The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 12 - Cameron (Part 2)

He swallowed. “Not really but sometimes, I can be. But I’ll go out and kick shit, punch walls… that kind of thing. I only lost my shit a few times. You can only suppress pain and suffering for so long before you can’t hold it in any longer. Mostly, I drink to numb the pain.”

“How do I know I can trust you not to harm me or Chloe in a drunken rage?” The nervous tone in her voice clenched his heart.

“First of all, I would have no reason to drown my pain in alcohol because I would have you and Chloe. I drink now because I hate myself for what I did to you both. I was clean and sober for four years. I mean, have you checked me out? A heavy drinker can’t maintain this level of sexiness,” he said, trying to add a bit of humor to an otherwise very serious discussion.

“Very funny,” she replied, although there was a lighter note to her voice.

He cleared his throat and got serious again. “Secondly, if I did ever strike you or Chloe… I’d kick myself to the curb immediately. You both deserve better than that and I wouldn’t deserve even a second of your time or place in your heart if I did that.”

He swallowed. “I hate that I drink to escape, but you deserve to know the truth. I’m weak without you.”

She sighed. “I don’t know, Cam. The alcoholism is really a deal-breaker for me…”

“I agree. Which is why I promise never to drink a drop again with you and Chloe in my life.”

She hesitated. “How will I know you’ll keep your word?”

“What kind of a man would I be if I didn’t? I take that sort of thing seriously. You’ll have to trust me. Besides, I don’t even care about the alcohol. I only care about you and Chloe.”

She heaved a sigh.

“What are you thinking?” he asked when she didn’t respond.

“I’m weighing the pros and cons in my head.”

His lips tugged up. Such a practical response. “I can already assume the list of cons, so what are the pros?”

She huffed. “I’m tired, Cameron.”

His lips tugged up further at her evasiveness. If he could get her to think more about the positives, would she come around? “Nah, come on. Humor me. Besides my obvious good looks and moves in bed, what pros are you thinking of?”

She snorted. “Is sex all you can think about?”

A shit-eating grin spread across his face. If she only knew that he could smell her arousal at every one of their encounters, she would give him more credit. “Can you blame me? The mother of my child? The sexiest women I’ve ever set eyes on? How can I not at least wonder about that night five years ago? Besides, my research indicates that we barely knew each other before we slept together and you don’t seem to be the type of person to hop into bed with strangers and you’re stubborn as hell. There must have been a long list of pros to entice you into my bed. So, what’s one pro on your list?”

He waited as silence fell on the line. A minute passed before he prompted her. “Olivia?”

“The way you looked at me.” Her voice was soft, hesitant. “No one has ever looked at me the way you did.”

He tilted his head to the side. Was she referring to the effects of the matebond? “How so?”

There was some shuffling on the other end. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter.”

Oh no, you don’t. “Sure it does.”

“No, it doesn’t. You haven’t looked at me like that since.”

“Wait, do you mean five years ago?”

A few seconds passed before she answered, “Yes.”

“And you’re saying I haven’t looked at you the same way since?”

She hesitated another second before replying, “Yes.”

“Well, I’m sure I’m not the same person as I was then and neither are you. We’ve both been through a lot. We haven’t reconnected on a positive note either and you haven’t smiled once at me. How do you expect me to look at you the same way when you’re always glaring at me? When you refuse to give me a chance and even offer you a smile?” He sighed. “I know I hurt you, but you’re hurting me too. All I’m asking for is a second chance to be in your life and Chloe’s life.”

“Why me, Cam? I mean, if you suffered from amnesia, why did you search for me? And how did you find me?”

Those were questions he feared answering before he could reveal his wolf to her—and now was definitely not the time to reveal that part of him.

“Go on a date with me and I’ll tell you.”

“Cameron.” Her tone was one his mother used when he was being a disobedient pup.

“Come on, Olivia. What do you mean, ‘why me?’ I already told you in the letter. If you don’t believe me, that’s fine, I’ll prove it to you later. I can’t on the phone. So, what do you say? Give me another chance?”

Stop being so stubborn!

He waited a few seconds before she finally said, “Okay.” The two syllables were choked out but clear as day.

He squeezed his eyes shut and heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”

“On my terms,” she said.

He shook his head, the corners of his lips tugging up. Of course, you would add conditions. “Okay.”

“Meet me for dinner on Saturday when I’m done my open houses. It’s just a meeting, not a date. Okay?”

Her quick firmness tugged his lips up farther. “Very well. Name the time and place and I will meet you there.”

“Okay. I’ll let you know. Goodnight,” she uttered.

“Goodnight,” he replied, waiting for her to hang up first.

It took a few seconds, the silence curving his lips up in a broad grin before she finally ended the call.

Lowering his phone, he turned his face up to the night sky and the sliver of moon peeking out from around the adjacent skyscraper. A whispered prayer of thanks left his lips to the Moon Goddess as he placed his faith in Her to make everything happen according to Her will.

There was still hope and he would grasp to that for everything it was worth.

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