Authors: Kelly Favor
“I’m sorry I’m bring dramatic,” Kallie said through her tears.
“It’s okay. I figured the two of you were together.”
“Want to tell me about it?”
Kallie sighed, thinking about whether she really should. Finally, she decided that the details weren’t important anyway. “I care about him, but I did something stupid and now I think it’s over.”
Nicole looked at her with sympathy. “I don’t think it is.”
“How can you say that?”
She smiled. “I’ve been there. Not that long ago, either.”
“I wish you were right, but he’s not like Red. He doesn’t love me the way Red loves you, he doesn’t look at me the way Red looks at you.”
Nicole put her hand over Kallie’s hand. “Red didn’t always look at me that way.
We built this over time. And we had some very rough, scary moments where it seemed like we wouldn’t make it.”
“Did Red ever make it seem like he wanted nothing to do with you?”
Nicole smiled even wider. “More than once.”
Kallie laughed. “Thanks, Nicole. That means a lot.”
Nicole got up and looked at Kallie. “Maybe you just need to tell him how you feel about him.” And then she turned and left the room.
Kallie thought for a moment, and then she got up and left the room. She went to the supply closet—which was more of an enormous room than a proper closet. It held everything from bug spray to batteries to light bulbs to pens and paper.
The latter was what she needed right now. Kallie grabbed herself a pen, an envelope and a sheet of paper, her heart racing. She knew what she needed to do.
A few minutes later, she was back in her room, writing furiously. Her hand would cramp and she’d stop for a little while, rub her hand and think about what to write next. Once the cramping subsided, she’d get back to writing.
Some time later, she was done. Leaving the room and searching around for signs of life, she eventually found Red in the verandah on his laptop. “Red, could I ask a big favor?” she said.
He looked up from his computer. “Sure. What’s up?”
“Can I borrow your car?”
Sometime later, Kallie was driving toward Hunter’s house with the envelope on the passenger seat next to her. Red had actually given her Hunter’s address, although he hadn’t been too happy about it.
When she’d started to explain why she needed to go and see him, Red had waved her off. “Please, I really don’t want to know,” he’d said.
Thinking of Red’s reaction, Kallie smiled to herself. Red was a great guy, but he knew personal boundaries better than just about anyone she’d ever met. Maybe he’d teach her someday.
Thinking of boundaries (and lack thereof), she thought about showing up unannounced at Hunter’s house.
She didn’t even know if Hunter would be there when she arrived. If necessary, she’d wait until he returned. And if that failed…
Kallie decided not to think about what she’d do if Hunter never came home tonight.
“He’ll be there,” she told herself.
Soon, she saw that familiar sight of his castle on top of the large hill. Now more than ever, her pulse raced as she looked at the house towering above her head.
She was anxious to get there and do what needed to be done. More than anxious—desperate. She just hoped and prayed that Hunter would see how serious she was and give her another chance.
Finally, after what felt like hours, she drove her way up the snaking road that led to the top of the hill, slowing down as she turned into his driveway. Both his car and motorcycle were parked out front.
What if he has company? She thought, the first time such a thing had even occurred to her. What if he’s in his basement, right now, with another woman?
She couldn’t allow herself to worry about that. Kallie was determined, more determined than she’d been about almost anything in her life.
Checking her face and hair in the mirror, she took a deep breath, grabbed the envelope, and got out of the car. Slowly, she walked to the front door. Her hands were shaking as she knocked twice, loudly.
After what seemed an interminable amount of time, she heard footsteps.
“Who is it?” the voice called from behind the door.
There was a long pause. “Go away, Kallie.”
“Please, I drove all the way out here. Can you just open the door, Hunter?”
There was another long pause, and she was sure he’d turned around and walked away. But then there was the sound of the lock being turned and suddenly the door opened. Hunter was standing there in dark blue jeans and a white t-shirt. As always, he looked fantastic.
But he wasn’t smiling or receptive. “Say whatever you came to say.”
She licked her lips and tried to smile. “I have something for you.” She handed him the envelope.
He took it from her as if it might be filled with Anthrax. “What is it?”
“Please, just read it. You’ll see.”
He sighed, impatience etched in his face. He quickly pulled out the piece of paper and started to read. His expression grew more troubled. “I don’t understand.”
“I rewrote the contract from memory. I think I got most of it, but we can amend it if I left anything out. Look at the back. I signed it already,” she said. “Now it just needs your signature.”
Hunter looked up at her and slowly shook his head. “Kallie, it’s over. I’m not doing this.”
“Please. I’ll prove to you that I’m ready.”
“I don’t care if you’re ready. I’m not.”
She took a deep breath. “You know how good we are together—“
“Kallie, I heard you out. I read your note. But now I need to ask you to leave.”
And then she said the one thing that she hadn’t told him yet, the one thing she thought might be enough.
“Hunter,” she said softly.
“I need to be punished.”
He stared at her for a very long time. His eyes searched her face for signs of resistance or deception. She didn’t bother trying to hide anything from his perceptive gaze. In her mind, she was ready for anything and everything he had to show her.
Finally, he broke into the tiniest smile.
And then he stepped away from the door and let her inside.
Stay tuned for Book Eight in the series, coming in September!