When the door clicked shut, it released the pain in my heart, and I burst into tears. Everything I wanted just walked out my door. And I’d let him. Why? Why couldn’t I take what he offered me?
Are you sure it’s just you? Maybe it’s all for the baby. That was my hang up. When we’d learned about the baby, he’d said we should get married, and I refused, not wanting to marry without love.
He just said he loved you, you idiot. But maybe he was still just doing the right thing. Except he didn’t bring up marriage again. He just said he loved me. He didn’t suggest any plans for the baby. He only said he loved me.
“No. Jesus, Bella. Do you think I’d lie about something like that? That I’d use love to manipulate you?”
One of the things I loved about Blake was how deeply he loved. How committed he was to those he loved. He continued to honor his wife even after her death.
“I didn’t think it was possible to love again after Joanna. I wasn’t looking for love and yet you brought joy and happiness into my life, and I fell in love with you.”
Suddenly, guilt overtook the pain. He loved me. Blake was nothing if not honest about his feelings. He wasn’t one to play games or manipulate others. He’d come here and told me what was in his heart and I pushed him away. I saw the hurt in his eyes when he thought I didn’t feel the same way.
Oh, God. I jumped from the couch and ran to the door. But of course, it was too late. He was long gone. I’d nearly ran out after him in my robe, but had enough sense to shower and dress first. I hurried from my building and jumped into the nearest cab to take me to Blake’s building.
I was fortunate that the doorman knew me as Blake’s assistant, and he let me in. I rode the elevator up to Blake’s floor, crossing all my fingers and toes that I hadn’t just royally fucked up with him. “Please, please, please,” ran like a mantra in my head.
When I got to his door, my nerves had me hesitating. But my future happiness relied on me telling him the truth. And if I’d killed his love for me, I’d have to face that.
I knocked on the door and waited. I was getting ready to knock again when the door opened.
Blake stood there, looking so handsome and so sad. God, please let me put a smile back on his face.
“I forgot to tell you something. You left before I could.”
He simply stared at me, his face unreadable.
“I love you too,” I blurted. When he didn’t respond, I kept going. “I’m sorry about earlier. I was afraid, Blake. I want you to love me for me, not just for the baby… and I…”
“I don’t know how to prove to you that I love you for you.”
“You don’t have to because I know you do.”
He looked at me skeptically. Why wasn’t he forgiving me? “How?”
“Because you told me so. And because, if you forgive me, you’ll prove it to me, just like I want to prove to you that I love you. I have for so long, Blake.”
I finally saw a crack in his brave front. “I can’t afford to love and lose again, Bella.”
I took a chance and pressed my hand over his heart, realizing his resistance was over being hurt again. Losing Joanna had nearly broken him, but here he was, loving again. Loving me. I would have to do better at cherishing that.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
He let out a shuddering breath as he reached for me and tugged me into his arms. His face nestled into my neck. The way he held me made me feel treasured.
He leaned back, his hands cupping my face. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize it sooner. I was afraid to love again. I didn’t think I could. You proved me wrong.” Before I could respond, his lips were on mine. At first, the kiss was gentle and sweet, but quickly, the heat picked up. He moved me inside and kicked the door shut, pressing me against the wall.
“I’ve missed you,” he said as his lips trailed along my jaw. “Not just this, although I love touching you. But being with you. You’ve filled my life with light and joy again, Bella. Tell me you believe me.”
“I believe you.” I really wanted to get naked, but I gripped his shirt and held him back for a moment. “It’s the same for me, Blake. I’ve been alone living a dull life.”
“You’re not alone anymore, sweetheart. I promise you won’t ever be alone again.”
Tears filled my eyes as the truth of his words filled me with emotion. “I love you.”