“How do you feel?” I knew it was a risk to ask, but I was desperate to know.
“Like I’ve been a caged animal all my life, snarling at the world, accepting the scraps they’ve thrown at me and thinking that was all there was. And then you came and opened the cage.” His voice dropped so low that I had to strain to hear him over the beating of my heart. “I was afraid at first, afraid to leave what I knew, even though it’s brought me nothing but misery. I thought I had a plan, I thought I knew what I wanted, what I needed. And now everything has changed. I don’t want to go back in the cage, and I don’t want to lose you. And I can’t have it both ways. I didn’t expect to love you. I didn’t know I could. And that complicates everything. If only I could turn away and run back into my cage! But I can’t; it’s gone." His hands slapped against the wall between us. "You’ve shattered the shell that kept me contained and safe, leaving me exposed. All I can think about is your smile, your fingertips against mine, your kiss. It’s like nothing else matters and I’m falling and falling, knowing the end is going to rip me apart, but I'm doing it anyway. You’re killing me.” Every muscle in my body ached to hold him, to kiss him, to tell him everything was going to be okay.