A Clip from Chapter 18
I lift my head so that I can see her. Her eyes are closed. Strands of her hair are falling over her face and onto my chest. She looks peaceful. It’s a sharp contrast to the dark-clouded storm brewing above us.
“Are you sleeping?” I ask.
“But you just answered me.”
I smile and let my head rest back on the wooden boards of the dock again.
“My heart’s awake,” she mumbles, just loud enough that I can hear it.
I lift my head, rest my eyes on her face and just watch her.
“My heart’s awake, daydreaming of you,” she adds.
I pause, my head suspended in the air, my thoughts suspended in time. And then, I smile. I smile and lay my head back down. I don’t know if she really is sleeping or if she knows what she just said, but it doesn’t matter.
“I love you, Vannah,” I whisper.
I can hear leaves in the catalpas around us swooshing, their branches bending back and forth in the wind. I can hear the weather shifting. But mostly, I just hear my heart beating.
“I love you, too.”
It’s just a soft whisper, but I hear it, loud and clear. I close my eyes and let her words get swept up in the hot and cool air swirling around us. They tickle my skin and then fly up and brush past the willows’ arms, swaying to and fro. They’ll soon be lost, but I’ll remember them. And I’ll remember this moment. And mostly, I’ll remember her...always.