“She made a wish for you to find true love,” Willa said. “I was never clear on why she wished for you and not for herself. Probably because that’s who she is, down to the bone.”
Spence sucked in a breath. “I’ve been by that fountain a million times. It never once occurred to me to make a wish for someone else. That’s . . .”
“Selfless,” Willa said. “Utterly selfless. And, by the way, it’s also something that none of us would’ve thought to do. So it’s not just Spence here who’s an insensitive ass.”
“Thanks, Willa,” Spence said dryly.
She turned expectantly to Finn. “So? What happened?”
A terrible knot in his chest twisting, Finn snatched Spence’s beer and knocked back the rest of the glass, not that it helped.
“Sure, help yourself,” Spence muttered.
Everyone was looking at Finn, waiting.
He shook his head. “I can’t. It’s . . . private. What happened between us stays between us.”
“Hey, this isn’t Vegas,” Spence said, and earned himself a slap upside the back of his head by Elle.
“Do you love her?” Willa demanded of Finn.
At the question, that knot in his chest tightened painfully. “That’s not the problem. She . . . kept something from me.”
“That sucks,” Archer said, as Finn knew, understanding all too well the power of secrets and how they could destroy lives.
“No,” Elle said, glaring at Archer. “No, you don’t get to blindly side against her. She maybe had her reasons. Good ones,” she said very seriously.
Something they knew that Elle understood all too well. She had secrets too, secrets they kept for her.
Archer met Elle’s gaze and something passed between them. The fight might have ratcheted up a notch but Willa, always the peacemaker, spoke up. “Do you love her?” she repeated to Finn firmly.
Finn’s mind scrolled through the images he had. Pru coming into the pub drenched and still smiling. Pru dragging him away from work to a softball game. Comforting him after a fight with Sean. Clutching a photo of her dead parents and still finding a smile over their memory. She’d brought a sense of balance to his life that had been sorely missing. It didn’t matter whether she was standing behind the controls of a huge boat in charge of hundreds of people’s safety or diving into a wave to save her dog, she never failed to make him feel . . . alive.
Just a single one of her smiles could make his whole day. The sound of her laugh did the same. And then there was the feel of her beneath him, her body locked around his when he was buried so deep that he couldn’t imagine being intimate with anyone else ever again . . .
“Yes,” he said quietly, not having to speak loud because the entire group had gone silent waiting on his answer. “I love her.”
“Have you told her?” Willa asked.
“Because . . .” Yeah, genius, why not? “And exactly how many people have you told that to?” he asked.
“Good one, going on the defensive,” Elle said, not looking impressed.
Willa agreed with an eyeroll. “I mean I get that when you’re playing sports or bragging to the guys and you need a six-foot-long dick,” she said. “But this is Pru we’re talking about.”
“Six-foot-long dick?” Spence asked, grinning.
Willa waved him off and spoke straight to Finn. “Whatever she kept to herself, you did the same, Finn. You always do, even with us. You held back. You think she didn’t feel that? Pru keeps it real and she’s tough as nails, but she lost her family,” she said, unknowingly touching on the very subject of the breakup. “She lost them when she was only eighteen and it left her alone in the world. And as you, more than anyone else knows all too damn well, it changes a person, Finn. It makes it hard to put yourself out there. But that’s exactly what she does every single day without complaint, she puts herself out there.”
I love you . . . Pru had whispered those words to him when he’d been drifting off to sleep that last night, and he’d told himself it was a dream. But he knew the truth. He’d always known.
She had more courage than he’d ever had.
“So presumably there was a fight,” Elle said. “And then what? She walked?”
“And you let her?” Willa asked in disbelief. “Oh, Finn.”
“You can fix it,” Haley said softly. “You just go to her and tell her you were wrong.”