Alright, here’s the thing: I was perfectly content with my life. I was a highly respected detective in my precinct, and was well-liked by my boss. It was a steady job, never a dull moment, and paid well. I had a great apartment and enjoyed working out and reading a good book.
Yeah, yeah. Typical, I know. And yes – I did have a boyfriend. But it wasn’t serious. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship; I just hadn’t come across a man that truly appealed to me. For the moment, I was perfectly fine with just having a casual relationship and few close friends. I mean, honestly, where’s the damage in that?
Though, thinking back on it, I had so many men available to me, and they would have been a much healthier choice for me, but at the time I didn’t see it that way. I kept them at arm’s length, as co-workers and friends, and nothing more. And I was good at doing that, at being oblivious to hormones and emotions deep inside me.
Well, that is, until he came along. I frequently ask myself: why was it that the one man who I actually find breathtakingly beautiful is the same one who turns me on? Why is it that he was the one I fell for? I knew ahead of time that if I was with him, I’d wind up with a broken heard and a complicated mess of a relationship, yet I chose to ignore that little voice in my head, my instinct. My instincts used to drive everything and was what I owed my success to.
So why did I do it?
Because in the deepest realms of my mind, I was as much a masochist as he was a sadist. Emotionally speaking, of course. And that was exactly why we were as perfect for each other as we were destructive.
“You’re not playing fair,” I whispered, fighting tears. How could I have let my feelings develop this way? I had sworn to not let this happen.
His gaze darkened. “I warned you,” he responded. Though his eyes were hard as stone, his voice was deceptively soft. He reached out, twirling a lock of my hair around his finger, but carefully not touching me. I instinctively leaned into him, my breath catching as he skimmed my collarbone. He jerked his hand back, letting it drop to his side.
I swallowed as I tried to focus on our conversation, but there was nothing left to say. I glanced down at myself, feeling self-conscious in my comfy travel clothes. I brushed myself off and stood up. “I guess I’ll be going then,” I murmured quietly.
He rose gracefully to his feet. I was mesmerized by his movements. “You don’t have to leave. You could stay,” he said, grasping my waist and pulling me into him, his hips pressing into mine.
I really wanted to stay, to allow myself a fleeting moment to lie contently in his arms and believe that we could be something more than what we were, but I would only be lying to myself and breaking my own heart.
I knew where this would lead if I stayed. And I knew how I would feel after. And if I didn’t stop it now, I would never end it at all…
I placed both hands on his chest, knowing it was a misleading gesture, as he leaned down to my neck. I pushed him away and ignored his pained, confused, and slightly angry expression.
“No. I can’t,” I said, stepping out of reach and turning away. He caught my elbow and spun me around to face him again.
“I want you to stay.”
Ah, music to my ears. But I shook my head, not meeting his eyes. I couldn’t do it if I looked directly at him. “I don’t understand you. You hate that I have feelings for you, yet you want me to be completely open with you. We hate each other at work but let that lapse into overwhelming desire when we aren’t there. Sometimes you’re so cautious about touching me, and the next second you’re all over me. You want me to stay, but I…” I hesitated. “I can’t do this. I’d rather be heartbroken over you not feeling the same way about me me than try to be satisfied by something that’s not enough.”
His jaw dropped. His beautiful, strong jaw. But he quickly closed it. He reached for me once again, a desperate attempt, even though his face was devoid of any emotion. “Callie, that’s not—”
I stepped back once again, lowering my eyes from his intense stare. I couldn’t think of anything else to say. My jaw was clenched as it was, a sure sign that I was going to cry if I attempted any more conversation. I smiled sadly at him, standing on my toes to give him a parting kiss on the cheek.
“You don’t have to do this,” he breathed.
I bit my lip, for once not affected by his darkening expression. I carefully opened my mouth, and, noting that I wasn’t going to cry just yet, said, “I think it’s what’s best for the both of us. I can’t give you what you want, and you can’t give me what I want.”
With that, I turned on my heel and walked to his bedroom door, pausing on the threshold. I glanced over my shoulder at him. “Goodbye…”
I let his name fall from my lips, barely audible, but you have yet to meet him, so I’ll keep his identity a secret… for now. Let’s start with three months ago.