Becca melted into Charles. She’d never imagined she’d be lucky enough to feel his arms around her. He’d hugged her before, but it was always a friendly, you’re-my-best-friend’s-sister kind of hug. As he held her in the coffee shop though, she knew he was comforting her.
And she was going to enjoy every last second of it.
When Charles finally eased back, he cupped her jaw and looked into her eyes. Becca’s heart sped up and her eyes drifted closed, waiting for Charles to kiss her.
“I’m sorry you had to go through all that,” Charles said, making Becca’s eyes snap open. “I wish I’d been there for you.”
Becca shrugged and tucked her chin away, pulling free of his grasp. She immediately felt the loss of his touch, but she couldn’t torture herself. He still saw her as Jeff’s little sister. Not someone who would see her as the woman she’d become.
“It’s all done now. It sucks, but I’ll deal with it. You just push forward and move on, you know.”
Charles watched her closely then shook his head. “You shouldn’t have to. You’ve been through enough. I still just don’t know if I-”
“Please don’t tell me again that you think you should vanish. That you don’t believe you should be here. I don’t think I can handle losing you again.”
“Losing me?” Charles asked. “What do you mean?”
Becca couldn’t believe she’d said that. How could she be so careless with her words. Of course Charles would pick up on it. She might as well have told him she was in love with him.
“I just meant your friendship. I could use a friend, one who knows my past and accepts it without questioning.”
Charles held her gaze for a moment, then finally nodded.
Becca wanted to believe she saw something more than friendship in his eyes, longing, hope, desire even. But she knew she had to be lying to herself. Projecting what she wanted onto him. Charles didn’t want her. He couldn’t.