“I’ve loved having you here,” he tells me.
I smile, my heart doubling in size.
“And I’m not going to charge my phone either.”
“No. I’m not ready for this weekend to be over.” His eyes smile at me.
My insides light up. “Me neither.” I lift up on my toes and softly kiss his lips. “Let’s drag it out for as long as we can.”
“Forever?” he says.
I touch my hand to his face. “If only.”
He presses a kiss to the palm of my hand. “We’d best get moving. We’ve got that flight to catch.”
We get in the car, and Vaughn drives us over to his parents’. His dad is already outside, waiting on us.
“They’re here,” he calls out.
Every member of Vaughn’s family piles out of the house to see us off.
“You’re coming back once the movie’s wrapped?” Vaughn’s mom asks him.
“Yeah. I’ll be back soon.”
She hugs him and then comes over to me. “It was so lovely to meet you, Charly.”
“You, too. Thank you for making me feel so welcome.”
She hugs me. “I hope to see you again.”
“You will,” Vaughn says, smiling over at us.
“Guess I’ll see you soon then.”
His mom smiles and winks at me, and I laugh.
“I’m taking bets on how long it is before he asks her to move in with him,” Meg announces.
“I’ll put twenty on a month,” Gran says.
“I’ll take two months, babe,” Vic says to his wife.
“For fuck’s sake!” Vaughn grumbles.
“Vaughn! Delicate ears!” Sasha’s hands go over Nora’s ears.
“Too late, Mama. I already heard Uncle Vaughn say the naughty word.”
“Fuck’s sake!” George mimics.
“George!” Meg covers her hand with her mouth. Then, she narrows her eyes at Vaughn as she reaches over and punches him in the arm.
“Hey! No need for violence.”
“If he goes to school saying that, I’m telling his teacher where he learned it.”
“Sorry.” He laughs, rubbing his arm.
We continue saying our good-byes to everyone.
I feel like I’m in an episode of The Brady Bunch, receiving hugs left, right, and center. But in no way am I complaining.
I actually enjoy each and every hug I receive. Weird. Must be Vaughn rubbing off on me. He’s a huggy guy.
Then, we’re done, and it’s time to go.
I climb in the backseat, and Vaughn hops in beside me.
Vaughn’s dad gets in the driver’s seat and turns the engine on. “Ready to go, kids?”
Vaughn takes hold of my hand, linking our fingers. I look at him, and he smiles at me.
“Yeah, we’re ready,” he tells his dad.
His dad puts the car in drive, and I wave to Vaughn’s family as we go, as they’re all waving us off.
The farther away we get, the more I start to feel this weird tugging in my chest.
It takes me a moment, but then I realize that tugging in my chest is because I don’t want to leave here. Or them.
It’s not only Vaughn that I’ve loved being here with, but his family, too.
Not only have I fallen in love with him, but I’ve fallen in love with them, too.
And I want this with Vaughn. I don’t mean a family…well, maybe in time, but I want this, what we have right now, and more.
I want to share his life and share mine with him. I want us to live in each other’s worlds and make our own world together.
I don’t want to hide anymore.
I want everyone to know that we’re together.
Not because he’s Vaughn West, movie star. But because I’m crazy in love with him.
I’m in love with the Vaughn West who takes care of me and calls me Pins and makes me laugh and drives me crazy and fucks me like no man has ever done before.
I want to tell him that I’m in love with him.
But none of that can happen until he knows the truth.
He has a right to know. I should have told him weeks ago when I realized things were getting serious between us instead of hiding like a coward.
When we get back to Vegas, I’m going to put my big-girl panties on and sit him down, so I can tell him everything. And then I’m going to pray to God that he understands why I have kept it from him for so long.
“Jack’s been trying to get ahold of you,” Aiden says, taking the bags from me and putting them in the trunk of the blacked-out Mercedes he’s picked us up at the airport in.
“Hey, Aiden.” Charly smiles at him as she climbs in the back of the car.
“Hi,” he says flatly.
“My cell’s dead,” I tell him. “What does he need me for?”
“Not sure.” He shrugs, shutting the trunk.
He’s acting a little weird. He won’t even make eye contact. Seemed a bit off with Charly just then.
“Everything okay?” I ask him.
“Uh-huh. Let’s get you back to the hotel.” He holds open the back passenger door, waiting for me to get in.
I climb inside, sitting beside Charly and taking her hand. Aiden shuts the door with a soft clunk. A minute later, we’re pulling out of the airport.
I rest back in my seat. The peace I always feel after I’ve been home starts to ebb away, like it always does when I come back to work. Back to the reality of my life.