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She was glowing from an unexpected bout of happiness, and for a brief moment, the world did not matter. At that moment, nothing mattered. Just the peace she felt within. Every interaction with him made her happy, and she wasn’t sure if he knew. He made her happy. Thinking about him made her grin. Browsing the pictures he sent on her phone made her heart race. Nothing was perfect about him, and it was those imperfections that she loved the most. He was not hiding, not holding back. He was real, raw – there. He was a unique man, and somehow he had found her. And she couldn’t imagine a life without him anymore. He made her feel safe and understood. He made her feel loved.

Their call had ended moments ago, and like a lovesick teenager, she sat on her bed, thinking about the way he made her comfortable, the way he made her laugh, the way he had succeeded in getting her out of her shell. She was a woman in her mid-thirties, she had a job, kids, a home, and yet, he made her feel young again. He reminded her of how it felt to be in love.

Some days, she was scared to be hurt, but that fear was meaningless compared to the fear of hurting him without intent. Her past had been hard here and there, but she was able to handle it most days. Did that make her strong? She preferred not to think about it, not since someone had called her weak in every aspect of her life. He had a past life too. He was damaged and bruised, sometimes even bleeding. There wasn’t anything she could change about it; she could only be there and hold him through the bad times. Both of them were broken, but somehow, together, they were whole again.

Next to her, her phone was ringing. It was him again, and the butterflies in her stomach spread their wings again. It was his second call in the same hour.

“Me again. I just forgot to say, I like you. A lot. I like you.”

Before she could reply, he had disconnected the call. And the smile on her face grew even wider. She shook her head. Had this really happened? She laughed out loud, a bubbly happy sound she couldn’t prevent from filling her empty room. She held her phone close to her heart and waited a moment before sending a text message to him.

She liked him too. A lot. She didn’t want to admit it out loud, but he was her last thought at night and her first in the morning. She missed him when he was not there and worried when he was not well. She broke out in internal happy dances when he sent texts or pictures, and with every call, every meaningless and every meaningful conversation, he got a little deeper under her skin.

With a deep worried breath, she realised that a piece of her heart belonged to him, and she had no idea how and when it had happened.

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