“It’s fine,” Blue assured her, a twinkle in her eyes, which were the same shade as her name.
An awkward silence followed as Blake belatedly noticed the curious way Blue was studying her face. “I…um…”
“Have been crying?” the actress asked frankly.
“You and the scary-looking dude had a fight, didn’t you? The one who looks like Keanu with a beard?”
“My acting might suck,” Blue said candidly, “but it doesn’t mean I don’t have an eye for it. And you and that dude?” She remembered the way the other woman and local John Wick had been pretending to ignore each other from the opposite sides of the cafe, and Blue couldn’t help shaking her head. “You two have it really bad for each other.”
Blake shook her head. “You must be mistaken—”
“Nope.” To Blue’s surprise, she saw the younger woman’s lips start trembling. Shit. Maybe the others were right about her, and she was just a natural-born bitch with a talent for making people cry.
“I’m s-sorry.” Blake was doing her best to fight back tears.
“No, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have butted in—”
“It just hurts, you know?” Blake choked back a sob. “I really wish what you said were true, but it’s not.”
Blake pursed her lips. Don’t meddle.
“It’s entirely one-sided…”
Nothing ever good comes out from getting unnecessarily involved.
“But he doesn’t love me—”
Oh, for shit’s sake.
Blake was startled when the actress suddenly grabbed her shoulders.
“I’m dumb about a lot of things,” Blue told the other girl flatly, “but never about love. And the way Bearded Hottie was looking at you the whole night? It’s love.”
“Did he tell you he didn’t?”
“Not in so many words—”
“Did he or didn’t he?”
“No,” Blake whispered.
“Then you should go after your man and ask him. Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth and all that. It could mean losing your face after, but it’s a risk worth taking, don’t you think?”
It was raining again. Thornton was usually meticulously prepared for things like this, but a lot had changed since a certain dark-haired girl came into his life—
And grabbed him by the balls, he thought grimly.
Rain fell harder and faster as he continued walking, but he didn’t even notice. He just felt fucking empty, and he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to recover from it.
He kept seeing Blake in his mind.
I know the truth.
But it wasn’t the Blake he wanted to remember.
I can’t…I can’t…
Pain forced Thornton into an abrupt halt just as he was about to cross the street. God. He squeezed his eyes shut. God. But he could still see her tear-stained face and hear her sobs. God.
She doesn’t love you, Blackwood. So just fucking let her go.
The mere thought hurt, but he knew it was the only thing to do. Keeping her in his life would only have her always feeling guilty, and she’d never be truly happy.
So just let her go.
He slowly dragged oxygen into his lungs.
So be it.
But when he opened his eyes, it was to find God playing a cruel joke on him, with Blake standing across the street, right outside the gates of his place. She was wet and shivering, but even this far he knew it wasn’t just rain that was tracking down her cheeks.
She was crying.
Because of him.
Blake could feel her body shaking harder and harder when Thornton finally started to move. She watched him slowly cross the street, and her heart thumped harder and faster against her chest. Please God. Please. Please.
And when he finally stood in front of her…
Please, she wanted to cry out to the heavens. Please.
She slowly lifted her gaze to his. “W-Where have you been?”
“Why do you even ask?”
Because I care, she wanted to say. But the shuttered expression on Thornton’s beautiful face terrified her, and she could feel her courage wilting with every second that passed. Blue was wrong, she couldn’t help thinking brokenly. This man wasn’t in love with her. She had to be a fool to imagine someone like Thornton Blackwood could ever be in love with someone like her.
Thornton couldn’t help feeling bitter when he saw Blake’s expression change. There it fucking was again. That look that told him she wished she had never met him…
“Why don’t you just fucking leave and be done with it?”
“B-Because…” I love you. But how could she say that, knowing he could never love her back?
“Because what?” he roared. “Because you pity me?”
The words were so unexpected that it drew Blake out of her despair. What was he talking about?
“You chose him,” he bit out. “He won. I lost.”
Her confusion grew. “Thorn—”
“I get it, okay? So just fucking go and I’ll figure out a way to live without you.”
“W-What are you saying?”
Thornton had never thought it was possible to love a woman and wish to strangle her at the same time. “You bitch.” He hadn’t thought she could be this cruel, but she had to be, the way she was forcing him to spell things out.