A few days after Liam beat me and I broke up with him, he called me repeatedly. When I finally answered the phone to tell him to stop calling, he quickly began talking.
"Avery, listen, I know you're mad at me, but I wanted to tell you that I do love you. I love you so much, baby. Please come back to me," he rushed, almost stumbling over his words. "Please."
At first I was just going to hang up, but then I decided I needed to tell him the truth and make him leave me alone. "Liam, I've been through heartaches and mistakes. A lot of them. How many hits can I take? I'm tired of hurting and slowly learning. You're always irate, Liam. Look at the mess you've created and learn from it. I wanna break your heart too, lead you on and up to drop you, but I'm over it now. I'm done. You're too late, Liam."
There was a silence and then he hung up.
It was too late to be going back to him. It hurt that he thought I could be persuaded so easily too. I know that I did the right thing and that's all that mattered. I decided that today would be a good day to go out to the park and relax. There was a big hill there that was always fun to slide down when we were little. Now it became a sort of place to get rid of worries. The lake was better, but if you didn't want to be found, the hill was it. I climbed it and closed my eyes. I opened my arms out wide and relaxed. I felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
Next thing I knew, I was on my way to Dex's house and sneaking through his bedroom window in my skirt. He was half-asleep when I crawled in. He sat up and looked at me with confusion on his face. I crawled over the end of the bed and made my way to him. I straddled his lap and held his face in my hands.
"What's going on?" he asked, blinking slowly.
"I'm lonely," I whispered. "Can I spend the night?"
He rubbed his eyes. "Sure."
I kissed him gently on the lips and stared at his beautiful eyes. "Thank you."
Quietly he kissed me back and pulled me close to him. His hands ran along my back and under my shirt.
My head wasn't spinning but my heart was racing. I pulled at his shirt and got it over his head. As I reached to pull my own off, he stopped me.
"No. I can't do this right now. You're fresh out of an abusive relationship and I know you'll regret it later. As much as I love you and would like to sleep with you, I can't."
I nodded and lay beside him, resting my head on his chest. "I don't know what's gotten into me."
He kissed my head and wrapped his arms around me. "It's okay. Did something happen?"
"Liam called me. I told him I wouldn't be coming back to him," I sighed and closed my eyes. "I was strong this time, Dex. I said what I wanted to and didn't freak out about it. It felt good."
"I'm proud of you."
"I hope that he leaves me alone from now on."
"You've got me. I'll protect you. I promise."
The next few weeks involved school and then Christmas. We all were excited for the break we would get. Dex and I were going to go to the city to enjoy the Christmas set up they always put on. I'd never been in the maze though. It was something that frightened me a little. The idea of maybe getting lost was scary. If I was with Dex, I shouldn't even worry. I could trust him. For Christmas I'd gotten him a best friends forever necklace that locked with a necklace of my own. It was silver and had a thick chain. The pendant itself was a large circle plate with an indent. The metal wasn't polished, but on mine it was. When he opened it on Christmas Eve, minutes before we were supposed to go to the city, he smiled and put it on. I showed him mine and how they clicked together. The circle on my necklace was smaller and had the piece that connected with his.
"This is cool. Thanks, Avery," he grinned and hugged me. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah. Let's go!" I chirped, grabbing my coat.
We got in his car and headed off to the city. We sang along with Christmas music on the radio and smiled at fellow drivers on the road. It was such a wonderful night. Everyone was happy and friendly. It was weird that people couldn't always act like this. I wished they could. It would make things a lot easier for everyone and the world would be a better place.
When we reached the park, Dex parked swiftly and then hurried to open my door for me. We hadn't really talked about getting together since I had tried to have sex with him. I still don't know what had come over me. It was weird. It was as if I just didn't care anymore. Now that my head was clear, I couldn't imagine that I'd even tried to sleep with him.
We walked over to where the Christmas maze was and entered the beautifully lit hedges. They were extremely tall, you couldn't see over them at all. I wrapped my arm with Dex's and followed through the maze. We hit dead ends and I laughed as we bumped into other couples walking around. It was fun and sort of relaxing at the same time. We finally made our way to the middle of the maze and found a large gazebo in the center, decorated with Christmas lights. We entered the gazebo and watched as the snow began to fall.
"Dex! Snow!" I exclaimed excitedly, smiling at the white, icy flakes drifting downwards.
"I'm glad you're happy. I have something for you," he commented, pulling out a small box from his pocket.
I stared at it. "What is it?"
"Why don't you open it and find out, silly." He put it in my hand and watched as I opened it.
Inside the little box, there was a ring with a single pearl. It was beautiful and had a nice silver band. I looked up at him in disbelief. "Dex!"
He laughed and took the ring out. As he put it on my right ring finger, he told me it was a promise ring.
"A promise ring for what, Dex?" I stared at him, suspicious.
"A promise that I will never abandon you and always be there for you," he explained pulling me towards him. "It's also a promise that I will always love you."
I blushed. "Dex..."
"Hey, if I had wanted to marry you, I would've gotten on one knee and did it already. I know you'd never say yes though. So...yeah. I'm giving you this. I can't actually express enough how much you mean to me."
"You're a flirt."
"A good one."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
He kissed me on the cheek as we walked out into the snow. We made our way out of the maze and found ourselves in front of a hot chocolate stand. We bought some and sipped it as we walked around the park. It was nice to just stroll and enjoy the evening air as the snow fell silently through the night.