She was so tired. All of her dreams seemed as far away as the stars. They'd driven all this way to sell the last of the cattle, and what they made wouldn't even be enough to keep the bank from foreclosing, let alone pay for her to attend college for even a semester. How was she supposed to make a better life for herself, like her mother wanted, if she couldn't even get off of the farm?
And James? Sometimes Libby felt as though she had known him her entire life, they fit together so well. He seemed to sense her emotions before she was even able to name them. He'd listened to her for hours as she talked about the life that she now was never going to live. He made her laugh, and held her when she cried more times this summer than she cared to remember. Libby had thought that James had somehow been sent to her, that her destiny might have been with him. She prayed that it was so, but those prayers had never been answered. He was so radiantly beautiful, so kind, and he wasn't interested in her at all. He'd never even tried to kiss her!
She realized that she was crying again, and she clenched her body tightly, so that James wouldn't hear her. And then his arms were around her, pulling her to him.
"Come here," he whispered, and just held her, stroking her hair softly.
Libby had no idea how long she cried. She had borne so many hurts this summer, big and small. She let herself grieve for all of them, as she never had before. And then the storm was past, and Libby felt empty. She took a shuddering breath, and let herself feel the strength of the arms wrapped around her.
Those arms anchored her, and even if there was nothing more to be had from those arms but strength, she would be grateful. Even if it broke her heart.
This is a continuation of the story I started here.
“What is happening to me happens to all fruits that grow ripe.
It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker, and my soul quieter.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche