“It’s fine,” Cara told her. “I’m sorry to bother you so early, Piper.”
“Is it Alex?” Piper asked, glancing across the room at Ryan who had now sat up in bed, the sheet pooling around his tanned waist.
“He’s fine. I mean, he’s the same,” she clarified. “That’s what’s bothering me. I went to his house this morning, like I’ve been doing, to check on him. He’s always been such an early riser, and I brought his favorite muffins. Anyway, after that bad storm, I was worried about him and I just keep hoping one morning I’ll pop in and he’ll tell me he’s remembered.”
Aware that she was standing completely naked, Piper crossed the room to her bath where she pulled her short, silky robe from the back of the door. Juggling the cell, she slid into the thin garment.
“Cara, it will take time,” Piper assured her friend. “Don’t be discouraged. You’re doing everything you can to jog his memory.”
“He has a wonderful life waiting on him,” Cara went on. “I just want some answers. He’s so frustrated and there’s nothing I can do to help.”
“Have you shown him more pictures?” Piper asked.
“We’ve looked at so many pictures. I’m at a loss now.” Cara sighed. “I even asked him about having a barbecue with all of our friends in hopes that it would help to be surrounded by familiar faces, but he refused. He said he’s just not ready for all of the questions and the pity. I understand that, but I just can’t sit by and do nothing.”
“You’re not doing nothing, Cara. You’re there every day. He’s seeing your face over and over, and pretty soon he’ll start having flashes of seeing you before the accident. And hopefully before long he’ll remember what happened and we can put this nightmare behind us.”
“I went pretty far in trying to jog his memory,” Cara almost whispered. “When the pictures weren’t doing anything, I...”
Piper waited, but her friend was silent. “Cara?”
“Never mind.” Cara sighed. “I’m sorry to bother you, Piper. I just... I didn’t know who to call and you’ve been so good to me through this. I have to be strong for him and occasionally I need to vent.”
“I’m always here, Cara. Day or night.”
“Thanks. I just needed to talk. I know we don’t know each other really well, but I feel like we formed a bond after the accident.” Cara sighed. “I guess I needed someone not so close to the situation. But Alex and I are going to get through this. I won’t let him get away again. We have a life to plan together.”
Piper grinned. “That’s the kind of attitude you need, Cara. That strength will get you both through this.”
Piper hung up and laid her phone back on the dresser.
“Alex okay?” Ryan asked.
Piper made her way back over to the bed. “He’s the same. I think the lack of change is about to tear Cara down. She’s really been so strong and holding it together. But there’s only so much the poor woman can take.”
Ryan reached for her hand and eased her down beside him. “She’s got friends and family, and when Alex returns from whatever prison his mind is in, she will be fine.”
“I hope so. She’s so scared for him. She’s not even feeling sorry for herself, she just wants to help him.”
“I know another strong woman like that,” Ryan said, toying with the ends of her hair.
God, her hair. She couldn’t even imagine the mess it was in this morning after the shower, then air drying without product, then rolling around in the bed. Good thing Ryan was the man she’d woken up to. He’d seen her at her worst before and apparently he was fine with it.
Yes, there were perks to sleeping with your best friend. All the awkward moments were out of the way.
“If you keep looking at me like that, we won’t make it to my house,” he told her, his voice low, husky.
He pulled the silk ties of her robe until they slid loose, then he parted it as he ran his fingertips up from her abdomen to her breasts. Piper allowed the robe to slide back off her shoulders and land behind her on the bed.
“Who says we have to leave right now?” she asked. “I’m kinda hungry.”
His eyes roamed over her chest and back up. “You have the best ideas.”
Leaning back, Piper smiled. “Literally. I’m hungry.”
She leaped out of bed, totally naked and not ashamed. He’d seen her, tasted her, why be shy now? Besides, she had plans for him later so getting dressed would be a waste of time.