Obviously, she wants to try again now that he’s vulnerable. God, the way she looked at him, like some cat all set to lick up the cream. Bitch.
“Anna!” Drew can move pretty fast on crutches if motivated. He practically flies across the parking lot, his eyes wild and his face pale. “Wait.”
I get in the car and turn it on, loving the way it roars to life beneath me. This is Drew’s car, and I don’t really care, because I’m about to drive away from his ass in it. Before I can slam the door closed, however, he grabs it, hopping a little as he leans a hip against the car.
“I can explain.” He is panting now, sweat dripping down his temple.
“Just the words a girl longs to hear,” I mutter. Heat prickles behind my eyes. Not now. I need a breather.
The bitch walks out of the store, hovering there and watching us with interest. She’ll be here to pick up the pieces should I lay into Drew now.
He doesn’t even look her way. His eyes, wide and pained, drill into me. “You have to know that—”
“At the house,” I snap. “Now get out of the way.”
“No.” He leans in, grabbing at my hand with his clammy one. “Talk to me.”
“Not. Here.” I give a pointed look in the bitch’s direction. “I am not doing this with an audience.”
Shockingly, he steps back and gives a short nod. “Okay.” He holds up a hand. “Okay, but I’m following you.”
Good to his word, he follows right behind me as I drive home. Even though I long to do it, I don’t speed but keep a steady pace and take deep breaths the whole way home. My hands are cold and sweaty on the steering wheel.
I want to throw up. I want to cry. Drew is slipping away from me. And I don’t know if I can handle the situation.
Once home, I slam out of the car, only to hear Drew drive up and do the same. I say nothing as I let myself in and set the wine on the kitchen counter. By the time he’s inside and shutting the door, I’m rinsing off my hot face with cool water.
“Anna.” His voice is soft, coaxing as he comes closer. “Baby, I know that looked bad, but—”
“It’s okay.” I turn to face him, taking in his pasty complexion and confused frown. “It’s okay, Drew.”
His heel thumps against the floor as he limps up to me. “Not that I want to fight,” he begins slowly, “but I’ve been close to losing my mind with fear for the past twenty minutes, so can you explain this to me?” His brows rise, but he looks pained as he stares down at me. “Because I’m at a loss here.”
I rest my hand over his cold one, and instantly he captures it, threading his fingers through mine and holding tight as if I might run. The gesture makes me smile even though I’m suddenly so exhausted that I want to lie down. He’s in a panic. Not that I blame him. The scene that I stumbled into looked very cozy to someone on the outside.
“I saw the way you looked at her,” I tell him.
“How did I look at her?” His voice is a rasp, his gaze darting over my face in rampant curiosity.
“Like she was an insect.”
A short, humorless laugh leaves him. “Yeah, that about sums it up.”
With a quick tug, he hauls me into his arms and holds me tight as he burrows his nose into my hair. “Christ. I saw you standing there, and I thought…” He snuggles in deeper, his lips pressing on the top of my head. “I love the way you smell.” It’s a rather odd change of subject, but I don’t question it. I wrap my arms around his waist. Simply doing that settles the rampant jittering within my chest.
“You thought what?” I ask. “That I’d leave you?”
I can feel the tension gathering in his back. “Maybe,” he mumbles into my hair. “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking past the initial panic. Definitely thought there’d be yelling, maybe a wine bottle smashed over my head.”
I laugh against his shoulder where my face is currently being smushed. But I’m fine where I am, warm and secure.
“I trust you, Drew.” If he had been looking at his ex the way he looks at me, there would have been a fight. It would have destroyed me. But I didn’t doubt him for a minute, because I saw his distress and the way he angled away from the little witch.
Surprise ripples over him, and he pulls back a bit to meet my eyes. “Why’d you drive away like that then?”
I shrug. “I needed a moment. Otherwise I might have smashed that little shit’s face in.”
He’s clearly struggling not to smile. Smart guy. “So no catfight jokes?”
“Not if you want to live.”
His eyes are clear and warm. “Do you know what I was thinking just before I saw you?”
“Do I want to know?” I say with a half-frown.
He grins. “I was thinking that you were my home and my peace.”
“God, I sound positively provincial. Was I wearing an apron in this image?” I pretend to roll my eyes, but happiness fills me up.
“If I did picture that, it would be all you were wearing.” Pulling me back in, he wraps his arms around me until we’re pressed hip to hip. Close enough to feel the bulge growing behind his jeans. “I was also thinking that you make me hotter than anyone ever has.”
“Sweet talker.” But I kiss him. Because it’s impossible to be this close to him and not kiss him. Happiness swells within me. “Love you, Baylor.”
“Love you more, Jones.” He takes over the kiss, angling his head and delving in deeper, appreciating me with his mouth.