He jerked his head up and down. “I understand,” he said. “I’m here with my wife, Amanda. We live in Charleston now. She booked this getaway for us. If you’d rather we leave, I’ll do so.” He shoved his pants in his pockets and looked down at the floorboards. “I haven’t told her about my past, but I plan to tell her everything tonight. She might not view me the same once she hears about it, but at least I’ll get it off my chest.”
“It’s not necessary to check out of Savannah House, Preston. You’re a guest and I’m one of the proprietors. Let’s both keep it professional.” She took a deep breath. “And if you decide to tell Amanda about who you used to be, please don’t do it on my account. It really doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
Preston seemed to let out a breath of relief. His shoulders sagged. “Thank you for being so gracious. And again, I wish I’d been better back then…known better, treated you better.”
Morgan nodded. “Thank you for acknowledging what you did. You could have pretended not to know me or acted as if you’d done nothing. That’s something at least.”
As they parted ways, Morgan looked up to see Olivia watching her from the front desk. She motioned Morgan over. Curiosity filled her friend’s eyes as she asked, “Hey. Who is that guy? He looks so familiar, but I couldn’t place him.”
Morgan made a face. “You might remember him from grade school. Preston Sykes.”
Olivia’s eyes widened. “Oh, I remember him. He was awful. Didn’t he use to torment you?”
Morgan sighed. “Yes, he did. Imagine him coming here to stay. It sure is a small world.”
Olivia knit her brows together. “Are you okay with him being here?”
“Yes, it’s fine. He used to be a ghost of the past, but now he’s just a man who caused a lot of pain for me in the past. I think we’ve both changed.”
Olivia sent Morgan a knowing glance.
“What’s that look about?” Morgan asked.
“You, Morgan. You’ve changed.” Olivia’s eyes twinkled. “And I think it has a lot to do with Luke. You’re so much more grounded now. You seem really comfortable in your own skin. And your confidence is off the charts.”
Morgan let out a chuckle. “I think you’re right. I’m stronger now. And it has everything to do with Luke. He’s given me wings. And because of him, I intend to soar.”
“Hey. What’s cooking, good looking?” Luke greeted her warmly as he came through the back door of the kitchen. As usual Morgan’s kitchen smelled heavenly. For a moment he tried to identify the scents. Cocoa. Cinnamon. And bread? Whatever it was, he knew it would taste sinfully delectable.
“Hey. What are you doing here?” she asked, lifting her head up to meet Luke’s kiss. “I thought you were working late tonight.”
The corners of his lips twitched. “I switched a few things around so I could leave early. I’ve been thinking about you non-stop ever since that phone call earlier.”
“I’m sorry if it distracted you.”
“It’s not a problem. Everything okay?” He peered into her eyes. He was looking for any little hint of trouble. The idea of Preston showing up after all of these years had bothered him throughout the day. On several occasions he’d wanted to get in his car and drive over to Savannah House, but he knew that Morgan needed to stand up for herself. It was deeply important to her and he respected that fact.
“It’s all good.” She stood up tall. “I spoke my mind and put something to rest that’s been bugging me for a very long time.”
Luke puffed out his chest. “You sure you don’t want me to go have a little talk with him?”
She playfully swatted at his arm. “No way. That would be cheating.”
Luke laughed out loud. “Why would that be cheating?”
“Because I can’t send my boyfriend in to handle my business,” she said with a shake of her head. “That’s lame.”
Luke furrowed his brow. “Boyfriend?”
Had she really said the word boyfriend? There was a strange expression on her face. For some reason he couldn’t really read Morgan well at the moment.
“Aren’t you my boyfriend?” she asked. She appeared to be holding her breath for his response.
“Without a doubt. But that’s the first time I’ve ever heard you call me that.”
She ducked her head. He reached out and placed his finger on her chin, lifting her face up so that their gazes locked and held.