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A Kiss to Keep
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It started with a kiss. A single kiss that shook me to my core. A kiss to silence me, and a kiss to numb the pain.
A Kiss to Keep is an extension of Chloe and Sebastian’s story, A Kiss to Tell. Although it can be read on its own, it’s recommended you start with A Kiss to Tell.
A Kiss to Keep is a 15k novellette extension of Chloe and Sebastian’s story, A Kiss to Tell. Although it can be read on its own, it’s recommended you start with A Kiss to Tell.
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I remember the hum of the engine. It’s funny how that’s what stayed with me all this time. We took off in the shadows of the night, with what little bit we had that was worth taking with us and we drove away as fast as we could.
We didn’t stop running, not for a long time, and I didn’t have to ask him why.
No one leaves that place and gets away with it.
Crescent Hills is nothing but sin and misfortune. It’s designed to keep every soul trapped there in a fog of devastation. I grew up surrounded by violence and agony. Living in fear and in anger. The constant turmoil kept me fighting, but I knew I would never be anything more than a name on its list of victims. That’s the truly unfortunate part. I never wanted to call it home, but back then, I knew I’d never have another.
He was always the only one for me, because he stained my lips with his and scarred my skin with his burning touch before I ever considered letting a boy touch me. Well, any boy other than him. No one else could have compared.
It all started with a kiss.
He followed me behind our high school. I didn’t know it and I never would have guessed he felt even a fraction of what I’d felt for him. He had to have though, because that unfortunate day, I turned around after crying so hard and there he was. I was embarrassed to be inside with the other kids, so I hid outside, trying to suppress the shameful tears. The second I heard him, the second I turned around to see who’d followed me, Sebastian pushed my back against the brick wall and crushed his lips against mine.
Stunning me. Stealing my breath from me. Forcing me to think of him. Which was worlds better than being consumed with the tragedy that plagued me. That moment changed everything.
Because he kissed me, and I never forgot that kiss.
Because I took his hand and he led me away.
A sad smile plays at my lips as I rest my cheek against the cold glass. It was freezing cold when we ran away over a decade ago. We were barely more than kids then. Time’s changed us so much. But it can’t change everything.
It’s fitting that it’s bitter cold now that we’re returning.
Now that we’re going back into the nightmare.
“I never thought we’d go back,” I whisper into the silent cabin of the car. The stereo works just fine, but I can’t stomach the idea of music right now. I don’t want to ruin any songs with this ominous day, knowing they’ll be forever associated with this memory.
Bastian lays his hand on my thigh, and I merely glance at his touch, ignoring his warmth when he tells me, “I didn’t either.”
I think he just says what he thinks I want to hear.
I think he knew one day, he’d be drawn back to this life.
“I love you,” he tells me in a rough voice, one that’s been silent for hours. My sad smile lifts just slightly, and I lay my hand on top of his although I don’t want to.
I love him, but I hate this place.
He says we’re coming home.
But this was never my home.
I don’t say “I love you” back. And Bastian doesn’t react when I don’t. That’s what hurts the most. He knew what this would do to us.
And he did it anyway.
We’ve been driving for days now. The snow’s barely slowed us down. The prolonged silence, however, makes every minute seem longer than it is.
The closer we get, the faster the snow falls though. And we’re close now. I know we are. I recognize these streets, even the backroads that have no names.
The air has changed, and it makes my stomach churn harder every time I breathe in.
“So you had a good time then?” I ask Bastian, picking at some barely perceptible fuzz on my sweater. My heart ticks faintly in my chest, almost like it’s afraid to really beat and pump life through me. Instead it’s this timid movement, leaving me counting the seconds until things are right again.
Clearing his throat, he shrugs. The motion draws up his jacket, pulling it tighter around his shoulders as he turns the wheel and the car takes a left down a back alley.
It takes real effort not to close my eyes as we pass the bar. A bar I know so well and wish I didn’t.
Everything is different, yet it’s all painfully familiar.
The sign looks worn and old, but even when I was a child, it looked just the same. Ragged and decrepit. Time’s aged it, but not enough to really change it.
“It was a good week,” he finally answers me, and his answer pulls my gaze from the gutters full of dirty snow to his steely blue eyes. “I’m sorry I had to go so quick and for so long. I missed you though,” he adds with a warmth in his voice that travels straight to my veins.