“Where is she?”
“Don’t hurt her.”
“I will do everything in my power to never hurt that woman.”
“Upstairs, second door on the left.” I’m halfway out the door before he can finish. I bolt up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and fling open her door.
She lets out a squeal and shouts. “Could you knock?” She turns, trying to cover her very naked body but freezes when she sees me. Her eyes go big. Her lush lips part.
I step into the room, shutting the door behind me and flipping the lock. The sound echoes in the room. She grabs a towel from the bed and tries to cover up her perfection. But it’s too late. I’ve already seen it. Even the small little bump on her belly that makes a whole new set of feelings rush through me.
“How did you get in here?” She takes a step back, and it makes my heart feel like it’s being ripped from my chest.
“Mark let me in.”
Her eyes go even wider at that.
“He told you?” Her hands go to her belly. “I was going to tell you. I just needed more time. I…” Tears fill her eyes, and I can’t stop myself from going to her. I pick her up and place her in my lap as I sit on the side of her bed. She doesn't fight me. Just sinks right into me like she belongs there. Because she does.
I let her sweet smell wrap around me. Fuck, I’ve missed that. The blanket I’d taken from her hotel room has long lost the smell of her.
My hand goes to her stomach protectively. “No, he didn’t tell me.” I kiss her neck, and she leans into it.
“I’ve missed you,” she mumbles, and I watch her mouth close tightly, like she can’t believe she said it aloud for me to hear.
“I’ve more than missed you,” I tell her, making her look up at me, her eyes still filled with tears.
“I kept hoping you’d come for me, and when you didn’t, I thought maybe I was just some weekend fling for you.” I see defeat in her, and I hate that she thinks I didn't come. I lived on the porch until I was made to move.
“I did.” I kiss her neck again before pulling back to look in her eyes again. “I tried anyway. Then today I kind of snapped and your brother just let me in.”
She glances at the door like she thinks he might come bursting in the room at any moment.
“He’s not coming, baby. He knows he fucked up. He lied.”
Her mouth falls open a little bit.
“There has never been anyone but you. When I told you that on the island, I wasn’t lying. I never once in my life chased after a woman, and I will never chase after one unless it’s you. You, I’d chase forever, even if it meant I’d never get you. I’d still make the chase just to try.”
A tear slips free and then another. “I should have known.” Why hadn’t I questioned my brother?
I guess because I didn’t think he’d lie to me, but I was wrong. I’m sure he thinks he had his reasons, but it’s still beyond messed up. I’d been on that island with him. I knew how he felt. I could see it in his face, but I questioned myself. I’d never been on the receiving end of a man’s affections before.
I’ve been miserable. I’d never wanted to leave that island, not even after everything they’d told me he’d done to get me there. I’d wanted to stay. I liked the idea that he’d fought so hard to get me close to him. But it shattered me when Mark made it seem like it was something he’d done before.
“Don’t cry. No one can rip us apart again unless we let them. And I won’t let that happen. I will always come for you. Always.”
“I love you,” I tell him. I never stopped over the past few months, even when I wanted to hate him, I still loved him.
“I love you, too, my sweet Madeline.”
He turns us so I’m lying on the bed, and he moves over me, pushing the towel out of the way. His big hand rests on my little baby bump, and his eyes are just a touch teary.
“On the island? How?”
“I guess I wasn’t so good with remembering my pills, or maybe I was and they just failed. I don’t know. But it seems like we made a baby. On the first try.” I can’t help but shrug my shoulder and let out a little laugh as Kenton smiles at me.
I can’t believe I’m showing already. Most of the stuff I’ve read online said I wouldn’t for a while. But it looks like our little one is ready for the world to know. I was so overwhelmed when I got back and missed my period. Then I missed it again four weeks later. It was then I had to tell Mark I needed a pregnancy test. I was scared to tell him, but he did so without question. He lied to me, and now looking back, maybe this was his way of trying to help. I was so upset about being separated from Kenton, I couldn’t leave the house. I had no desire for anything. Then I found out I was having his baby. A spark inside me grew because I knew deep in my heart that if I told him, he’d want to be a part of the baby’s life. And that meant a part of my life. I could never reconcile what he’d shown me when we were together with what Mark told me. Now I know it was because it was all a lie. I met the real Kenton when we were stranded, and I believed everything he said. I should have gone with my gut instead of letting someone else tell me how to feel. I could punch Mark in the face for what he did, but Kenton is here now, and all’s right with my world.
“I came here every night and sat on your front steps. Mark threatened to get a restraining order, and I backed off a little.” He looks up to me and gives me a sad smile. “I just stayed on the other side of the street. But every night I came here and hoped you’d leave. I only needed one second to explain and make you see that what happened was because I care so much for you. From the moment we met, I’ve been gone for you, Madeline. I’ve felt like I couldn’t breathe these past two months. And now here I am, with you in my arms.”