I stand alone in the kitchen for a few minutes, finishing my coffee, which is pointless, because I need to go to sleep, but I finish it anyway and rinse the cup out in the sink before heading up the staircase to find Hardin. The upstairs hall is empty; torn wallpaper hangs on one side of the narrow passageway, and I can’t help but compare Ken’s magnificent house to this one; the differences are impossible to ignore.
“Hardin?” I call for him. All the doors are closed, and I don’t feel comfortable opening them without knowing what’s on the other side.
“Second door,” he calls back. I follow his voice to the second door along the hallway and push it open. The handle sticks, and I have to use my foot to get the wood to budge.
Hardin is sitting on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands, when I enter. He looks up at me, and I walk over to him.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, running my fingers through his messy hair.
“I shouldn’t have brought you here,” he says, taking me by surprise.
“Why?” I sit down on the bed next to him, keeping a few inches between our bodies.
“Because”—he sighs—“. . . I just shouldn’t have.” He lies back against the mattress and throws his arm over his face, so I’m unable to read his expression.
“Hardin . . .”
“I’m tired, Tessa, go to sleep.” His voice is muffled by his arm, but I know that this is his way of ending the conversation.
“Aren’t you going to change?” I press, not wanting to go to bed without his shirt.
“No.” He rolls over onto his stomach and reaches up to shut off the light.
Chapter one hundred and thirty-two
When my alarm sounds at nine, I have to force myself to get out of bed. I barely slept; I was tossing and turning all night. The last time I checked the time it was three in the morning and I wasn’t sure if I had gotten any sleep or if I had been awake the entire time.
Hardin is asleep, his arms crossed over his stomach. He didn’t hold me last night, not once. The only contact we had consisted of his hands reaching for me in his sleep, just to make sure I was still there, before they went back to his stomach. His mood change doesn’t completely surprise me. I know he didn’t want to come here for the wedding, but the high level of his anxiety doesn’t make much sense to me, especially since he refuses to talk to me about it. I’d like to ask him just how he expected to deal with me moving here with him if he doesn’t even want me here for one weekend.
I brush my hand over his forehead, pushing the mass of hair away, and move down to touch the light stubble that darkens his jawline. His eyelids flutter and I quickly pull away and stand to my feet. I don’t want to wake him, his sleep wasn’t the least bit peaceful either. I wish I knew what was haunting him. I wish he hadn’t closed down so abruptly. He revealed everything to me in the letter that he wrote me—and later destroyed—and while most of the things he referred to concerned terrible mistakes he’d made, I’ve dealt with them and moved on. Nothing he did in his past will cause any damage to our future. He needs to know this. He has to know this, or it will never work.
The bathroom isn’t hard to find, and I wait patiently for the water to turn from brown to clear. The shower is loud and the water pressure is very strong, almost painful, but it does wonders for the tension I’ve accumulated in my back and shoulder muscles.
I’m fully dressed in a pair of jeans and a cream tank top, but I hesitate before pulling on a floral-print lace sweater. It doesn’t have buttons, which means Hardin can’t demand that I close it; he’s lucky I’m not wearing the tank top alone. It’s spring now, and here in Central London it feels like it.
Trish didn’t give me a specific time for our little jaunt today, so I head downstairs to make a pot of coffee. An hour later, I return upstairs to grab my e-reader so I can read for a while. Hardin has turned over onto his back, and his face is set in a full frown. Without disturbing him, I quickly leave the room and find my way back to the kitchen table. A couple of hours pass, and I’m relieved when Trish comes walking through the back door. Her brown hair is pulled back, just like mine, in a low bun, and she’s dressed in—what else—a tracksuit.
“I was hoping you’d be awake, I wanted to give you some time to sleep in after the long day you had yesterday.” She smiles. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
I glance toward the narrow staircase one last time, hoping that Hardin will stroll down it with a smile and a kiss goodbye, but that doesn’t happen. I grab my purse and follow Trish out the back door.
Chapter one hundred and thirty-three
When I reach for Tessa, she isn’t in the bed. I don’t know what time it is, but the sun is too damn bright, pouring through the uncovered windows like it’s trying to force me awake. I slept like shit all night, and Tessa kept tossing and turning in her sleep. I was awake most of the night, keeping my distance from her restless body. I need to get a grip before I ruin this entire weekend for her, but I just can’t seem to shake my paranoia. Not after my mum had the nerve to invite Susan Kingsley to have lunch with her and Tessa.
I don’t bother changing my clothes, just brush my teeth and toss some water onto my hair. Tessa has taken a shower already; her toiletry bag is tucked away neatly in the otherwise empty cabinet.
When I get to the kitchen, the coffeepot is still hot and half full, and a rinsed coffee mug rests on the counter. Tessa and my mum must have already left; I should’ve spoken up and kept her from going. Why didn’t I? This day can go one of two ways: Susan could be a complete bitch and make it hell for Tessa, or she could keep her goddamn mouth shut, and everything could be fine.