Alight [Completed]

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Chapter 31 - Melody

It was clear that Knox still carried baggage from his past. That he was still haunted by harrowing dreams. If I had to guess, I’d say that he was probably scared to let himself really feel something and lose it again. Perhaps he just needed more time than I did to come to terms with what was happening between us.

But that moment when he said that he was falling for me, all of the fears that I had inside my heart disappeared just like that.

This thing wasn’t just one-sided. It wasn’t just my imagination. When we were together, we were like gunpowder and fire. We reacted, we exploded, we were drawn to each other with an invisible force that was much bigger than his resistance or my better judgment. Because the fact was, when it came to Knox Vaughn, I didn’t have any.

He was an angel, and he was my angel. And even though his halo was broken and his wings damaged, he was still the most perfect angel I’d ever seen, because I loved him with every beat of my heart, and he was absolutely perfect for me.

The days ran into each other, and I felt so insanely happy and in love, that I felt like I was losing my mind sometimes. If he said the word, I swear I’d drop absolutely everything and move here on a whim to be with him, even though I knew that would be an insanely stupid thing to do. Not to mention that my dad would probably disown me first, then drag me back home by the ponytail.

Days flew past, and we saw museums and galleries, buildings and monuments. But nothing compared to those moments when we were alone and just felt like us again.

Regardless, the clock was ticking again. Every sunrise was bittersweet because I woke up in his arms, but it also signaled the start of another day that brought us closer to having to say goodbye again.

This love of ours hurt as much as it gave me life. It was complicated, to say the least, but it was worth every complication it imposed upon my life. For to feel so much that you wondered if it was going to kill you one day, was worth every tear, every lonely echo tearing through your soul on those days that you were all alone.

It was my second last day in London. The thought of getting back on a plane that would take me half a world away from him, made me feel sick. I wanted to freeze time, to stop it from running out on us again. I was so deliriously happy right now, but two days from now, my heart would be clawed out again, saying goodbye.

“What would you like to see today, Snow?”

We were lying in bed, having ordered room service breakfast, finishing the last of our coffee.

I sighed, looking into Knox’s eyes. “Anything, really, as long as you’re there with me.”

“You’re in one of the greatest cities in the world, and all you want to do is look at my face?” he teased.

“I hate to break it to you, Vaughn, but you’re kind of the landmark that was the biggest drawing card in bringing me here,” I teased back shamelessly, and he was enjoying my reaction.

“Did you know that this was going to happen?” He asked, turning serious again.

“That what was going to happen?” I frowned.

“That we’d... happen again. That the notion of us being friends, was wishful thinking?”

My lips curved upwards. “There hasn’t been one moment that I just wanted to be your friend, Knox.”

He was smiling, too. “Next time when we’re together again, let’s just skip over the pretend-friendship part and take off where we leave things again, okay?”

And that statement hurt, too. Because it sounded like we were breaking up again when I left London again. Was that what he meant by that statement? Was it always going to be like this with us?

“You’ve got yourself a deal, on one condition,” I countered, because as long as I knew that I’d have what we had right now again, I could live with that. I could give him time if he needed that.

“I’m listening.”

“Don’t pull back on me again. Don’t go cold on me again. Don’t become a stranger again, because it nearly killed me,” I admitted softly, and he nodded, a flash of something dark appearing in his eyes for a moment, and it scared me a little.

I was so damn afraid that it would happen when I left here again. That we’d leave each other with our hearts full, and the moment I was home again, he’d stop calling or become a distant stranger again. I didn’t know if I’d survive it a second time.

“I’m sorry. I was trying to fight it, Snow,” he admitted with a sigh, raking a hand through his hair.

“Stop fighting, Knox. Just feel.”

And then he kissed me again, and we both just felt again. Because we were at our best when we weren’t saying a word, it seemed.

“I wish you could stay longer...” he groaned when we surfaced, and my heart swelled with so much love.

“Perhaps you just need to ask...” I said, my pulse thrashing inside my veins.

His gaze shot flaming arrows at me as his eyebrow rose.

“Stay, Snow. Stay longer,” he asked without hesitation.

And I couldn’t help but smile, even though I wanted him to ask me to stay forever. “I can stay another two weeks before I absolutely have to be back. My sister is getting married on New Year’s Eve, and I promised I’d go with her for her wedding dress fittings. How long would you like me to stay for?”

The air was heavy with anticipation as he weighed his words.

“I want as long as I can have with you.”

And those words lit that fire inside my heart again, as much as it hurt. Because it sounded just like the first time. I was hoping like hell that we didn’t just give one step forward to take two steps back.

“Another two weeks?” I asked, to make sure what exactly he was asking of me.

“Yes.” He traced his thumb over my cheeks.

“And then?” I asked bravely.

“Then... it’s pretty much five months until I come home again for Christmas break.”

And even though there were no promises in there, that was enough for me. Perhaps I was being naive. Perhaps I was being optimistic. Perhaps I was trying to read something into his words that were never there, but I clung onto each syllable like it was a lifeline.

I was so tired of swimming against the tide. So tired of drowning, and just keeping my head above water the whole time. I was willing to just grab onto his hand this time, and trust him like I did that first time he saved me.

Little did I know that I’d need saving again, sooner than I’d thought...

*****

Just over two weeks later, we were at Heathrow airport again. My heart was devastated to be saying goodbye again.

I’d checked in and had my boarding pass in hand. But it felt like a ticket to heartbreak, instead of home. Was it going to be like this, every time with us? Would we have to end again, every time we saw each other?

Much like the last time, we were standing quietly in each other’s embrace. It hurt to breathe just like it did the previous time. My lips even hurt when I tried to force out a smile. I was trying to memorize this moment, which was fast running out. I was trying to etch every contour of his face into my mind. I was trying to remember little things, that would make the memory seem more real when I looked back on it.

It felt too familiar to be saying goodbye like this. Even our words rang familiar between us, this time again. Because it always seemed to end the same with us, somehow.

“I’ll call,” he promised, and I just nodded, too sad to respond.

My heart was filled with words again that weighed too much, that weighed me down.

‘I love you, Knox Vaughn.’

“So this is goodbye again, Angel...” I whispered as a teardrop fell onto those angel wings, which had seen so many tears, but felt the vibration of so many deliriously happy contractions of my heart as well.

“Until we see each other again, Snow.”

We kissed like it was the apocalypse, and we’d never kiss again. Like we were trying to say everything without words. Like something was about to end.

“I’ve got to go...” I whispered against his lips, and he grazed his knuckles over my cheek and my lips, and I kissed them.

“It always seems to be the way with us that one of us has to leave,” he vocalized my exact thoughts, his eyes a swirling tempest of emotion - sadness most of all.

“Perhaps you just need to ask...” I said bravely, almost-sobbing before I had time to think about saying those words.

He sighed, looking as miserable as I felt. “Snow... you have to finish your studies. You’re so close. The time’s not right.”

I nodded and smiled, knowing that he was the rational one out of us right now.

But that was the thing about time. Sometimes you thought you had more, before you’d run out.

‘I love you, Knox Vaughn. With every single beat of my heart.’

And so, I was the one who left that day. But leaving was always foretold in the constellation of stars that we made ourselves. Because that was the kind of love we had - it burned bright in the sky, but in the furthest outposts of the cosmos, it was utterly cold at the same time.

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