All These Years

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Chapter 13

The way he calls me Love, has my stomach doing flips. We sit on the couch and turn on a movie but neither of us is paying attention to it. We have more than enough conversation to keep us busy. We try our best to get as caught up on six years worth of our separate lives. As I listen to him talk about his close relationship with Finn, Hampton, and his twin sister Harley, jealousy coils its way into my gut. I hate that I have missed out on so much of his life when we had at one time been so close. The movie lulls in the background as the night wears on.

" Tell me about your ex,” Shane says barely above a whisper.

“Why?” Those years were bad for me. I wasn’t myself, I was desperate to feel loved and needed. I hated myself for it. I tugged my hair into a bun and sighed.

" Because I know you, well, the old you. And I know that the old Thea would never allow someone to treat her like that. I need to know what caused it.” Silence settles between us as I think about his words. Finally, he breaks the silence, his steel bluish-grey eyes locking with mine “I need to know it wasn’t because of me.” Despair drips off his words and I know he’s blaming himself.

" Shane, I don’t know what you really want me to say. I hurt for a long time missing you. It changed how I accepted love. I knew what I had with Jason wasn’t love, but I felt like what choice did I have? You didn’t want me. I didn’t want to actually love anyone else.”

His hand slowly finds mine. I notice how his palms are rough in certain spots and I silently wonder if it was from years of pulling a gun like he had that snowy night he had taken me back to his office. He stares at our hands laced together for a moment before making their way, slowly, up my body to meet my eyes. The air between us is heated I never want him to stop looking at me like is he at this moment.

I watch his jaw clench like he’s thinking, then he takes his hand from mine and shifts his body on the couch so he’s facing me more. Everything is moving in slow motion and my heart is racing. Slowly he cages me between his muscular arms. I follow his movements and lean back against the arm of my couch as he leans over me. He holds his weight with one hand against the back of the couch and the other next to my face on the arm of the couch. I force my eyes to focus on him as he slowly lowers his lips to my neck.

His lips are fire against my skin. Lighting tiny fires as he trails up my neck to my ear. I can’t breathe. He leans back to look me in the eyes then moves one hand to cup my face and tilt it up towards him. I count the seconds till his lips touch mine.

1 second, I’ve waited for this moment for so long
2 seconds, I can’t believe it is actually happening now
3 seconds, just kiss me already damn it

Finally, after what feels like forever our lips met and I know this is all I’ve ever wanted. This is what I’ve waited for. He kisses me so lightly and my eyes flutter closed. I lean forward needing more of him and he responds by winding his hand in my hair as he kisses me deeper. I never want to come up for air if this is what kissing Shane Dillinger is going to be like. He starts to pull away and I’m instantly aware of everywhere our bodies no longer touch.

" I should go Thea.” he sighs trying to compose himself I assume. He runs his hands over his jeans and stands, heading to the door.

" Shane, there’s something I need to tell you.” He leans against the door and looks at me so intently I almost lose my nerve, “I appreciate that you’ve fought all this time to keep me safe and out of your world, I truly do. But now, I want to make my own decisions,” I pause and take a deep breath before I continue, “I know I’m making the right decision because I have known life without you and I can’t do that anymore. I know what you do and I know the risks. I’m choosing you, Shane, I’m choosing your life and I’m choosing everything about it. I want you and that’s all that matters.”

He pushes off the door and quickly closes the gap between us and kisses me like he is making up for all the lost time.

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