"I didn't think you'd actually meet me," he said as I made it over to the table he was at.

I shrugged "Guess you don't really know me." I sat down and started sipping on the frappechino he had gotten for me.

Hurt flashed in his eyes, before they went back to revealing nothing. "Lei-"

I cut him off. "Ayden told me why you did it."

His eyes widened "I didn't think he'd ever tell you."

"I want to hear your side," I stated.

He nodded. "Do you want to head over to the beach first? Less crowded."

"Whatever."

We got up and walked across the street walking in silence not stopping until we were looking out at the ocean. Then we sat down.

"I've missed you Nala," he said softly.

I shook my head but didn't look at him. "Don't call me that. Now tell me your side."

I heard him sigh. "I deserve that. Ok, what was the reason that Ayden gave you though?"

"He said you loved me," I said tonelessly.

I felt his eyes on me. "That's true. I loved you. I loved you more than anyone in the world."

I turned and looked at him. His eyes were the way I use to see them expressive and showing me how he felt. I saw the boy I used to know and in that moment I knew he could see how I was feeling too. "Then how could you say what you did? How could you hurt me like that? Why?" I looked away from him and back out at the ocean.

He started playing with the sand. "I thought I was protecting you. If you weren't with me then the girls at school wouldn't bother you. The douche bags wouldn't go after you either. I knew Ayden was in love with you and you'd be happy with him."

"Well, you got him loving me and me being happy with him," I paused thinking. "Though what is it that you're not telling me Ryan?"

He leaned back onto his palms. "Leila, do you know how my parents met?"

I looked at him wondering what they had to do with anything and shook my head.

He smiled but it didn't reach his eyes. "Their mothers bonded while being pregnant and so when they had their children they made sure to do things together. They grew up together. They were best friends until my mother told him she loved him."

He chuckled but there was no humor in his eyes.

"She told him that he could either say it back or he had to let her go and date other people. She did this because she had found out that he had been telling the guys that he'd beat them up if they dared to ask her out. This is while he had a girlfriend too. Well, he told her that he loved her. They were together all of high school and college even though they were long distance. They got married and had me. Then fighting began about how they had held each other back and I remember my mom holding me as she cried after he'd leave to go get drunk. He'd come back and mom would ask him where he'd been and whom he'd been with. This continued until the car accident where he died." I felt his eyes on me as I looked back out.

"That never would have been us," I said and was a little shocked about how strong it sounded and how right it felt to say. I looked him in the eyes. "Ryan, I loved you. God, I loved you with everything I had. You were everything to me."

His eyes widened with shock.

"I hadn't realized I was in love with you until you ripped me to shreds. You know if you had come to me right after and apologized I probably would have forgiven you instantly it was that bad." The truth came pouring from my mouth and I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. "I wished and prayed you would have for so long. Hell, I prayed you would just talk to me." I looked back out at the sea.

I felt his hand cup part of my face as he wiped away some of my tears, and I couldn't help but lean into his palm like I used to when we were younger and I cried.

"It hurt like hell to do that to you and everything since then. Leila, it still kills me now." He turned my face towards him. "Though I have to admit that I don't regret it."

I went to pull away but he his grip tightened and his other hand cupped the other part of my face.

"Let me finish. I don't regret it because it only reinforced what I already knew. You're it for me Leila. There is you and will only be you. I loved you when we first met, while we grew up, when we didn't speak, and I still love you now." He leaned in and I felt his breath on my face.

When our lips were a breath apart, I pulled back and stood up. "Too bad this is all too little too late. You made your choice when you hurt me. You chose to let me go, and now you're going to have to live with it." I started walking away and I felt tears pouring down my cheeks as if I was caught in the rain, but I wasn't exactly sure why. He had hurt me long ago and all he was now was a guy I once knew. I was almost out of the sand when I heard him.

"I love you and I'm not giving up until you realize you love me too."

A little faster than the last one but hey an update is an update.

My utmost gratitude to all of you regardless. You are all awesome and wonderful people. I hope you enjoyed the update.

You all SO TOTALLY ROCK!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!