“Stubborn, high-handed idiot,” Jake muttered, slamming his teacup down. “Some things never change.”
She’d told Jake about her misunderstanding with Logan earlier, and he’d told her that Butler had, at least, been lying when he’d said Logan intended to marry his daughter.
When she could no longer hear even Logan’s footsteps, pain clogged her throat. He was still stubbornly set against her.
He’d said he was walking out on her for her sake, but to her it felt like history was repeating itself. He was leaving her, and she couldn’t bear it. And he didn’t care.
Jake leaned toward her. “What are you waiting for? It’s obvious you’re both miserable. Go after him. He loves you. He’s always loved you.”
“And you know this how? You’ve barely spoken these past nine years.”
“I still know,” he said. “He thinks he’s protecting you. He’s hell on wheels when he’s protecting one of us. I should be the one to know. Don’t let him drive you away, the way I did.”
As suddenly as she had when she’d been a child and had seen Logan disappearing into the woods or swamp, she gave a little cry and began to run after him, slowly at first and then more swiftly.
He didn’t answer.
His legs were longer than hers and he’d had a head start, so he had already reached his Lexus by the time she caught up to him.
“Logan. I love you. Don’t leave me, or you’ll hurt me more than anything you’ve ever done before. I love you and I’ll be miserable forever if you walk out on me.”
He was about to open his door, but when she said his name and then said she loved him in such a breathless rush, he paused.
“You couldn’t possibly love me.”
“Do you love me?”
“Yes. I love you.”
“So, why are you hell-bent on breaking both our hearts?”
“I thought it was for the best.”
“For whom? What gives you the right to always make decisions for both of us? Being a couple means you listen to each other and make a decision together that’s best for the couple as a unit.”
Suddenly she couldn’t trust herself to go on. What if he remained dead set against her?
Biting her bottom lip, she felt like her life hung in the balance as she stood there, waiting, hoping that he would change his mind about their future.
“I do love you,” he said. “So much…that what I did seems unforgivable.”
“Love can forgive anything.”
“In this case. It’s my heart. I should be the one to know.”
“But I don’t deserve you.”
“Don’t…say that ever again…” She went up to him and silenced his lips with a fingertip. “Kiss me,” she said. “Hold me. These last few hours without you have been such hell.”
“What about Egypt?”
“I was running away for your sake more than mine this time. Now…there’s no reason to go…and every reason… I think…to stay.”
“I love you. You do belong in my life. You’ve always belonged. I was just too blind to see it.”
“And you were blinding yourself again to how much I love you and have always loved you.”
“My love,” he said.
“After I saw your ravaged face in that newspaper photograph after Noelle’s death…from that moment I think I wanted to come home. You’ve suffered enough.”
“Hopefully I’ve finally learned something in the process.”
She smiled. “I’m sure of it.” But in the next breath she was in his arms, clinging to him tightly, feeling renewed faith in tomorrow and in the day after tomorrow.
Tears of happiness and relief overflowed in her eyes. Once more the future was bright with shared dreams and goals and in the dazzle of all the mutually shared adventures they would have.
“I thought you deserved a better man than me,” he said.
“And you always do what’s best for those you love on your own, don’t you?”
“I try. But this time I didn’t know how I’d live without you. I really didn’t.”
“Me, either. It’s scary to think that if Pierre hadn’t disappeared, we were both so stubborn set on our path, we might have never had another chance together.”
“So I owe him even more than I already did.” He looked down at her, his face wide open, his blue eyes filled with love and yet with pain and fear too that he’d come so close to losing her again.
Logan bent his head and buried his face in her hair. She felt the warmth of his lips on her scalp as he wrapped his arms around her and hung on to her as if she meant everything to him.