And all night Sunday.

I don’t eat. I don’t sleep. I barely move.

She cries off and on, and each time it rips me apart all over again. But I sit and I wait, never leaving my post. I would do this for a thousand years for one more chance with her. She probably doesn’t even know I’m here, but I’ve always been with her, even when she didn’t know.

Monday morning, I’m still in the same place, standing sentry. I know it’s morning when I see light creeping in at the end of the hall. I watch the sun rise and wish I could see her face.

Then the front door finally opens.

I nearly fall over into her apartment, but catch myself in time. I look up into Mallory’s eyes, and I see so much hate there, it burns through me. I’ll take it. It’s better than indifference.


For a split second, I think she’s going to say something, but instead she steps over me and walks to the elevator, hitting the button. It takes everything in me not to grab her. A control I never knew I had. Pick her up and carry her back to my home until I make her see reason. Make her understand there is no leaving me. This will end with her being mine. There is no other option. I won’t allow there to be. Period. But I know she needs soft right now. She’s already gotten too big a dose of how deep my obsession runs.

I jump up, running after her, but she doesn’t so much as glance at me. I drop to my knees in front of her, not caring how pathetic it makes me look. I want her to see that I’m willing to grovel. That I’m willing to put my pride aside and literally beg her to listen to me. She is my life, and I refuse to let her go. Losing her isn’t an option, and I will demand she listen, even if it’s from my knees.

“Mallory. You’re going to have to hear me out sooner or later.”

She hits the elevator button again, like it can’t get here fast enough.

“Mallory.” I say her name in a warning.

The elevator door opens, and I reach out to her, so close to touching her, but she steps onto it and turns to face me. She looks painfully beautiful. She’s wearing a black fitted dress with deep purple heels. I notice her hair is down, and it annoys me. Like she’s done it out of spite.

Soft, I remind myself. “Baby. I need you. Don’t go. Let me explain.” It takes everything in me not to tell her I’ll never let her go. That one way or another, she’ll be mine again.

She looks down at me, and then looks away, like the sight of me hurts her.

“Might want to get that tattoo covered.”

With her words, the doors close, and I’m left alone. Looking down, I see I’m shirtless, only wearing a long pair of sweatpants. I hadn’t given a single thought to myself or what I looked like when I ran out of my place. Only that I needed to get to her.

I get to my feet and hit the arrow to take me up to my floor. I need to get ready for work. I need to get my head on straight and figure out how the fuck I’m supposed to win her back without getting kidnapping charges. I’ve got a shareholders meeting today that I’m nowhere close to ready for, but I couldn’t give a fuck about it. The only thing I care about is getting my woman back. In order to do that, I need a plan.

I get on the elevator and rub the place over my heart. I got the tattoo after the first time I saw her, and I never once regretted it. It will stay there until the day I take my last breath, like my love for her will.

I’ll win her back, or I’ll die trying. There is absolutely no room for failure.

Chapter Twenty


* * *

I stare at the computer screen, the numbers seeming to mush together. I was thinking I could come into work early and maybe lose myself here. I thought I could get my mind to stop racing, but all I can see is Miles on his knees in front of me as the elevator doors slid closed. It took everything in me to not reach out and touch him.

I made sure I looked as perfect as I could before I opened that door this morning, even if it took an extra layer of foundation to hide the bags under my eyes. I didn’t want him to know I’d been on the other side, miserable and crying the whole time.

He sat there all weekend. I couldn’t stop myself from checking every few hours, thinking he’d leave at some point. I was certain he’d give up, but he never did. The worst thing was so many times I wanted to open the door. I wanted to get in his face and yell at him. I wanted to direct all this anger I had at someone or something. I wanted to figure out what was going on, because my mind was running wild and nothing was adding up.