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Reunion

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When Jane thought about the day Grayson found out—and she thought about it a lot—she always pictured it as this joyous, triumphant moment. He’d pull her into his arms and say how he should have realized it all along, before giving her the kind of kiss that songs are written about, that are the climax of every romantic comedy ever made.

She’d never thought it would turn out like this, that Grayson would stare at her like she was a stranger, instead of his friend—or the woman he loved.

At last, Grayson finally speaks, and when he does, Jane almost wished he hadn’t, his voice sounds so wrecked. “How could you not tell me?”

And oh, oh that hurts to hear. “Grayson, I wanted to,” Jane protests, “I did, you have no idea how much I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t—”

But Grayson’s not listening, instead he’s going on in a rush, the words spilling out of him, “All this time, and you—you’ve been here, you’ve been right here, and you didn’t say anything, you just kept on letting me think—” He stops, suddenly, and when he looks at Jane, his eyes are wet. “Why would you do that to me?”

Jane’s eyes are pricking now, and her voice is thick as she says, “I wanted to tell you, I just—the rules said I couldn’t, and I didn’t know if you’d even want me like this—”

The incomprehension is plain on Grayson’s face as he asks, “Like what?”

Jane blinks back the tears and tries to laugh, making a gesture at the body she’s grown accustomed to, the curves, the lack of height, the round face that greets her every day in the mirror. “Like this. Different.”

Grayson doesn’t even speak for a moment, and then he says, fiercely, “Jane—Deb—you’re an idiot.” Jane stares, because that’s one thing she hasn’t heard since the day she became Jane, except Grayson’s repeating it now, saying as he steps forward, “You’re an idiot, of course I—it’s still you, I just want you, I don’t care, just—”

And now he’s pulling her towards him, and it doesn’t matter that they’re both still crying, because Grayson’s arms are tight around her and she’s finally, finally in his arms as he repeats, softer now, the accusation gone from his voice, “You should have told me.”

There are a thousand things Jane can say in this moment, explanations, excuses, except that Grayson’s holding her, or maybe she’s holding him, because she can feel the faint trembling in his body, can sense the way his heart’s pounding. “I know,” Jane breathes out, stroking his hair, his back, trying to soothe him, or maybe herself. “I know. I love you, I know.”