“Nothing has changed, Ally. I only see you as a friend,” Hudson Ross said quietly as he sat on the sofa next to her.
Guilt gnawed at him. Considering all that Ally had been through lately, the last thing he wanted to do was bring her any more pain or disappointment. But he had to be honest.
They were in the house that she had recently inherited, having a conversation they’d had repeatedly over the last thirteen years. She still didn’t get it. Ally couldn’t seem to move on and understand that there was nothing between them except for a friendship. And even that was a stretch, considering how things had ended years ago.
“Come on, Hudson. We’ve always had a special bond. Don’t give up on us.”
“Ally, there is no us. Why can’t you understand that? What you and I shared years ago is over. It’s done.”
It was true that while growing up, they had shared a special bond. They had lived in the same neighborhood and known each other since she was five and he was seven. A relationship that spanned almost thirty years.
That was the only reason Hudson was even bothering with this conversation and trying to maintain some type of connection to Ally. Had it been anyone else who’d pulled some of the crap that she’d done to him in the past, he wouldn’t be here. Years ago, during college, she had ruined anything romantic between them.
But right now, she was in a vulnerable state, and he wanted to be careful with her feelings.
A couple of weeks ago, she had flown into Las Vegas, where he lived, from Los Angeles after her parents had been killed in a car accident. She’d been inconsolable, and as an only child, hadn’t had anyone to lean on except for him and his family.
Growing up, Ally had spent most of her time at the Ross household with his three brothers and his sister, Ally’s best friend. Her and her parents had always been an extension of his family. Which was why Hudson, his parents and his siblings had rallied around Ally after her loss.
The problem with that, though? Hudson had been spending more time with her, and she had mistaken his kindness for something more.
“I know it’s been years, but I think you should give us another chance,” she said. “I’m on leave from work, but I can—”
“No.” Hudson bolted out of his seat and huffed as frustration gnawed at him. He was going to have to do what he’d done once before—cut all ties.
They never should’ve gotten together. They never should’ve crossed that line from friends to lovers.
His senior year, Hudson and Ally had dated. She’d been one of the sweetest people he’d ever met, and her smile could light up the darkest day. They were best friends, and hanging out with her seemed natural. But after high school, he received a football scholarship to UCLA and thought it best to break things off. He didn’t want to do a long-distance relationship, and his focus was solely on athletics.
Besides, Ally had been getting clingy, telling him how much she loved him and that she couldn’t live without him. Unfortunately, his feelings hadn’t been the same. Hudson had cared about her—he always would—but his concentration had been on his future and eventually playing in the NFL.
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