Believe me—my imagination went wild on the drive over here.”
I hug him. “No more secrets. No more doubt.”
He strokes hair from my face, and softly repeats, “No more secrets. No more doubt.”
Still Saturday, July 14, 2012
Still in the cofee shop . . .
There’s a convention in town and I can’t get a cab. So al-though I can’t believe it, I’m going to let Ava drive me to a hotel.
I can only hope tomorrow will be better. Maybe I’ll call “him”
after all. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just wait until he comes back. Or maybe I’ll let tomorrow decide for me. Maybe then I’ll even feel 100 percent like the old Rebecca Mason. Tonight . . .
I’m almost home.
I blink awake the next morning, inhale the scent of Chris clinging to the sheets, and almost forget he’d returned to the museum for the night. I run my hand over his empty place beside me, wishing he were here. Wishing I wasn’t alone, he wasn’t alone in his battle against the old demons I’d awakened last night. Alone. I’d fallen asleep hating that word, wearing one of Chris’s shirts, and missing him horribly.
The sound of water running confuses me and I sit up, then realize it’s the shower. It takes me a moment to process that Chris is home, and he didn’t awaken me. I glance at the clock and it’s already ten.
I know he’s eager to get on the road today, and I throw of the blankets and head toward the bathroom. Fighting nausea from the tequila, I lean on the door frame to steady myself.
His head is dropped forward under the water, his broad shoulders and back angled toward me. Wondering how he’s feeling after last night’s confession, I tug of my shirt, then cross to the shower door.
When I open it Chris’s gaze shifts to me, and he pulls me to him under the spray of water and wraps his arms around me.
“I missed you,” I say, touching his face.
He lowers his head to mine. “I missed you, too.”
We just stand there a few moments, and the sense that he’s struggling is strong. “Are you okay?”
“It’s always a rough few days.”
This is about his parents, and years of punishing himself for what he couldn’t prevent. But knowing about Amber’s parents now, I can see why he can’t let go of the pain. “When is the actual day?” I ask.
I wonder how many times he’s taken a beating to get through this anniversary—but this year, he’s spending it with me. The signiicance washes over me with the water, a lood of understanding. He’s letting me be there for him. This amazing, wonderful, lawed man is giving himself completely to me, instead of shutting me out, as he had with Dylan.
I hug him tightly, silently telling him that I’m there for him.
And when I raise my head and he kisses me, and passion claims us, I hope that I’m helping him escape his past, as he’s helped with mine.
And I vow he will never need a whip again.
The drive to Fontainebleau, a commune on the outskirts of Paris, begins with a call from our attorney about my passport. I listen closely as Chris talks to Stephen, trying to decipher what’s being said.
Chris’s sigh when he hangs up isn’t encouraging. “There’s no movement on the passport yet. Without a body, they can’t build a case against Ava they can be certain will stick. That means they have to charge her with attempted murder to ensure a conviction.”
“Of me,” I supply.
“Yes. Stephen thinks they’re holding your passport hostage to get you to agree to come back and testify for the grand jury.”
“Can they do that?”
“No, but they aren’t admitting they’re doing it, either.” He glances at me. “They can’t get an indictment without you, Sara.”
“So we have to go back.”
“It would be the right thing to do. We’re done here after this weekend. We can head to San Francisco and stay a few months.”
“What about your charity events?”
“I want to be here for tomorrow’s event, but then I don’t have to be back until late November. This will give us a chance to clear your passport for a longer stay in France anyway.” He gives me a small smile. “You can learn French before we return.”
I give a short laugh. “Don’t count on that one.” I open my mouth to express my concern that this is a ploy by the police to get me back and investigate me for Rebecca’s death, but stop myself. This weekend is about Chris. Only Chris. “We would make Katie happy.”
He cuts me a sideways look. “That we would. In fact, she called to check on me today. I can’t talk to her.” His lips tighten.
“Maybe you could call? Tell her traic is bad and I can’t talk?”
“Of course.” I dial Katie, and her warm greeting is welcome right now. We chat a few minutes, and when she asks to speak to Chris and I give my prepared excuse, she says, “Tell him it’s okay. He doesn’t have to talk. I know he has you, and you’ll take good care of him.”
“I will,” I promise. “I absolutely will.”
“I know, honey. We love you for loving him the way you do.
Call me when you can, and let me know how he is.”
I promise and we hang up. I stare out of the window, ighting the tears I don’t want Chris to see, determined to be strong for him.