The Long Way Back

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Chapter 21

I woke with the dawn nestled in Colby’s arms, my mind swarmed with feelings both freer than they were the day before and tormented with last night’s revelations.

A protective instinct I didn’t know I held washed over me and I tightened my arms around Colby protectively. No chance in hell was I gonna allow him and Theo to return to that house of horrors he called a home.

They could both live with us at the very least. He had become my home in the past few days and there was no way I wouldn’t let him into mine.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that both mum and dad would be welcoming if they knew the circumstances. Especially to Theo; no young child deserved to grow up in a house like that.

Looking around us the trees danced in the wind waving to us as if saying good morning.

Frankly, I had discovered this to be the best possible way to wake up - free, looking out upon nature, waking along with the sun.

Despite our circumstances, dire as they may be, nature was and would always be a reprieve for me. We could simply wash our troubles away with the wind.

I vowed to live in a place as open and magical as this in the future. It was perfect. Here felt like home, be that because of the location or simply the person beside me I wasn’t sure yet.

Today absolutely had to be the day we made some form of progress. Today would make or break us, it was the end of our food supply and I doubted whether physically or mentally we would make it much longer when it eventually ran out.

Today we had to get back. We would get back. Even if we accidentally took the Long Way Back.

I turned to Col and kissed his forehead gently. “Wake up.” I whispered gently trying to ease him awake, unlike his harsh methods involving a certain ice-cold lake.

He didn’t move, remaining as still as the dead. I peppered kisses over the entirety of his face, laughing at his adorable sleepy expression. Still no movement.

I started to move lower laying kisses down his jawline and neck. Nothing. Exploring with kisses I eventually found a spot that made his breathing turn laboured.

Bingo.

I sucked harshly on his sweet spot until low and behold he let out a deep growling moan making shivers run down my spine.

I looked up to his eyes and found him wide awake smirking down at me. “I was quite enjoying that wake up call Daisy.” He said in his gorgeously accented morning voice. I blushed furiously, turning red in an instant.

Colby burst out laughing as I hid in his chest. “Aw, Where did all that confidence from a few seconds ago go, huh daisy?” He teased.

“My little Daisy’s gone as red as a little rose.” He cooed.

“Urgh.” “I hate you.” I grumbled and Col only laughed harder.

“We have to find camp today.” I mumbled against him, breaking us from our reverie. “Otherwise we’re really screwed.”

“Yeah…” he answered halfheartedly. “We really do.”

After sitting cuddling as we watched the sun climb higher and higher over the water we eventually stood hand in hand and headed off, no closer to knowing what the correct direction was.

********************************

“Col, over there!” I shouted, pointing in the direction of a small wooden hut not even a hundred yards ahead of us. A smile adorned my face instantly. We had hope.

“Careful!” Colby shouted frantically from behind me as I barrelled towards the hut clueless to what he said.

Step after step I ran closer and closer till suddenly my foot slipped into a burrow in the ground, hidden from sight. I heard a deafening crack in the ground followed by a piercing scream I recognised as my own before I hit the ground.

The last thing I saw was Colby barrelling towards me, terror written on his face before the pain became too much to stand and I succumbed to the darkness


Colby’s POV

Seeing Daisy completely crumble in front of me sent me frantic. I bolted to catch her before she hit the ground but couldn’t, she was too far.

Just as I reached her, her eyes rolled back in her head and she blacked out.

Shit. No. No. No.

I looked around desperate for any kind of help that I already knew I wouldn’t find.

I picked Daisy up bridal style and ran to the cabin that she so desperately wanted to reach.

“Daisy, daisy wake up. You’re okay sweetheart, you have to be okay. Please... I don’t know how to help.” I told her brokenly. She didn’t move.

I set her down on a leather sofa in the corner of the rustic looking shack.
“Please love, I’m kinda freaking out here.”

I ran to the sink in the corner running the water over my hands before bolting back to Daisy and flicking her with the water to wake her up.

Another few seconds passed, which seemed no joke like a century before I was finally put out of my misery and her eyes slowly fluttered open.

“Easy…”I warned as I placed my hand to rest on her back. “You just passed out love, you have to be careful.”

“Wha-, wait uh where are we?”

“We’re in the shack you found before you fell, how’s your ankle?”

“Oh ummm...I’m not really sure.” She was clearly still disoriented.

“But It really hurts.” She whimpered. Her ankle was purple and swelling with a massive cut running from the bridge of her foot to her ankle.

She laid her head forward touching mine and began to tear up, “I I’m really sorry.” Tears started streaming down her cheeks. “I shoulda been more careful, paid more attention.”

I tried to jump in and stop her, none of this was her fault. But she continued.

“We’re already in such a mess and now I don’t think I can even walk. My ankle’s probably broken.”

Crap. I hadn’t even thought that far, I was so caught up in the simple fact she was hurt I hadn’t considered our chances of getting home.

Nonetheless, I masked my worry from Daisy, pulled back slightly from her and smiled reassuringly. “We’ll be completely fine. Don’t worry, we have shelter now and I’m sure there’s some food here somewhere. We can stay the night here and I’m sure in the morning someone will be here to help us get back. Okay?”

“And if we’re being honest here it was 100% my fault we’re even in this mess in the first place so really I should be saying sorry.”

She looked down to her lap, still upset.

I pulled her to my chest in a tight hug. “We’re okay. I’ll always be right here love, even if it’s just the two of us for a while.”

“Thank you.” she whispered into my chest. “If I knew we’d be okay, I’d love to just stay out here forever and explore with you.”

She shifted forward on the sofa and tilted her head back in an invitation to join her. I gladly settled behind her and pulled her back to lie comfortably between my legs.

“At least this is much more comfortable than leaves I whispered in her ear nuzzling into the crook of her neck. She giggled.

Oh I missed that laugh.

“This can be our little home now, look around. We’re safe.” I said.

She sighed, “yeah...we may be safe for now but there’s no way I can walk out of this cabin now. My ankle’s 100% broken.” I looked down at her ankle and sure enough it was nearly black already.

“Either you go find help now by yourself and come back for me, or you carry me the whole way back, which we both know can’t happen.”

“Wow, are you that sure of my lack of any upper body strength.” I teased to lighten the mood.

“No.” She laughed gently. “But you’re never gonna be able to carry me for hours, your arms will literally die.”

“Oh the hell they will. I’m not leaving this cabin without you.”I scoffed.

“We can stay here tonight but tomorrow, i’ll carry your ass the whole way back if I have to. I’m not leaving you here with a broken, bleeding ankle.”

We were getting closer and closer to finding a way back, we finally found shelter and finally had more food, but our way back … it just became a hell of a lot longer.
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