Say I'm Yours (Page 26)
His gait halts, and he turns to me. His face is hard and his jaw clenched. His deep blue eyes lock on mine, allowing me to see the emotions playing out: confusion, surprise, anger, and lastly, resentment. “Why the hell are either of you here?”
“What?” I ask with shock. “Why would you ask me that? Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“I’ll let you two handle this.” Cooper puts his hands in the air and retreats.
Trent turns his head toward Cooper and the vein in his neck pops. “How noble of you.”
Cooper bristles and shakes his head. “Look, I didn’t come to start anything.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have come here.” His voice is hard as his eyes slice to mine and he adds, “Either of you.”
I thought coming here was the right thing to do. I wanted to offer him support, but he’s being an ass.
I take a step back and try to hide my hurt. “I wanted to be here. I wanted to be here for you.”
Trent laughs. “You and your boyfriend? How nice of you. So, not only do I have to deal with the fact that my father is dying but also I get the added benefit of seeing you with another man.”
Cooper jumps in before I can. “You need to calm down and listen to what she’s sayin’. All I did was I drive her here.”
“Sure you did. You couldn’t help but be her knight in shining armor. Here comes perfect Cooper and his white horse.”
“This is your problem, Trent,” Cooper says. “You act like this. She heard about your dad and couldn’t get here fast enough. She was too upset to drive, so I gave her a ride. So, if anyone should be pissed off, it’s me. I drove her to you.”
“Was that after you worked on her farm all day? Or after dinner?” Trent sneers and then looks at me. “Your house okay? I would hate to see you without a place to live. But then again, maybe you can move in with Cooper.”
Tears flood my eyes and start to fall. He has this all wrong. I’m not here with Cooper. I’m here because Cooper was kind enough to drive me. I’m here for Trent, and he’s treating me as if I’m a heartless bitch who wants to rub Cooper in his face.
“Stop it.” I put my hand on his arm and he tears it back. “Cooper and I had dinner, but I’m here for you because I wanted to make sure you were all right and your dad was okay. You would know that if you would just listen.” I wipe my face and try again. “We’re not . . .”
He puts his hand up. “I don’t want to fucking hear it. I’m dealin’ with enough right now. My father is lying in a hospital bed, dyin’ of cancer, and I don’t need to add this on top of it.”
Cooper scoffs and shakes his head. “I’m going to check on Presley and Wyatt. If you need me, Grace, you know where to find me.”
I nod and watch him walk away.
“You can go with him,” Trent says with hostility. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
“Just go, Grace.”
I get that he’s hurting. I understand completely that he’s in pain and angry at the situation he’s dealing with, but if he’d stop lashing out at me, I could explain.
“No.” I shake my head, digging my heels in. “I’m not leavin’.”
“I don’t want you here.”
I hear the slight tremor in his voice. He may say he doesn’t want me here, but I think he’s scared. This family has been through a lot in the last two years. Losing his father is going to be a major blow.
When I step closer to him, my voice is low and comforting. “I think you do.”
Trent’s eyes go hard and his voice is ice. “I tell you I love you. I lay it all out, and you fucking ask me to leave and then spend the day with him. What do I get to do? I get to spend the entire day thinkin’ about you. I have to wonder if he’s touchin’ you, kissin’ you, or makin’ you smile, and then you come here with him. I don’t fucking care what you think you know, because you’re wrong. I don’t want you here. I don’t want to see you or him anywhere.”
Too damn bad. I am not leaving. I need to stand my ground. He isn’t pushing me away anymore, and I’m not running either. It’s time that we fight for each other rather than against each other.
I lean forward and push onto my tiptoes so we are chest to chest before I grab his face between my palms. When I open myself completely to him, two things can happen. Either he’ll hear what I say and see the truth in my words or he’ll push me away. Our lives’ course will be determined on how he steers the horse, he can throw us off or ride steady.
“I’m here because I love you, you thick-headed, unwilling-to-listen, lovable idiot! I’m here because I choose you. I’ve always chosen you because I can’t imagine my life without you. I’m here because I love you so much my insides hurt no matter how many times I tell you that I shouldn’t keep runnin’ back.” He tenses, and I watch the shift in his gaze. “So, if you want to keep arguin’ about this, I’m happy to, but you said you love me, and I’m standin’ before you askin’ you to let me do the same.”
Trent searches my eyes and his breathing stops as he touches my cheek. “What?”
“I said I love you.”
His thumb grazes my lip. “Say it again.”
“I love you.”
“No.” He shakes his head. “The other part.”
My breathing is shallow, and I know what he needs. “I choose you. I didn’t choose Cooper. There really never was a choice. It’s been you since I was sixteen.”
Not a second later, Trent’s mouth crushes against mine. His lips are soft, but the kiss is not as he holds my head to his and pours all his emotions into me. His fear is palpable as his fingers slide into my hair, holding me closer, breathing my air, and taking what I’m offering him. It’s as if I can feel him telling me I’m his reason for breathing.
He pulls back, and I run my fingers through his hair. We stand here together with his forehead against mine. My heart rate starts to slow as the seconds pass.
“I need to check on my family, but I just want to stay here,” he murmurs.
I lift my head, remembering why I’m here in the first place. “Is he okay?”
He shakes his head.
Trent takes my hand in his, and we start to walk toward the waiting room. He doesn’t say anything as we move through the hall. I can tell he’s on the edge of falling apart.
“What happened?” I urge.
Trent replays the scene at the pond. His voice cracks when he gets to the part about doing CPR on his father. I can’t imagine what that was like for him. He’s had to do all kinds of life saving measures as a police officer. There have been calls where he’s lost someone and times he’s saved them, but from the pain laced in his voice, this time will never leave him.
Knowing the choice that you make in a single moment will dictate if someone will live has to be scary, but knowing it could be your decision that could end the life of someone you love is terrifying.
“So, what are the doctors sayin’?” I ask, watching closely as his face falls.
“I don’t know. All Mama said is that he has stage four cancer.”
“Apparently, he was diagnosed six months ago. I don’t know how the hell they could keep this from my brothers and me. It’s such bullshit!” Trent stops in front of the doors. “Everyone is tryin’ to wrap their minds around it. Zach isn’t handling it at all, and Wyatt is just Wyatt.”
“How are you handlin’ it?”
He moves closer and pulls me back in his arms. “I’m not sure. I’ve been so messed up today between him and you.” Trent lets out a heavy sigh. “I didn’t lose you, and I’m damn sure not going to lose him. I’m going to have to convince him to fight.”
We enter the waiting room hand in hand, and I hope there’s a way he gets what he wants.
Every minute feels like days. We all sit quietly and wait for any news from the doctors. They’re still running some tests, so it’s a waiting game.
Grace’s mother arrives, looking frantic as she rushes over to Mrs. Kannan and Mrs. Townsend.
“Is it the cancer?” she asks and they all nod, but Grace’s head snaps in their direction, her eyes narrowing.
“Mama, you knew?”
“It wasn’t my story to tell, sugar.”
“You all knew?” I yell. “Y’all knew that he was dyin’ and didn’t tell us? You let us go to Zach’s wedding without knowin’ it could’ve been his last? You let us skip Sunday dinners with them, and all the other things we could’ve been doin’, all the things we should have been doing!”
These women are like family. They’ve been to every event in our lives. They’re my mother’s best friends, and none of them thought we should know. Not one thought it would be important for us. The time I could’ve spent with him . . . gone.
Mrs. Kannan steps forward. “We begged them to tell you, honey. Y’all had a right to know, but we weren’t going to be the ones to tell you.”