“You bring out some kind of storm in me,” I told him, ashes still dancing from the fires he set in my eyes. “I like that you didn’t run from it.”
“Run?” he repeated, startled. “Angel, I couldn’t turn away from this if I wanted to. I don’t think this is really a runner’s sport. Not anymore at least.”
“A walker’s sport then?” I asked, suggesting he might already have one foot out the door. I was only half-joking.
“No, a stayer’s sport.”
I smiled into his bare chest and felt relief soothe the itches of doubt that had crept into me and threatened to get in the way of everything. What a man, to stay and love me in the midst of all this. What a man, to ever claim me at all.
“I love you,” he whispered, and I almost couldn’t hear him. Rough fingertips softly stroked my spine. “Taylor, I love you, and that’s that.”
Wildflowers erupted to life in my lungs. Fires rekindled in my eyes. My beat-up tattered heart sprouted wings and floods of those feel-good drugs washed over everything else, wiping away fears from a long history of hurt. History doesn’t have to repeat itself, you know. Not always.
“That’s that,” I sighed audibly. “I love you, and that’s that.”