Honesty could sometimes hurt. “I’m only here for another couple of weeks, but yeah, I would want to get to know you.”
She stared at him for a moment. “If you get to know me, you might not leave, and then I’ll be the one to cost you the only family you have. Hell, I don’t know if I can do it to Celeste after everything she’s been through. I know I’m supposed to hate her, but I also kind of understand her. She put everything she had into Wes and she needs a reason he’s gone. She needs a villain she can pin it on. It’s too much to understand that some things are random and we can’t control them. The world gets infinitely more scary when you have a child. I can’t imagine losing Luc.”
“You are being so much kinder to her than she is to you.” He wanted to kiss her. He wanted it so badly he ached with the longing.
“Yeah, well, I’ve thought about it a lot. I know she wouldn’t believe it, but I miss Wes, too. He was my friend for so long it was hard to move on without him.”
“Did you love him?” He’d wanted to ask the question for days, but it was a touchy subject all around.
Her eyes came up, a depth of misery there. “I did, but not the way he needed me to. I think that I might have ruined two lives when we fought that day.”
“It didn’t ruin your life at all. It might have made it harder, but you’re going to be okay.” He was starting to understand her. “You feel guilty, but you didn’t force him to leave school.”
“No, but I didn’t ask him to stay, either. I was angry with him, too. I never expected him to do what he did. I can’t imagine him in the Army. Wes was gentle.” She seemed a bit shaken. “Not that you’re rough, Harry. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“I went into the Army because I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” he explained. “I’m glad I did. It helped me a lot. I think it might have helped Wes, too, but the truth is the world can be random and unsafe. Even if he hadn’t gone into the Army, he could have gotten killed. He could have gotten into a car and taken a wrong turn one night and ended up in the same place. We can’t know these things. I understand Celeste needs someone to blame but that shouldn’t be you, and it shouldn’t come between the two of us. I can’t promise you where this is going. I’m not supposed to stay past the wedding, but you’re right. If I want to, I will stay. I don’t know what the future is going to bring. I only know that being with you feels right to me. If my aunt doesn’t like it, that’s her problem. We make decisions in life and we live with them. I can live with this decision. I want to try with you but I don’t want to hide it. Nothing flourishes in the shadows. Especially not you. You should be in the light.”
There were tears in her eyes as she looked up at him. “You might not think that if you knew the truth.”
“Then tell me.”
She took a deep breath and shook her head. “I’m going to take a shower. You should try the wine.”
She slipped into the bathroom and closed the door between them.
Harry stared at that closed door. What had she meant about the truth? He didn’t understand any of it. Cal was spiraling. His aunt had the worst priorities he’d ever seen. Only Angie seemed to have moved past Wes’s death.
Sera definitely hadn’t, and despite the fact that she said she hadn’t been in love with him, the man was still standing firmly between them.
And now his leg ached. Well, his stump ached. He’d slipped on the wet floor and banged into the front desk of the motel. He was screwing up a lot today.
He grabbed the bottle of muscadine wine and took a drink. It looked like sharing a bottle was going to be about as close as he would get to Seraphina.chapter sevenSeraphina stepped out of the shower and knew she would regret not spending the night with Harry for the rest of her life, but did she honestly want to wreck another of Celeste Beaumont’s relatives?
She moved in front of the mirror, looking at the girl reflected back. Girl? She wasn’t a girl at all anymore and hadn’t been from the moment she’d realized Luc was growing in her belly.
Or maybe it had been that moment that she’d realized she would have to let Wes go, that minute she knew she’d gone too far and they couldn’t go back. She’d finally understood it wasn’t fair to him to even try.