Pops so much that I usually avoid it. Something feels different today, though, and I am looking forward to sharing this experience with Lincoln.

Rightfully so, apparently, because we end up having a lot of fun the whole day. We ride some of the smaller roller coasters, throw some hoops and even try ourselves at the whack a mole by the time evening rolls around.

“Wow, your aim is terrible - and you tell me you’re a surgeon?” I chuckle, watching how he continuously misses each hit.

“Well, my patients are usually sedated and don’t run off,” he responds, still working on hitting at least one of them with narrowed eyes.

I can’t help but laugh, although my laugh gets interrupted when he finally hits one on the head, and he instantly drops his hammer, raising his fists with wide eyes as he turns to look at me. “I did it!” he yells, and I can only nod my head, watching him with wide eyes. He laughs loudly and picks me up, and I’m so startled by that action that it takes me a moment to understand what is happening, my hands resting on his shoulders as I try to focus on the glimmer in his eyes. The second I do I’m hit with a wave of affection, the happiness radiating off of him smashes into me with high speed.

I’m still getting used to the content and happy version of him, and I can’t help but grin back when he smiles so brightly, one might think he won every game in the carnival. And for just a second all the music, the blaring noises and chatter of people around is blacked out when he just looks at me, his eyes portraying such a strong range of emotion that I can’t help but kiss him, wanting a piece of this happiness for myself.

He instantly gives in, tightening his grip around me while I run my hand through his hair, finding my thrill in exploring his mouth, in fighting his tongue, challenging his lips. It only takes seconds until I know we’re close to dry humping each other in the middle of this carnival, and so I pull back, wiping some of my lipstick from his lips with a smile. “Come on, tiger. Let’s get something to eat,” I whisper, placing another kiss on his lips before he reluctantly lets me down, his hand instantly finding mine before we walk off.

We get some pretzels and eat them on our way to the Ferris wheel, which I insist on riding today - much to Link’s dismay, who insists that those things will just fall apart if we swing it too hard.

“Have you never been on a Ferris wheel?” I ask as we stand in line for the cotton candy Lincoln demands he should have if he comes with me, the sun slowly starting to set in front of us..

“I think I have. I must’ve been a kid though, it’s a faint memory,” he smiles, “My mother loved those things.”

His words make me smile and I look at him, squeezing his hand as he pays for and grabs the cotton candy with the other. “Sounds like your mother knew to appreciate the good things in life.”

He laughs, and I can’t deny that that just blows me away. I still see the pain in his eyes, see the sorrow on his features, but he can actually laugh at a memory of his mother now. It’s so beautiful to see, I’m almost speechless when he retorts, “Oh yeah, she did. Although I wouldn’t say this wheel of hell is one of them…”

The smirk on his lips blows my mind, too, and I can’t help but shake my head with laughter when we find the line for the Ferris wheel, trying to gather my thoughts as Lincoln pays for the tickets. “You okay?” he asks, tugging me closer to his side as we wait for our turn.

“Yeah,” I look up at him, getting on my toes to press a kiss on his cheek, “Just proud of you.”

Link shoots me a smile, but the moment gets interrupted by the guard telling us to get on the wheel. We do as he says, taking a seat in the passenger car only seconds before it takes off. Lincoln instantly wraps his arm around me, pulling my legs over his lap before he offers me the cotton candy with a smile.

“To new beginnings,” he says, and I can’t help but smile at the notion. In a way both of us go through some happy yet painful memories right now, but it honestly feels half as bad with him next to me.

“To new beginnings,” I concur, tearing off some cotton candy before throwing it in my mouth, letting the sugary sweet taste invade my tongue.

“Damn. Why does unhealthy stuff taste so good?” he laughs before pulling me even closer, my head now resting against his chest while I watch the sunset in front of us appearing and disappearing with every turn the wheel takes.

“You know,” Link suddenly speaks up, running his fingers over my back while I cuddle into his chest, one hand drawing patterns right above his heart, “Sometimes I’m tired of it all…”

His words make me look up, and he must see the worry in my eyes because he smiles at me, brushing some hair out of my face before he continues, “I mean, I’m better now, you know. And I love it. But every now and then I’m tired of having to fight those feelings, of having to stay strong. It just seems unfair, sometimes. That this is a part of me now.”

And I think I understand what he means. It must be hard to watch other people waltz through life without having any worries or issues, while some of us carry so much weight on our shoulders. “I want to, though,” he interrupts my thoughts, brushing his thumb over my cheek, “I want to fight. I want to push myself, I want to be the person I want to be. I feel like I can be that with you.”

The way he looks at me makes me swallow, his words piercing straight into my heart. “You can be whoever you want to be, Link. You already showed you’re strong enough to overcome this.”

“I know,” he whispers while placing a kiss on my nose, shooting me another smile, “I realized I needed something, or someone to fight for. Back then, I fought for you. Because I wanted you, so goddamn much… God,” he sighs, and I place his palm on my cheek when he releases a shaky breath, his stormy eyes finding mine in an instant.

His beautiful face is illuminated in the orange sunlight, casting him an almost angelic glow when he speaks again. “Believe me, you were one of the reasons I even continued to fight after I left. Because when I did leave you that day… I realized there was only one person I could fight for: Myself. I needed to want to fight for me. And I do now, because when I lost you it felt like I lost myself, too. It took a while to find that person again, but I have. I’m proud of that.”

I can’t help the tears now, his words carry so much weight and progress that I feel my heart bloom for him, for his newfound strength and belief in life.

“I’m so so proud of you Lincoln… Really,” I whisper, taking a deep breath and wiping the tears from my face with a smile. “You’ve come so far. I’m glad you found yourself again.”

“Thank you,” he says, leaning down and resting his forehead against my own, the sweet scent of cotton candy invading my senses when I brush my lips against his own. Link cups my face with his hands, pulling me closer while I hold on to him, my hands wrapping around his neck as we dance our familiar waltz again. We do what we do best - we lose ourselves in each other, over and over again, until someone clears their throat right next to us, sending us out of our spell.

“The ride is over.”

Both Lincoln and me look around, and it takes me a second to realize that we must be occupying this seat for a while now. “Oh. Sorry,” I laugh, not really regretting a thing right now.

We stumble out of the car, hands clutched together until we feel the concrete beneath our feet again. “Well?” I look up at Lincoln, watching him watch me with that sparkle in his eyes before he throws his arm around my shoulders, tugging me closer. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

He laughs, pressing a kiss on my temple when he responds, “No, it really wasn’t.”

“Good,” I grin up at him, “Do you want to go for a walk? We can…”

“Mia!” A familiar voice echoes right behind us and makes us turn around, my arm still safely secured around Lincoln’s waist when I feel him tense up. It takes me a second to realize who it is, but when I see that exact man standing in front of me, I can’t help widen my eyes at well.

“We have to talk.”

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