Coming back is so much harder then she’d imagined. As they’d disembarked she’d clung to Dean because as crazy as it sounded Dean had become her strength. She finds she is terrified of what they are about to face because she doesn’t even feel like the same person anymore so how is she supposed to just forget everything that’s happened to them? She can’t even see through all the chaos and camera flashes, had forgotten how bright the real world was. It is Dean’s firm hold that tugs her along and she would follow him anywhere now so even though she is blinded she trots down the steps alongside him.
When she loses that anchor, even though she can feel her family around her, she is adrift and her hand gropes frantically before someone else grabs it and it may be firm and reassuring too but Lizzie is not Dean. Where was Dean? She’s feeling adrift and tries to glance around only to be blinded once more. When her family close ranks and steer her away she follows because isn’t this what she’d wanted? But where was Dean? Was he ok? Because she had a sneaking suspicion that she in fact is not.
They were too young to be in love. That is what she’d told herself when the fantasy they were in made her dream beautiful dreams of the boy and a baby and more love then she could handle. Stop making it more then it is she’d insisted to herself. The reality was their extended vacation would end, they had to go back, and when they did this would be over. Dean wasn’t a commitment kind of guy and she knew that. Not to mention her parents would never allow this, it would interfere too much with their plans. Her plans? She isn’t sure anymore.
They’d first taken her to their family physician for a checkup. Of course they’d been seen before being cleared to fly home but mom was insistent so she’d allowed the prodding even with as tired as she was. Found herself wondering where Dean is again. How Dean is. The private moment when the doctor had asked too many pointed questions and been assured that yes she’d been checked and no she was not was mortifying. The more mental stability oriented questions also make her skin crawl because she felt like a bug under a microscope so finally getting his clearance is a relief and she just wants to go home but kind of wants Dean more.
She realized only when she’s finally alone that she doesn’t even have his phone number. It hadn’t mattered where they’d been. It isn’t panic because she knows that would be an overreaction but it feels sort of like that. When he knocks on her window, yes she is on Facebook like she says but she’s trying desperately to find a way to contact him. The intensity of having him back so close to her sets her aflame and stuns her because they are too young to be in love but her body screams at how close he is and it’s the first time since she’s been back that she feels safe. That’s why she panics and avoids him.
He isn’t in the plan. She isn’t allowed to deviate from the plan and she knows this. The perfect life had been laid and this blip could not be allowed to ruin it. Except all those dreams feel more like expectations now because her dreams are simpler with a sweet little infant that has brown curls and Deans smile. How could she even consider throwing all her hard work away? She feels guilty and scared and avoids him even as it breaks her. Worse, she can see what she’s done to Dean. She’d told herself he wasn’t serious about her but he’d tried so hard, came towards her like drawn by a magnet no matter where they were. Begged her with his gorgeous eyes and hot glances that she didn’t dare to hold.
Stepping back into her life is impossible. She’d tried very hard to be what was expected, what she’d been before but all she really wanted was Dean and everything her dreams promised. Stepping out into the rain is easy, the same gentle assurance in those eyes that's always been there. They are dripping wet, and he’s only looked better back on their island, and she can hardly wait to touch him. It’s been so long since she’s touched him. She doesn’t care what he says so she kisses him and thinks that this is love, this is perfect, and she’d have been a fool to throw it away.
He curls around her as they sway and she clings tightly to this moment because she’d almost been foolish enough to lose him. “I'm so sorry Dean.”
“No, please, let me finish. I’m not brave like you are, not strong and sure of myself and who I am. I’m terrified of this because now we’re back in this world and it won't be just us. I’m scared because we are young and dumb and everything I thought I wanted feels wrong without you there. I thought we were too young to be in love.”
“And now?” There is that dangerous gleam in his eye, the same one he’d get every time he had her gasping for him.
“Now I know we're too young and this won’t be easy but I want to be with you Dean, wherever or whatever that means because I love you.”
“Was that so bad?” But he’s smirking as water runs in rivulets down his face, has never looked more perfect. They are finally together and she’s wrapped in him and it’s so much but not enough.
“I love you Emmaline. Emma.” She is smiling, and crying, and kissing him because it’s everything she wants, and she just knows her dreams will come true as long as they’re together. At some point they barely even sway anymore, wrapped up in one another and the building familiar heat. HIs strong hand envelopes her own and soon he’s tugging her along again and it’s like all that time in between is gone. She’ll still follow him anywhere and they go, running through the rain with wide grins and glowing eyes.