It’s been twelve months, almost to the day, and I had given up hope that he’d find me. I’m glad he didn’t until now.
I needed time to breathe, to learn how to be me without the added weight of expectation. And I needed time to forgive him.
So I came to Ireland, and I fell in love, knowing I’d never leave.
Not that I could anyway, considering I’m a fugitive.
Nicholas is standing a few paces away and he moves forward, not stopping until he’s directly in front of me. I breathe deeply, cinnamon and pine rushing through my senses and making my chest flip. It aches from missing him.
“Hi,” he says.
He sticks out his hand. “I’m Nicholas Tennyson Woodsworth.”
My throat swells, and I place my palm in his. Goose bumps race up my arms at the contact and I glance down at where we’re touching. “Kind of a long name.”
He laughs. “Are you gonna tell me yours?”
Shaking my head, I look up at him. “How do I know you’re not a stalker?”
“Oh, pretty girl.” He steps in close, threading his fingers through my hair and pulling me to him. I go willingly, sinking into his hold. “I’ll be whatever you want me to be.”
I press my head into his palm, bending slightly to slip my hand beneath my skirt and grab my brand-new gun. It isn’t rose gold, and it doesn’t have the memories, but it still does the job. I drag it up his torso and place it beneath his chin. “Give me your words, Nicholas. And maybe I’ll let you stay.”
His eyes flare.
“You do not know how longingly I look upon you. You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking.” He bends his head down and ghosts his lips across my cheek. “I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured.”
His nose rubs against mine, and my stomach flips and flies.
“You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me, I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only.”
His fingers move, tracing over my forehead, my nose, my cheeks. I close my eyes, the sound of the ocean almost as loud as the beat of my heart from where it pounds in my chest.
“You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return. I am not to speak to you. I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone.”
He wraps his hand around mine, moving the gun down until it’s at my side instead of under his chin.
“I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again.” His breath skims across my lips. “I am to see to it that I do not lose you.”
I look behind him, seeing the storm rolling in and a faint rainbow peeking from its edges and dipping into the water below.
“You know, for not believing in romance—”
“I’m so fucking in love with you, Eveline Westerly,” he cuts me off.
I grin, rising up on my tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips. “Every wretched piece?”
He brushes the hair back from my face. “Every single one.”
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