His Favorite Mistake (Baby Its Cold Out) (4 page)

BOOK: His Favorite Mistake (Baby Its Cold Out)
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“No. No, Brody, I just want to put it all behind me. I need to focus on the future and finding a job. I don’t want to be a burden to you.”

Reyna saw his reaction immediately. He hated her words. She hurried on before he could deny them. “I know you’ve told me I won’t be in the way, but, Brody, that’s not really the truth. You need your space. I mean, after all, you are single and…” She’d been so close to saying handsome and desirable when she’d caught the words and turned away again.

What was she thinking? That she could simply move in with this dangerous distraction and not be aware of everything about him? There was no way this would work out as anything but bad.

“Reyna, believe it or not, and in spite of what Cade may have told you, I don’t spend every waking minute of my day pursuing the opposite sex. I mean I do have a business to run, you know?”

Reyna started for the door. She felt like such an idiot giving away to Brody that she’d listened to Cade’s gossip.

Brody caught her before she reached the door and turned her to face him. “Reyna, you are not going to be in my way. I want you there. If I didn’t, I would never have asked you to move in with me. Once you’re settled in and ready, I can help you find a job if you’d like. There’s always something available at Samuels Advertising and I have an idea, but we can talk about all that later…,” he added.

“We can talk about it now. There’s no way I’m letting you find a job for me. I can do some things on my own, thank you very much. You’ve done too much as it is.”

“We can talk about this later, Reyna, once you’ve had a chance to get settled in.”

“It doesn’t matter when we talk about it. I’m still not leaning on you any more than I have already. I owe you far too much as it is and I don’t like that.”

“Reyna—this is crazy. You don’t owe me anything. We’re friends. This is what friends do for one another. You’d do the same for me if the situation were reversed, so stop worrying so much, would you. I want you there with me. End of discussion.”

“Uh-uh. Not by a long shot. I meant what I said about the job. I can find my own. I intend on paying rent while I’m living with you, so don’t even think about arguing with me about it. That’s the way it’s going to be, if it’s going to be. Understood?”

“Whatever you say, love. Just as long as you’re in my house by tonight, I really don’t care.”

Reyna looked into his blue eyes and wanted more than anything to simply walk into his arms and hold him close. Truly let herself be close to Brody just once. Something of that struggle within her must have shown in her eyes, but Brody misunderstood.

“Reyna, I know how hard this has been for you, but Cade’s gone. No amount of grieving will bring him back, you know? Cade’s dead—by his own hand. He chose to take his own life, just as if he’d taken a gun and shot himself. This way, he ended up taking four innocent victims with him. Not to mention the ones behind. Yourself…Harvey. Me. Cade chose his own path in life, Reyna, and it led to death, however unimaginable that may be.

“But you’re still so young. Far too young to give up living. In time, you will move on with your life. You may even find love again.”

Reyna shook her head denying those words immediately. “No. No, I can never go through that again. I can’t. I don’t ever want to feel this much pain again.”

He moved closer to her, inches away. She could feel the tension inside him once more. Brody hadn’t liked her answer and she didn’t understand why.

“Reyna, I know you’re hurting, but believe me, it will pass in time. You can’t stop living. Do you honestly think if it had been you who died instead, that Cade would stop living? I know he was your husband, but he was also my friend and I know him too well to believe that. Cade was my friend but for the most part, he was extremely selfish.

“You weren’t the one who died in that accident, Reyna. You’re still alive. You need to accept that you have to move on with your life. Time will ease your hurt but you have to do your part as well. You can’t stop living.” She felt his hands on her arms once more turning her to face him. “It’s okay to hurt. Don’t let it destroy you. You have far too much to live for to let that happen.”

Brody pulled her gently into his arms and Reyna went too willingly. He felt so strong. Brody had so much strength to offer. It might be wrong, but for the moment, she needed to be close to someone who was strong to make her feel alive again. She needed Brody’s strength more than she’d ever needed another human’s touch before him.

Reyna moved closer, her arms going around his waist. She could feel his tension coming between them once more before Brody slowly untangled her arms. Reyna was surprised to find reluctance in his eyes before he released her.

“I’m sorry…” She turned away fighting the rejection she felt at that moment. Friendship. That was all there would ever be between them.

“I’m sorry…we should just get this over with. I know I must be keeping you from…something. We can do this tomorrow if you’d like. I don’t want to interfere with your plans. That is, I mean, I’m sure you must have much better things to do with your Friday night than this?”

“Reyna, what exactly are you trying to say? Do you really think I would plan a date with another woman on tonight of all nights? That I’m thinking about someone else while I’m with you? That really doesn’t say much for your opinion of me, now does it?”

She turned back to Brody surprised once more by the anger so clearly visible in his blue eyes. He resented her intrusion into his private life.

“Do you really think I can’t take time out of my busy personal life to help a friend? I’m not sure I want to know what Cade told you about me. I do have other things that need my time other than going out with the countless women you seem to think I date. Somehow, I manage to find time for work and friends as well.” He smiled back at her and once more, all the anger in him disappeared. This was the Brody she knew and loved.

That smile alone could turn her day completely around. Brody made her feel special just by being close to him. She hated thinking about the time when they would no longer be this close.

Something a little too disturbing was happening to her. Reyna had this same out-of-control feeling every single time Brody looked at her the way he was now. If that smile was any indication, he was reading her reaction quite clearly. But then again, maybe Brody was used to women falling for him.

“And, as a matter of fact I do have plans for tonight,” he added very slowly. “I plan on taking you out to dinner. So don’t argue…please. Just say you’ll come.”

“Alright,” she told him slowly. “Yes, I’ll come.”

Reyna wondered if Brody thought it strange, she was sleeping in the guest bedroom instead of Cade’s.

He hadn’t said a word about it that night they spent here together. Maybe he just assumed it was less painful for her to sleep in another bedroom than the one he believed she had shared with her husband.

Brody took the boxes down to the truck insisting she wait in the apartment. She didn’t hear him return but she felt his presence and knew he would be watching her again as she looked around the apartment for the last time feeling nothing but a sense of relief. She would miss nothing about her life as Cade James’s wife. Nothing at all.

Especially not that final night.

On the night of his death, Cade had been high and looking for any excuse to argue. He’d started drinking the moment he walked into the apartment. The mixture of alcohol and drugs had a terrible effect on him.

Cade started pulling out drawers and tossing their contents across the room looking for the money he kept hidden around the apartment. When he couldn’t find it, he accused Reyna of taking it.

Cade was so much stronger than she was. He’d literally thrown her against the sharp edge of the kitchen counter. The pain in her side was so intense, that she had lost consciousness for a while.

When she awoke, Cade was gone, the door to the apartment was standing open, and the house was in total chaos.

Somehow, she’d found the strength to get up off the kitchen floor. Hours later, a police came to tell her about the accident.

Even today, three weeks later, she still carried the painful bruises on her body from that night.

“Come back to minute.” Brody’s voice quietly cut through the memories bringing her back to the moment. He was standing in the doorway watching her. Seeing things, she never wanted him to see.

“Are you sure you don’t want to keep any of the furniture? We could always put it in storage if you like. Someday, you may change your mind.”

“No. No, Brody, I will never change my mind. I don’t any of it. I don’t want anything to remind me of…” She stopped when she realized how close she’d come to telling him everything. The truth about just how sick Cade really was and what had happened in this very apartment the night of his death.

“I just can’t bear the constant reminder of what happened. It’s best if I leave this part of the past behind me.” She turned away from him before he saw through her lies. Brody knew she wasn’t telling him the truth. It was all there in his expression. He wasn’t going to press her just yet. One day, he would.

* * * *

              Reyna had only been to Brody’s house on a couple of occasions. She and Cade had dinner there shortly after their marriage. It had been a night Reyna couldn’t forget. The first time she met Brody.

She still remembered Brody’s reaction when Cade introduced her as his wife. Like everyone else, he had been shocked Cade had chosen to marry someone like her. That had only been a few days after their wedding, back when she still believed marrying Cade had been the best thing to happen to her.

Had she been thinking clearly and not acting on her attraction to Cade James, it would have hit her that nobody got married after knowing someone for just one week.

She didn’t know a thing about Cade, other than he was gorgeous and had the most amazing manners. He was kind and attentive. That hadn’t lasted much longer than their first week of marriage and the night of Brody’s party

That night was her first real glimpse of Cade. The first time he’d hit her. The change in him shocked her. Gone was the sweet person she’d married. In his place was a man filled with rage. It wasn’t until weeks later that Reyna discovered the truth about Cade’s radical change in behavior. After that, Cade didn’t even try to hide the drugs from her. They were everywhere around the apartment. Soon after, Reyna had moved into the guest bedroom. He hadn’t tried to stop her, which only confirmed the truth. Her marriage was nothing more than a mistake.

Sometimes, Cade would come to her room simply to talk. During those times, he was almost like the man she’d married. But then, something would always happen to set him off and the abuse would start again.

Reyna believed Cade saw their marriage as just another failure in his life. He chose to ignore her for the most part, spending time with his friends. The ones who supplied the drugs he needed.

Now, sitting next to Brody as he maneuvered the truck through the heavy evening traffic, Reyna prayed this decision wouldn’t prove to be yet another mistake in what was becoming her life story as of late.

Brody’s house was two stories and beautifully decorated in rustic furnishing.

Very little had changed since Brody had shown her around the place months earlier. It was impeccably decorated to reflect Brody’s simple masculine tastes and no doubt cost a small fortune. There were three bedrooms, each with their own spectacular view of the Denver skyline.

Brody stood close by watching as she walked into the living room.

“You remember the house from when you and Cade were here before, don’t you, Reyna?” Suddenly and for no apparent reason, Reyna felt awkward being this close to him. She knew Brody had picked up on her uneasiness by the gentle way he spoke. “Why don’t you let me show you to your room? I’ve put you in the room next to mine. I thought you might feel more comfortable knowing I’m just next door to you in case you needed anything during the night.”

BOOK: His Favorite Mistake (Baby Its Cold Out)
2.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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