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and the world turned

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If asked, Juliette wouldn't be lying when she says she loves her husband completely. He's never broken his promise to be a doting, faithful husband and she could easily spend forever with him. He's a spring vacation to somewhere warm, sipping mojitos on a sandy, white beach and a candlelit bath at night.

But Tareq... what she feels for Tareq is different. She doesn't love him, but there's something deep in her core that burns for him. He's dancing at midnight on a rooftop after she's snuck out and then swimming in an unfamiliar ocean in her party dress.

She had forgotten what passion felt like until him. He ignited something in her and suddenly, she was letting him whisk her away to stay up all night and watch the sun rise over the pyramids. He made her feel alive again and gave her a renewed appreciation for the breath she had taken for granted every day.

She'll never be able to thank him properly for Cairo.

She believes in soul mates, but not in the widely understood definition of the term. She thinks he might be one of hers. She doesn't believe in the idea of "you complete me and it's our destiny to end up together forever." Instead, to her, a soul mate can be a someone you've never talked to, but you see in the coffee shop every morning before and you can just feel them in your bones. Just an unspeakable connection that runs unusually deep, something out of your control. She's felt it before, twice. That's what Tareq feels like to her.  

She could have loved him, she thinks, but when you play with fire, it's easy to get burned. It's simple with him, and foolish to throw love into the mix to make it messy and dangerous.

There's a part of her that toys with the idea of what it could have been like, but she knows they could never work. They were meant for a brief affair, an unforgettable few days. Trying to turn it into anything else would have resulted in too many complications. It was useless when she knows how it would've ended before it even started, anyway. She enjoyed his company and his touch, but she never felt the need to define it or take it for anything more than face value. She didn't take the reins, but rather, simply enjoyed the ride.

 

--

 

She had departed Cairo without leaving him any way to contact her (and she's aware that he could easily get it from Mark, but he won't disrespect her wishes). She knows that once she's home again, it won't be the same. They could try to stay in touch, but it'll only taint her memory of him and she doesn't want that. She's lived long enough to know that it's impossible to try recapture a magical encounter, so she is okay with letting him go. She'll remember him fondly, smiling when she recalls their time together. She won't ache for him, won't toss and turn at night thinking what if?

But he'll always have a piece of her heart (and she'll always have the queen from his chess set tucked away in a box in her closet), and she'll never go back to Cairo.

She doesn't mind.