Indestructible (Page 50)
Jax moved my way. “You might want to leave now,” he whispered.
Leave? Was I being dismissed? One more look at Logan, who was occupied with reassuring Caleb, confirmed just that. Apparently I’d done enough.
Without another word, I trudged up the stairs to Logan’s room and packed my bag. It’d been the longest week of my life, and I was due back to school in the morning. Playing house had officially ended.
With my bag full and slung over my shoulder, I looked once more around Logan’s room. Would I ever be welcome there again? Would he not trust me now? He had to understand why I couldn’t tell him.
The longer I stood there waiting, the more I realized Logan wasn’t going to come up and ask me to explain so he could hear my side. Not yet, anyway.
With tears welling up in my eyes, I made my way downstairs and out the front door. It was time to go home.
Sadness shadowed me for the rest of the day. I paced, cried, and dialed every member in Hilary’s family tree until I finally got the number of her aunt in Ontario.
The woman answered on the second ring, and for the first time that afternoon I breathed easy. I slid down onto my couch, allowing a thread of optimism to peek out only to have it beaten back into the submission of despair as soon as she began talking.
A state of somber wistfulness crept through me as Hilary’s aunt dutifully explained she hadn’t heard from her in over a week. Whether that was true or not, I was forced to either accept defeat or fly there and search her house myself. I stressed the importance of her calling me if she heard from Hilary, then rattled off my number. After a curt goodbye, the phone fell from my hands and the tears resumed.
Hilary had yet to respond after more than twenty texts and numerous calls. Either her phone was off or she was too ashamed to answer. I hated that she’d left me in such a bad position, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t squelch the worry I felt for her. Where was she? Was she safe?
Exhausted, alone, and completely useless, I curled my knees to my chest and rested my head on the arm of the couch. I sat there motionless until my gloom flowed out and the wave of anger rolled in.
Hilary was the one responsible for her actions. This was about everyone else, not me. I’d gotten the crap end of the stick once again, but this time I was throwing it to the ground and stomping away. I had my own things to worry about—the first being my job, which I was due to return to the next morning.
I dropped my legs to the floor and sat up, allowing my body time to absorb the newfound strength revitalizing my limbs. I smiled to myself, picturing my class of kindergarteners that would be awaiting me in the morning. That was my only focus.
I skipped lunch and spent the evening preparing everything I needed for my class. At sunset, I crawled into bed with a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and glass of milk. I plugged my phone into the charger on the nightstand and checked to confirm there’d been no activity on it. Logan had gone about his day without even sending a text.
I finished my snack, debating sending him a goodnight or ‘I love you’ text, but decided against it. Instead, I lay there and closed my eyes, allowing my grief to stew.
As if punishing me, sleep evaded me throughout the night. I tossed and turned until finally finding my mind’s reprieve through rounds of online solitaire.
I eventually managed to doze off for a few short hours, only to wake with a second wind dragging me out of bed. As dawn approached, I was dressed in jogging clothes and pulling on my boots—the same boots Logan had insisted I not remove when he’d encased my body with his on his front porch a week earlier.
My teeth dug into my bottom lip to cease the trembling. It was too soon for us to be at odds, and I despised what it did to me. The dull ache was unavoidable when the enormous weight of reality set in and I saw exactly how deeply rooted Logan was in every piece of me. It was downright terrifying.
I wrapped a scarf twice around my neck and walked outside, grateful for the earbuds that sang out tunes of independent women rather than failed love affairs. The sky was clear with no falling snow, but the air was frigid and chilled me to my bones. I welcomed the sun as I set out down the empty road, finding warmth in my long strides.
I hit the shower the moment I returned home, emerging with clear thoughts and enthusiasm to start the day. With a towel around my body and one in my hands, working through strands of hair, I stepped into my bedroom humming a cheerful melody.
“We need to talk.”
I jerked back, my breath stolen and eyes wide. Logan was sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me.
Dropping my gaze to calm my traumatized nervous system, I gradually composed myself enough to be able to at least pretend to appear cool. When I did, I was fully able to take in Logan’s tight features and stern eyes.
He didn’t look happy; in fact, he looked exhausted. He wore a crisp black suit, his tie not yet in place, shirt collar opened. His hair was noticeably tousled and slightly damp, as though his hands had done nothing but run through it since he’d showered.
My heart plummeted, body begging to run to him—to pull him into my arms, where he could bury himself in my warmth and love. Purely instinctual yet wild flames burned furiously to life in my chest, rooting me in place despite my unwavering need to apologize for keeping a secret from him.
My chin rose. “Then you should have come by yesterday,” I said bluntly, turning away to open my closet door.
“Why didn’t you tell me about Hilary?” His voice was rough and impatient.
My back remained to him as I pulled out a dress, appraising it for longer than necessary. “Seriously, Logan, we need to do this later. After school.”
“No, I want this settled now.” The anger in his tone sparked my own.
I reared back. “I’ve been here the last twenty-four hours waiting to talk to you and explain. I didn’t sleep at all, actually—spent a lot of last night feeling like crap—and now I need to get ready and go to school. I can’t be a mess on my first day back!”
With slow, deliberate movements, he stood and made his way toward me. When he reached out, I stepped aside. I couldn’t bear his hands on me. I ached for them too much.
It didn’t stop him. He captured my hands, holding them in his despite my every attempt to tug them away. “Cassandra, just tell me why you kept this from me. Do you not trust me?”
My brows shot up. “Are you seriously asking me that after everything we’ve been through? Screw you!” Fully insulted, I was successful at tearing myself away that time.
“What am I supposed to think? You kept a huge secret from me, which makes me wonder what others there might be.”
“It wasn’t my secret to tell, Logan!” I all but screamed. “It was between Caleb and Hilary. You think I liked not being able to confide in you? I wanted to—God, I’ve never been more torn. She’s my best friend. If I told you she was thinking about running off to hand his child over to strangers, you can’t honestly stand there and expect me to believe that you’d have been able to keep that from him.”
“For you, I would have.”
I snorted and rolled my eyes. “Right, I forgot—you’re a saint. Never hidden anything from me, correct?”
His head tipped slightly to the side, eyes locked fiercely on mine. “I’m far from a saint, but I tell you everything you need to know.”