Melora sat at the kitchen table, her gaze fixed on the cooling mug of tea between her palms. She’d left Chance in the living room nearly a half-hour before. After a time, she’d heard his sweet voice as he began making phone calls. Surely, he was trying to find a way out of this mess.
The hardwood groaned its quiet protest under the weight of his approach and then Chance’s dark form filled the doorway. Arms braced against the frame like a looming threat, he pressed into the room without entering.
“I found out this morning…” she volunteered, figuring it as good a place to start as any.
“Are you ok?” he asked visibly concerned.
It didn’t surprise her… There’d never been a question of caring. Only of degree.
“Yes. It was just my annual check-up. One thing led to another and then…”
Melora stood before the closed door to her apartment, hand hovering above the knob. Chance was on his way up. Invariably looking too dangerously good for her peace of mind. He always looked good. And she’d generally been able to handle it. Right up until the night a week ago when she’d gotten her hair stuck in his shirt. Ever since she’d been fighting a losing battle against temptation. It was unsettling. And what made matters worse, Chance had stopped berating talking about marriage. She knew something wasn’t right… This was the relentless, ruthless, single-minded in his unwavering determination to make the world bend to his will, Chance Benson. Now that she’d been on the receiving end of all that intensive focus, Melora didn’t believe for one minute he’d actually given up the fight. Which meant he’d be
He was losing her. He’d been so close. She’d been there, he could feel it. He’d seen her weaken, starting to melt. Felt the hot lick of her eyes over his skin, the current charging the air between them. And then, just that quickly, everything changed. The temperature dropped. The static grounded. And a swarm of angry bees manifested beneath his skin, buzzing in his head, making him itch and sting and want to roar in painful frustration. Why wouldn’t she damned well give in? Fighting the vise around his chest, Chance surged to his feet. Wasn’t surprised when Melora rose with him. She leaned into his space, looking up at him with eyes that were flat and bleak, lacking emotion, and speared through his soul like a blade.“You know what? You’re right… I don
Chance sat at the edge of the bed, feet on the floor, forearms propped over his knees, jaw painfully set. This wasn’t going to work. He looked over his shoulder at Melora’s sleeping form, quietly curled into herself, a tiny furrow pulled between her delicate eyebrows. She didn’t want what he was offering… not really. They’d been in the same book, but on different pages from the start. He’d tried not to hurt her, but he’d been an idiot, and in the end that was all he’d managed to do. Even today, when suddenly all the pieces of his life seemed to be falling into place, one jagged edge didn’t fit and he’d felt it cut through Melora’s vulnerable heart. ‘Just let me love you.’ He shouldn’t have said the words like that.