If ever there had been a Romeo and Juliet in real life, Phaedra had not known it until she witnessed it firsthand in hers.
She was loved. And as great a feeling as that was, she’d never known it before, and she was scared of it, frightened of what that meant for her heart.
So she did what anyone would do. She ran. She hid herself away from Dane for months, refusing to take his calls for fear of the perceived power his voice held over her. The real power, she soon understood, was beyond either of them. But I’m so young. I’m not supposed to feel this way. Her thoughts drove her further and further from him until she finally realized that her hurt and pain was far beyond her fears.
And so, she decided to pay him a visit. But the warm welcome she was hoping for, the joy in his eyes she longed to see never came to pass, as Dane couldn’t even look at her, so thoroughly had she crushed his soul.
She knew she didn’t deserve his love now. Especially now. And, after a short time, she broke down – her knees buckling under the weight of her collapsing heart. Without his touch, there was no amount of consolation that could make her think otherwise, for she had just lost everything. The sheer power of her emotions, however, made her soon realize that this was far from over, because not even the greatest of love stories told of such power…of such a connection.
And they were connected, weren’t they? Her and Dane? But what did that mean?
She knew she had messed up. She knew she hurt him. But why did he have to be so cruel? Didn’t he realize how much it hurt her as well?
She loved him with all her heart. And it was all beyond her control for she had no choice, as he was chosen for her. Finally, with one last look, she left him there to his own devices, and sullenly left, soft-footed and heavy-hearted, as though a ghost.
It wasn’t but a few hours’ time that had passed before she got a call. As she looked down she saw it was Dane and her heart skipped. It rang, What if he just starts yelling at me? What if he’s still pissed off and refuses to hear me out? She answered it right before it went to voicemail.
“Hi Phaedra.” His voice was soft, gentle, and reassuring. There was a slight hint of annoyance or frustration, but he was trying to remind her how much he cared for her.
“I’m so sorry…” and the tears began to flow. She must have looked and sounded like an idiot to everyone around her, but in this moment, somehow, she forgot to care.
“Don’t be, I should have understood, I was just so frustrated and angry. Can you ever forgive me?” He was starting to choke up, she could hear it, and it broke her heart even more, but it also gave her hope, and she found a smile.
“There is nothing to forgive. I was so confused, so lost…” she hesitated a moment, “I was trying to figure out who I was, what happened. None of this makes any sense to me.”
“What do you mean?” Dane’s voice was so kind in this moment, and she held onto the sound of his voice – so strong, so passionate and loving.
Phaedra continued, “I…When you told me how you felt I realized I felt the same way…and it scared me.”
“I understand. I fought with myself for months, and I don’t know if I took a single breath when I decided to tell you…in many ways I feel like this is the first time I’ve been able to breathe since that day.”
“Why?” her voice was filled with sorrow at the sound of this confession.
“Because I can’t breathe without you.”
“I know what you mean. I need you, Dane. I can’t figure it out or explain it, but since the moment I saw you I knew…you’re meant to be important to me.”
She couldn’t explain it. But somehow, she knew he was smiling through his tears, she could feel him. In that moment, in some inexplicable way, she felt everything he had felt, and she was overwhelmed with passion. She could feel him within her now, and she was safe within his heart as well…
“Remember the letters we sent each other over the summer?” he asked.
Her tears began to well up again, “Of course,” she replied, and in that moment she knew all would be well.