Never Too Far (Chapter 9)
It had been three weeks, four days and twelve hours since I'd seen her. Since she'd torn my heart out. If I had been drinking, I'd blame it on the alcohol. It had to be an illusion, a desperate one. But I hadn't been drinking. Not a drop. There was no mistaking Blaire. It was her. She was actually here.Blaire was back in Rosemary. She was at my house.
I'd spent five hours last night driving all over the damn place searching for Bethy hoping she'd lead me to Blaire. But I hadn't found either of them. Coming home and admitting defeat had been painful. I had convinced myself Bethy was still in Sumit with Blaire. That maybe the text from Bethy had been a drunken text and nothing more.
I soaked in the sight of her. She was thinner and I didn't like it. Was she not eating? Had she been sick?
"Hello, Rush," she said, breaking the silence. The sound of her voice almost sent me to my knees. God, I'd missed her voice.
"Blaire," I managed to say, terrified that I'd scare her away just by speaking.
She reached up and wrapped a strand of her hair around her finger and tugged on it. She was nervous. I didn't like that I was making her nervous. But what could I do to make this easier? "Can we talk?" she asked softly.
"Yeah." I stepped back to let her in. "Come inside."
She paused and glanced past me toward the house. The fear and pain flashing in her eyes had me silently cursing myself. She'd been hurt here. Her world had been destroyed in my house. Dammit. I didn't want her to feel this way about my house. Not when there were good memories here too.
"Are you alone?" she asked. Her eyes shifted back to me.
She didn't want to see my mom or her dad. I got it now. It wasn't the house. "I forced them to leave the day you left," I replied, watching her carefully.
Her eyes went wide. Why did this surprise her? Didn't she get it? She came first. I'd told her as much in that hotel room. "Oh. I didn't know…" she trailed off. We both knew she didn't know because she'd cut me from her life.
"It's just me. Except for Grant's occasional visits, it's always just me." She needed to know I hadn't moved on. I wasn't moving on.
Blaire walked into the house and I clenched my hands into fists as her familiar sweet scent followed her. So many nights I'd sat here and dreamed of seeing her walk back into my life. My world.
"Can I get you something to drink?" I asked, thinking how I really wanted to beg her to talk to me. To stay with me.To forgive me.
Blaire shook her head and turned around to look at me. "No. I'm good. I… I just… I was in town and well…" She scrunched her nose and I fought the urge to reach over and touch her face. "Did you hit Cain?"
Cain. Shit. She knew about Cain. Was she here to talk about Cain? "He asked things he shouldn't have. Said things he shouldn't have," I replied through my clenched teeth.
Blaire sighed. "I can only imagine," she mumbled and shook her head. "I'm sorry he came here. He doesn't think things through. He just acts on impulse." She wasn't defending him. She was apologizing for him. That wasn't her job. The stupid fucker wasn't her responsibility or her fault.
"Don't apologize for him, Blaire. It makes me want to hunt his ass down," I growled, unable to control my reaction.
"It's my fault he was here, Rush. That's why I'm apologizing. I upset him and he assumed it was all because of you so he came running here before talking things out with me."
Talking things out with her? What the fuck did Cain need to talk out with her? "He needs to back off. If he so much as –
"Rush. Calm down. We are old friends. Nothing more. I told him some things I've needed to say for a long time. He didn't like it. I was cruel but I needed to say them. I was tired of protecting his feelings. He pushed me too far. That's all it was."
I took a deep breath but the pounding in my head had gotten louder.
"Did you come to see him?" I needed to know if that was why she was here. If this had nothing to do with me my heart needed to deal with it.
Blaire walked over toward the steps instead of going into the living room. I noticed it. I understood. She might have come in my house but she couldn't walk in there and face things. Not yet. Maybe never. "He may have been my excuse to get into the car with Bethy," she paused and let out a sigh, "but he was gone when I got here. I stayed for other reasons. I… I need to talk to you."
She'd come here to talk to me. Had it been enough time? I used every ounce of will power I possessed to stand still and not go pull her into my arms. I didn't care what she had to say. The fact she wanted to see me was enough. "I'm glad you came," I said simply.
The small frown was back and Blaire wouldn't look directly at me. "Things are still the same. I haven't been able to let it go. I'll never be able to trust you. Even… even if I want to. I can't."
What the fuck did that mean? The pounding in my ears grew stronger.
"I'm leaving Sumit. I can't stay there. I've got to make it on my own."
What? "Are you moving in with Bethy?" I asked, wondering if I was still asleep and this was a dream.
"No. I wasn't going to. But this morning I talked with Bethy and I thought maybe if I saw you and talked to you and faced… this I'd be able to stay with her for a while. It wouldn't be permanent; I'll leave in a couple months. Just until I have time to decide where I am going to go next."
She was still planning on leaving. I needed to change that. I had a couple of months if she stayed here. For the first time since she'd told me to leave the hotel room I had hope. "I think that's smart. No reason to make a rash decision when you have an option right here." She could stay in my house for free. In my bed.With me. But I couldn't offer that. She'd never agree.