Wound tight, I climbed into my truck, drove home and let myself into my quiet, dark apartment. I waited until I was in my room with the door shut before I kicked my dresser drawers and fisted my hands.
“Motherfucking piece of shit bastard asshole.”
I gasped and whirled around, not expecting someone to be in my bed. “Jesus Christ!” Pressing my hand to my heart, I gaped at Caroline as she sat up, the sheets sliding down to reveal she was wearing one of my T-shirts. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I came over to see Zoey earlier, and just...forgot to go home.”
A blinding, uncontrollable love swamped me. Feeling as if the grains of my time with her were slipping away, I hurried to the bed, freshly awed by how beautiful she was to me, inside and out. “And how is Blondie doing?” I asked, crawling onto the mattress with her to lie on top of the covers next to her.
She shrugged and slipped my hair across my forehead with a gentle touch. “She’s scared. Both she and Quinn are freaked out. They’ve gone to three different doctors, and all of them have said she’ll probably be put to bed rest at some point in the pregnancy. They’re good for now, but I think it’s going to be a stressful nine months.”
I nodded as I kicked off my shoes. “Yeah. I can only imagine how much this is going to suck ass.”
When I arched my face in to kiss her cheek, Caroline pulled back as soon as my lips touched hers. Setting her hand on my jaw, she squinted at me thoughtfully, sympathy filling her gaze. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
Shaking my head, I gazed into her eyes, scared that soon I wouldn’t be able to look into them like this ever again. I’d never be able to stretch out on a bed with her, or pull her hair while I made her come.
“I love you,” I said, meaning it more than I’d ever meant it before, feeling it work through every fiber of my being, and realizing this woman was it for me. She was my soul mate.
Her eyes filled with worry. “What’s wrong is that you love me?” she guessed, probably trying to make me crack a smile, but I nodded seriously.
“Yeah,” I said. “I love you, and that’s why I felt this irritatingly noble urge to broach the subject of us to Noel.”
“You...” Her eyes widened. “You told him? About us?”
I shook my head. “No.” I knew she didn’t want me to do that, so I that’s why I hadn’t. That was why I’d done what I’d done instead. “But I...might’ve mentioned that I wanted to ask you out.”
She groaned and closed her eyes. “Let me guess. He said no.”
I snorted. “And then some.”
“Well...” She shrugged. “I guess we tried that way. And while it would’ve been nice to let him adjust to the idea in slow increments...maybe we should just tell him it’s too late.”
My gaze sharpened on hers. “You mean, tell him we’re already together and have been for months?”
She nodded. “Sure. Why not? It’s time, right?”
I groaned and buried my face in my hands. “Yeah, except for the fact that he threatened to reveal my complete past with other women to you if I dared to ask you out. If he learns about this, then he’ll definitely spill everything.”
Worry lit her eyes as she began to gnaw on her lip. “Is it really that bad? Your...you know, your past?”
I shrugged and glanced away. “I don’t know,” I mumbled. “It’s not good.” Turning back to her, I begged her with my eyes to forgive me. “You already know there have been plenty, and that I wasn’t the most considerate, respectful guy, but shit...do you want to hear about them all?”
“No.” She shook her head immediately. “But...I just...” She blew out a breath. “You know what? Maybe you should tell me. Beat Noel to the punch.”
I glanced at her as if she was insane. “Are you completely mental, woman? I don’t want to confess all that shit to you.”
Her eyes swirled with misery. “Better you breaking it to me easily, than Noel trying to blindside me.”
With a groan, I buried my face in my hands. “I’m ashamed,” I admitted quietly. When I looked up at her, my face felt hot. “What if I disgust you so much you’ll never look at me the same again? What if—”
“Oren,” she said softly and caught my cheeks in her hands. “I know you better than anyone else on earth. I’m fully aware you’re not perfect. Now, please. Just trust me.”