Key of Light (Key 1) - Page 125

“Quiet.” He tapped a finger on the top of her head. “She didn’t love me, or if she did, that love had specific requirements. So you couldn’t call it a gift.”

He was silent for a moment, selecting his words carefully. “It isn’t easy looking in the mirror and accepting that you were missing some element, some thing that kept a person you wanted from loving you.”

She tried to keep steady. “No, it’s not.”

“And even when you come to terms with it, when you realize it just wasn’t right, that there was something missing from the other person, too, something missing from the whole, it still breaks your stride. It makes you a lot more hesitant about taking that kind of chance again.”

“I understand that.”

“And you end up going nowhere,” he stated, echoing her earlier statement. “Jordan said something to me the other day that had me thinking, and thinking back. I asked myself if I’d ever really imagined life with Lily. You know, pictured how we’d be together a few years down the road. I could see the immediate future, the moving-to-New-York thing. How we’d get jobs in our chosen fields, find a place to live, and then I realized that was pretty much it. That was all I’d been able to see. Not how we would live or what we’d do beyond that vague picture, not how we’d look together in a decade. It wasn’t hard to picture my life without her in it, maybe harder to pick up my life at the point she dumped me. Lots of bruises on the pride and ego. Lots of anger and hurt. And the by-product of feeling like I probably wasn’t cut out for the whole love-and-marriage thing.”

Her heart was twisting, for both of them. “You don’t have to explain.”

“I’m not finished. I was bumping along pretty well. Had my life in order—not so you’d think so, but it suited me. Then Moe knocked you flat on the sidewalk, and things began to change. No secret I was attracted to you from the get-go, and hoped we’d end up naked on this sofa sooner or later. But, initially, that’s as far as I could see things, regarding you and me.”

This time he tipped her face up. He wanted her to look at him now. Wanted to see her face. “I’ve known you less than a month. On a lot of basic points we come at it from opposite angles. But I can see my life with you, the way you can look through a window and see your own little world spread out. I can see how it could be a year from now, or twenty years from now, with you and me and what we make.”

He skimmed his fingers along her cheek, just to feel the shape of it. “What I can’t see is how I’d pick up my life from this point and make it without you.”

He watched her eyes fill with tears, watched them spill over. “I love you.” He brushed away a tear with his thumb. “I don’t have a master plan for what happens next. I just know I love you.”

Emotions surged through her, so bright and rich she wondered that they didn’t burst out of her in colored light. Terrified that she was about to fall apart, she struggled to smile. “I have to ask you for something important.”


“Promise me you’ll never get rid of this couch.”

He laughed, nuzzled her cheek. “You’re going to regret that.”

“No, I won’t. I’m not going to regret a thing.”

WITH the two women who had become her friends and partners, Malory sat on the front porch of the house that would be one-third hers.

The sky had clouded up since she’d arrived, clouds stacking on clouds to make a multilayered sweep of grays.

Storm brewing, she figured, and found herself pleased with the idea of being inside with rain pounding on the roof. But first she wanted to sit while the electricity gathered in the air and those first puffs of wind bent the trees.

More than anything she’d needed to share her joy and her nerves with her friends.

“He loves me.” She didn’t think she would ever tire of saying it aloud. “Flynn loves me.”

“It’s so romantic.” Zoe dug a tissue out of her purse and sniffled into it.

“It wa

s. You know, there was a time I wouldn’t have thought so. I’d have had a very detailed outline in my mind. Candlelight, music, with me and the perfect man in some elegant room. Or outdoors, in some spectacular setting. It would all have had to be arranged, just so.”

With a shake of her head, she laughed at herself. “That’s why I know it’s the real thing. Because it didn’t have to be just so, and elegant and perfect. It just had to be. It had to be Flynn.”

“Jeez. It’s hard for me to equate the stars in your eyes with Flynn.” Dana rested her chin on her fist. “Nice and all, because I love him too. But it’s Flynn, my favorite moron. I’ve never pictured him as a romantic figure.” She turned toward Zoe. “What the hell’s in that meat loaf? Maybe I should get the recipe.”

“I’m going to take another look at it myself.” She patted Malory’s knee. “I’m really happy for you. I liked the way you two looked together right from the start.”

“Hey, you moving in with him?” Dana perked up. “That would set Jordan out on his butt that much sooner.”

“Sorry, we didn’t get to that stage yet. We’re just basking in the we’re-in-love moment for now. And that, friends and neighbors, is a real change for me. I’m not making schedules and lists. I’m just going with it. God, I feel like I could take on the world! Which brings me to the next part of this session. I’m sorry I haven’t contributed to any of the plans for the house here or done anything about moving forward with ideas for fixing it up, putting it all together.”

“I wondered if you were going to bail,” Dana admitted.

Tags: Nora Roberts Key Fantasy
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