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sweet and steady hearts

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Taylor used to love falling in love. Falling, not being, because while being in love might be the most wondrous and miraculous feeling possible, it was the process of getting there that she truly adored. The slow build, the vague light-headedness, the giddy anticipation crescendoing like a million butterflies inside her chest, the sleepless nights wondering what if?

It was glorious, she thinks, but she looks back now and sees a girl who didn't know what she wanted, a girl so desperate for the grand dramatic idea that she didn't see what was right in front of her.

She doesn't miss that girl, but she doesn't blame her. She was younger, more naïve, trying so very hard to find her way in a world that sometimes felt beyond overwhelming.

And things are different, now. Because now there's Karlie, and with Karlie there was no desperate, head-first tumble, no tortured, agonised songs.

Karlie was never some aloof, mysterious stranger that Taylor had to figure out how to impress. Karlie was only ever herself, a person who smiled, and said, "Hi," and took Taylor's hand.

And Taylor felt her chest crack open, every last echo of uncertainty falling away to be replaced by something endless and warm, something like sunshine.

Something that was, for the very first time, real.

"You awake?" Karlie murmurs, and Taylor doesn't reply, but Karlie laughs softly, sleepily, and kisses Taylor's shoulder.

"Stop thinking," she says, pulling Taylor closer. "Sleep," she says, and Taylor closes her eyes.