I miss you. Where are you? Come back to me.
How many times had I read that message by now? A hundred? A thousand?
God, how I wanted to do it. God, how I wished we hadn’t been torn apart by her. By them. But I could not deny that that baby was real. A real person who would need him, whose life could be ruined without him in it. Just like mine had.
Your life isn’t ruined, some subconscious voice breathed. Your life is beautiful and so is he. He’s hurting. It’s there in his words. Go to him. Listen to him. Let him tell you how he feels. Let him assure you, if that’s what you need. Give him a chance to be the man your father never was.
I knew it would happen: I was crumbling. Flaking out and giving in.
Not giving in, that little devil on my shoulder whispered. Or maybe it was the angel. Where’s your fighting spirit? Where’s that girl who used to go after what she wanted against all odds?
It was Caleb, looking in on me before he went to bed. I was still staying with him, but after the first night I’d insisted I sleep on the couch. He’d protested but I’d given him no choice. I told him I’d leave if he refused. During the days, I’d worked at the restaurant, learning the ropes (it wasn’t hard), and began to look for a place of my own. Until then, Caleb was easy-going, happy-go-lucky, a handsome, playful sprite in the dark numbness that was my days.
He walked over to me, sitting down on the coffee table. “Hey,” he brushed the back of his hand along my cheek, wiping away the wetness there. I hadn’t even realized the tears had welled and spilled. “You all right?”
“Sure. Don’t mind me.”
“You want to talk about it?”
I attempted a smile. He knew the answer to that question.
Caleb’s hand cupped my face. Very, very gently, he kissed me.
How different this kiss was. Soft. Sweet. Boyish. Undemanding. Tame.
I felt the gentle probe of Caleb’s tongue on my lips and I knew. I knew I was addicted to the wild, tumultuous storm of Alexander Wolfe. Nothing else would do. No one would ever scratch the surface of that crazy hurricane of love and lust and pain and passion that was so unique and so us. Everyone but my crazy-intense lover would fall short of what I needed to make me whole. I was suddenly and entirely more sure of this than I had ever been of anything in my life.
Caleb groaned lightly and deepened the kiss. But I put my hand on his chest and pulled back.
“Caleb. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Caleb smiled and hung his head for a second. Then he looked up at me. “I knew there was someone else. I could tell.”
I could feel his heartbeat. “You are so sweet, so nice. But I have to make a phone call now.”
“Can’t blame a guy for trying,” he said. He stood, his body tall and agile.
“Some lucky girl won’t know what’s struck her when you walk into her life,” I told him.
“I wish that girl was you.” He started walking towards his bedroom. “If you change your mind …” He pointed towards his room and gave me another of his endearingly shy grins.
“You’ll be the first to know.”
As soon as he closed his door, I called Alexander.
The phone rang and rang. A message told me his voice mailbox was full. This seemed unusual. Why would it be full?
Just then, I got a text.
Lila. Jake here. I know you wanted to be left alone but pls call me. Or come see me at home. As soon as you get this. Need to talk. Important.
Come see me at home.
I stood up and threw my few possessions into my bag. I walked over to Caleb’s room and knocked on his door. “Caleb?”
He threw open the door almost immediately. His amber eyes were hopeful.
“Can you drive me to the airport?”