Author’s Note: Sherwin had to try.
Cress grunted, walking over to his sister’s side, giving her shoulder a squeeze. She looked up at him with a slight smile. The water twins were together again, and that was for the best. They were closer than any of the other pairs, and Enya now wondered if it had more to do with what they’d been through growing up instead of what they’d always assumed it was—the twin thing.
She closed her eyes. Times like this, she found herself missing Aidan more than ever. She would never stop being jealous of the others. Even Terra. Stone was still alive, and they’d find him, and this would be them in a few days, back to the teasing and easy smiles and comfort of the company no matter what fight they might have had or what crisis might have happened.
She felt a hand on her shoulder, but she didn’t have to look to know it wasn’t Cress. “You okay?”
“Fine. I slept good, feel a lot better…”
“That’s good,” Sherwin said, coming around to make sure she saw his smile. “You got a minute? There’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”
Enya frowned. “I don’t know. Do we have a minute, Occie?”
She nodded. “Yeah. Moira slept later than she wanted, and she and Terra aren’t back from the banks. When they get here, we’ll have to be on the move, but we all agreed that we have to give up our current vehicle for a new one, so we’re waiting unless they call and tell us to meet them somewhere. So, don’t go far, but you should have time to talk.”
Cress put a hand to his head. “I didn’t give Moira the key to the safe-deposit box.”
“That can wait.”
“I don’t think so.”
Sherwin grimaced as they started arguing about it, trying to get Enya to leave the room. She didn’t want to hear the argument, but she didn’t feel like being alone with Sherwin, either. “Here is good. Say what you need to say. It’s not like they’ll hear us.”
“So, Moira put me into the wall last night and told me that I didn’t stand a chance so I shouldn’t bother, but I need to ask you something.”
“Um, I’m not sure what you mean, but—”
“Us, Enya. I know I’m an idiot most of the time, and I know I screwed it up real bad in the past, but I never… There’s been quite a few women come and go over the years, but other than Moira, no one’s really stuck around or made me want to come back, not like… you.”
She blinked. “Sherwin, I…”
“Is there someone else? Someone from back in your other life?”
Damn. She’d never so much as called her boss, not that she could have, but Helen probably thought she was dead and was mourning her or something, and that wasn’t fair. “There was no one there, but this really isn’t the place for this. Or the time. We have to get Stone back, and we need to worry about that and the agency and—”
Sherwin took hold of her face, pressing his lips to hers, and she’d figured this was coming, but it still managed to overwhelm her. She pushed at his chest, trying to make him stop, hating herself for how weak she still was to this. Sherwin had a talent for this and far too much experience, picked up from all the women he’d dated over the years, and she heard herself moan. She cursed.
“Well, that’s still there, at least.”
“Sherwin, don’t. That’s just physical, and this always was a bad idea. You’re the wind, you can’t be tied down, and I don’t want to be caught up in another cycle of you thinking you want to be. It might have been fun for a while, but it never lasts.”
“It’s been a long time, Enya. I’ve grown up since then.”
She shook her head. Her stomach was all twisted up, and her mind was a mess. She couldn’t think. “I would like to believe that, but that still doesn’t mean I’m interested in doing this again. I won’t. When we get Stone back—I’m going home. This was never my life, and it won’t be now.”
“You think I couldn’t try and settle down? I’d do it for the right person, and I can’t help thinking that’s you,” he said, putting his hand on her cheek, rubbing his thumb over her skin.
She winced. “No, I’m not. I never was. You could use me as an excuse not to settle with any of the other women you met, and that might even have let you fool yourself into thinking you loved me, but you don’t. I’m not that person.”
“I swear I could change your mind if you’d give me a chance.”
She shivered, remembering the kiss, aware that her body was eager to give him that chance, but her head knew a lot better, and her heart wasn’t in it. “No.”
“If you were back home and I showed up at your door?”
He kissed her again, and she tried to hold onto her willpower. She didn’t want this. Well, no, a part of her did, a part of her had always been weak to him, and if he’d asked her for this back before she left, she’d have said yes. She’d been ready to elope with him before the fire, but that fire changed everything. She’d lost her family… and Sherwin hadn’t been there for her at all.
She pushed him back. “Don’t. This isn’t happening.”
Sherwin put a hand over hers. “Not even if you have time to think about it, time for me to prove that I mean everything I’m saying?”
“You don’t,” she told him, pulling herself free and walking back into the bedroom, shutting the door behind her. She hated this. Why did he have to do this? Why was she so weak? She didn’t love him, he’d hurt her too much for that, and she didn’t need to go back to fooling herself. That was never love. Hormones, attraction, but not love.
Love scared her. She only killed the things she loved, and she wouldn’t love anything ever again.