I’d been so immersed in my work, I hadn’t noticed that the skies were unusually dark for the middle of the day. It almost looked like nighttime. When the rain started coming down, I ran over to the main house to check on things, make sure there weren’t any open windows.
My stomach sank because Evangeline wasn’t home. I hoped that she would be smart enough to stay put wherever she was. I didn’t have her cell phone number because I never had a reason to call her. Concluding that Evangeline would probably just stay at Addy’s, I decided against calling the Suttons for her number.
There was a small break in the rain, but by the time night fell, the torrential downpours returned in full force with even heavier winds.
The next time I turned on the TV, the caption read: Tornado Warning for Dodge City and Surrounding Areas.
My heart started to race. Fuck. I needed to find out where she was. Before I had a chance to digest that thought, everything went black.
Thank God I decided to take advantage of that small break in the rain. Addy tried to convince me to stay, but I might have never gotten home if I hadn’t made a break for it. I wanted to sleep in my own bed tonight.
I tried not to think about the fact that Sevin was at the guesthouse. This was the first time we were ever alone together on the property. If I played my cards right, I wouldn’t have to see him at all.
My cell phone buzzed. It was Callum.
“Hey, baby. I’m just checking on you. I heard there were some serious storms passing through there.”
“I’m home. I’m safe. No need to worry. I think I’m gonna try to watch some TV to get my mind off the thunder and lightning, though.”
“That’s a good idea. I miss you. I can’t wait for when I come visit again soon.”
“I’m looking forward to that.”
“Check in with me in a couple of hours, okay?”
After we hung up, I went downstairs and turned on the TV, hoping for something light to watch. Instead, my heart dropped upon seeing the words splayed across the screen: Tornado Warning. Hundreds of Power Outages Reported.
I looked outside unable to see past the heavy bands of rain. It dawned on me that I needed to get away from the window. I immediately ransacked the kitchen in search of candles or a flashlight. Having no idea where my mother kept those things, I started to panic. Sevin didn’t have a landline phone at the guesthouse, and I didn’t have his cell phone number. I was afraid to go outside. That was the last thing they say you should do if a tornado hits. Just as I went in search of my phone to call Daddy, the lights went out.
Oh no. No, no, no.
My only real phobia was total darkness.
My breathing intensified as I felt around me to see where I was. I managed to return to the living room and sat on the couch in a fetal position. Tears started to sting my eyes. I knew I should probably go to the basement, but I was terrified to be down there alone. The howl of the winds intensified, prompting me to get up once again and feel my way to the basement door. I opened it and carefully walked down each step.
Shaking, I held my head in my hands. A huge bang coming from upstairs shook me to my core. I was sure a window had blown, or maybe something collapsed—until I heard his voice.
I got up from the ground, overwhelmed by an immediate sense of relief.
“Sevin! Oh my God. Sevin. I’m down here. In the basement!”
The rush of his footsteps approached. A flash of light hit me in the eyes as the basement door opened, and he flew down the stairs. Within seconds, my face was pressed against his bare chest. His heart was beating so fast. Tears from my eyes poured onto his skin. We were completely quiet as he held me tightly into him, his heart thundering against my ear. It was the first time any man had ever held me like this.
“It’s okay. I’m here.”
Hearing him say that made me cry even harder, not only because I was so happy not to be alone but because being in his arms made all of the feelings I’d been trying to bury rise to the surface.
When he let go, cold air replaced the warmth of his body. “Thank God I thought to check on you again.”
“I came earlier, and you weren’t home. I assumed you stayed at Addy’s. When the lights went out, I knew I needed to get over here just in case there was a chance you came back. I found my flashlight and ran. I know how scared you are of the dark. I also wanted to make sure you knew to go to the basement. I never expected to actually find you.”
“I’m so happy you’re here.”
His cologne and the scent of his damp skin masked the mustiness of the lower level. Sevin was wearing a shirt, but it was open at the front. He was probably working on the house like that before booking it over here when the lights went out.
He cupped my face in his hands and gently wiped my tears with his thumbs. In the dim light afforded by his flashlight, the dark blue of his eyes was penetrating through the darkness. He shocked me when he said, “I’ve missed you so fucking much.”
The raw emotion of his words seemed to cut through all of my resolve. I released the hold on my thoughts. “This has been really hard.”
We’d been fighting a battle together against our feelings, one that only the two of us knew about.
The wind outside shook a small basement window. Sevin wouldn’t let go of my cheeks. Worn down by months of pent up desire, my entire body felt weak as he touched me. I prayed that he didn’t try to kiss me because I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to resist him.