Tressa swallowed down the building emotions. She hated to admit it, but she missed Roth like hell. The way he touched her—as if she were a rare stone. The way he kissed her—with so much intensity it left her breathless. The way he made love to her—as if he was giving her chunks of his soul.
Tressa pinched her eyes together to fend off her tears. Her head suggested she needed to get over Roth, but her heart gave other advice; sound advice, she chose to believe. So why was she lying there in bed alone and not beside the man she loved?
Because you are a stubborn fool, Tressa Washington. And it has cost you the best thing that’s ever happened to you. A beat later, tears rolled from her eyes.
She cried long.
She cried hard.
She cried ugly.
She cried for the pain she’d denied feeling over her loss.
She cried for the many times she’d rejected how much she missed Roth.
She cried for the countless moments she’d told herself she no longer loved him.
She cried for…for the mere fact there had been no laughter in her soul since she’d walked away from him.
She cried until there were no more tears left.
Had losing Roth truly been a sign she deserved to be alone? She certainly believed in signs, especially ones she’d asked for. But she hadn’t asked for this. She would have never asked for her heart to be ripped from her chest. She would have never asked for this type of pain.
But had she?
She’d been the one who’d refused him the opportunity to explain. She’d been the one who’d walked away, her hurt overshadowing the guidance of her heart. She’d been the one who’d, for the past few weeks, refused to reach out to him. Had she asked for this?
Two hours later the alarm sounded and Tressa slammed her hand onto the snooze button. She draped her arm over her eyes, cursing the light penetrating her blinds.
It can’t be six already.
Dragging herself from the bed, she charged through her morning bathroom routine, then headed for the kitchen to consume a trough of coffee. The fragrant java smell greeted her the second she opened her bedroom door. Thank God for coffee machines with timers. The first sip of the strong brew caused a twitch in her lips that would have normally blossomed into a smile.
Today she didn’t feel like smiling. Would she ever again? Feel like it or do it?
Leaning against the counter, she steadied the cup between her hands. She just couldn’t continue like this. Her job performance was taking a hit and so was her health. Over the past two weeks she’d experienced elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations. She blamed it on sleep deprivation and stress. Her eyes lowered to her mug. Of course, her increased caffeine intake could be a contributor, as well.
Relinquishing the mug, she grabbed her insulated tumbler and filled it to the brim. Checking the time, she grabbed her purse and headed for the door. If she was late again, Ms. Kasetta, the toughest charge nurse in the South, would have her head—and her job, no doubt.
Stopping abruptly, she cursed, veered back to the kitchen and lifted her keys from the hook. “Can’t go anywhere without these.” Satisfied she hadn’t forgotten anything else—like her brain—she hurried out the door.
The second she stepped foot on the porch, Tressa gasped and dropped the tumbler. The top popped off and hot coffee ran everywhere. The mess only fazed her for a millisecond, sending her gaze back to her lawn.
Stunned by the display, her eyes swept her front yard. “What the…” Countless airplanes littered her grass. Stepping over the spilled coffee, she descended the stairs. Her purse slid from her arm and thunked to the ground. There was only one person who could have accomplished this. Roth.
Her eyes brushed from one side of the yard to the other. Where was he? Was he still there? Watching her, maybe?
Collecting one of the lavender planes, she unfolded it. Sure enough, a message was scribbled inside, just as she suspected. “Memories are priceless. One of the best ones I have is making snow angels with you.” A smile touched her lips. It was one of her best, too.
She lifted another lavender plane. It, too, contained a memory message. “We don’t remember days, we remember moments. I’ll never forget the exact moment I fell in love with you.” Tressa flipped it over, expecting more to be written. Disappointed that there wasn’t.