“Meant nothing.” He shrugs. “I just wanted you to realize you wanted me. I wanted you to fight for me.”
“Wow,” I say softly, shaking my head. “You’re telling me you were in love with me and brought women around so I would be jealous and fight for you…instead of telling me how you felt and you fighting for me?”
“You’re so closed off. You were always in your head. I was trying to break through to you.”
I look at Sid then Kenton.
“Don’t look at me, babe. I don’t know what the f**k to say about this shit.”
“Sid, you’re a great guy, but you don’t love me.”
The differences between Kenton and Sid are striking, the biggest being that Kenton has fought for me since the beginning. He’s never let me get too far when I’ve tried running away. He’s also never brought women around to try to get me to accept my feelings for him.
“Like I said in my last e-mail, I care about you, but not like that. I hope you can understand,” I tell him softly, hoping that he gets that there is nothing—nor will there ever be anything—between us.
“You’re serious?” he asks.
I bite my lip and nod. I watch regret pass through his eyes before he shakes his head then turns to look off into the distance.
“I guess this is goodbye then?”
“Yeah,” I reply, not understanding the feelings I have inside, why this is so hard. Deep down, I wonder what would have happened if he would’ve actually tried to get to know me. I step up to him and wrap my hands around his waist, giving him a hug. “Thank you for everything,” I whisper. “One day, you’re going to find someone worth fighting for.”
His arms squeeze me a little tighter, his chest expanding on a breath. “Have you?”
I know exactly what he’s asking, and tears sting my nose. I nod into his chest and step back into Kenton’s embrace.
“You hurt her and I’ll kill you,” Sid says before turning and heading down the steps.
Once he’s in his car and pulling away from the house, I turn to look at Kenton. “So what happened in Vegas?” I cross my arms over my chest.
His eyes drop then meet mine again. “Let’s go sit down.”
I follow him into the living room, sitting on the opposite side of the couch from him. That way, he can’t distract me with his touch.
“I met up with the boss of Lacamo. They agreed you’re off-limits,” he says softly, and my whole body stills at the news I have been waiting to hear.
“So it’s over?” I ask on a whisper. I can’t believe that, after all this time, all it took was one meeting for this whole thing to be resolved.
“It is,” he says, looking at me from across the couch.
I can’t understand why he looks so worried when I know that this news will make things easier for him as well. He has been running himself ragged working his normal cases while trying to keep me safe. Then, my head starts to fill with thoughts about my life, why I’m really here, and what this news means for my future.
“So, I can go home then?” I ask, looking down at my hands.
The word is rough and causes me to lift my head. “What do you mean ‘no’?” I search his face, wondering what he’s not telling me. If I’m no longer in danger, I can return to Vegas, even if the thought alone makes me feel sick.
“Exactly what it sounds like—no, you can’t go back to Vegas.” His hands ball into fist on his thighs. “This is your home.”
“This is your home,” I murmur and swallow, feeling my heart pound against the inside of my ribs.
“Since you’ve been here, this has become my home, but before you, it was a place I slept at night. You have given me a reason to come home.”
“You want me to move in with you?” I whisper, hope blooming in my chest.
“Yes, I want you to move in with me.”
“Yes, baby.” He laughs, shaking his head.
“What about my place in Vegas?”
“Sell it…keep it… I don’t give a f**k what you do with it.”
I stand up, glance around the room, and then look back over at Kenton, who looks worried. My heart does a flip from knowing that he really wants this; he really wants me.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Without a doubt. One hundred percent sure.”
“What will your family say?”
“‘When are you getting married?’” he replies. I feel my eyes get big and my mouth fill with saliva. “One thing at a time,” he says gently, and I nod.
I’m not sure if he’s in love with me, but I think this feeling I have for him is love—or some form of it. Never really having been loved before, I don’t know what it really feels like. I know that what I feel for him makes what I felt for my son’s father pale in comparison. I know that I want to spend all my time with him, and he’s always my first thought when I wake and my last thought when I go to bed at night.
“Okay?” he asks, searching my face.
“Yes, okay. I’ll move in with you,” I tell him, a smile creeping onto my face.
“Yeah?” His lips twitch, and I nod before running at him and climbing onto his lap. His arms wrap around me as I press my mouth against his. “Shit,” he groans, pulling his mouth from mine.
“Why are you stopping?” I try to pull his mouth back to mine when I hear someone knocking on the door. “Oh.”
I smile as he sets me aside and adjusts himself in his jeans before standing. I sit there for a second and then get up to follow him to the door. After he looks outside, his eyes come to me before pulling the door open.
“You’re home?” Nancy says, smiling. “If I would have known that, I wouldn’t have come so early.”
“It’s fine. We were up.” He kisses her cheek, letting her into the house.
“Why were you up?” She looks between the two of us, her eyes twinkling, and I know she’s going to say something that will have me turning red. “You know, I want my grandchildren to have our family name. I think it’s about time you two stop playing house and just get married.”
All the air leaves my lungs at the word ‘children.’ I grab the table closest to me for balance. When a wave of dizziness hits me hard, I’m surprised that I don’t hit the ground.