Nothing mattered in that moment. I only wanted to get away. Away from the betrayal and the inquiring stares, which would surface once Mackenzie’s side of the story began floating around our small town.
I started to respond, but something in his tone made me stop. His words rattled around in my head while I tried to figure out why it bothered me so much.He bit his lip for a moment. Give me a call when you’re feeling up to coaching, he said, his voice shaking slightly. I gotta go teach these kids how to avoid getting their asses kicked, but you can stay as long as you like.
With that, he turned and walked to the ring.I sat there, shaken and confused as I watched him get in and start coaching. Why was I so affected by the old man’s speech? I’d been pissed off when he was giving it and now I couldn’t get it out of my head.I was still thinking about what Clint had said when Lorrie texted about an hour later to tell me she was out front. Before I left the gym, I passed by the desk in the building’s entrance. To the right of the computer monitor perched on the desk was a picture of Clint and a woman with long brown hair. They were at a party and smiling wide. She must’ve been his wife. Was she the one who used to sit here at the front desk?
I glanced at the photo again. The two of them looked so happy and in love. It was sad to think about the short time the people in that picture had left together.Eventually, I got out of his bed and cleaned myself up in the bathroom. Even though I did my best, my eyes still looked puffy. Soon it was time to pick Hunter up at the gym. After finishing up with changing his pillowcase, I left, still spinning my wheels on how I could get past my obsession with Marco. The best I could think of was to ask my therapist about it the next time I saw her. For now I was an empty, exhausted husk.
I arrived at the gym and sent Hunter a text to let him know I was outside. A few minutes later he came out the front entrance. We exchanged short greetings and then I helped him into the car in silence. Once we were situated, I backed the car out and headed for home.
Hey, thanks for taking me, he said, once we were on our way.He nodded again, leaning down to place the tiniest kiss on my cheek. I closed my eyes, never wanting the moment to end, knowing that my guard would go back up once he walked out the door. My resolve to remain still nearly faltered in that instant, but his sweet, sensual touch was quick; before I knew it, he was walking to the bedroom door.
He grabbed his coat from the chair and put it on, shoved his hands deep into his loose pajama-pant pockets, and looked back.If you need anything—anything at all—call me. I’m always here. Don’t ever be stubborn with me, Cassandra. His voice was stern with an underlying tenderness, warming me from the inside out.
I watched as he turned and left me alone in the house to deal with the aftermath of the emotions roiling inside me.With one knock, the door opened to a beaming Oliver. I was early, but he didn’t seem to notice. That was the beauty with kids.