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Thirty-Seven

  Noticing the worry in his eyes, I gasped. “Jesus, that sounded really bad, didn’t it? No, no no! That is so not what I meant. I didn’t- ah, I am completely messing this up,” I said, throwing my hand against my head, resulting in an echoing slapping noise, followed by a rush of pain. “Aggghh!” I cried, massaging my temples gently.

           He looked relieved, but he also looked like he was about to double over laughing. I waved my finger at him. “Hey, this is so not funny!”

Roman

           I breathed a sigh of relief. “No, but… What are you talking about? I wasn’t worried at all,” I bluffed.

           “You’re such a bad liar.”

           I grinned and shrugged. “But we do need to talk. You’re right. What I didn’t say the other night-“

           “Last night,” she interrupted.

            Last night? Was it really just yesterday that we’d been preparing that fruit salad? I wondered. “Yeah, last night. It’s just…” I ran my hands through my hair. She rolled off my lap, allowing me to sit up. I put my arm around her shoulders. “It’s just… hard for me, you know? I… Ava, you look a lot like Natalie. A lot. You guys could’ve been twins if…”

           She suggested, “We were born in the same century? If we were the same species?”

           I nodded curtly, “Yeah, that. And… Maybe that’s the reason I fell for you in the first place, but now you’ve got me thinking… What if I never really loved Natalie? What if I just thought I loved her because I was supposed to? Or because I didn’t know what love was? I mourned her for centuries, and then you just show up in my life, and… Ava, I love you. I love you so much, you don’t even know. It absolutely breaks my heart when I see you with Alex or Jace. Just a smile their way, and I’m completely destroyed. But that’s not even the point. The point is… the feelings I have for you terrify me. I love you. And I’ve never loved before.” I pecked her cheek. “Because I love you so much, you have such control over my life- my heart- that it’s frightening. I am honestly terrified that someone else can manipulate me like that. I trust you, Ava. I trust you, but I know that you have feelings for two other guys… And I get that. I understood those implications- or at least with Jace- the first time we kissed. But the truth? The truth is that I was in love with you the day I set eyes on you in the middle of the park. Maybe I didn’t let myself admit it until now, but I love you. I can’t stop saying it. I just… I love you so much, and it’s so hard for me.” Tears. ShitDon’t cry, I warned myself. The tears fell anyway. “It’s hard for me to d-deal with th-this. It’s like my past has come back to haunt me, and my future is so dependant on you, that I barely have time to juggle all of it with the present, and I don’t-“

           She shushed me, placing a finger over my lips. I glanced her way. “I love you too, Roman.”

Ava

       Every word out of his mouth warmed my heart. It was practically melting by the end of his little speech, which is why I stopped him. Of course, that needed to be said, too.

           He just stared blankly at me, like he didn’t know what to say. As if I’d said it all.

           He threw his arms around me and pulled me closer to him, planting his lips on mine.

            

           And I had absolutely no problem with that. Everything seemed completely perfect, just the way it was.

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