Chapter 25

Simone's mind stoppped fuctioning. There he goes again with the whole I-Love-You thing again. "Zac, you don't love me,"

He nodded. "Yes, I do."

"No, you don't."

"Sim -- I know how I feel."

"But I'm telling you how I feel. You don't love me."

"I'm so confused," he admitted. Simone felt a tug of resentment for what was going on. She resented Zac for letting himself do what he did with her. She resented him for not calling her while she was in the hospital. She resented Taylor for fighting with Zac when he found out about it. She resented their parents for purchasing that huge book case that had fallen on her. She resented herself for being drunk that night.

"You don't love me. You can't love me. Do you want to know how I know this?" she asked him. As she expected, Zac shook his head, eagerly awaiting to hear her answer. Her eyes began to tear up and her voice choked on her next words. "Because I don't love you."

Zac flinched at her words. She knew that they hurt him because they caused her a great amount of pain to say. He blinked his eyes several times before responding.

"Wha?" was all he managed to utter out. He stood up and with his head to his forehead, he walked dizzily out of the room.

"Zac," she called after him, the tears really starting to build up. Her throat was burning because she wanted to let herself cry, but she was forcing herself not to. He didn't turn around at the sound of her call. Instead, he put his hand up, giving her a talk-to-the-hand signal and he continued to walk out, not looking back.

Once alone, Simone brought her hands to her face and allowed the tears to flow freely down her cheeks. If she didn't love him, when why was she so upset? Suddenly, she gasped as she sat up straight. The tears stopped and she wiped the dampness away from her face. She needed Taylor. This whole event just proved that she couldn't live without him. She then remembered a saying that her mother always used to say: don't marry a man you can live with; marry the man you can't live without. She could live with Zac, however, it was Taylor that she could not live without.

Feeling incredibly strong for what had just happened and for the thoughts that she just processed, she pushed herself to a standing position from her wheelchair. The burning that tingled throughout her legs ached her, but she continued. Slowly and steadily, she walked. When she came to the door of the living room, she rested a few seconds to catch her breath. She didn't realize that learning to walk again could take so much out of you.

She reached the stair case and looked up the dreaded thing. Why were there so many steps?? One foot ahead of the other and very slowly, she made her way up the stair case. She felt slightly faint when she reached the top and gripped the banister tightly, telling herself to keep going. Only 10 more paces and you're there.

As she pushed open the door to her and Taylor's bedroom, she smiled. He was lying on their bed, holding an acoustic guitar in his lap, strumming thoughtfully and softly humming. She held onto the wall to help support herself. She felt the feeling that told her that it was Taylor. Then she realized that she had made the right decision when she told Zac that she didn't love him. Taylor was the only person that she ever loved and is the only person that her heart is capable of loving.

"Taylor," she murmured. He looked up, surprised to see her standing, then broke out into a proud, contented smile. That smile reassured her that he would always be there for her and love her no matter what. He got up and hurried to her side. He could see the exhaustion and fatigue in Simone's eyes. Lifting her into his arms, he carried her and laid her onto the bed.

"Congradulations," he whispered before kissing her gently on the forehead. "But you shouldn't have done that, you could have fallen."

"I wanted to see you, so I walked. It felt so amazing. I can walk again," she said breathlessly. He nodded his head and wiped a tear that slipped down her cheek. She hadn't even realized that she was crying.

"I love you, Simone Reid," he told her, taking her hands into his and kissing them.

"No, you love Simone Hanson," she said, pulling her necklace out from under her shirt and displayed her ring. Taylor smiled an incredible smile.

"I love you, Simone Hanson," he corrected himself, making her smile along with him.

"And I love you, too," she told him, revealing the 100% truth. She felt as though this were the first time she's said it and actually meant it. "We'll live happily ever after, won't we?"

"I'll try my damnedest to make it that way," he promised her. Their lips met.

"If not, Zac will always be there for me," she said.

Taylor chuckled and she laughed along with him, glad that he took it as a joke.

"Yeah, right, over my dead body," Taylor finally concluded, rolling over to lie beside her. Staring at the ceiling, their fingers entwined.

"Know what we need?" Simone broke the silence.

"What's that?"

"A ceiling fan," she said, looking over at his reaction. He was smiling. She knew he was thinking about their first night together.

"I think you're right," he agreed, still smiling.

* * *

His eyes fell upon the pull string of her ceiling fan.

“You still have it.” He said. She followed his gaze to the ring. She smiled.

“Yeah.” She said. She had to keep it there to remind her of everything, everything they shared. She needed to see it everyday to tell herself that their relationship wasn't a dream. Simone knew what Taylor was thinking and he knew what she was thinking. Taylor stood from the desk chair, went over to the bed and kneeled beside her. ...

He reached up and took the ring from the ceiling fan, then placed it on her left ring finger. Tears built up in her eyes.

“Taylor,” she whispered, then looked into his eyes. “Why did we break up in the first place?”

“I don’t know. I was stupid and I wasn’t thinking. Forgive me? Are we back?” he asked. Simone nodded, then closed her eyes as their lips touched.

The End