I wake up and the room is dark except for the moonlight that is glowing through the window. I roll over and realize that the bed is empty, and my pulse skids at the thought that Kai didn’t come to bed. Sitting up, I push my hair out of my face. I gather my courage and get out of bed, walking to the dresser and finding a pair of panties and a top to wear before pulling my hoodie on over my head. I don a pair of sweats and head out of the room.
“Do you know where Kai is?” I ask Aye as soon as I open the door and step out into the hall.
“No. He hasn’t been this way yet.” He moves to my side. “What’s up? You feeling okay?” he asks softly.
I’m sure that I look horrible. I don’t even have to look in the mirror to know that my eyes are red and swollen from crying.
“I’m fine. I just need to find Kai,” I mumble.
He starts to say something, but I shake my head and begin walking. I go to Kai’s office first. The door is wide open, and the dark room is empty.
I continue on my way, and with every empty room, my anxiety begins to grow. Pausing in the main hallway and look out over the ocean at the moonlight that has cast a glow on the water. Inhale a frustrated breath then see Kai standing on the beach with his hands in his pockets. I swear I can feel his pain even from so far away.
I run down the stairs, out of the house, and onto the beach. I hear Aye yell behind me, but I ignore him and head straight for Kai, whose body has turned to face me. His arms open, and I jump into his embrace, but unlike the movies, where he should have caught me in flight, I knock him down, his body hitting the ground in a harrumph as the air is knocked out of his lungs.
“I’m sorry,” I tell him, straddling his waist and kissing his face. “I’m so sorry,” I whisper, looking into his eyes. “I promise, from now on, I will try to give you a chance to explain yourself instead of going off half-cocked. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I would never want to hurt you.”
“I know, love,” he says gruffly, pushing my hair out of my face.
I close my eyes then open them up slowly, looking down at him. “I love you. I know I haven’t done a good job of showing that, but I do love you.”
His eyes close and he pulls my head down to his chest. “We both have a lot to learn,” he repeats, something he has said to me a few times in the past.
“If the gods are smiling down on us, we will have a lifetime to do it in, right?” I question quietly.
“The gods have been smiling on me since I was ten years old and found a beautiful little girl crying in her tree house.”
Tears begin to fill my eyes, and I place my chin on his chest so that I can look at him. “You saved me,” I whisper. “I don’t just mean what happened in Seattle. You saved me from myself. You have shown me that sometimes things that are a little scary and new can be the best possible things for you. You have shown me that I can trust again, and you have given me my family back. You saved me from me, and I would be lost without you.” I sob, burying my face in his chest.
He holds me tighter to him, my tears continuing to fall. I cry until I can’t cry anymore, until Kai shifts me in his arms and carries me inside. Then he lies with me in bed, holding me close to him, letting his warmth and love seep through the years of heartache.
I roll over, and Kai tightens his arms around me as I turn to face him. Once I’m comfortable, I study his face as he sleeps. It almost seems like all the power he normally has buzzing around him is shut off. I never would have believed I’d end up falling in love with a man like him. I lift my hand and run my finger along the scruff that has taken up residence on his chin.
“Why are you awake?” his sleepy, rough voice asks as his head tilts down and his eyes meet mine.
“I just couldn’t sleep.” I snuggle closer to him.
“Do you miss Seattle?”
He catches me off guard with his question, and I think for a moment about what I left behind. I miss the few friends I have, and I miss my bakery, but I don’t miss Seattle.
“I don’t miss it. I miss my bakery and some of my friends, but that’s it,” I say.
“When things settle, you could open a bakery here,” he says quietly.
“I could call it ‘Sunshine and Sprinkles.’” I smile at the thought. I have been so caught up in everything that has happened that I haven’t really thought about what I want to do when life goes back to normal.
“You could. I want you to make a life here with me. I want you to be happy.”
“I’m happy.” I frown at him.
“You’re happy now, but I’ve seen you bake. You smile when you’re baking.”
“My real mom used to bake. I don’t remember much about it, but I know it was something she loved doing, and when I moved, my adoptive dad taught me how to bake. I used to love that quiet time with him. Then, when I left home, it was something that made me feel connected with a time when I felt loved,” I say, whispering the last part.
“You wanna talk to me yet?” he asks cautiously.
“Not yet,” I reply just as carefully, hoping that, one day, I will have the courage to open up to him. He’s right. It’s not fair for me to expect so much from him when I haven’t fully been honest.
He rolls to his side and places his face near mine. “When you’re ready, love, I’m here.”
“I know.” And I do know that I need to talk to him about it, but I hate myself a little for what was done to me. Even with the counseling I received and knowing that it wasn’t my fault, I still hate that I wasn’t stronger, that I didn’t fight harder.
His arm slides around my waist, and his hand goes under my neck then up to thread through my hair at the back of my head, pulling my face closer to his chest. I wrap an arm around him in return then drift back to sleep.
When I wake a couple of hours later, I hear Kai talking to Aye at the door, and when Pika’s name comes up, my ears perk up.
I have been worried about my friend, and Aye seems to be keeping his lips sealed on where he is, so the only thing I can imagine is that wherever he has gone to is not safe. Kai turns around to face me then says something out the door before walking over to where I’m still lying.
“What’s going on?” I murmur as he comes to sit down on the side of the bed.
“Nothing.” He leans over and kisses me, but I can tell that something’s wrong.
“Please talk to me,” I beg him.