“I don’t trust women.” My head jerks up as I stand again, passionate about making him understand. “I don’t trust women.”
“Because women can be catty, and many don’t seem to care if a man is taken. But the bottom line for me is this: those women shouldn’t be sending you messages like that. I know you didn’t do anything wrong, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.”
“Well, then let’s move on to the next issue. When were you going to tell me that you’re going back on tour with Starla?” His hands are propped on his hips and he’s glaring at me accusingly.
“Don’t fucking lie to me.” His voice is low and rough and thoroughly pissed.
“I’m not lying to you. She offered us our old jobs back.” I hold my breath as he closes his eyes on a long sigh. “But we turned her down.”
“Mark, we turned her down.”
He clears his throat. “Go on.”
“She said that she misses having us with her, and now that Mom’s gone and life has settled a bit, she was hoping we’d choreograph her next tour and go back out on the road with her next year. But you know what?”
“What?” he whispers. I hate the slight tremble in his voice. I move to walk to him, but he holds a hand up, stopping me.
“For about ten seconds, while she was stating her case, I thought it over. I thought about the long days of travel, not knowing where I am, not having a real home. Not to mention, I’m not super young anymore and I could get hurt with as rigorous as Starla likes the routines to be.”
I pace away and shove my hands through my hair.
“And I told her, it’s just not for me anymore. I love my studio and my students, and I love you. I’m happy in Seattle. That world doesn’t fit me anymore.”
“Are you sure?” he asks softly.
“It was never going to be a yes, M. Even if I didn’t have you, which I’m so glad that I do, I still would have turned her down. That time in my life is done, and I like where my life is now.”
“What did Jax say?”
“He said no as well. For pretty much the same reasons.”
“He’s in love with me too?”
And there’s my funny man. I exhale deeply and smile at him.
“Hopelessly, yes.” I laugh and hook my hair behind my ear. “I think he’s in love with Logan.”
“Are you just now realizing that?”
“It’s complicated with Jax.”
“I can imagine.”
“Did he tell you about his past?” Mark nods and shoves his hands in his pockets.
“So, what we have here is a lack of trust on both parts,” he murmurs. He still isn’t pulling me into his arms. “You think I’ll fuck anyone who smiles my way…”
“I never said that…”
“And I’m still scared shitless that you’ll end up choosing dance over me and leave me high and dry.”
He seriously thinks that? That I would do that again? I sigh and I’m suddenly exhausted. The long days of physical work and being put through the emotional wringer with Mark have caught up with me.
I walk toward my bedroom. “You know what, I’m going to change out of these clothes, and I think I want to be alone tonight.”
“What did you say?” I spin around to look at him. His hands are balled into fists at his sides and a muscle ticks in his jaw from clenching it so hard.
“I said no. I just spent two nights without you, Meredith. I’m not doing it again.”
“Well, I don’t want to sleep with you tonight.”
God, I’m being a complete bitch! Stop it!
But I can’t.
“I’ll sleep on the couch then,” he replies.
“Do what you want.” I turn and walk to my room, slam the door and wonder what in the hell is wrong with me.
I pull my phone out of my pocket and text Jax.
I’m an idiot. Tell me to get over myself.
I strip out of my clothes and climb into my bed, not paying attention to the tears rolling down my cheeks.
Finally my phone beeps with an incoming text from Jax.
Get over yourself. Why did I just say that?
I wipe my cheeks with the back of my hand and respond.
Because I’m mad at Mark for something he didn’t really do. Girls texted him for booty calls today. He didn’t reply to them. But one sent her tits!
I hit send and less than ten seconds later, my phone rings.
“You didn’t have to call me.”
“Do I need to come home?” Jax’s voice is full of worry and it makes me love him even more.
“No. I’m being dumb. But I’m still mad at him.”
“Not all men are cheating bastards like Scott was,” Jax reminds me.
“Scott and I weren’t even officially a couple.”
“No, but he still fucked anything that looked at him sideways while he was fucking you, and it screwed you up, tootsie roll. Mark isn’t Scott, and just because a couple trollops sent him messages today doesn’t mean he did anything wrong. So yeah, get over yourself.”
“Damn. Tough love sucks ass.”
Jax chuckles. “Did he leave?”
“No, he…” The front door slams, making the tears come again. “Yeah. He just left.”
“Sleep off your shitty mood and then go apologize. With a blow job.”
“Thanks, Dr. Ruth.”
“My pleasure. See you on Friday.”
My head is pounding when I wake up. It’s not quite light out yet. Gray shadows are cast across the room as the first rays from the sun are just starting to surface.
I climb out of bed and shuffle into the kitchen to take some painkillers, toss the left over water in the sink, and turn to go back to bed, but a dark figure on the couch catches my eye.
He didn’t leave.
He’s stretched out on his back, a quilt I recognize from the night we sat on the pier draped over him. As I step closer, I can see he’s asleep.
And suddenly, I just can’t stay away from him anymore.
I climb on top of him, curling up in a ball on his chest and suddenly his arms come around me, holding me tightly.
“I was such a bitch,” I whisper as the tears start again. “But I can’t apologize for my reaction, Mark, because you’re mine and those text messages just pissed me the fuck off.”