Chapter Ninety

After We Fell

chapter ninety




After too many kisses for Smith’s liking, Kimberly and Vance finally leave. Each of the three times they reminded us they were only a phone call away in case there’s trouble, Hardin and Smith rolled their eyes dramatically. When she pointed to the list of emergency numbers on the kitchen counter, they shared a little, cute look of disbelief.

    “What do you want to watch?” I ask Smith once their car is out of sight.

    He shrugs from where he’s sitting on the couch and looks up at Hardin, who looks down at the kid like he’s an amusing little ferret or something.

    “Okay . . . What about a game—do you want to play a game or something?” I suggest when neither of them speaks.

    “No,” Smith replies.

    “I think he just wants to go back to his room and do whatever the hell he was doing before Kim dragged him out here,” Hardin says, and Smith nods curtly in agreement.

    “Well . . . okay, then. You can go back to your room, Smith. Hardin and I will be out here if you need anything. I’ll be ordering dinner soon,” I tell him.

    “Can you come with me, Hardin?” Smith asks in the softest tone possible.

    “To your room? No, I’m good.”

    Without a word, Smith climbs down from the couch and walks over to the stairs. I shoot a glare at Hardin, and he shrugs his shoulders. “What?”

    “Go to his room with him,” I whisper.

    “I don’t want to go to his room. I want to be out here with you,” he says matter-of-factly. As much as I want Hardin to stay with me, I feel bad for Smith.

    “Come on.” I nod to the blond boy as he slowly ascends the steps. “He’s lonely.”

    “Dammit, fine.” Hardin groans and sulks across the living room to follow Smith up the stairs. I’m still a little bothered by his odd reaction to our kiss in the bedroom. I thought it was going great—better than great—but he climbed off me so abruptly that I thought he’d been injured. Maybe after being away from me for so long he doesn’t feel the same? Maybe he’s not as attracted to me . . . sexually, as he once was. I know that I’m dressed in baggy pajamas, but he never had a problem with them before.

    Unable to come up with any reasonable explanation for his behavior, instead of letting my imagination run wild, I grab the small stack of takeout pamphlets that Kimberly left for us so we could figure out what to order for dinner. I decide on pizza, and grab my phone before going into the laundry room. I place Hardin’s clothes in the dryer and sit on the bench in the center of the room. I call for the pizza and wait while watching the machine turn around and around.