Crossroads

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Chapter 48

Mia

“And this, this seemingly simple and insignificant moment - It’s everything but. Because we both know how hard he fought to get here, to get to the point where he can embrace me with genuine happiness and shoot me a smile that makes the world stop every damn time...”

PRESENT

There are moments in life that make you forget you about all the struggles you’ve faced. It’s usually the small, seemingly so insignificant gestures that make you leave all that pain behind. It’s fascinating, really, that such simple things can change your life.

But sometimes those simple things aren’t as simple as they seem.

The pure joy sparkling in Lincoln’s eyes when he steps out of Dr. Avian’s office, the broad grin on his face when he realizes I’m already waiting for him with my motorcycle, it’s everything to me. It’s just what he is; he is everything to me. He gives me everything I could ever dream of.

And this, this seemingly simple and insignificant moment... It’s everything but. Because we both know how hard he fought to get here, to get to the point where he can embrace me with genuine happiness and shoot me a smile that makes the world stop every damn time...

“Hey, handsome.” I grin when he steps toward me, but that grin is immediately washed off my lips when he cups my face with his hands, his lips coming down on mine with an almost desperate force. I hold on to him, trying not to throw my bike over in the aftermath of his attack, both of us stumbling against it from the collision of our bodies.

But Lincoln doesn’t care, there’s something urgent, starving, about this kiss. As always, I feel both our hearts thunder in our chests, creating a tornado of love and passion right in the non-existent space between our bodies. “Link...”

My protest is too late though, and before I can stop it from happening I feel how my Big Lady gets pushed over, the impact of hard metal on the pavement causing a deafening crash in the entire street.

“Lincoln!” I slap his chest before I push him away, suddenly being more worried about my motorcycle than anything else. He just laughs as he walks around, helping me lift her up from the street with an apologetic smile on his face.

“Well, I’m sorry, somehow... But not really?”

I slap him on the arm with my helmet, his laughter erupting around us as he pulls me into his arms, the bike now between the two of us. “Okay, okay.” He presses a kiss on my lips. “Sorry.”

And then he just attacks me again, shamelessly devours me in the middle of this street like he didn’t just throw my bike over by doing just that... But I can’t even protest, he just feels too good, his lips on mine feel like coming home and being shot into space at the same time. Every damn time...

“Is everything okay?” A familiar voice sounds from right behind me, and Lincoln suddenly pulls back, his eyes wide when he looks at the building entrance behind my back.

“Oh, yes, sorry...”

A faint blush creeps into his cheeks, and my jaw drops to the floor from that movement alone. “Now you’re blushing?! Really, Lincoln?!”

But when I turn around, I realize just why exactly he was blushing, although I honestly can’t help but laugh when I see the expression on Dr. Avian’s face as she takes in the scene in front of her.

“Wow...” she just says, shaking her head in amusement when she sees Lincoln and me together. “That surely explains a lot.”

The smirk that plays on her lips makes me laugh and I just shrug, taking Lincoln’s hand behind me when I see how flustered he is right now. “How are you doing, Dr. Avian?” I ask, trying to get this situation under control again.

“I’m splendid, Miss Esperanza, thank you. It’s been a while. How are you holding up?”

“Oh, yeah, it’s been half a year since we last talked. But I can assure you, I’m perfect.” I grin, looking at Lincoln who still seems a bit out of it, admittedly. “Never been better, actually.”

Dr. Avian smiles when she takes us in, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she leans against the doorframe. “I can see that. Good catch, Lincoln.”

And just like that Lincoln composes himself, looking from Dr. Avian to me with a smile. “Oh, believe me, I know.”

I can’t even stop myself from being caught in his heavenly blue eyes the second they land on me, the pure love and appreciation in them will forever steal my breath. It’s like that every single time since we reconnected. He just lets me drown in them. Hell, I mean, even years ago I couldn’t stop looking at him, diving into that sea of emotion in his irises, trying to figure him out. I’m addicted to it, and I’m not at all ashamed of that fact.

“Wow, that’s so intense to watch!” Dr. Avian’s voice makes me look away from Lincoln and back at her, a laugh escaping her throat while she studies us with wide eyes. “Damn, that really does explain a lot...” she mumbles. “Well, I wish I could talk more, but I have a patient waiting upstairs. You two take care, alright? I’m even more convinced now that you’ll overcome it all.”

She shoots us a wink, her glance turning sincere when she turns to look at Lincoln with a smile on her face. I can see that she wants to say more, but given that we’re in the middle of a busy street, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to blurt out confidential information, really.

“Thank you.” I say, hoping she understands how much I mean those words. I know Lincoln wouldn’t have come as far without her, and even though he’s still scheduled for a revision session in three months, this was technically his last real therapy session.

That fact alone makes this day so damn special...

“You’re very welcome. Now, have a great night. Go celebrate.”

And with that she disappears inside the building, the door falling shut behind her with a quiet click. I take another long look at the house, contemplating the fact that another chapter of our life can be closed, for now.

Lincoln seems to have that same thought, his arms coming around me from behind as he pulls me on the motorcycle seat, his head resting on my shoulders while we just look at the building, letting this day sink in.

“How do you feel?” I ask, rubbing my hands over his arms, feeling the way his heart bounces against his chest, the beat drumming on my back. I know this was a big day for him, for both of us, and I can’t even imagine how he must feel, knowing Dr. Avian thinks he now has control over his own mental health after working on it for two-and-a-half years...

“Relieved. Happy. Scared. Sad... There are a lot of emotions involved here.”

I swing my legs to the other side, turning on the seat to face him properly. His palms immediately find my cheeks, the calm expression in his eyes instantly soothing my soul. “I’m so proud of you,” I say, and again, as soon as our gazes lock it’s like we’re all alone, like all that matters is the two of us.

Because it is.

“Thank you. I am, too.”

That statement alone sends a smile on my lips, because even six months after I reconnected to this new version of him, he still manages to surprise me. It’s refreshing, and as much as I already saw that there won’t only be good days like today, I have sincere faith in Lincoln. I know he’ll fight. I know he won’t let those demons overcome him again... He learned how to battle them, an entire arsenal of weapons now existing in his brain to win that fight.

“Do you trust me?” Lincoln suddenly asks, mischief and a hint of fear glimmering in his irises. The question makes me tilt my head, narrowing my eyes in suspicion as I try to understand why exactly he wants to know the answer to a question he can answer himself.

“You know I do, but I’m kind of afraid to say that now...”

He laughs, pressing a quick kiss on my lips before he whispers, “Would you allow me to take you for a ride?”

I lean back, my eyes wide when I mull over what exactly he just requested.

“Wait... For a ride? Like, with a motorcycle?”

“Well, with your motorcycle, to be precise...” He smirks, the sight instantly warming my heart, even though I still can’t quite grasp his words.

“But you don’t even know how to ride one.”

And that grin on his face right then is another thing that surprises the hell out of me, he just looks so damn proud, so utterly content and even a little smug that I feel my jaw drop to the floor again. “Wait, is that what you’ve been doing with my dad for the past weeks?”

He shrugs, not answering my question, but I see it in his eyes. The mischief and amusement in them transfer right into me, and I can’t deny that the thought of Lincoln on a motorcycle does something extremely dangerous to me.

“I may or may not have obtained a motorcycle license last week...” he says nonchalantly, as if that wasn’t a huge deal for him. He was always wary of it, and I know he’s constantly afraid that I’ll get into an accident, seeing how many bikers get rolled into the hospital every day.

“Wow. That’s... Wow.”

“Speechless?” He grins, and I can’t help but nod my head, admitting that I absolutely am.

I really thought he couldn’t do much more to surprise me now, but he keeps showing that I’m so, so wrong about that assumption every damn day. Because it’s just what he is. Lincoln is a surprise. He always will be.

“Well, may I?” Link takes a step back, holding out his hand with that damn grin on his face.

I look at him for a moment, really look at this hurricane of a man in front of me, and I suddenly realize... This is it, this is what I want. Who I want. Because with all the struggles we faced, with all the fights we will still have, I just know that he’s worth all of them. Seeing how much he fought to get his spirit back, to regain control over his life and his emotions, it fills me with so much pride. Calling him my partner fills me with pride even more. He’s an example to everyone out there who feels hopeless, beaten, and defeated.

Lincoln picked himself up when he was at his worst, and it wasn’t me that saved him from that misery. It was him. He’s the one who fought for himself, for his life, when he had no one. He stepped away from the one person he could have had because he felt that his presence hurt her. And, all the misunderstandings and harsh words said in that context aside, that just shows pure strength.

“Sola...” I don’t even realize that I’m crying until I hear the soft tone in his voice, his thumb brushing over my cheek when I meet his worried eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I clear my throat, wiping the stray tears with a smile. “Everything is right, Link. Everything is right...”

I jump up from the seat, wrapping my arm around his neck and pulling him down to me, letting our lips collide once more. “I love you,” I whisper into the kiss, his arms coming around my back before he embraces me fully, our bodies falling into place like puzzle pieces.

“And I love you. More than I can say.”

We stay like that for a moment, my head on his chest as I feel his heart dance inside of it. It’s the dance I listen to every night, the one that carries me to sleep with every beat.

“Okay...” I break our hug, looking up at his still worried eyes before I reach into my pocket and hold up my hand, jiggling the keys between my fingers when I say, “Wanna take me on a ride?”

That makes him laugh, and I bathe in the mere sound of that as he nods his head. “Well, hop on, sola. But you have to close your eyes.”

“What? But I won’t see where you’re going!”

“That’s kind of the point, love...” He raises an eyebrow.

“But...”

“Do you trust me?” he asks again, and I can’t help but sigh in response.

Because I trust him. With my life.

“I do.”

“Good.” He lets go of me to take a seat on the bike, a grin on his face when he nods to the space behind him. “Get on, then. You’re in for one hell of a ride...”

And damn, is he right about that. The way the wind chases me is so different when my arms are wrapped around Lincoln’s body. Because I feel safe here, even though we race the world at high speed. I keep my promise and close my eyes the whole time, which gives this whole ride an even more thrilling vibe than it already has. Because I don’t even have to see Lincoln in front of me to know how dangerously sexy he must look right now, and still I can’t wait to open my eyes again, to have a glance at him on my bike.

He keeps his own promise, too, because it doesn’t take long until I feel a strong gust of wind from my left, and I get a sudden idea of where exactly we’re going right now. My hold on him tightens, and I’m almost about to break my promise, my heart thundering so wildly in my chest from the prospect of coming back here, that I just want to see where we are.

But right as I think I need to stop him I feel how we decelerate, and within a matter of seconds we come to a complete halt. I can feel how the bike tilts a bit, leaning against its stand, and then I hear Lincoln speak to me. “You can open your eyes now, sola...”

The sound of cars rushing past us is the first thing I notice when I take the helmet off, followed by the sound of waves crashing against the shore. “Lincoln...”

I look at him with wide eyes, but the look on his face tells me he’s completely content where he is, the smile on his lips full of love and genuine happiness as he offers me his hand.

“Come, sola. I have to show you something...”

Looking at him in front of me, the sun slowly setting behind him, I suddenly just know.

I’ll follow him anywhere.

Even to the edge of that bridge, the one where it all started, where his demons suddenly had to fight two souls, instead of one.

Two souls, that now became one. Two hearts, that now beat in unison.

And only one condition.

We do it together.

Hand in hand.

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