By @UnmaskedDreams


By @UnmaskedDreams

When tragedy strikes, the hardest part of moving on is learning to forgive yourself.

Chapter 23


Halcyon — “happy, sunny, carefree”

Four months after camp


               Alyssa stopped mid-step at the sound of voice she hadn’t heard in months calling her name.

               “Hey,” Will greeted as he caught up to her.

               Unlike the last time she had seen him, the weight on his shoulders seemed to be lighter. Not gone, but definitely lighter.

               Despite the slight awkwardness in her, she found it easy to smile at him. “How are you?”

               He grinned. “A bit busy with work. But I’m good. You?”

               She tilted her head. “So, work’s been the reason I haven’t been seeing you around.”

               He nodded. “Did you miss me?”

               She stared, unsure how to answer the question.

               He grimaced, realizing what he had said. “I’m sorry.”

               “I did,” she said quietly.


               “I did miss you,” she clarified.

               A small smile tugged on his lips. “I did, too.” He paused. “I’m sorry.”

               “For what?” she asked confused.

               “For being AWOL the past months?”

               “You don’t need to explain anything to me,” she told him.

               He shook his head. “I do.” He swallowed. “What I did was unfair.” He paused. “After what you told me at camp and after seeing what was in Kade’s USB, I realized I needed professional help. So, I’ve been seeing a therapist for the past months.”

               Alyssa smiled. “That’s good.”

               He smiled. “I’ve been meeting with my therapist at least a week. One of the things we talked about was understanding my own emotions and healing past hurts. He reminded me I needed to be okay by myself before I could involve myself with someone else.” He met her gaze. “I’m sorry. I’ve been unfair to you. I feel like I played with your emotions and left you in the air.”

               “It’s fine, Will,” she reiterated. “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

               He shook his head. “It’s not fine. Simply sending you gifts in silence – I’d like to make it up to you.”

               “No,” Alyssa told him. “You don’t have anything to make up for.”

               He studied her for a moment. Suddenly, he held out a hand for her to shake. “Hi, I’m Will.”

               She raised an eyebrow but went along with it anyway. “Nice to meet you, Will. I’m Alyssa.”

               “I hope this will be the beginning of a good friendship.”

               She grinned at him. “I believe this will be a beautiful start for us both.”

               He smiled at her – a real one this time. One she had never seen before. “I do, too.”

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