Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Two

After We Fell


chapter

one hundred and thirty-two

 

TESSA

 

When my alarm sounds at nine, I have to force myself to get out of bed. I barely slept; I was tossing and turning all night. The last time I checked the time it was three in the morning and I wasn’t sure if I had gotten any sleep or if I had been awake the entire time.

    Hardin is asleep, his arms crossed over his stomach. He didn’t hold me last night, not once. The only contact we had consisted of his hands reaching for me in his sleep, just to make sure I was still there, before they went back to his stomach. His mood change doesn’t completely surprise me. I know he didn’t want to come here for the wedding, but the high level of his anxiety doesn’t make much sense to me, especially since he refuses to talk to me about it. I’d like to ask him just how he expected to deal with me moving here with him if he doesn’t even want me here for one weekend.

    I brush my hand over his forehead, pushing the mass of hair away, and move down to touch the light stubble that darkens his jawline. His eyelids flutter and I quickly pull away and stand to my feet. I don’t want to wake him, his sleep wasn’t the least bit peaceful either. I wish I knew what was haunting him. I wish he hadn’t closed down so abruptly. He revealed everything to me in the letter that he wrote me—and later destroyed—and while most of the things he referred to concerned terrible mistakes he’d made, I’ve dealt with them and moved on. Nothing he did in his past will cause any damage to our future. He needs to know this. He has to know this, or it will never work.

    The bathroom isn’t hard to find, and I wait patiently for the water to turn from brown to clear. The shower is loud and the water pressure is very strong, almost painful, but it does wonders for the tension I’ve accumulated in my back and shoulder muscles.

    I’m fully dressed in a pair of jeans and a cream tank top, but I hesitate before pulling on a floral-print lace sweater. It doesn’t have buttons, which means Hardin can’t demand that I close it; he’s lucky I’m not wearing the tank top alone. It’s spring now, and here in Central London it feels like it.

    Trish didn’t give me a specific time for our little jaunt today, so I head downstairs to make a pot of coffee. An hour later, I return upstairs to grab my e-reader so I can read for a while. Hardin has turned over onto his back, and his face is set in a full frown. Without disturbing him, I quickly leave the room and find my way back to the kitchen table. A couple of hours pass, and I’m relieved when Trish comes walking through the back door. Her brown hair is pulled back, just like mine, in a low bun, and she’s dressed in—what else—a tracksuit.

    “I was hoping you’d be awake, I wanted to give you some time to sleep in after the long day you had yesterday.” She smiles. “I’m ready whenever you are.”

    I glance toward the narrow staircase one last time, hoping that Hardin will stroll down it with a smile and a kiss goodbye, but that doesn’t happen. I grab my purse and follow Trish out the back door.