He sucked in his breath and looked to the window, his eyes becoming glossy. Oh shit. Don’t tell me I was making the ginger fucker cry now?
I watched him, wide-eyed and uncomfortable, unsure of what to do or what else to say.
Finally he said, “Thanks, buddy,” in a choked voice and got to his feet. He looked to me and smiled. “I needed to hear that.”
“Am I interrupting something?” a quiet voice said from the door. My heart skipped in leaps and bounds. I swiveled my head so fast that the room spun but I did not fucking care.
Perry was standing in the doorway, rubbing her hands up and down her arms. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail that she’d obviously slept in. She was wearing jeans, chucks and a Faith No More shirt she’d cut into a tank top. Her face didn’t have a lick of makeup on it and I knew she hadn’t slept in days. But she was still the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. And, no matter what, I was still the luckiest son-of-a-bitch in the world.
“No,” Maximus said quickly, looking between the two of us. “I was just on my way out.”
He squeezed past Perry and left the room, closing the door behind him.
She stood there for a moment, watching me, the distance between us seeming far too large and heavy. I smiled. That’s all it took.
She came rushing over, big blue eyes welling up, and threw her arms around me, burying her face in my neck. I didn’t even feel any pain. I closed my eyes, my grin taking over my face, and wrapped my arms around her, not caring that it was pulling on my IV drip. I held her as tight as I could, with what strength I had.
Perry sobbed away, trying to speak but not being able to.
“Shhhh, it’s okay,” I soothed her, stroking the back of her head, her silken hair feeling like heaven under my worn fingers.
I held her like that for as long as I could, just relishing the weight of her in my arms, her heart beating against mine. I decided I was lucky enough to be given a second chance with her, I wasn’t going to screw it up. It didn’t matter if us being together opened more doors to other worlds, I didn’t care if her pregnancy could ruin us. I wasn’t going to let her go on the advice of others. What Rose said to me was true, I just hurting too much to listen to it. It hurt to know that I had just given up when the going got rough, that I didn’t have enough hope in me to forge through. To risk it all.
There was always another way. I didn’t know what Perry was feeling but I knew how I was feeling. I knew her heart was worth all the ugliness we’d have to endure. I wasn’t going to give her up on chance. It threw a wrench into what I really wanted—a baby with her, a lifetime together, but there was always another way.
“I’m so sorry, Dex,” she cried, pulling away so she could look at me. I gently ran my thumbs under her eyes, wiping away her tears. “I’m so sorry.”
“Baby, I’m sorry,” I told her, holding her face in my hands now. “I said things I shouldn’t have because I got scared.”
“I know it was Ambrosia.”
“I know. It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry I doubted you to begin with. I should have believed you.”
“I said some horrible things.”
“I said some horrible things. Baby, I wish I could take them back.”
She sniffed and looked away. “Me too. But I’m glad you said them. Because I am young, Dex. You’re like nine years older than me and it scares me, you know? You have all this experience with the world, with sex, with relationships—everything. I feel like I’ve barely lived. This ain’t easy to say but…I worry about us. I worry that I’m going to screw it all up because I don’t know what I’m doing. This is so new to me.”
“Perry, it’s okay.” Her honesty was breaking my heart.
She shook her head. “It’s not okay. Dex, I am so goddamn afraid, you have no idea.”
I kissed her forehead softly and whispered, “I have some idea.”
“No,” she said. She leaned in closer, our noses touching, her eyes searching mine. Oh god, I was so close to just ripping the IV out of my arm and taking her right there on the hospital bed, severed ear and all.
She went on, her voice warbling, “No, I’ve been holding back, Dex. I’ve been too scared to even let myself feel anything deeper than my skin. Do you know how I knew I was close to losing you last night?”
“The Mambo called up Maximus.”
“No.” She licked her lips. I wanted to lick them too, but I felt she was about to tell me something important. “I mean, she did. But I was in my room. I was pacing back and forth, so fucking worried about you. I sat down on my bed and just tried to think, to calm myself down. I had one of your cigarettes you know, so I lit it up—I didn’t care, they let you smoke everywhere here. And then I saw Pippa.”
I frowned. “Really?”
“Yeah. Really. It was her, just as always. Standing at the end of the bed. Gave me a fucking heart attack but…you know, it was good to see her. It was nice. I…I feel like she’s the only one in my family who really cares…and who really understands.” She rubbed her lips together and sniffed. My baby kept breaking me. “She didn’t say much. She just said…that I shouldn’t worry. That there is only good from love. That our hearts are magnets. That we couldn’t stay apart for long.”
Our hearts are magnets. I’d heard Perry’s thoughts say that before. I’d always liked the sound of that.
“And as corny as that all sounds, I think she’s right,” she added.
I nodded and pulled her to me again. Pippa may have been a mortal like us but, like us, she knew a thing or two about love and loss. I’d take her advice any day.
“Dex,” Perry said into my neck, her wet lips brushing my skin, sending shockwaves through the rest of my body. She pulled her head back and kissed me, hard and soft and deep all at the same time. I couldn’t have been floating higher.