More Than Crave You(118)

By: Shayla Black

Finally, we’re almost within touching distance. I launch straight at him. He opens his arms. We crash together. He lifts me, and I wrap myself around him. Our mouths meet for a long, wet, tear-filled kiss.

Instead of tearing me down, as the last eleven days apart have done, this embrace puts me back together, healing the pain, washing away the anger, blame, and despair. Now there’s just Evan. And I never want to let go.

When he eases his mouth free, he searches my face under the halo of the nearby streetlight. “Honey?”

I wriggle out of his arms and stand, swallowing down my nerves as I flip through all the documents I’m still clutching. I come across the agreement giving me ownership of Stratus. And I rip it in two. Then in two again. I repeat the process until I throw the confetti in his face.

“What was that?”

“You’re not giving your company to me. I don’t want Stratus. I certainly don’t want to sell it out from under you. And you’re not selling it to Douglas Lund. You are Stratus. The company has no heart without you. It belongs to you.”

Evan shakes his head. “You’ve been its heart for a long time. I’ve just been its brain.”

Weeping, I shake my head. “Don’t be an idiot. You’ve made it everything it is today. It will never function right without you. Neither will I.” With that, I take the envelope of divorce papers, holding one end in each hand, and give them it a mighty tug until I hear the most satisfying rip. “So you’re not divorcing me, either. Ever.”

He freezes. “You still want me?”

“I’ve always wanted you. I can’t not want you. I wanted you when I shouldn’t have. I loved you when it was impossible. I can’t unlove you. I’m not going to try again.”

His hand shakes as he raises it to my cheek. “I love you so much, Nia Cook.”

I manage a lopsided smile as I press the plane ticket to my chest. “I’m keeping the plane ticket to Maui.”

A wry grin spreads across his face. “Good. I have the seat next to you. I figured if you got on that plane, there was at least a shred of hope and I could spend the next six hours convincing you to take me back.”

I have to laugh at his crazy, sneaky, kinda brilliant ploy. “You don’t have to convince me of anything. I want to be with you, always.”

He swallows nervously. “You forgive me?”

I nod. “That shit is behind us.”

He lets loose a relieved sigh and pulls me close. “Thank god.”

“C’mon. You had to know I would take you back…”

“I didn’t. I hoped.”

Tsking, I shoot him a skeptical glance. “You’re too smart not to know better.”

“I knew nothing about my heart until you.” He lays his lips over mine as he settles his hands across my stomach. “The day we got married, you said you wanted more than fifty years with me. I want that, too. Just like I want more than this one child with you.”

I melt all over him. “You’re ready to be a father? You’re not afraid anymore?”

“No, I’m still terrified. I don’t know how to come back from the sudden loss of a baby. I’m taking that day by day. But whatever happens, we’ll deal with it together. If I have you and your love, I have everything I need.”

“You do.”

A little grin spreads across his face. “This all started because I intended to put out a personal ad for a wife. If I could go back and rewrite the copy now, it would say, ‘Stupid, left-brained entrepreneur seeks partner, lover, and soul mate. Ideal candidate is polished, intelligent, organized, educated, attractive—and under my nose, but I’m too blind to see it. Children and romance a must. Sense of humor a definite yes. Please relocate with me to Hawaii.”

I giggle through my tears. “Well, if you’re asking me now, the answer is yes. A million times, yes. And the first thing I want to do is hang your beautiful painting in our bedroom. Thank you for that. It touched me more than you know.”

“It was my pleasure. I thought of you with every stroke of the brush and imagined…”

He trails off, looking too choked up to finish his sentence. “Evan?”

“I imagined touching you again.”

“Don’t imagine.” I squeeze his hand. “Take me home and make love to me. Never let me go.”

“Ever.” He seals the vow with a kiss.

The End