Silas’s eyes narrowed and she immediately felt guilty. “I’m sorry.” She didn’t want to start what could very well be her last evening with her husband like this. In a perfect world, they could be cordial, maybe even have some sex for old times’ sake and then go their separate ways.
“Are you?” He raised a brow.
“Of course, I am. I don’t hate you, Silas.”
He took a sip of his wine and then directed his dark gaze at her. “I didn’t think you did. Not after that kiss.”
Janelle flushed. “That—that was an anomaly. Harking back to the past.”
“Is that what it was?”
“What else could it be?”
“I think it indicates that we have some unfinished business, and since we’re together for the first time in six years, I think we should figure it out.”
“What good will it do to rehash the past?” Janelle responded. “What’s done is done. We can’t go back.”
“Would you? If you could?” Silas asked, peering at her intently.
She’d asked herself that question hundreds of times over the years. If she had it to do all over again, would she make the same choice? And each time she had a different answer. “I don’t know.”
“You hurt me, Silas,” Janelle said, drinking her wine.
“You hurt me too. I thought we were on the same page with what we wanted out of life, and then suddenly you were flipping the script.”
“People change, Silas. Did you expect me to stay that scared teenager who came to you after escaping one of my lecherous foster dads?” She recalled the time she’d snuck into the window of Silas’s bedroom at his foster home because her foster dad had tried to touch her. Silas had been there for her. Comforted her. And well, one thing had led to another and they’d made love for the first time. It hadn’t been planned, but it had been beautiful and sweet.
“Don’t do that,” Silas warned. “Don’t sully that night.”
“I’m not. It meant as much to me as it did to you,” Janelle replied. “But I grew up, Silas. I think you always looked at me as the girl you had to watch over. Well, I’m a grown woman. I was back then, and I’m certainly one now. I can take care of myself.”
Silas’s dark gaze was trained on her, and Janelle shifted uncomfortably on her seat. She was already feeling uneasy after what had happened earlier, and it was just getting worse.
“I can see that, Janelle. I was never trying to pin you down and keep you from growing. I hoped we could grow together, but instead, we fell apart at the first real test of our relationship.”
She was about to say, “And whose fault was that?” but stopped herself. It took two for a marriage to fail; she wasn’t completely blameless. “I agree,” Janelle replied. “But I was only trying to help. I thought money from a modeling gig would help you get the restaurant sooner. I wanted you to succeed.”
“I didn’t want it, not if you weren’t by my side,” Silas replied hotly.
Janelle gasped. She couldn’t believe how real he was being. “Yet you became a success despite my leaving.”
She supposed that hurt most of all. That he hadn’t needed her in order to achieve his dreams. He’d triumphed all by his lonesome, with no help from Janelle. She thought she was being of service, only to find out she was useless, unwanted and unneeded. Exactly how she’d felt when her mother turned to drugs again and again, leaving Janelle helpless and alone.
Was she destined to have no one love her or want her enough to fight for her?
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