My eyes adjusted to the darkness. Maya was curled beside me. Her body seemed small and peaceful in the quiet of the night. I turned down the covers and carefully positioned her closer to me, covering her up as I did. She hummed and reached for me, nuzzling into my chest, her skin cool on my own. I wrapped my arms around her, cocooning her until her own body heat emanated against me.
I brushed her hair back, staring in wonder. Despite everything that had gone on between us these past weeks, I was still amazed that she’d come back into my life at all. Like a wish that I hadn’t realized I’d been making for so long had finally been granted. I’d never been so deeply grateful for it until tonight.
Tonight, something had changed. Somewhere between f*****g her and loving her and not giving her anyplace else to run, I’d found the soul of the girl I knew. Underneath the crutches and the don’t-give-a-s**t attitude, she was there—my Maya.
Any concerns I’d had about the emotional risks of falling for Maya again were quickly brushed aside by the fear of what might become of her if she kept on this way. Deep down she needed me as fiercely as I needed her. Knowing that she did bound me to her in a way that I’d never felt before. I was going to put her back together. I’d unbreak everything I’d broken and bring her back to me if it was the last thing I did.
MAYA. We pulled up to my apartment. The car idled, but I couldn’t bring myself to get out. Too much had happened between us on our brief trip. He’d peeled back a layer of my life that I’d always kept hidden. In the small room of that house, in a nowhere town so far outside the buzz of city, my universe had tilted. I stared out the window at the snow-covered rails leading up to my brownstone apartment, and somehow, none of it seemed real.
“Stay with me.”
I turned to face Cameron, questioning him with a look.
“Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be away from you right now. I feel like you’re going to disappear on me or something. The very thought of it is driving me a little crazy. Give me some peace of mind and come stay with me for a while.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” I promised.
“But your parents are visiting. I’ll be intruding.”
“They left. Darren texted me that the coast was clear. There’s Olivia, but she’s usually pretty good about keeping to herself. And she’s going to have to get used to the idea of you being around anyway, so we might as well break her in now.”
“I don’t want to cause problems, Cam.”
He laughed, his eyes glittering. “Well, you do. You’re a royal pain in the a*s.”
I scoffed, slapping his shoulder. “You’re no picnic either.”
He caught my hand, giving it a meaningful squeeze. “I know that. I was only half joking. Come stay with me, though. I miss you already. It’s kind of pathetic.”
His lips quirked up into a smile and my heart melted. I sighed. I didn’t want to say goodbye any more than he did.
“I don’t have to be at work for a couple days anyway. Let me pack a bag and I’ll be back down in a few minutes.”
I turned to leave when he pulled me back, tugging me closer until I was nearly on his side of the car. He pressed a kiss to my lips, his hold both warm and possessive.
“I love you.”
“I love you too,” I breathed. My head buzzed, my limbs tingled with delicious warmth, as if I’d been given a dose of something strong. The usual attraction between us was now amplified with the full out admission that we were falling hopelessly in love with each other again. My body and brain’s reactions were almost more than I could handle.
When he finally released me, I rushed upstairs to pack, a stupid smile on my face. I gave Eli the briefest of updates, which ended in a kind of hopeless shrug that he seemed to understand.
We drove back to Cameron’s place. With no sign of Olivia, we settled in. He made us a late lunch and showed me around the building, pointing out all the improvements he and Olivia had made over the past few weeks. It really had come along since the last time I’d been there, and as much as I begrudged Olivia for personal reasons, she’d been a positive force in his world since arriving. In the spirit of moving forward with Cameron with an open heart and a lot more hope than I’d given us before, I harbored a little optimism that Olivia and I could find a way around our differences.
“Everything looks great. This is so much space for the two of you though, isn’t it? Won’t she get her own place eventually?”
“I’m sure she will. I guess I was thinking about the future. I haven’t written off the idea of sharing my home with someone yet.”