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Authors: Shawna Delacorte

In Forbidden Territory (14 page)

BOOK: In Forbidden Territory
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Once Mac had left for work, she set about packing up everything she had brought with her and loading up her car for her move. Every few minutes a wave of anguish hit her, accompanied by doubts and confusion. Was she really doing the right thing? Should she say
something to Ty? Give him yet another chance to offer her some type of commitment?

She shook her head. No, if he couldn't offer her a commitment because he wanted to, then she was not going to force it out of him. The last thing she wanted was for him to feel trapped in a relationship he had never really wanted.

Ten

A
fter Angie loaded her car and was ready to go, she checked the classified ads in the morning newspaper for both help wanted and apartments for rent. Next she grabbed the Seattle phone book and looked for employment placement services and made some phone calls to set up appointments. It was almost noon by the time she had finished and was ready to leave.

She did one last walk through Mac's house to make sure she had everything. She was no longer sure exactly what she felt. She seemed to be more numb than anything else. This was the right move to independence that she should have taken when she left Portland. Yet there was an emptiness inside her, a void she didn't think could ever be filled again—a void where Tyler Farrell had resided. But there was still a place deep inside her where she knew he would always be. With a heavy heart she reached for the phone.

“I'm all packed and ready to leave, Mac.”

“Are you sure you're doing the right thing?”

“Yes, I'm sure.”

“There isn't anything I can say to change your mind?”

“No. This is what's best for me. I'll call you this afternoon as soon as I get checked into a motel. I've made some appointments for tomorrow with placement services and I have a couple of apartments I want to look at this afternoon.”

She concluded her conversation with her brother, then looked around one more time to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. A wave of uncertainty swept through her as she stepped outside. She had gone over the ground in her mind so many times, but she could not keep the thought from surfacing again. Should she give Ty one more chance to make a commitment?

She had toyed with the notion of just asking him for one, but had rejected it for the same reasons that had plagued her earlier. She kept coming back to the same conclusion. She wanted him to freely make a commitment of his own accord because it was what he wanted, not because she had pushed him into it. If it couldn't be something he willingly volunteered, then it wasn't to be.

She closed the door. The clicking sound had a finality to it as if it symbolically represented the closing of the door on that chapter of her life. The old adage said that when one door closed in your life that another door would open somewhere. All you had to do was find that other door. She walked toward her car. A single tear trickled down her cheek. Hopefully she would find the right door to her future, one that would provide her the permanent happiness that had so far eluded her.

A wave of despair swept through her. It would be a future without Tyler Farrell.

 

Ty pulled into the parking lot, turned off the engine and sat there without making any attempt to get out of the car and go into his office. His meeting that morning had been nothing more than a blur of voices moving in and out of his mind without any one comment pausing long enough for him to digest it. He had declined lunch so that he could retreat to his office and try to sort things out.

He had spent a restless night, but he wasn't sure why. Dark clouds of confusion had assaulted his senses as he tried to sleep. Bad feelings…conflicted feelings…emotions he had never experienced before…all of them swirled around inside him leaving him totally unsettled. Something was very wrong and he didn't know what. The only thing he could be sure of was that it all had to do with Angie and him—and the future.

He knew she had been trying to tell him something, to make him understand something, but what? Had he just not understood what she was saying or had he chosen not to embrace the thought? Waves of trepidation had plagued him through the night and continued in the daylight hours. A little tremor made its way through his body. He shook his head in an attempt to ward off the troubling thoughts. He wanted to believe it was only his imagination, that there wasn't any problem, but he knew that wasn't the answer.

He climbed out of his car and slowly walked into the building. As he crossed the lobby Ellen handed him his phone messages. He looked up from reading his messages as he entered his office. His gaze immedi
ately fell on the angry countenance of McConnor Coleman who was perched on the edge of the desk staring at him. His throat went dry. His stomach tightened into a knot as the anxiety welled inside him. Whatever was going on, it was not good.

“Mac? Is there something you need?” Ty placed his attaché case on the credenza behind his desk as he tried to maintain a casual manner in spite of the foreboding shoving at him.

“Yes—” Mac slid off the edge of the desk and stood facing Ty. “You can tell me what you did to Angie that made her decide to leave.”

A hard jolt of shock charged through Ty followed immediately by an intense jab of fear. “Leave? Angie is leaving?” Everything inside him turned to a quivering mass of jelly. He couldn't keep the emotion out of his voice as he tried unsuccessfully to wrap his mind around what Mac was saying. All he could manage was to repeat what he had already said, the words uttered in an unmistakably shaky voice. “Angie is leaving?”

“Don't play cute with me.”

Ty could not shake away the bewilderment that swirled around inside him. Panic and a true sense of urgency filled his every word. “What are you talking about?”

“How could you have led her on like that? Playing fast and loose with her emotions, treating her like she was just another of your party girls.”

“Angie's leaving?” Somehow he had to get his mind locked into what had happened. “Where is she going?” Panic welled inside him, expanding and growing with each successive minute.

“I don't know exactly. But because of you she's
taking the next ferry to Seattle and will be checking in at—”

“No!” The reality of Mac's words suddenly sank in, the meaning popping into crystal clarity. “I won't allow it!”

Ty charged out of the office, leaving a startled Mac staring after his retreating form. A combination of dread and alarm pushed him blindly toward the parking lot and his car. She had decided to go back to Portland with Caufield. There couldn't be any other explanation for her leaving. She was headed toward Seattle to check in with him at his hotel.

Had he truly lost her? His determination slammed into high gear. One thing was for sure—he wasn't going to simply give up and let her go. He loved her. Without her his life was nothing and the future had no meaning. He had to find her and once he found her he would somehow have to find the right words to make her stay.

Ty instinctively knew he was somehow responsible for her making that decision.
Somehow responsible…
that was a laugh. He didn't need to think very hard to have the reality push through the wall he had built to protect his own vulnerability. It had to do with commitment—facing up to his feelings, to his fears, a true and lasting relationship and what the future held. It had to do with love, with giving her his unconditional and undying love.

He drove directly to Mac's house hoping to catch her before she left. As soon as he turned the corner onto Mac's street he saw that her car was gone. A second wave of panic washed through him. He was too late. His heart pounded. So many times it had pounded when he was around her, but this time it was fear rather
than passion. He drove straight to the ferry dock. He had to get on the same ferry. If she got to Seattle before him, he might never find her again—at least not in time.

The bitter taste of adrenaline filled his mouth as he approached the car staging area. It was filled and the cars were already driving on board. He saw her car as she drove on. There was no way he would be able to make it on the ferry in his car. He frantically looked around, then made a sudden turn into the restaurant parking lot across the street—the one with the sign clearly stating that the parking lot was for restaurant patrons only and all others would have their vehicles towed away. A towing and impound charge would be a small price to pay if he could reach her in time.

If—there was no
if.
He had to succeed. He could not allow any other outcome. There were no exceptions.

He ran into the ferry building and down the hall toward the foot passenger boarding area.

“Hey…don't close that door.” He raced toward the entryway and squeezed through just in time. He allowed a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. Now all he had to do was locate Angie on a large ferry boat filled with hundreds of passengers, maybe even more than a thousand, and he only had thirty-five minutes before the boat arrived at the dock in downtown Seattle. It was a formidable task, but one he had to accomplish. There weren't any options. There was no such thing as
almost.

She was his life and he had allowed her to go away.
Allowed
…that was absurd. A more accurate description would be that he had driven her away by stupidly indulging his fears and hiding from reality rather than telling her how much he loved her. Absolute and total
panic churned in the pit of his stomach. A sick feeling tried to work its way up his throat. He tried to formulate an efficient plan for locating her, but his mind was so muddled he couldn't think.

He shook his head and set his jaw in determination. He had to get his fears under control. He needed to bring some calm logic to the problem so that he could resolve it.

The vehicle deck. He would try that first in case she had decided to stay in her car. And even if she hadn't, if he could locate her car he would know where to find her as the ferry docked. It was a bright red color, a shiny metallic red, and the car had Oregon license plates. He had seen which lane she was in when she drove aboard. At least he knew which side of the boat to search. He raced toward the vehicle deck and squeezed through row after row of parked cars. He finally spotted her car. He tried the doors. They were unlocked.

Logic…he had to get his emotional upheaval under control and apply logic. Where would she have gone? He looked around and located the door closest to her car that led upstairs to the passenger decks. He took the stairs two at a time. His pulse raced and his heart pounded. He was desperate to find her before the ferry docked. Once she returned to her car he would only have a few brief minutes before she would be clear to drive away. He needed more time than that.

He checked the line at the cafeteria and the surrounding tables where people were eating, but she wasn't there. He stayed on the main deck, hoping his guess about her location was right. The panic welled inside him again and the fear coursed through his veins. He methodically made his way from the back of the ferry
toward the front, carefully scanning the groups of passengers for any sight of her. He had never been so frightened in his life or so panicked. He had to find her. She was his life, the one single thing that mattered above and beyond everything else.

 

Angie leaned against the railing at the front of the ferry, the breeze ruffling through her hair as she stared at the Seattle skyline in the distance. Several tears stained her cheeks. She quickly wiped them away with her fingers. Somewhere out there was a future for her—a place to live, a career. And maybe that special someone? She closed her eyes. A sob caught in her throat. No one would ever be able to replace Tyler Farrell in her heart.

She opened her eyes and stared at the horizon. Ty was the past. She had to look to the future. She could not continue without a commitment and Ty had been unwilling to offer one. She preferred to end the relationship now rather than hear empty words that would make a breakup even more painful at a later date.

She glanced at her watch. They would be docking in about twenty minutes. She would check into a motel, then find a job. It was a straightforward and simple plan of action. A place to live, a job and a new start on her life. She thought when she broke her engagement with Caufield that it was a clean start to a new life, but she had been wrong. She never dreamed she would become involved in a new relationship. Now she would start again, only this time she would stick to her goals. She wouldn't allow—

“Angie?”

Her breath froze in her lungs and she stopped breathing for a few seconds. The voice came from be
hind her, a voice she knew so well. A shiver ran up her spine and rippled across her skin. Was the voice real or had she wanted to hear it so much that she imagined it? She hoped against hope she would see Ty standing behind her.

She slowly turned around. Her heart skipped a beat. He looked so sexy, so strong, so sure of things. But his eyes held a level of panic she never would have associated with him. He had followed her on the ferry. But how did he know? Had he seen her leaving? Did he know about her plan?

She didn't have time for any more thoughts. He pulled her into his embrace and held her tightly against him. He folded her in his warmth. She felt so safe and secure in his arms. She loved him so much, but she had to know they had a future together. She couldn't accept a one-sided relationship. She couldn't commit to that relationship if she was the only one making a commitment.

She swallowed the lump in her throat as she tried to speak. “What…what are you doing here?”

“That should be my question. Mac said you were leaving.” Total relief soared inside him. He had found her before they docked in Seattle. Then the dark cloud overshadowed his elation. Was it in time? And now that he had found her he needed to…

He tried to get his thoughts straight, but could only blurt out the first thing that came to his mind. “You don't need to go back to your ex-fiancé. I make a good living. You can stay here. I can take care of you.”

He continued to hold her in his arms. He didn't want to ever let go of her for fear she might disappear. Somehow he had to convince her to stay. He placed a loving kiss on her forehead as he gently caressed her
shoulders. His words were a soft whisper, words he had already said but couldn't stop himself from saying again. “I can take care of you. I want to take care of you.”

Her moment of contentment disappeared. Had she heard him correctly? Take care of her? She had allowed herself to jump to the conclusion that he cared about her in the same way she cared about him and it had turned out not to be true. She would not make that mistake again. She would not misinterpret his words, make them mean what she wanted them to be—make assumptions.

BOOK: In Forbidden Territory
4.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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