Crossroads

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 6

Lincoln

“It’s the perfect symbiosis, a dangerous compound that could mean my immediate death, and still I have never felt more alive.”

PAST

When I wake up the first thing I notice is the heavenly fragrance surrounding me. The strong scent of vanilla and cherry fills my nostrils, and I catch myself taking a deep breath to inhale it, savor it and lock it into the biggest fucking safe ever, because shit - I feel like I’m in heaven.

The second thing I notice is the pain in my right hand, which I can’t properly inspect right now due to the petite brunette girl lying in my arms, her face buried against my chest where she fists my shirt tightly. I watch as her chest rises and falls, watch how she scrunches her nose when some stray hairs tickle it, and I come to the conclusion that this cannot be reality. She is by far the most beautiful girl I have ever met. No exceptions. And it just seems unreal.

Even in her sleep she looks so goddamn stunning, her sunkissed skin radiating in the morning glow, her plump red lips slightly parted as she inhales quietly. I swear, it’s like I’m in a fucking dream. It almost feels like someone’s trying to play mind games with me, because I have absolutely no idea how I went from jumping off a bridge to lying in this girl’s bed with her in my arms.

I feel humiliated by how I acted yesterday. I don’t cry. I don’t break down. I don’t drink too much. I’m not violent to the point where I break a glass of vodka in my hand.

My hand, which got me into this mess in the first place, and which took twelve years to master its art.

Stupid, Lincoln. Absolutely fucking imbecile level of stupid.

But I did it, and now I’m here. I’m still surprised by the way she acted last night. She was pretty hostile to me at first, but after I woke her up with my madness there was something much more gentle about her, even though she does not seem like the kind of woman that does gentle all too often.

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that she actually did all of that for me. Not only did she stop me from ending my life, but then she invited me into her home, helped me clean up my wounds, and finally she even let me into her bed. She even fucking kissed me, goddamnit.

And what a goddamn brilliant kiss that was. I felt like I needed it, and it seemed like she knew. She just dove into my soul, straight into the abyss of my mind. Her lips were gasoline, reigniting that fire inside of me that has turned into embers when all this shit started.

“Good morning.” Her voice sends me out of my thoughts and I tilt my head downwards, seeing that she still has her eyes closed as she yawns against my chest.

“Good morning...” Fuck, I have no idea how to act right now. I’m not this awkward, weak man. I’m confident, maybe even a little arrogant. Or at least that’s how I was. No idea why I’m not that man around her.

And honestly, it feels like I don’t know who I am anymore. My life has slipped out of my grasp and I just watched and watched and watched until finally, it fell into the pits of this godforsaken hell.

“You hungry?” She asks as her eyes slowly open, and I swear I feel the breath knock out of my lungs from this fucking storming ocean in her irises.

“Not really.” Is all I can answer because my head is all over the place right now, and she just nods her head at that, a slim smile on her lips as she massages her eye sockets with the balls of her hands, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.

To my surprise she cuddles closer to me just for a minute, she even looks like this is just a normal day for her, like I’ve always woken up next to her and like she has been cuddled in my arms for the majority of her time. It’s a nice feeling, really.

“Okay, doesn’t matter. You need to eat, so I’ll go make breakfast. You just get up and have a look at your hand. I might be a wannabe nurse, but you’re the surgeon out of the both of us, and you have a better idea of what it’s supposed to look like.”

She wiggles out of my grasp and jumps out of bed, leaving a cold and empty space where her warm and tight body just rested. I look up at her when she runs a quick hand through her hair, and I swear even now she looks like a fucking goddess. Her hair all messy despite the combing attempt, her eyes sleepy, and the imprint of the pillow on her face, she still couldn’t be any more stunning, even if she tried.

And I know right then and there, that Mia is an angel sent to save me, she’s the epitome of temptation, of kindness and grace, all in one package. And I know I do not deserve someone like her, someone so pure and kind.

“Yeah, okay.” I quickly nod my head, eliciting a quick smile from her before she leaves the bedroom, her heavenly scent still invading the atmosphere as I take a deep breath.

Seriously, I have no idea how to behave, what to do. My mind is still absolutely overwhelmed by what transpired yesterday.

When I went to that bridge, it felt like nothing mattered anymore. Like I was just an insignificant piece of this puzzle called life.

But now... I don’t know anymore. I know I’m helpless, I know my life really is not worth living, but the question is, is it bad enough to end it?

“Lincoln?” Her voice echoes through the apartment, and I realize I must have been lying here for a while, not counting the minutes as my mind did what it always does. Spiraling into oblivion.

“Yeah, coming.” I quickly reply and get up, suddenly becoming aware of the fact that I slept in my jeans and shirt. For some fucking reason I even take a look in the mirror and try to smooth down my dark and now curled hair, my blue eyes being red and puffy from my outburst last night.

Fuck. I’m such a wreck.

But I gather all the confidence I have left and make my way out of the bedroom, the smell of bacon and eggs immediately filling my nostrils while The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel plays in the background. I follow the scent and walk down through the living room and into what I assume is the kitchen, only to have the air knocked out of my lungs by the sight in front of me.

Mia just stands there, wooden spoon in her mouth while she moves her hips to the beat, quietly humming along to the song while she jiggles the pan in her hand, letting the eggs move inside of it. Her long, bronze legs sway with the rhythm, revealing more of her skin whenever her loose shorts whip left and right. Fuck. I could just watch her all fucking day.

“That smells good.” I speak up as I lean against the doorframe, my arms crossed in front of my chest when she suddenly jumps up, releasing a loud squeal as she throws her hand on her chest.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” She yells at me, and only a second later she throws the wooden spoon in my direction, knocking it straight against my chest.

“Ow, what the fuck?!” And even though that blow really hurts, I have to actually suppress a smile. Fuck, when was the last time I even wanted to smile?

“You scared me! Can’t you just like... Knock, or something?” She blurts out, and I have to hide a smirk from the startled expression on her face.

“You were the one who called me out here...” I argue. She slowly calms herself and takes a few deep breaths, those fucking blue eyes pinning me to the spot.

“Yes, well, you don’t need to sneak around so much.” There’s a slim smirk playing on her lips as she picks up the wooden spoon from the ground and turns to stir the scrambled eggs with it.

“Didn’t know I was sneaking...” I kind of mumble to myself, but she obviously heard because she turns around and throws me an unimpressed look, one eyebrow raised before she turns back to the pan.

“Okay. Sorry.” For some reason I apologize, even though I don’t really know what for. But watching her move and work around the kitchen is definitely worth it, and so I just stand there and watch as she opens and closes cabinets or drawers, spicing the eggs with stuff I don’t even know how to pronounce.

“How’s the hand?” She asks with her back turned to me, and just now do I realize that I haven’t even checked on it.

I’m a little confused by the fact that she acts so casual about all of this. Like she’s inviting suicidal strangers into her home every goddamn Tuesday, and I don’t know if it’s that exact fact, or if it’s just this strange aura surrounding her, but I find myself being mesmerized by every fucking little thing she does. The way she flips the bacon, her hair bouncing with every millimeter she moves those long legs of hers... It’s hypnotizing, in a way.

“Well?” Her voice breaks me out of my thoughts and I gently shake my head, trying to get a grip.

“Um...” My eyes focus on my hand that’s still hurting like hell, the bandage shimmering in an almost invisible shade of red. I try moving my fingers, closing them into a fist before opening them again. There’s a sharp pain running from the base of my thumb to the center of my wrist, and I can’t help but sigh as I slowly open the bandage.

The cut looks much better than yesterday, flecks of dried blood running across the nick. It’s a clean cut, luckily, but that doesn’t mean I have not potentially damaged my hand. My hand, that caused me so much pain already. It’s kind of ironic, really. The things this hand did sent me spiraling into this deep, dark, void. This void that is now clouding my senses, that’s invading my sanity like a slow-spreading virus, its disease gradually attacking my system.

I can hear the blood rushing through my veins, the sound numbing my senses, everything else is being blacked out as I just stare at this open wound on my hand. For just a split second I forget where I am, who I am, and why I even am. Why do I even exist?

“Lincoln? Hey... Lincoln!”

Her muffled voice echoes in my head, but I don’t know what to do with it, my breathing is getting so heavy that I feel like my chest is about to explode. The feeling of something touching my face makes me raise my head, and it takes my eyes a second to focus on what’s in front of me.

“Breathe, Lincoln. Breathe.”

I nod my head because I hear her words, but it seems like I lost the ability to control my respiration. I feel like I’m drowning, like a cyclone of agony is trying to sacrifice me to my sleeping demons, again.

“Look at me.” Her voice starts sounding clearer and clearer with every second she touches my skin, and I’m suddenly only focussed on her, those sapphire orbits zeroing in on me. I lose myself in them, drown in them, almost immediately. Just like this morning, this undeniable feeling of shame and humiliation is running through me, and it seems to do its job, because slowly but surely I manage to calm my breathing, the pain in my chest subsiding with every breath I take.

“You’ll be okay, Lincoln. You’ll be okay.” The way she says it makes me weak to the knees, her voice so gentle, her eyes so soft...

And I swear I don’t know what comes over me, maybe it’s my brain short-circuiting or maybe it’s just that I need to feel something again, but I realize I have two options right now.

Option number one: I dive into limbo, again, and I let myself feel everything I have buried so deep down, that it might just kill me if it were to surface into reality.

And then there’s option number two: Losing myself in this woman that’s right in front of me.

It’s the most dangerous option, obviously. Then again, maybe it is exactly what I need. Danger. Back on that bridge, the one thing that made me feel something, anything again, was the moment both of us accidentally nearly stumbled into the abyss.

And maybe that’s why, but my body moves without consulting my brain, my palms cupping her face, completely ignoring the pain that’s running through my right hand. Her eyes search my own, obviously trying to read me, guessing what I want to do. I can feel the way her pulse quickens beneath my finger that’s brushing against her neck, and it fuels my spirit, every heartbeat serving as an accelerant to the fire she managed to ignite.

“What are you doing?” She whispers, and I can’t help but watch her lips as they move, her tongue almost invisibly darting over them before she takes a deep breath.

“I have no fucking idea.” And then it’s like every shred of decency, rational thinking or just utterly simple common sense leaves my body, because I suddenly have her pressed against the kitchen counter, those blue eyes begging me for reason which I simply cannot grant.

My lips crash against her own, chasing this feeling, this high of adrenaline that I so utterly crave, just needing to feel alive again. And she gives in, much quicker than I thought she would, her palm cupping the back of my neck as she pulls me closer, inviting me in. I brush my tongue over her bottom lip, asking for access which she grants almost immediately, her tongue dancing with my own as soon as I breathe her in, my arms now circling around her back where I pull her even closer, our torsos touching with every available inch.

It’s the perfect symbiosis, a dangerous compound that could mean my immediate death, and yet I have never felt more alive.

“Mia?!” A deep male voice echoes through the apartment, and within a split second Mia has pushed me away from her, her wide eyes darting to the door.

“Shit... Shit!” She mutters, her eyes now moving back to me as she obviously evaluates the situation.

“You need to hide.” Her palms find my chest and she pushes me backward until she leans over and reaches for a door handle I didn’t know was there, and within a second I’m thrown into what I assume is the pantry, all kinds of canned food and cleaning supplies surrounding me.

“You can’t be...” I start, but she already closes the door in my face, leaving me standing there breathless and fucking confused.

I can hear muffled voices echoing through the hallway, and soon enough two sets of footsteps enter the kitchen, the voices now much clearer than before.

“Don’t fucking lie to me, Mia!” The male voice exclaims, and I hear Mia scoff as a reply.

“Just leave me the fuck alone for once, Max. I need some air to breathe, you guys are suffocating me...”

“Well, call mom and dad back and I won’t have to show up here unannounced.” It must be her brother whose voice now is filled with more concern than rage.

“They sent you here?”

“Well, kind of. You know how they are... Dad is in a bad mood because he hasn’t seen you in ages. You’re lucky it’s me and not him that’s turning up here.”

I can hear Mia sigh loudly, and I wonder what kind of family dynamic these two are involved in.

“Let him know I’ll come over next week. I’m just really busy right now, okay?”

“Mia...”

“Please, Max. Just... Please.”

Now her brother is the one sighing, and there’s a moment of silence before he speaks up again.

“Fine. Okay. Dinner on Friday, next week. Be there.”

There’s another moment of silence, and it feels like ages until I hear the sound of the front door closing, a minute later the door handle right in front of me moves, revealing that petite brunette in front of me.

She steps back without a word and starts plating up the breakfast she started cooking, and I just take a seat at the kitchen table a few feet to the right, not knowing what else to do. There’s a weird atmosphere surrounding us, almost like we both don’t know what just happened before her brother came barging in.

But then she places the two plates on the table, followed by a cup of coffee for each of us, and her eyes almost immediately find mine as soon as she takes a seat, their glimmer threatening my very being.

“That, before, whatever the fuck it was, cannot happen again.” Her voice is stern and pressing, her eyes hunting me down just like they did back on the bridge.

“And why is that?” It’s a shred of my old self speaking, the one that liked to play, the one that gifted himself with a different blonde on his arm every week, not giving a single fragment of a fuck about who or what I hurt with my behavior.

“Because you’re living here, for the time being. And you’re clearly not in the right state of mind to indulge in something so... Inappropriate.”

“Inappropriate?” I challenge her, for whatever goddamn reason.

“Yes. Inappropriate.” She holds my stare, and for a second the air is filled with tension again, those fucking ocean blue eyes capturing me like a polaroid picture.

“And why would I even stay here?”

“Do you have anywhere else to go?” It’s such a simple question, and yet it throws me off guard. Why? - It’s simple. Because I can’t go anywhere. No one waits for me. No one expects me. I don’t even have an apartment anymore.

And so I can only answer with one word. “No.”

She nods her head, not judging me, not throwing pitiful looks, not even asking what happened... Just pure acceptance of the situation at hand.

“Then you’ll stay here until that changes. I’ll fix up the couch for you.”

I try not to be disappointed at that fact, sleeping next to her did feel good. Even though she is right, probably. I should keep my distance if I want to actually work on my issues. That is if I do decide to do that. I’m still not sure.

Besides that, I actually have no idea who this girl even is. I don’t know why I am the way I am with her. Why she does the things she does. This so so fucking weird, beyond my understanding. But still, I can’t think of a real reason to leave.

Maybe it’s time to get to know her. I have a feeling she’s unique, in her own kind of way. And I think it might be just the thing I need right now.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.