The next time I awoke, it was to the tickle of Jared’s breath on my neck, the California sun trying valiantly to break through the curtains. It was managing little more than spilling through the cracks, though; proof that no matter how bright you shone there would always be impenetrable darkness.
I was careful not to move too much for fear of waking Jared, repositioning myself in his arms. For the first time in a week, Brielle did not cross my mind. I felt no guilt, no sorrow or remorse. I was simply existing for the sake of existing, and I had never felt so free.
There were no more flashbacks to be had. Brielle and my story had ended. Accepting that was the first step. The second step was finding a place where I could be happy without her. For now it was here in the embrace of a boy I barely knew yet felt so drawn to. I didn’t know where it might be next week, next month, next year. That didn’t matter.
Laying there I knew that it was time to stop planning my life and let it take its own course. Dread was right; there was an order to things that I may never understand. The world was a dark, dangerous, ruthless place.
Setting free the memory of the Brielle had released me in a way I hadn’t expected. Now that the bonds were severed, I could once again dare to flutter my wings against the wind, let it take me where it would.
I looked up at Jared, fell into his soft green eyes with a fragile smile. “Kind of. Just thinking.”
Warm lips pressed against my forehead. “Go back to sleep, Ruth. The world will still be turning in a few hours.” I nodded and let my own eyes drift shut. Even without seeing his face I knew the faint smile Jared would wear. Content.
He was right, of course. Life would keep on going, and we could only move on with it, into the arms and hearts of knew lovers, and try to find some peace.