Resting her head on his shoulder, Catalina whispered, “One of us is going to get hurt.”
Catalina leaned back against Will’s chest as they settled onto the oversized plush sofa on the top deck. The full moon provided enough light and just the perfect ambiance; even Will couldn’t have planned it better.
Granted he didn’t like that the yacht was damaged or that Catalina had been injured, but the feel of her wrapped in his arms, their legs intertwined, even as he was careful of her ankle, was everything he’d wanted since he let her walk away so long ago.
Will laced his hands over her stomach and smiled when she laid her hands atop his.
“It’s so quiet and peaceful,” she murmured. “The stars are so vibrant here. I guess I never pay much attention in Alma.”
“One of these days you’re going to have your own maid, your own staff,” he stated firmly. “You deserve to be pampered for all the hours you work without asking for anything in return. You work too hard.”
“I do,” she agreed. “I have so many things I want to do with my life and working is what keeps me motivated.”
A strand of her hair danced in the breeze, tickling his cheek, but he didn’t mind. Any way he could touch her and be closer was fine with him. She wasn’t trying to ignore this pull and she’d actually relaxed fully against him. This is what they needed. The simplicity, the privacy.
“What are your goals, Cat?”
“I’d love a family someday.”
The wistfulness in her tone had him wanting to fulfill those wishes. Will knew he’d never be able to sit back and watch her be with someone else, make a life and a family with another man.
“What else?” he urged. “I want to know all of your dreams.”
She stiffened in his arms. Will stroked her fingers with his, wanting to keep her relaxed, keep her locked into this euphoric moment.
“It’s just me, Cat.” He purposely softened his tone. “Once upon a time we shared everything with each other.”
“We did. I’m just more cautious now.”
Because of him. He knew he’d damaged that innocence in her, he knew full well that she was a totally different woman because of his selfish actions. And that fact was something he’d have to live with for the rest of his life. All he could do was try to make things better now and move forward.
“I shouldn’t have let you go,” he muttered before he could think.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Will didn’t miss the hint of pain in her tone. “Maybe so, but I should’ve fought for you, for us.”
“Family has always been your top priority, Will. You’ve been that way since your mother passed. You threw yourself into pleasing your father and James ran wild. Everyone grieves differently and it’s affected your relationships over the years.”
Will shouldn’t have been surprised that she’d analyzed him and his brother so well. Cat had always been so in tune with other people’s feelings. Had he ever done that for her? Had he ever thought of her feelings if they didn’t coincide with his own wants and needs?
“I never wanted you hurt.” Yet he’d killed her spirit anyway. “I have no excuse for what I did. Nothing I say can reverse time or knock sense into the man I was four years ago.”
“Everything that happened made me a better person.” She shifted a bit and lifted her ankle to resettle it over the edge of the sofa. “I poured myself into new things, found out who I really am on my own. I never would’ve done that had I been with you.”
Will squeezed her tighter. “I wouldn’t have let you lose yourself, Cat. Had you been with me I would’ve pushed you to do whatever you wanted.”
She tipped her head back and met his gaze. “You wouldn’t have let me work. You would’ve wanted the perfect, doting wife.”
There was a ring of truth to her words. He most likely would have tried to push her into doing what he thought was best.
“I wasn’t good to you.” He swallowed. “You were better off without me, but it killed me to let you go, knowing you’d be fine once you moved on.”
Silence settled heavily around them before she finally said, “I wasn’t fine.”
“You were dating a man two months after we broke up.”
Cat turned back around, facing the water. “I needed to date, I needed to move on in any way that I could and try to forget you. When I was alone my mind would wander and I’d start to remember how happy I was with you. I needed to fill that void in any way I possibly could.”