“I’m sorry for joking about it.”
“Are you kidding? I’m relieved you’re joking around with me after the shit I pulled on you at the club.”
“I know you weren’t in your right frame of mind that night.”
“That night? Try five years.”
“She broke up with you because of me?”
“It wasn’t that she was mad at the drawings. She sensed that my feelings for you were unresolved. She’s afraid of getting hurt.”
“Don’t be. She was right.”
“So, what now?”
“No. Just this.” He paused for a few seconds. “Hear that? You and me. Just breathing. Not thinking about the past. Just together. Talking. I just want to talk to you every day and know that you’re alright.”
“I would like that.”
“So, is midnight my time?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is that the time he’s not with you, when it’s safe for you to talk to me?”
“Yes. My shift ends at midnight. But I tell him to pick me up at 12:30 because I need that half-hour to myself. If midnight isn’t too late for you, then that can be our time to talk.”
“I’ll take it.”
We spoke every night at midnight for weeks on end. Evangeline would go to one of the empty backrooms at the club. We’d talk about our days—nothing too deep or upsetting. We’d talk about work, Addy, Luke or what music we were listening to. She was learning what my day to day life was like now, and I was doing a pretty damn good job pretending I didn’t want nothing more than to kidnap her from that hellhole in Wichita.
Just like I used to live for our runs, I lived for that thirty minutes every night where our history didn’t define us. I was just Sevin, and she was Evangeline. It helped that the distance meant the strong physical temptation that existed whenever we were together was removed from the equation. That made it easier for us to just get to know each other again.
It was rare that I slept in late. It was almost noon one Saturday when the sound of a rock hitting my window woke me up. At first, I thought it was my imagination. But by the second hit, my heart jumped, and my body followed.
I opened the door to find her standing in the morning sunlight. It seemed like maybe I was still in the middle of a dream. “Evangeline?” Rubbing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining her, I stepped to the side as she entered.
“I knocked on your door first, but you didn’t answer.”
“I had the air conditioning on; I must have not heard it.”
“I hope it’s okay that I’m here.”
“It’s more than okay.”
Her eyes dropped down to my bare abs and then back up to my face. The instant euphoria I felt was a little disturbing to me, how hard and easily I fell right back in. My brain kept reminding me that this was the same girl who’d abandoned me. My heart spoke louder, though, reminding me that she was also the same girl who fell victim to a set of horrible circumstances beyond our control, the same girl I loved with every inch of my soul. The heart always won when it came to Evangeline, and it was beating in celebration to see her there in the flesh. My abandonment issues would have to take a back seat for now.
Her question snapped me out of my thoughts. “Are you okay?”
I’d been daydreaming while taking her in. My unwavering physical attraction to her never ceased to amaze me. Just the smell of her was making my dick hard. My body never reacted to anyone the way it did to Evangeline. I shouldn’t have been thinking about how long it would take before I could bury myself inside of her again. It was all I could think about; that I needed her more than I needed or wanted anything—that I needed to get her away from that so-called man she referred to as a husband.
I needed to bring her home.
“Does he know you’re here?”
“You ran away?” The irony of that question didn’t escape me.
“No. Dean was called away for a family emergency. His mother is not doing well. It’s rare that he goes anywhere, so I took advantage and borrowed my friend’s SUV again.”
“Will he give you trouble?”
“He won’t know. He’s coming back on Monday. I’ll just make sure I’m home by Sunday night. It’s a risk, but I needed to see you. It was time.”
“I’m glad you decided to come, but I worry about you. I can’t wrap my head around why the fuck you’re still with him. I lose sleep at night over it.”
“I already explained that leaving him needs to happen a certain way.”
“I’ll protect you. Don’t you know that?”
My gut told me there was something she wasn’t saying; it was eating away at me.
Why the fuck does this dude have so much power over you?
“Can we please not talk about him? I just need a break from it all.”
She walked over to my couch and curled into it, letting out a huge breath. “It feels so good to be back here.”
Then you never should have left.
I had to bite my tongue so often around her. It was really easy to lose control of my emotions, but I didn’t want this short amount of time with her to be filled with drama. If the goal was to rebuild our relationship, I had to curb my own selfish need to push guilt.