It couldn't be like this. It just couldn't. It couldn't be brought to this moment of pure love and hatred, the two so twisted together that she couldn't unravel the feelings. He had done this to her. This is what she had become... because of him. Wrapped up in not only his arms, but the fear that came with it as well. It felt suffocating to know that the man laying next to her had caused her all of this pain that led her into the dark. Into a hole that she didn't know if she'd ever be able to get out of again. It was all his fault, but for the life of her she couldn't bring herself to hate him. And, that alone scared her the most.
Looking back at the years she had known the man beside her, she couldn't believe it had come to this. His face had aged dramatically, but he was still the same man that she fell in love with almost thirty years ago. Yes, she had to admit it; she had loved him all this time. The realization had caused her to go into shock, silencing her for the duration of their car ride up here. Here, to this cabin that he bought for her. She had told him that she had wanted to live in a small farm house many years ago, and he remembered. He remembered a lot of things she was sure he had forgotten. But, he remembered everything: the way she took her coffee, her love of classic novels, the nervous habit of biting her nails that she had desperately tried to get rid of several times. It was like they had never been apart, but that was so far from the truth.
The fact that she still felt butterflies just seeing him smile made her want to vomit. What would her family say? They would be horrified. If they knew the truth, they would know she was just as demented as he was. The way they started their relationship was enough to make people cringe, and she was more than willing at the time to be with him no matter what the cost. It all started the day she came to work for him as his new assistant.
"Now, he likes his coffee black every morning at eight o'clock sharp. His wife stops by every week on Tuesday to take him to lunch. Everything that is scheduled for this week is in this notebook, and everything that needs to be scheduled is on the notepad. Any questions?" Laura asked. She was his old assistant, quitting her job to focus on raising her newborn daughter.
"Yeah, is it too early to take an early retirement?"
Laura giggled and hugged the young new assistant. "Tina, just relax. I know you're nervous, but calm down. Evan Larkin is the most laid back man I've ever met. He will understand if you mess up a couple of times."
Tina ran a hand through her hair looking at the piles of paperwork stacked on her brand new desk. "Thanks Laura. I just don't want to get fired. I want to actually get somewhere with this job. Evan Larkin could really help me make connections."
"That's what I first thought when I got this job. I was just like you wanting a seat on the senate. But, desires change. Who knows? You may end up like me and want to raise a family instead of vote against the President." Laura smirked nudging her arm into Tina's side.
Tina grinned at the older woman. "It will be a while before I start a family. I don't even have a boyfriend."
"Good luck getting one with this job." Laura stated before the main office door opened.
A man with groomed dirty blonde hair and a gray suit walked in holding hands with a shorter blonde woman. His square jaw moved as if he were grinding his teeth together. His eyebrows were furrowed together as the woman asked about names. He suddenly interrupted her, putting his hands on her shoulders. "Sweetheart, why don't we talk more about this when I get home? Go have lunch with your sister or something."
"Evan, you have been pushing this off. If this were on your precious schedule, you would have gotten this done months ago." His wife argued grabbing his arm.
Laura cleared her throat. "Mr. Larkin, you have a meeting in your office in ten minutes."
"Which means I should be preparing for it." Evan stated to his wife before kissing her forehead. "I'll see you tonight."
"Yeah, whatever." She huffed before walking out the same way she came in.
Evan looked back to Laura and smiled politely. "Who do I have a meeting with?"
Laura shook her head. "No one. It just looked like you could use a break from blonde Barbie."
"Thank you." Evan smiled as he straightened out his jacket. He stepped up to the desk and looked up at them. When his eyes met Tina's, his smile widened the slightest. "Well, hello, I'm Evan Larkin."
Tina smiled and shook his extended hand. "Hi, Tina Baxter."
"Tina is your new assistant." Laura explained as she handed him one of the daunting stacks of paperwork. "And, this is your new project."
Evan looked down at the documents. "This will take me all night to get through. Please tell me you got me something caffeinated."
Laura shook her head. "The new girl had something for you to try. I told her that you drank three pots of coffee just to get through some nights. She had a new idea."
Tina opened the desk drawer in front of her and lifted out a silver can, showing the label to him. "Redbull. I drank this to study a whole semester worth of classes in one night."
"Impressive." Evan nodded his head before taking the can from her hand, looking at her with gleaming green eyes. "I'm looking forward to working with you, Ms. Baxter."
She remembered that day like it was engraved into her very soul. He made her palms sweat, her heart leap, and her nerves seem to just disappear. It was funny that thirty years later he could still do the same thing. She knew what he was capable of. She had been on the receiving end of it. But, he still brought her this sense of comfort and safety that she couldn't understand. It was a feeling she had yet to experience with anyone else, and there was a chance she wouldn't.
He did this to her. He created what laid beside him, had her questioning every thought she had. Just that one moment sent her life spiraling out of control and off the tracks without her knowing until it was too late. He knew what he wanted from her then. And, she fell for his charming smile and empty promises. She loved the way he melded with her, making her feel like she was the most important thing in the world. That's what he had told her then and now.
He loved her.
He said it multiple times. But, how could he love her? He hurt her repeatedly. She had forensic science to prove it. Yet, she could see the evidence that he did love her. He had bought her dream house for her. He almost divorced his wife to make her happy. He almost killed his own career just to be with her. How could she explain that? Who does that? Who could do everything that he has done to her and still expect a happy future?
The fact of the matter was, no matter how much she wanted to deny it, she loved this man. She loved him with everything she had, but there was too much damage done. They could never be together.
That's just the way it has to be.