I tore myself away from studying her and straightened in my seat. “I guess I don’t know where to start here.”
She was silent for a moment, tracing tiny circles into the tablecloth. “If this is about closure, I get it. Things obviously didn’t end well between us. If you want to talk about it, I understand.”
Closure? The way she said the word felt like a punch in the gut.
I laughed quietly. “Closure, huh?”
She leaned back in her chair, tossing her napkin over her picked-over salad. For all the attention she’d given it, she’d barely eaten. “I don’t know. I could live without rehashing everything.” Her tone was matter-of-fact, cold, as if talking about what happened between us really was the last thing she wanted to do. Ancient history.
“You don’t ever think about us?”
She took a deep breath. “Sure. Sometimes.”
“And it doesn’t bother you, the way things ended?”
“Does it matter? It ended. That’s what happened. That’s what we decided, one way or the other.” She cleared her throat. “What you decided, anyway.”
I bristled at the last words. Of course she blamed me for being the one to leave. In the heat of the moment, walking away had seemed like the best thing—the only thing—I could do.
“I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. The feeling wasn’t mutual. What did you expect?”
She finally looked up, a painful grimace taking over her beautiful mouth. “People don’t get married in college, Cam.”
“We talked about marriage. All the time. Don’t pretend like we didn’t.” I kept my voice low, not wanting to show her how much her rejection still hurt. F**k, I’d spent years trying to get her out of my system, and here we were. Our last night together could have been yesterday for how in control I felt.
“Can you seriously imagine us married right now, Cam? I mean look at us.”
My lips tightened into a thin line, as I tried to make sense of the woman sitting across from me. How much of the person I’d loved might possibly still be there?
“No. I can’t imagine it at all actually,” I finally said. At the moment I couldn’t.
A flash of pain passed behind her eyes, and I immediately regretted it. Maybe the Maya I loved was hiding somewhere under this new life and look after all. She blinked, her brown eyes glistening before she glanced down at her watch. Big and covered in sparkling crystals, it engulfed her tiny wrist.
“I’d better go. I only get an hour and I left late,” she mumbled, reaching for her purse.
“Let me get the check,” I said quickly.
“No, I’ll get it.”
“I insist.” When the server came, I gave her a smile that guaranteed the check came to me.
“Cameron. Please, you don’t have to buy me lunch.” She started digging almost frantically in her purse.
“I’ll let you pick it up next time.” I dropped some bills onto the table and stood, reaching for her hand.
She pretended not to see the gesture and slung her purse over her shoulder, leading the way to the exit.
We stepped out and she paused.
“You don’t have to walk me back.”
I frowned. “I don’t mind.”
She relented without a word and set a brisk pace back to the office. We wove past pedestrians, and with every step I hated the awkwardness between us more and more. F**k. The way she’d looked at me moments ago—I knew that hurt look. I’d put it there the last time I’d seen her, and though she’d quickly masked it, she’d revealed it all the same.
A knot formed in my stomach as regret filled me. This wasn’t the reunion I’d hoped for, and it was going to be over all too soon. I couldn’t leave her like this again, believing that I’d hated her. Not knowing if she hated me too.
We were steps away from the revolving doors of the building entrance when she slowed and turned. Before she could say goodbye, I caught her arm and tugged her to the side, out of the way of the foot traffic.
“What are you doing?” A panicked look passed over her features.
I struggled for words. “Maya… I’m sorry.”
“I wasn’t expecting things to go this way. Can’t say it’s the first time that’s happened with you though.”
“Sorry I’m not what you expected.” She tightened her jaw, and it was there again—that look that made me want to cringe and apologize and make everything right that had been wrong between us for so long.
She turned to walk away and I pulled her back, close to my chest. She sucked in a sharp breath before her body softened in my arms. I brushed her cheek, remembering her skin. Soft, warming under my touch. “I want to kiss you.”