M A X
Charlotte burst through the door, her eyes shining with tears. She wasted no time at all in wrapping her arms around me, her sweet perfume enveloping me. My family had finally left for the day, and Charlotte took their place.
“Max,” Charlotte sobs, her nails digging into my back as she presses me against her. “I’m so sorry. I should never have pushed you into internet dating. This is entirely my fault.”
She finally releases me, holding me at arm’s length as she studies me.
“God, I should have bought my make-up bag. You look like shit.”
We both laugh then, and I swallow the lump in my throat. Charlotte drags a chair over, holding my hand in both of hers as she closes her eyes.
“If I see that son of a bitch-”
“Andy?” I say, rolling my head over so I’m facing her. A tight elastic band holds her hair back into a low ponytail, her face still immaculately made up. She always looks like a damn supermodel. Her face darkens, and she raises her eyebrows.
“I’m stunned, Max, I mean, why kidnap you and your sister? I should’ve known. It’s always the quiet ones.”
“No one feels more duped than me,” I admit.
Charlotte licks her lips, leaning forward to sweep my hair out of my eyes.
“Do you really not remember anything?” Do you remember having coffee with me?”
I frown, trying for the millionth time to remember. It is like I’m plunged into a dark swimming pool, and I can’t reach the top no matter how hard I try. I recall having coffee with Charlotte, but then it goes murky. I’m beyond frustrated, and Charlotte smiles reassuringly.
“Look, the doctor said it might come back, your memories. It just depends if your brain stored them.”
I nod, pushing myself up with my hands.
“It doesn’t make sense,” I sigh, twisting my thumbs around one another idly. “Andy was so into me… I can’t see him doing this.”
“I don’t think either of us knows him enough to judge, babe,” Charlotte reaches down into her bag, tugging out a pile of magazines and stacks of chocolate. “I would’ve brought wine, but I didn’t think the doctors would approve.”
I smile then, watching Charlotte arrange the items on my bedside table beside the bottled water and flowers my family had placed there earlier.
“Cain came earlier,” I say lightly, hoping I appear nonchalant. “He doesn’t seem to think it was Andy.”
Charlotte does a double take before opening her mouth, allowing it to close wordlessly.
“What does Harry think?” I whisper, wanting to know the truth. I was terrified, because I didn’t know who to fear.
The door opens then, and in walks Harry, followed closely by Cain. Together they were enough to make any woman’s heart bleed with desire, and tonight was no different. Cain met my eyes instantly, a slow, sexy smile appearing on his lips.
“Hey baby,” Charlotte smiles, as Harry reaches down to kiss her head. He sinks to the chair beside her, giving me a brief wave.
Cain walks around the bed, dropping a chaste kiss on my forehead before lacing his fingers through mine. Harry and Charlotte exchange a look, and I can’t hide my smile. Cain pushes his dark floppy hair away from his eyes, a telltale sign that he hadn’t washed it today. Dark circles which told he had barely slept accompanied his eyes.
“They have released Andy on bail,” Harry announces, causing Charlotte to whirl around with surprise.
“Relax, kitten,” Harry rubs the back of her neck reassuringly. “We have a motive that links someone else to this.”
“We are working on it though, even though we are officially off the case,” grumbles Cain, his thumb stroking the palm of my hand softly. I gaze down at our hands, feeling a burst of happiness at the sight of them laced together.
“Off the case?!” screeches Charlotte, her ponytail whipping her face as she turns back to Harry. “Who did it? I’ll kill them!”
“Get in line, babe,” smirks Cain, shaking his head. Stubble covered his cheeks, making him even sexier than usual.
“I’m serious, Harry,” Charlotte warns, raising her eyebrows to Harry who raises his hands in defense.
The door opens, and a pretty nurse pokes her head in, her cheeks blushing when both men turned their gaze to her.
“Visiting time is over, guys. Sorry,” she says firmly. She moves her gaze to me, smiling. “I’ll bring you a cup of tea shortly.”
I go to thank her when Harry stands up, following her out of the room.
“Have you got your phone?” Charlotte asks, her gaze sweeping over my bedside table.
“Um, no. I don’t know where it is,” I answer honestly, glancing around.
“I’ll get you one. I need constant communication with you now,” Charlotte grins, kissing my cheek warmly.
“You need a ride?” Charlotte asks Cain, who shakes his head with a smile. My stomach flips in my stomach when Charlotte nods, squeezing my hand before she leaves. “Tomorrow, I’m bringing make up.”
I laugh, but as soon as she closes the door, Cain’s gaze commands my attention.
“Fuck make up. You’re beautiful,” he breathes, lifting from the chair so his face hovered inches above mine. I could smell his delicious scent, and I press my lips against his eagerly. His hand cups my back, stroking it softly as we kiss. My tears fall then, and we part, our foreheads resting against one another. As I exhale, he inhales, and vice versa. I dip my head then, and he sighs, cradling me in his arms. He sits on the bed, and I crawl out, wrapping myself around him desperately. My hands wrap around his neck, my head buried against him as I let my emotions go. His hands steady me, and he soothes me by allowing his heart to beat against mine, his very presence calming me. There’s no need for me to say it, there’s no need for me to say anything at all.
When I pull away he nods, and I cry harder.
Cain Harvey understands my pain, and my suffering. My anger at my confusion. My disbelief at the whole situation.
“I’ll see about that cup of tea,” Cain murmurs, his lips grazing mine as he lifts me back into my former position on the bed. I tug the sheets back up to my chin, turning onto my side and curling my knees up to my chest. I could still smell Cain, still taste him.
It was the only comfort I had.