She wanted to know when.
She swallowed hard and blinked back tears. Choosing a white airplane this time, she pulled it apart as if gold coins waited inside for her. This one was a Maya Angelou quote.
“‘People will forget—’” Her voice cracked and she recited the rest in her head. The last line, people will never forget how you made them feel, was written in all caps. Roth’s penned words followed. You make me feel invincible.
Tressa clapped her hand over her mouth, a single tear sliding from her eye. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
A red plane caught her eye. Scanning, she realized it was the only red plane there. Moving to the center of the yard to collect it, she took a deep breath before unfolding it. I promise was the only thing written. Tressa brows bunched. I promise? What did he promise?
Before she got the opportunity to ponder the cryptic message any further, a paper plane soared overhead and landed a foot or two in front of her. She turned urgently, expecting to see Roth standing there. Nothing. Where in the heck was he?
Her eyes scanned the yard again, even kneeling to look under her vehicle. Bemused, she gave up her search for him and collected the steel blue plane. She gasped, recognition setting in immediately. This was her plane, the one she’d crafted at the cabin. She studied her handwritten words—smeared, but somewhat still legible—on the warped piece.
“When I first read your words, he makes me feel like I’m soaring, I swore I’d do any and everything in my power to always make you feel that way.”
The soothing sound of Roth’s steady tone caressed her like tiny fingers exploring every inch of her body. Gathering her thoughts, she turned to face him. The sight of him sent a boom through her system, reviving every part of her that felt as if it’d died since they’d been apart. For the first time in what she labeled forever, she felt alive again.
Her eyes took in every inch of him. His handsome face, his thick shoulders, the brown short-sleeved shirt he wore, the jeans that hung perfectly from his toned frame, even his all-black tennis shoes. I’ve missed you, she said, but only in her head.
Lifting the plane, she said, “How did you get this?”
Her eyes widened. “It made it to town.”
Roth chuckled that beautiful sound she’d missed so much.
“Almost. He came across it when he was searching for his dog who’d run off into the woods. And since I’m the only one known for crafting paper planes, he put two and two together.”
Dumb luck or fate. She wasn’t sure which, and she didn’t care. All that mattered was that it’d brought Roth back to her.
Roth cupped his hands in front of him. “I have something to say. Just listen. Please.”
“Baby—” He paused as if he’d suddenly recognized an error he’d made. When he started again, he dropped baby. “Tressa, I get it. It’s not always about what happened. Sometimes it’s about perception, appearance. The things you heard… I get it. They were awful and they hurt you. But there are two important things I need for you to know, then I’ll leave.”
Leave? The word rattled her.
“First, I have never, ever been unfaithful to you. The things you heard…” He shook his head. “I never did anything that would disrespect you. I put that on my life.”
“What about the kiss—” The idea of Roth kissing another woman froze the words in her throat.
“She kissed me on the neck. It wasn’t provoked, nor wanted. That’s the only time in five years her lips have ever touched me.”
So much passion radiated from Roth’s words that all she wanted to do was drape her arms around him. But she resisted. “You said you had two things to tell me.”
“The second thing… I love you more than life itself. You are my life. I’ll never stop fighting for you, for us. Because that’s what I do, baby. I fight for what I love, for who I love. I’ll never stop fighting. That’s my promise to you.”
Tressa swallowed hard, her chest aching with emotion. Roth reached up to touch her but abandoned the thought.
“That’s all,” he said, his voice cracking. “I won’t take up any more of your time.” He backed away, then turned to leave.