“I love you.”
The realization had came on so slowly that it was imperceptible. Quinn couldn’t say when it happened, only that it did. There was no epiphany, no sudden stroke of clarity, and no bolt of lightning. It was a slow trickle amassing daily until it was a deep lake she couldn’t refute or ignore.
“I’m sorry it took me so long, but I had to spend some time putting myself back together,” Quinn continued. “For the longest time, I thought that things would be easier in the run long if I gave you up, no matter how much it hurt in the meanwhile - and god, it hurt. But I was wrong. Things don’t get always get easier, and they don’t just magically work out by themselves. I needed to do whatever I can to help myself. That means you. I was a coward and I stupidly threw you away. But now I see that there’s really nothing scary about this.
“I was afraid of everything. What my parents would do, what people would think, what would happen if things don’t work out, and what’s going to happen when we go to college. And to be completely honest, I’m still worried. The odds are against us, Rachel. But I was very wrong about one thing. You are worth the risk, because I’m in love with you and I don’t know how not to be.
“Because it’s like that moment when you wake up and realize that it’s a new day. The sun’s on your face, the birds are singing and you feel rested and alive. All the mistakes you made belonged to yesterday and now here’s another day to start fresh. Everything feels brand new and wonderful. That’s what it’s like when I’m with you. Always. All the time. I want that back. I want you back.”
Rachel said nothing. It was starting to make Quinn nervous.
“I, just… I hope it’s not too late,” she said quietly.