“A-are you all right? Your face is turning all kinds of red,” Jayden said, wondering if Kit was reacting to his unexpected appearance at the cabin.
She raised her hand to her mouth and coughed. Kit shifted from one foot to the other. “Something fishy is going on. Robin knew I was coming here. So did Tasha. And Georgia. So why would she send you here?” For a moment they simply stared at each other. Jayden saw the exact moment when realization dawned on her.
“She sent me here on purpose,” Jayden said. “So we would be together.”
Kit let out a brittle laugh. “Knowing my sister, that’s exactly what happened. And I get the feeling she had a little help from Tasha.” Her brows knit together. “Maybe even Georgia and Mallory.”
Jayden ran a weary hand over his face. He let out a sigh. He was exhausted after driving all the way to Bear Mountain from Hope Valley. It was frigid outside with a heavy snow already beginning to stick on the ground. It would be a herculean feat to drive all the way back this evening. But, under the circumstances, he couldn’t imagine Kit wanting him to stay over at the cabin. How could Robin, Tasha and the rest of their friend group have done this? And for what purpose? Him being sent on a wild goose chase changed nothing.
He placed his hand on the back of the neck. It was beginning to ache like crazy. It was his tension spot and this time was no different.
“Jayden. Relax. I’m certainly not kicking you out of the cabin we both own.” She darted a glance outside. “Besides, this snow is really coming down now. It really wouldn’t be safe for you to drive all the way back to Hope Valley in this weather. It’s not worth the risk.”
“So you do still care about me?” he asked, grinning at his wife. The thought of Kit still caring about him, tickled him to no end. It gave him a euphoric feeling he hadn’t experienced in a long while. There weren’t many things about this woman he didn’t miss like crazy.
Kit let out a ragged sigh. “We spent way too many years together to simply stop caring about one another. That’s not how it works,” Kit answered, her voice as soft as silk. Her voice blew over him like a cool breeze.
“No, it isn’t. We just both go to our separate corners and sign away our life together. Isn’t that how it works?”
They locked gazes. For a moment he was tempted to tell her that he wanted to give their marriage another try. Pride held him back. He had built up a protective wall around himself so he wouldn’t get hurt by his wife. Kit had made it clear on many occasions that she didn’t want to save their relationship. She was ready to move on, even if he wasn’t.
“I guess,” Kit said with a shrug. She looked away from him and focused instead on her fingers. Jayden watched as she twirled her fingers around and around. “We went over our issues so many times and we couldn’t find a way to resolve things in a way that would work for both of us.”
Jayden walked toward Kit, quickly swallowing up the distance between them. He reached out and cupped her chin in his palm, then lifted it up so he could look into her brilliant, cocoa colored eyes. “I just keep asking myself if we tried hard enough, Kit.”
Kit brushed away tears from her cheeks. “That last miscarriage really did a number on both of us. It hurt so much. And I felt so alone, as if I was going through it by myself.”
He fought against a rising sense of guilt and frustration. Still, after all this time it felt like she was blaming him for the loss of their child. He’d been on the road for weeks on end and, even in the aftermath of the miscarriage, he hadn’t been able to stay by her side. Kit had never completely forgiven him for it, nor forgotten.
“I was there for you, Kit. Completely. Devotedly. I’ve never been as dedicated to anything in my life as I was to you. But at the same time, I had a job to do. I had to get back on the road. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had to do it for my career and the contract I signed.”
Kit made a clucking sound. “You still don’t get it, Jayden.” She shook her head. “Sadly, I don’t think you ever will. When I needed you the most, you bailed on me. That more than anything broke my heart. And it signaled the end of things for us.”
“That wasn’t the end for me, Kit. Things pretty much fell apart the day you stopped believing in me. That was my rock bottom!” Jayden said in a raised voice. Kit’s jaw trembled and he knew she was seconds away from tears. He threw his hands up in the air and retreated from the bedroom. What was the point in rehashing things? Whenever they were in the same orbit they tended to fuss with each other. It was frustrating and ridiculous. And even though divorce was the very last thing in this world he wanted, Jayden couldn’t seem to find his balance with Kit. Spending your life with another person wasn’t about perfection, but it surely wasn’t about arguments and grudges and tension. Perhaps they really had come to the end of the road.
Tasha tightly gripped the steering wheel and carefully made her way down Bear Mountain Road. As the snow got heavier and heavier, her prayers became more fervent. The roads were becoming slick. She was afraid the car might slide off the road.
“Lord, please let us get back to Hope Valley safely,” she prayed out loud.
“Amen,” Georgia murmured from the passenger seat.
“Okay, guys. I feel really guilty right now. I think we may have gone too far.” Robin’s shaky voice came from the back seat.
“No, don’t say that,” Tasha answered. “We did what we had to do in order to get those two in the same place for an extended period of time.”
Georgia bit her lip. “I’m with Robin. Messing with their tires was all kinds of wrong. I feel like a criminal.”
Tasha let out a sigh. “All we did was let a little air out of their tires. It was a means to an end. This way they’ll have to hash out their issues.”
“I don’t know,” Robin said in a fretful tone. She stared out of the window. “This snow is getting worse and worse. We didn’t factor this in to the equation.”
“You’re right about the weather,” Tasha answered, her voice sounding less confident than before. “But they’re safe and warm inside the cabin. We haven’t placed them in any jeopardy. We’re just goodhearted matchmakers.”
“I wonder if Kit and Jayden will view things that way,” Georgia said, making a face.
“You two need to toughen up,” Tasha said in a scolding voice. “When Kit and Jayden reunite, I’m going to take all the credit.” She sniffed. “I’m not sure the two of you deserve the title of matchmakers.”