HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt
Cristian stopped laughing then put a hand on top of hers, squeezing it. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. What’s done is done. I’m assuming you had a good reason for getting drunk and I’m actually glad you called me—even though it wasn’t for the right reason.”
Tessa sighed, feeling remorse and sadness. “I need to know: did I . . . did we?”
“Have sex?” Cristian finished her sentence when she couldn’t. “No, we didn’t.” He looked at her with sad eyes and pressed his lips tight.
“Thank goodness!” she exclaimed. A sigh of relief escaped Tessa, then she saw his face go pale, and hurried to say, “Cristian, please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean it that way.”
He tried to walk away, but she grabbed his wrist, forcing him to stop, and looking deep into his blue eyes she said, “You’re one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. You’ve been my friend now during a period of my life when I couldn’t trust anyone. With your candor, your patience, your sense of humor, your passion, you helped me learn how to let people back into my life. I wish I could give you what you want, but I can’t.”
Tessa sighed and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “Yesterday was one of those days I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life. I was driving to see my therapist and this young man jumped out of nowhere in front of my car and I got out and saw him on the ground. Then another driver came and when I asked for help he said the kid was pretending and I should kick him aside, get in my car and drive away because I was blocking the traffic.
“Then he kicked my car and began insulting me. I was taking all that abuse while people crowded around us to see the scene and . . . something I don’t know what, made me stand up and follow the man back to his car and I . . . I hit him in his crotch.”
“He insulted you and hit your car? You hit him?” Cristian stared at her with incredulous eyes.
“Yeah. I hit him. I hit him for the teenager hurting on the ground, for all the women that are out there taking the kind of abuse we take when men think that we can’t drive, or all we know how to do is whore around. I’m so sick of this mentality. Maybe that’s why I want so desperately to have this event we’re working on so we can change something. Why do people have to be so hateful? Why is there a need for so much abuse?”
Cristian pulled her up and wiped off her tears with his thumbs. His face came down to her, as if he wanted to kiss her, then abruptly he hugged her and rocked her side to side.
The embrace felt warm. Tessa closed her eyes and let Cristian rock her—it felt good. He held her for a while, resting his chin atop her head.
“You don’t stop amazing me. I wonder if there are stores around that sell armor, or something,” Cristian said after a while, and when she didn’t say anything, he looked down at her and said, “You know, for protection?”
Tessa pinched his arm then said, “Keep teasing, then no armor will protect you from me.”
“So.” Cristian titled his head. “Are you going to tell me why you need a therapist?”
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