Page 19

“I said not tonight,” he repeated, enunciating each word. “I’m tired and just want to go to bed.”
No. Absolutely not.
I could count the amount of arguments we’d had over the years on one hand. Kent embodied laid back, rarely letting anything get to him, and he definitely never took time to simmer. The few times we did fight, it was like a flash-fire—quick and hot—gone as soon as it came.
I needed this to be the same. I needed this argument gone.
Every muscle, nerve, and cell screamed at me to not let him walk away. I couldn’t. Blinking my way out of my stupor, I stalked after him, my heels striking the floor with an angry tick eerily similar to a time bomb.
“No. Because I cannot fathom why you are so mad. I was the one that was so thoroughly embarrassed by my uncle and treated like a damn child.”
I’d almost reached him when he whirled around, so abruptly I almost stumbled to backtrack. “Because you’re acting like one,” he shouted.
His scowl, reserved only for business meetings, hit me like a slap to the face.
“What?” I breathed.
“You threw a fit, leaving me to act like your father instead of your husband—your partner. You lied about staying at work and did the one thing I specifically asked you not to do—pin me against Daniel. You lashed out all your frustrations like a child not getting her way instead of taking the time to talk to me as my wife.”
Apparently, I hadn’t been the only one spinning, and like two toy tops that got too close, we collided. I shifted from a chaotic spin to a disastrous spiral. Everything moved so fast as I plummeted out of control. Emotions I’d been shoving into a box for months broke free, bubbling up to the surface and spilling over. Anger, pain, and panic blurred together, and I desperately latched on to the first thing I could.
He wanted me to find time?
What time?
Just as they had all night, words bubbled up from a place I shoved all the shit I didn’t want to think about. They twisted and clung to anything within reach on their way out until they escaped as something I didn’t even recognize.
“Sorry I didn’t set up a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of my reactions before sharing them. I’ll make sure to call your secretary so we can plan time for you to approve my emotions.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” he growled.
“Then what did you mean, Kent?” I sneered. “Enlighten me.”
“I just didn’t expect to be bombarded at dinner with all the issues my wife has apparently been harboring without any warning before sharing them with the entire table.”
“Well, I didn’t expect to have to fight to have my husband want to fuck me with some excitement,” I shouted.
As soon as the words slipped free, I wanted to shove them back down. Especially when his eyes shifted from mad to shocked to hurt. Three emotions I’d never thought I’d make him feel.
This was my husband—the love of my life—and I was hurting him.
All because I couldn’t figure out how to deal with my own hurt. All because I couldn’t handle facing the emotions tearing me apart. All because of my own failure—my own fear.
All of a sudden, the spinning stopped, and I was left to stare out over the aftermath of my actions. Everything cleared, and I stood face to face with the collateral. Guilt wrapped around my chest and squeezed. Words clamored up my throat, but I choked them off, lacking the confidence that they wouldn’t add more gasoline to the fire.
He shook his head and studied me, the fight draining from his strong body, leaving hunched shoulders. “Are you not happy with me? Is that what this is?”
“What? No! Of course, I’m happy with you.”
Of all the things I expected him to say, that wasn’t one. But why wouldn’t it be? I’d been struggling, and rather than leaning on my husband and talking to him like I always did, I shut him out. No wonder he thought it was him.
“Really? You could’ve fooled me.”
“Am I not enough?” he asked quietly, struggling to meet my gaze.
“You are more than enough,” I promised. He was so much more than I deserved over the past few months. “I love you.”
“I know you do. But I have to wonder if you need more…” He paused and looked away. “From someone younger than me.”
“What? No. You are what I need. Exactly as you are. Please, Kent. I need you to believe me when I tell you that. I’m so sorry I ever made you question it. Thes—” My throat closed over the words, not ready to say them. Fire burned up my throat to my eyes, blurring my vision. I may not be ready to say them, but I had to say something. Swallowing the ball threatening to choke me, I pushed on. “I know I’ve been off these past few months.” At that, his eyes shot to mine, and I froze, wanting to run away from all their questions, but he deserved this much. “It’s not you. I promise. I’m just…struggling…with myself.” Another thick swallow. “I just need to process it. And I’m so unbelievably sorry that I ever made you feel like you weren’t everything to me.”