By Helen Boswell
Hope is staring at me like I just murdered someone. Jonathan and Christianna take off together without another word, leaving me and Hope and a whole lot of tension in the room.
“What?” I bark.
“What do you mean, ‘what?’” She crosses her arms over her chest, her face flushed. “Where do I even begin? Where have you been? Who was that? And why are you wearing a freaking suit?”
“Why were you here with Jonathan?” I demand. I grit my teeth, hating the conflicting feelings inside me. The old me wants to grab her again and kiss her. The new me is raging for a fight, and that part is winning.
“We were here because we’ve been trying to find you.” Her voice shakes angrily.
“Took you until now to notice I was gone?” My fury rises a notch. “I sincerely doubt Jonathan cared much.”
Her eyes widen. “How can you say that after all that he’s done for you? After everything you and I have been through?”
I don’t answer, my face feeling like it’s carved out of stone. Hope has no idea what Jonathan “did for me,” and I don’t really feel like telling her right now.
“You know what?” she snaps. “Never mind.” She whirls around, but I lunge forward and catch her arm.
“Let go of me.” She yanks her arm away, and there are tears in her eyes when she turns to face me. I’m flooded with shame, enough to override the anger. This is Hope. The girl I love. The only one.
I let out my breath. “I was meeting with the tribunal of justice.” My words feel jagged in my throat. "That girl you just saw me with was ordered to bring me there to pay off my debt."
Hope’s face goes from flushed to pale as a sheet in two seconds flat. “Oh my God,” she whispers. “Are you okay? What ...”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” I don’t know what else to say.
I step up to her and watch her expression change again, her eyes soften a little. I put my hands on either side of her face and kiss her, drawing in the heat of her breath as a sigh escapes her.
Two days. Two days apart from her. But now that my lips are moving with hers, it feels like it had been years.
Her fingertips brush against my neck, feathery light touches that only make me want more. She steps away, and the absence of her is torture. I could get lost forever in the look she’s giving me, like I’m the only one for her too.
I close the distance to kiss her again as her hands grab at my jacket and wrangle it past my shoulders, and I pull off hers and chuck it to the floor. Her body pushes into mine again, and I stumble with her in my arms until my back hits the wall.
My heart is pounding for both of us, harder and faster with every movement of her lips against mine, with each subtle shift of her body. I slip my hand under her shirt and revel in the smoothness of her skin. She breathes out another sigh that’s almost a whimper, the sound inducing my eyes to close.
It’s only ever going to be her.
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