He was in trouble.
Dean hadn’t meant to declare that he intended to win Tayla back but as soon as the words were out of his mouth he realised that they were true. He wanted to explain to her why he’d left, why he hadn’t come back, make her understand that it had nothing to do with her or what they had shared.
But before he could do that he had to find the person who wanted Tayla dead.
Not just dead. He wanted her to suffer first.
As he parked the car in his driveway and walked around to open her door for her Tayla fidgeted nervously. On their way to his apartment they hadn’t spoken a word. In fact they’d hardly said anything to each other since his unplanned declaration.
Dean led her up the path to his ground floor apartment, and tentatively reached for her hand. As soon as his fingers curled around hers she quickly snatched it back. He had to tell her. He had to explain, if he didn’t he wasn’t going to be able to concentrate and if he was distracted then Tayla could die.
“Its not what you’re thinking,” he told her as he locked the door behind him and gestured to the couch, he may as well get this over with as quickly as he could.
“What isn’t?” Tayla eyed him suspiciously as she took a seat. She hadn’t been happy with the idea of coming here, and he’d kind of strong armed her into it.
“The night that we made love, the reason I left, its not what you’re thinking.”
Her eyes went shuttered, and she tried to act nonchalant. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter. It was a long time ago.”
He could do this the easy way or the hard way, prolong it or just jump in and rip off the band aid. “That night I was supposed to pick up my cousin from the airport. She was only sixteen, but you were so beautiful, swimming in the lake, and all night all I could think about was that you were a woman now, no longer just Brad’s little sister. I took you home and we spent the best night of my life together, but while we were making love my cousin accepted a ride from a man who’d been on her flight. He raped her and dumped her body at the side of the road. She was found quickly, and when I got the call I …” he trailed off aware that Tayla knew what he’d done.
He’d left her without an explanation because he was consumed with guilt.
That familiar shaft of pain sliced through him. While he’d been making love to the woman he loved his little cousin had been raped and strangled.
How did you get over something like that?
She was dead because of him.
He didn’t deserve Tayla then and he didn’t deserve her now.
“Look, Tayla, I know that I hurt you, and I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness, or a second chance, I know I said I want to win you back and I do, but if you can’t forgive me then I understand. I’ll find who wants to hurt you and I’ll let you go. I just wanted you to know.” He stared at Tayla who was sitting on the couch staring back at him, an inscrutable expression on her face.
He got it. She couldn’t forgive him she just didn’t want to say the words out loud.
Dean turned around, he couldn’t look at her face any longer, couldn’t look at what he had lost when guilt had made him run. He was almost to the kitchen when small hands clamped around his arms, stilling him.
Tayla turned him around, then she reached up and gently took his face between her hands, stood on her tiptoes, and kissed him.