Honey should say something, but her brain didn’t seem to be functioning properly.
“Anyway, you’re lucky you’re on vacation. As you can imagine, it’s been very tense around here.” Robert laughed. “I’m thinking about opening my own real estate office, but I’ll need a broker. Would you be interested?”
The offer stunned Honey. “Maybe. Maybe I would.” After she hung up, she stared at the wall for a moment, then picked up the phone to call information to get Trevor’s home number. She quickly changed her mind and hung up again.
If she understood this correctly, she was going to be okay. She still had a job. She wasn’t being sued. The Barons hadn’t lost out on the deal. But none of that changed the fact that Trevor hadn’t called her.
She stood and headed toward the bathroom to take a shower. It was time to go home to Napa, pay her bills and water her plants. She’d take the night to work up her courage, then go on to Redding in the morning.
When she spoke to Trevor, it was a conversation she wanted to have face to face.
It was lunchtime when Trevor saw his sister’s car pull up. He got out of his truck and headed to the front door of the fast food restaurant to wait.
He didn’t want to be there and he didn’t want the interrogation that was sure to follow. He wasn’t even hungry. But Elizabeth had assured him that if he didn’t show, she’d hunt him down like a bear after berries.
They met at the entrance. “Hi,” he said.
“Hi yourself,” Elizabeth replied and searched his face, her dark brown eyes worried.
Trevor looked away and held the door and they headed inside to order. Trevor paid, they waited for their food, filled their drinks, and carried the tray to a booth.
Elizabeth fussily laid her napkin on her lap, looked him over, and shook her head. “Trevor, have you looked in the mirror lately? Your beard is growing back in, you look like you’ve lost weight, and from what Mom says, you’re working all the time. I think you’re depressed.”
Trevor decided eating was the best response he could think of, so, hungry or not, he shrugged and took a bite of his burger.
“Have you talked to Honey? Has she called?”
Trevor swallowed food he didn’t taste and shrugged again. “Nope. Just like my ex, Honey has decided on the other guy. She’s obviously back with her fiancé.” He shoved a couple of fries into his mouth and didn’t look at his sister.
“But...are you sure?”
Trevor chewed, swallowed hard and stared down at his food. “There must be something wrong with me,” he finally admitted.
“No there is not!” She said the words fiercely, and her blonde hair wavered around her face as she shook her head.
He gave up trying to eat, and didn’t respond. He appreciated the support, but things were the way they were. What more was there to say? So he was hurting. What else was new?
Except, he admitted to himself, he was hurting far worse than when Veronica had left. Then, there had also been a sense of relief. Now all he felt was loss. Intense, bone deep, mind-numbing, loss.
“If you would just lift the ban on Mom and me calling Honey, we could find out what happened.”
His eyes narrowed and he finally looked at her. “Absolutely not.” He’d already laid his heart on the line. Honey knew how he felt about her. No way was he humiliating himself further by standing behind the girls in his family like a whiney loser.
“Well, then you should call her yourself! Or better yet, follow her home. Good, bad, or ugly, you’ve got to know what is going on for sure, okay? Based on my own relationship problems, I can honestly say it’s better to know. It’s always better to know.”
“I don’t know where she lives.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes, dug in her purse for a moment, then slid a piece of paper across the table to him. It was an address. “So now you do. So go. Or at the very least, call her.”
Adrenaline shot through him as he read the address he’d refused to look up himself. Maybe Elizabeth was right. No more lame excuses. He needed to snap out of the funk he was in and get some answers. Maybe if he heard it straight from Honey, he could start sleeping again instead of lying awake all night wondering what he’d done wrong. Wondering what he could have done differently.
He thought about the horrible conversations he had, both in person and on the phone, with his ex-wife after she’d left him. Granted, he didn’t want to put himself through that kind of rejection again. But on the other hand, it really had gotten to the point where he just had to know. He had to see Honey, even if it was just one last time.
He stood. “Thanks,” he said, and pocketed the paper.
“Where are you going?”
“To see Honey.”
“Right now? Before you’ve finished eating?”
“Yes. Right now.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Okay. But go home and shower and shave first. And keep us posted.”
Trevor nodded once. “I’ll let you know what happens. And Elizabeth? Thanks.”
She nodded, smiled and shooed him with her fingers. “All right. Go already.”
As the sun started to set, Honey finally pulled onto her tree-lined street. She’d gotten a slow start, so it was later than she’d hoped and the drive had been way too long. Spending the drive thinking about going to see Trevor in the morning had her nervous, tense, and a little bit excited.
With a sense of relief, she pulled into her driveway, shut off the car, gathered her keys, purse, and went to open the car door. She was glad to be home, and glad she was finally going to do something.
A huge figure stood up from her porch swing.
Honey froze for a moment, and then, heart beating fast, eyes glued to the man on the porch, her hand automatically groped to put the key back in the ignition.
The man walked to the top of the stairs and it took her a moment to recognize Trevor.
Honey pressed a hand to her chest as relief and apprehension fought for dominance. She couldn’t believe he was there. She wasn’t ready for this yet. She still had to plan what she’d say, and how she’d say it. It was too soon.
Had he come to tell her off? To accuse her of being in cahoots with Nick? Or...
Hope swelled within her and she fumbled for the door latch and got out of the car.
Had he come for her?
Dread mingled with hope as Honey moved forward to greet Trevor. Awkward she came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “Hi.”
“Hi, yourself,” he said, and she melted, just a little bit, at the sound of his deep voice. She grabbed the iron hand rail to steady herself as she studied his face. He gave nothing away, and it was getting darker by the moment. She wasn’t sure if he were angry or not.
He gestured to the porch. “I hope you don’t mind that I’ve been waiting for you to get home.”
She shook her head, a quick movement, as she studied his inscrutable face. “Oh, no. Not at all.”
“Were you working late?”
Honey swallowed, and, in an effort to stop staring at him, glanced down. “I’ve been at my parent’s for the past week,” she told the gardenias along the bottom of the porch. She sneaked another peak at Trevor. “I’m just getting home.”
His gaze sharpened and, again, she couldn’t look away. “Oh?”
“Were you alone?” he asked.
Honey took a shaky breath and tried to pull herself together. “Hardly. My mom, dad, brother, his wife and baby girl were there practically the entire time. Privacy isn’t an acknowledged state of affairs in my family.”
Trevor smiled. “I know how that is.”
Remembering his family’s matchmaking attempts, she returned his smile with a slight one of her own. What was he doing here?
He shifted on his feet and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I’m glad I chose today to drive down, then. It could have been a long wait if you’d stayed away another week.”
Was he saying he’d have waited as long as it took? The thought, and the hope that accompanied it, broke the trance she seemed to be in. She hurried up the steps.
When he moved out of the way, she put her key in the lock, and keeping her head ducked, rushed into speech. “Trevor, I want to apologize for what happened with the land deal. I am so sorry my boss was trying to cheat your family. I want you to know I didn’t know anything about it until Michelle came to Redding and told me.” Honey opened the door and then turned to look at him. “I hope you can believe that.”
Trevor shrugged. “Of course I do.” He looked into Honey’s sincere blue eyes and his conscience twinged. He was well aware she hadn’t known what her boss had been up to. Now he just had to worry about how she’d react to
knowing everything all along and setting her up.
And, of course, none of this was as interesting to him as the fact that her fiancé hadn’t gone with her to L.A. He rubbed the back of his neck. He might as well get it over with. “Look, Honey. There’s something I need to tell you.”
“Please come in. Have a seat.”
Glad for the extra time, he followed her inside, across the hardwood floor. She turned on the lights, dropped her purse on a recliner and led him around a plump love seat. She took the chair opposite. “You were saying?” she asked.
He took a quick look around at the bright colors, plants, and comfortable furniture. The place suited her. He sank down and looked across at her. Golden curls, clinging pink tee-shirt, grave face.
He wanted to pull her into his arms and kiss her until she looked soft rather than serious. Until she admitted she was his.
With a shake of his head, he forced himself to focus. “Yeah.” He blew out a breath. “The thing is, we knew about your boss trying to rip us off.”
Honey looked confused. “Your family did? You mean all along?”
Trevor nodded, tensing. “Yes. From the beginning. After Nick approached us, we decided to give him enough rope to hang himself with.”
Trevor rubbed his forehead, then quickly dropped his hand. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you what was going on. I went against my dad’s wishes, and tried to let you know. On the way to the houseboat. Remember?”
Honey, brows furrowed, nodded. “When we stopped to look at that piece of property.”
“Yes.” Awkward, he sat back, couldn’t get comfortable and sat forward again, leaning his elbows on his thighs, and clenching his fists in front of him.
He studied her blank face and could feel sweat break out on his brow, his back. He’d give anything to know what she was thinking. “So, you see, you don’t have anything to apologize for. I’m just sorry you got caught up in the whole thing.”
Her brows were drawn together. “So you didn’t think I was in on it? That I was trying to cheat you?”
“No. It was obvious you weren’t.”
Trevor realized his leg was twitching up and down and pressed a fist to his thigh.
Honey was looking at the floor and not at him. “I don’t blame you for being mad,” he said. “I did want to tell you. I knew you had nothing to do with it.” He was blabbering now. Repeating himself. He already looked like an idiot, so he might as well go all the way. He had to know. “So, what about your fiancé. Are the two of you still engaged?”
He held his breath as Honey looked up at him, her brows still drawn tight together. “No, of course not. Christian’s history. But you knew that, right? We talked about it before I left.”
As he stared into her beautiful upturned face, something unclenched in his chest and he could breath again. “When you didn’t call, I thought you might have changed your mind and gone back to him.”
Honey’s mouth fell open. “How could you think that after the way I’d been with you?”
Trevor couldn’t tamp down the sudden hope he felt. He wiped his palms on his jeans. “You didn’t answer your phone,” he said. “I called you after you left the restaurant.”
“Christian threw it out the window, so I didn’t have a phone. But anyway, we’d discussed it, remember?” Hurt showed on her face. “Or did you think that because of the land deal and because I’d kissed you while I was engaged to Christian that I wasn’t sincere?”
“No! I didn’t think that at all. I called several times and when you didn’t call back, I thought you’d gone back to your fiancé.”
Honey stood and paced away, then back again. “I felt I couldn’t call. I wrote you that note. I thought you’d come to see me at the hotel. I waited.” She paused, then lifted a shoulder. “When you didn’t show up, I thought you hated me because of the land deal. I got a new phone in L.A. and I’ve been waiting for you to call.”
She’d been waiting? His heart was pounding and relief made him dizzy as he slowly stood.
She finally stopped pacing and turned to look at him. “You don’t hate me?”
He shook his head slowly as he walked toward her. “No,” his voice was like gravel. “Do you hate me?”
She swallowed, finally met his gaze, smiled tentatively and shook her head. “No. I don’t.”
Honey’s heart was pounding as Trevor reached forward, took her hand, and drew her over to the love seat with him. His own hand shook slightly, and when she realized he was nervous, her lips parted in wonder, her heart melted, and her fingers clenched onto his.
He looked down, then back into her eyes again. “Honey. I love everything about you.” His hands squeezed hers a little too hard, but she managed not to wince. She didn’t want to interrupt him or miss a single word.
“Everything,” he emphasized. “The way you smile. Your optimism. The way you really care about other people. The way I feel when I’m with you. I felt like I wasn’t really living until you came into my life, but just going through the motions.”
He searched her eyes, then brought her hand up to his mouth and pressed a hard kiss to her skin, leaving it tingling. She almost couldn’t breath.
“It about killed me when you left. It was like going back to merely existing.” He brought both her hands to his mouth, kissing one and then the other. “I...I love you so much.”