After a night she thought was heaven, a letter came, promising her she’d pay. The stalking began, and she had only Jason’s promises to change to rely on. Or did she?
Kirk studied her face while the waitress served them each a cup and shook his head when she asked if they’d be ordering anything else. Alone again, he said, “You never married Kevin, you escaped your suffocating and controlling parents, but you’re not much happier than you were then.”
Dana gave him a twisted smile. “As usual, you go straight for the jugular.”
He shrugged slightly. “I’m guessing it’s the same reason, different parties.”
“Only partially,” she answered with a shake of her head. Jason did want to control her and did tend to suffocate the same way her father had. However, she really didn’t want to talk about it, not to Kirk, not after the hopes she’d had for them and his betrayal. “What about you? Why did you leave like that? Where did you go?” She hoped she sounded casual when what she really wanted to ask was, Why did you desert me?
Kirk gave her another silent study, long enough for Dana to stir uncomfortably. He had always been able to read whatever she was thinking on her face, but she had never been able to see past the mask he habitually wore. Protection, she’d always thought, so no one would know how hurt or angry he was over the slights and insults always directed at him from classmates. Why would he feel he needed to protect himself from her? She had never been cruel to him the way the others had, and she was not the one who left him.
“We went to live with an uncle,” he said finally. “After high school I managed to scrape up enough money and get enough grants to make it through college. I run my own construction company now.”
“And doing well,” she stated, though not missing the fact his recital was a bit spotty, such as why it had been so sudden and why he’d never said goodbye. His clothes were casual, jeans, black T-shirt, windbreaker, and running shoes, but all new and good quality. One thing her parents made sure she learned was to recognize good quality. His watch wasn’t a Rolex, but it wasn’t Walmart, either. Nor did he look like he needed tips any longer to buy enough food necessary to just subsist let alone fill out his tall frame. He was definitely well filled out.
“Well enough for the prestigious Miss Stillwell to have dinner with me?” he asked.
“Not a good idea.”
“Still white trash?” he asked.
Insulted by his accusation and the hint of what she recognized as anger, she glared at him. “I never called you that, and I wasn’t the one who Snuck around to keep anyone from knowing we spent time together.”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, her face turned scarlet.
“You didn’t shout it from the rooftops either,” he returned tonelessly. “And I’m not the one who always managed not to be seen.”
In the snap of fingers, the anger and hurt she thought she’d long ago buried erupted to the surface. “I don’t regret it,” she snapped at him, “but it obviously never meant as much to you as it did to me.”
She was on her feet before she’d finished and on her way to the door. Not looking back when she hit the lobby, she told herself she didn’t know or care what he was doing. Damn him for disappearing the way he had, never contacting her afterward. There had been time. Months had passed before she ran away.
The words came from behind her shoulder, inches away from her ear, and she’d never heard him come up on her. Damn it, he had always been able to move like a shadow, making her jump by suddenly letting her know he was there. He had been skinny, not clumsy. She started badly at the deeply-spoken words, then jumped again when he reached around her to push open the door.
Pacing his long-legged steps to hers when she rushed by him, he asked, “You going to let me apologize or not?”
When his hand hooked under her arm, Dana started for an altogether different reason. Something else hadn’t changed. His touch made her breath catch and insides quiver. She jerked her arm free and spun to face him. “Apology accepted,” she told him stiffly, hoping to hell he couldn’t see the way he still affected her. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go.”
“If he doesn’t make you happy, leave him.”
“Always so easy to say.”
“You had the courage to leave what made you unhappy once before.”
Dana rolled her eyes. She would not, could not explain to him she had stupidly let Jason commit nearly all the money from her monthly draws for the next six months. What was left wasn’t enough for her to live on, even if she could find a job to add income to it. Straightening her back and head and blowing out a breath, she told him firmly, “I’m involved, Kirk. I’ve made promises.” As she had to him ten long years ago, and he to her. He had broken them.
With a short nod, which could have meant anything, he reached into his pocket for a pen and business card. “This is where I’m staying and my cell number,” he told her while he wrote. “If you want someone to talk to, or some help…”
The sentence went unfinished as he held the card out. When she didn’t take it, he tucked it into her coat pocket. Before she could say anything or return the card, he turned on his heel and walked away.
About the Author
Multi-genre, multi-named, Larion aka Larriane Wills writes from the past into the future. With strong characters, no matter the setting, she drags you into intricate plots in genres you didn’t think you liked with a fast moving style that keeps you reading. Visit her at her website to keep abreast of previously published and those coming.
Larion aka Larriane Wills
Two names, one author, thousands of stories.
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