Becca couldn’t believe she found him. She was certain he’d be long gone, but when she looked into the Starbucks, wondering how crazy they would think she was asking if they’d seen him, she saw Charles sitting in the window.
“Why did you leave?” she demanded.
Charles gaped at her for a few minutes as though he couldn’t grasp that she was actually standing in front of him. When he finally spoke he sounded defeated, “I shouldn’t have come in this morning. I never should have kept going there once you started. Your life is better off without me. All I’ve ever done is destroy it.”
“What are you talking about?”
Charles sighed heavily as though the weight of the world rested on his shoulders. “That guy in the diner-”
“Yeah, I guess. He said you told him you’re an only child. You shouldn’t be. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be. I wanted to protect you, but all I do is cause you pain. I won’t bother you again, Bex.”
Panic filled her, tightening her throat and squeezing tears from deep inside. She’d already lost so much in her life. Seeing Charles again brought back a lot of pain, but also a lot of happiness. She couldn’t lose him too.
“You’re all I have left. You can’t disappear on me again.”
Charles shook his head, already protesting as Becca spoke. “You have people who care about you. Abby, Earl, the guy who kissed you on the street, your parents. You don’t need me.”
Becca forced a smile. “I have Abby and Earl, but the others… I don’t have anyone else. I want to have you.”