What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 25

Scout didn’t cry. She thought she was in shock at the fact that Lucky had broken up with her. When she asked him why he kept saying it wasn’t working. He needed to focus on recovering and couldn’t balance it all. Scout just couldn’t compute it all and left for her Dad’s place.

Jim was more than surprised to see her rock up on the doorstep at 8PM and she couldn’t bring herself to tell him why. She just said that she needed some time away from the flat. Scout spent most of the night awake, running over the little fights they’d had. There’d been nothing series. She knew they’d both been snappy but it hadn’t been raging arguments. Everything felt like it was going as smooth as could be expected given the circumstances.

She didn’t buy it. She didn’t buy the fact that he suddenly thought this wasn’t working. Scout didn’t buy his bullshit excuses. Lucky was not walking away from this.

“Hello?” Lucky came out of the living room and looked surprised to see Scout in the flat. “Scout. Have you come to pick up your things?”

She ignored him and breezed through to the kitchen where she took things out of the bag and put them in cupboards.

“What are you doing?” Lucky asked. “Can you do this later? I’m a little tired.”

The last item Scout took out of the bag was a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. She ripped the stupid little plastic seal off and tossed it on the counter before she pulled a spoon out of the drawer and slammed it shut. Scout moved pas Lucky who was stood in the doorway and walked into the living room before she took her usual spot on the sofa.

“Scout… what are you doing?”

“I’m about to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy. You can join in if you want.” Scout took the lid off the ice cream and jammed the spoon in. The tub hadn’t softened yet so she had to fight to get the first spoonful.

“Scout… I… we…”

“We what, Lucky?” Scout turned her head to look at him before stuffing the spoon in her mouth. Now that she looked at him properly she could see he hadn’t shaved for a few days and his eyes were a little bloodshot.

“We aren’t together anymore.” He said the words quietly and Scout felt that painful ache which made her wonder if she was on the urge of a heart attack.

“Nice try. You’re cute but that’s not going to work,” she told him.

“What?”

“We are not broken up.” She lifted her feet and put them on the table in front of her before digging back into the tub that was freezing her left hand.

“I’m sorry?”

“Oh, baby. You don’t have to apologise.” Scout stuffed the spoon in her mouth and looked at Lucky again. The poor guy looked so confused.

“I’m not sure I understand…”

“I’m calling your bullshit, Lachlan. There is no way we are breaking up. I don’t believe your reasoning behind it.”

Lucky narrowed his eyes and came towards her. Scout’s courage wavered a little. Maybe this was exactly what he wanted. Maybe she had this all wrong and Lucky was done with her.

“Scout. We are over. Done. Dead in the water.” But as he said it his voice wobbled and she clung to the little hope it gave her.

“Lucky, if you want me to leave, you better get on the phone to a priest because you’re going to need an exorcism to get rid of me.”

He let out a frustrated growl. “Why do you never listen properly?”

“I do when you talk sense. I’ve learned to tune you out when you chat shit.”

“I am not chatting shit!”

“Yes, you are!” The voices were starting to rise, and she could hear the blood pounding in her ears.

“You are one of the most infuriating people I’ve ever met!”

“We’re a cosy club of two then, aren’t we?”

“Jesus, Scout! Just go to London already!”

Scout blinked at him. “What?” The fire in her was doused momentarily as she tried to wrap her head around what he just said.

“Go to London, Scout. You can’t be stuck here nursing me. It’s going to take time. It’s… just… I can’t keep holding you back.”

Scout took her feet off the table and put the tub and spoon down as she sat up straight. “You aren’t holding me back.”

Lucky looked exhausted all of a sudden and he moved to sit himself on the arm of the chair. “Yes, I am.”

“No, you aren’t.”

Scout knew from the moment Lucky got his diagnosis that things would change. Maybe she didn’t understand just how much but she knew they would. Somewhere deep inside she knew that the year mark was no longer a goal. He would have surgery, chemotherapy and another surgery. Recovery would take time. Life was working on its own schedule, not Scout’s and she was fine with that.

“I know you got offered a job, Scout.”

“How the… Dad.”

Jim went around to see Lucky after his chemotherapy session. He must have told him about the phone call. Scout hadn’t told Jim she was going to decline the position. She also hadn’t expected him to shoot his mouth off but that was an oversight on her part because Jim was a proud parent.

“Raw talent,” Lucky whispered.

“I’m not taking the job, Lucky.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want it.”

“Because of me?”

“No, not because of you.”

“Okay, so you fell in love with Swansea again?”

“Kind of.” It wasn’t a lie. She had been slowly falling in love with her city again with Lucky by her side. She’d learned to appreciate the fact that it wasn’t so busy and was filled with friendly places. She loved the fact the beaches were so close and there were a number of amazing views.

“You need to go home, Scout.”

“This is my home.” Scout could feel herself getting upset. She didn’t want him to know about the job in London. She wouldn’t have told him because there was nothing to tell. “You are home, Lucky.” She felt her voice catch in her throat where a lump sat. This time she couldn’t swallow it and her eyes burned with tears that well up all too quickly and spilled over. She rested her elbows on her knees and put the heels of her palms into her eyes, trying to stop herself from crying.

The sofa sank on her left as Lucky sat down next to Scout and pulled her into him. She resisted a little but then gave up and curled into his chest and cried. He leaned back so they were both resting against the sofa and she shifted a little to make herself comfortable against him. Lucky rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head, letting her cry.

“Please don’t leave me,” she whispered through tears.

“I don’t want to, Scout. I just don’t want you to miss out on your dreams because of me.”

“I’m not, Lucky. She moved her head from the crook of his neck to look up at him properly.

“You have one hell of an opportunity, Scout. You should go for it.”

“I don’t want it.”

“You can’t mean that.”

“I don’t want it as much as I want you. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

They were quiet for a little while and Scout’s mind whirred in the silence before she eventually broke it. “You said to Scott that one day I’d find a man that I would make time for.”

“Scout…”

“Please listen to me. I want to make time for you, Lucky. I’m not giving up on my dream, no matter what you think. I’m just postponing things. My dream changed a little, Luck. It’s still to dance but you’re in the picture now and if you don’t mind I’d like to keep you there.”

“I don’t want you to resent me.”

“I don’t and I won’t.”

“I’ve been a right asshole lately, Scout.”

“I know.”

Lucky barked out a laugh and the knots in her stomach eased. “I want to be the person you deserve but I’m so worried I’m just ruining it all.”

“You’re ruining it by trying to break up with me.”

Lucky took her face in both of his hands. “Promise me. Promise me that you want this and you aren’t just staying to make me happy.”

Her hands covered him and she looked straight into his eyes. “Babe, I’m not doing this to make you happy. I’m doing this because I love you and sometimes love makes our priorities change.”

“We’re just postponing our plans,” he echoed.

“London is still on the cards but we just need to get you better again.”

Lucky pulled Scout’s face to him and kissed her deeply. When they broke apart she was crying again.

“I’m sorry, Scout. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“It’s fine. I don’t know. I’ve been wanting to cry a lot lately.” She curled back into his chest, feeling utterly exhausted.

“I’m sorry, love. I know it’s all been a lot and… and I’ve been pretty selfish.”

“You haven’t. I can understand, Luck. I know what it feels like watching you go through it and I still can’t imagine what it would be like having to go through it.”

Lucky kissed the top of her head. After a few moments of silence he spoke to her quietly. “I’d need an exorcism to get rid of you?”

“It was the best analogy I could come up with under the circumstances.”

“Sometimes I would love to know how that brain of yours works.”

They spent the evening curled up together on the sofa. Scout clung to him, needing to feel Lucky close by. She had only ever been scared of one person leaving her life and that was Jim. Even now, she hated to think about what would happen in the future as he got older. Now, Scout realised that she’d added another person to that list. She didn’t want to imagine what life would be like without Lucky.

“You do love me, right?” she asked him. Part of her just wanted to make sure he hadn’t changed his mind.

“More than you know, Scout. Please don’t doubt it. I’m a dumbass. You know this.”

“I do.” Scout squeezed him a little and took in a deep breath, taking in the characteristic scent of old books and leather. Lachlan James was a dumbass but he was all hers.

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