Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 19

Ladies. Shit.
I spin away from him as he shows himself out, having completely forgotten Kiersten. Her back is to the refrigerator door, arms crossed over her chest, and a grin on her stupid smirking lips.
I wait until the door closes to address her, but Kiersten does what she always did—blurts out whatever the hell is on her mind.
“Is it hot in here or is it just me? You look a little flushed.”
“Not now,” I hiss, still waiting to hear the door shut.
“I think you need a cold drink. A tall drink of water, amiright?”
Cutting her a sharp glance, I tiptoe out and peek into the foyer.
Relief fills me, and I sag against the wall in the hallway. My eyes close. I clutch my injured hand to my chest and breathe deeply until my racing pulse slows and Kiersten calls my name.
As I walk back to the kitchen, I make a mental note. Law will be back to check the traps, but I need to tell him to stay away after that. If he’s living in this town, it’s best we don’t see each other again.
That means no more speaking in public.
No more visiting Ritchie’s grave at the same time.
No more house calls.
Definitely no more speaking sweetly to my daughter. Or speaking to her at all, for that matter.
If I want to stay sane, I need to cut all contact. Again. I just hope I can survive it a second time.
When a knock sounds on my front door Tuesday evening, I’m prepared for the man on the other side.
Steeling myself with a deep breath, I open the door to Law. He’s back in the red work polo with the logo and a pair of dark wash jeans. I graze down his torso before I return my gaze to his face. God, he looks… every word that crosses my mind isn’t adequate to express what I now see in his features. Aged like a fine wine, his face holds a becoming maturity. His eyes crinkle in the corners as he studies me, and even that’s appealing to me. He’s more defined and hard all over, but his eyes maintain a softness I’m pleased time didn’t steal.
Three days have passed since my emotionally chaotic weekend, and I’m uncertain I can do this.
The sky changes from blue to amethyst as twilight sets in. The first hint of stars twinkle beyond his left shoulder. Awkwardness bridges the physical gap between us. A greeting hasn’t left our lips, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
The shock of running into one another again has lessened, although it’ll never completely dissolve. We aren’t yelling at each other for old hurts or pretending the past never happened. We just exist.
Two people who used to be in love, standing in each other’s presence; for the first time in fourteen years, a part of my soul feels repaired.
I won’t delude myself into happy endings. He’s here to perform a job. After a few breaths in the calm peace of our new reality, I’m ready to let him.
Nerves steal my calm at the last moment, and I babble to dispel the queasiness in my gut. “We’re alone here. My friend Kiersten isn’t here, and my daughter’s at basketball practice.” My face glows as I stumble over my point. “I mean nothing by it, other than to tell you they aren’t here.”
Law cocks an eyebrow at me, intensifying my blush. His eyes stray over my right shoulder and into my hallway. “May I?”
“Of course.”
I inhale sharply through my nose as he brushes by me. What I intended to be a cleansing breath fills with the scent of him. Soap or cologne, whatever it is, overwhelms me to the point I close my eyes and sway with dizziness.
He smells as I remember, something uniquely him. Back then, I thought it was a mixture of the aroma of his home, laundry detergent his mom used, and his soap, but after all these years, that can’t be accurate. Still, the scent of him from my memories lingers beneath the layers of black tea, rhubarb, and a hint of cedar from his cologne.
Opening my eyes, I shut the front door in a daze and trail after him.
“See any more mice?”