Say I'm Yours (Page 7)

“I’m just saying he wasn’t the only one doing the hurtin’. Plus, he does this stuff because I let him for so long.”

“Okay, sure, but tell me why it’s worth all the hurt? Why the hell do you let yourself go back? Because I’ve seen the tears. I know that you love him, and I know he loves you, even if his foolish pride won’t let himself say it. But why? Why do you love him?”

This isn’t the first time Emily has tried to get me to see the writing on the wall. It isn’t the first time that I actually have. I’m not sure how to explain what it is about him. It’s deep inside me.

“Because when he allows himself to let me in, it’s beautiful. He has the greatest capacity for love. He does the most selfless gestures. Trent would run through a burning building to save someone.”

“I know that. All the Hennington boys are good deep down, but tell me why you think you keep holdin’ on,” she pushes.

I take a moment to let all the good things that I’ve shoved so deep, rise to the top. The things I try so hard to forget because they make it easier to overlook the bad. Over the course of almost twenty years, there have been some fantastic moments with him.

“When I was fourteen and didn’t have a date to the dance, remember when Johnnie stood me up?” Emily nods. “Trent didn’t hesitate to run upstairs and put on his suit. His mama didn’t have to urge him. He went because he saw I was cryin’. There was the time that my horse died, and he stayed in that stall with me for twelve hours as I cried. He never complained once, he held me in his arms as I fell asleep. The first time we made love, he made sure I was comfortable, safe, and took care of me.” I shift in my seat and rest my head back. “I know it sounds so dumb, but I remember how he held my eyes as we connected. We were just barely adults, but it felt like something else completely.”

“And recently?”

I close my eyes and try to hold back the tears. “When my sister died, do you know that Trent stayed with me for two weeks? He took time off, drove me out to Baileyton, helped with the arrangements, he was by my side every step. I didn’t have to worry, because he was there.”

“I remember.” Emily’s eyes grow sad. “I know he held you together.”

“He did more than that. He took care of everything. Not once did he complain when I was a mess. Not one single word was said that wasn’t to support me,” a tear falls. “I lost my world that day, and Trent made it a little easier. He held my hand, kissed my tears away, he gave me everything I needed, and I never had to ask. He knows me inside and out.”

It feels like a long time ago, but it wasn’t. Five years ago, my sister was taken from us. She could’ve had it all. She should’ve, but she married a man who I begged her to stay away from. William spoke with his fists, and he talked a lot. He broke the beautiful girl I played dolls with and turned her into a shell of a woman.

Scarlett was almost defiant when it came to him, though. She saw only what she wanted and ran off as fast as she could. We begged her to listen. Daddy hated William the minute he laid eyes on him. Said he could see the anger in his eyes and that, one day, it would boil over. Scarlett thought she could save him. In the end, he killed her.

“Do you know that Trent was the one who found William?” I ask.

“I do.” She grabs my hand and holds it tight. “I remember that even though he wasn’t the sheriff there, he got in touch with his friends and made sure they found him.”

“He promised me that he’d find a way to fix it if he could. He was so sure. I fell so deeply in love with him that week.”

“Scarlett chose Bill. She loved a man who was all wrong for her. Maybe—”

My blood pressure spikes as my eyes snap to hers. “Trent has never raised a hand to me!”

“I know! I never said that, honey. Calm down. I’m saying that while Trent has never physically hurt you, he hasn’t been gentle with your heart.”

I take a calming breath and slow my heart rate. I know what she’s trying to say, but comparing Trent to Bill isn’t even close to okay. He may have hurt me but never in that way. He would rather die than raise a hand to me.

“I’m sorry I freaked out,” I say to Emily.

“I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. I was just sayin’ that sometimes our hearts lie to us about what’s really goin’ on. I think we want to see the good in everyone, and it can cloud our judgment.”

“I don’t know what changed inside him, but he became so angry at everything. The fun, sweet, sexy man I knew disappeared. The more I tried to push him to talk to me, the more he pushed me away. The more space I gave him, the more he took until it felt like there were oceans between us.”

I would break things off only to find him on my porch, begging me to give him another chance. I would give in. I know the real Trent Hennington. The guy who sits on the dirty ground while his girlfriend cries. The man who drives four and a half hours to identify your sister’s body and then creates a manhunt for the husband who beat her to death. He stands by your side when you need him. He’s tender, strong, sweet, broody, and so much more.

He was just never fully mine.

We’d have good runs where he would be the guy I love. We’d laugh, watch television, ride horses, and make love for hours. Then something would shift when we got too comfortable again. His entire attitude would eclipse the sun that was in his eyes and leave only darkness. I could almost watch the change happen.

No matter what I gave him, it wasn’t enough to pull him out.

I swipe the tears that fall as I remember the bad times. “I wish I could save him. I wish I was enough for him to want to be saved.”

Emily takes a long sip of her drink. “I think Trent is in a lot of pain. I don’t know why. I don’t even think his brothers know, but until that man comes to some kind of epiphany, he’s only going to hurt you, honey. Who knows, maybe you goin’ out with Cooper Townsend will be the thing that drives him to wake the hell up.”

Which brings me back to my emergency text that I needed Emily to come here for a girl’s night in. Angie and Presley are great, but they’re all family . . . to everyone. Presley is obviously going to be on her brother’s side, well, I’m not sure which brother now. Angie is going to side with Trent because that’s the side Wyatt will land on. I’m like the lone wolf here. I need a pack. I need Emily and her advice in my life more than ever.

“I should cancel that date. It isn’t fair,” I say, thinking about Cooper.

“Hell no you shouldn’t! Look, Cooper knows damn well how you feel about Trent. Don’t be fooled, Grace. There isn’t a living person in this town that doesn’t. If he wants to test the waters, I say give it a chance.”

“It’s just dumb! I am clearly still all messed up inside.”

Her voice rings of disbelief. “I think you’re makin’ up any excuse you can.”

“And what about when Trent finds out?” I push.

Emily’s grin spreads across her face. “Well, won’t that be too bad for him.”

He’s going to lose his mind. Full-on nuclear attack will ensue.

“I don’t know . . . I feel like it’s a slap in his face.”

Emily rolls her eyes. “We come from a small ass town. There aren’t many men floatin’ around Bell Buckle. He has to expect this, and if he doesn’t, that sucks for him. As for your other lame bullshit about hurting Cooper? He’s a grown ass man and fully capable of decidin’ for himself if he can handle it. A very fine grown man, I might add. I guess it’s really a matter of if you’re willin’ to take a chance.”

“Grace! Your phone is ringing!” Mama calls from the kitchen where my purse is sitting.

She dragged me shopping all over Tennessee for the day. Now, I’m carrying in all the bags and antiques she found. I don’t mind doing things like this with my parents. They’re both getting older and if my helping with shopping and driving makes her life a little easier, I’ll do it.

Plus, I know the more I’m around, the happier she is. My mother having to bury her baby was the hardest thing she ever did. Scarlett’s death broke my parents’ hearts. I want to help mend them a little. Scarlett was who wanted to own the store in town. I think it’s why my mother refuses to part with it.

“Grace!” she calls again.

“I’m bringing the bags in! Give me a second, Mama!”

“Trent was over by Macie’s when I was visiting with her yesterday,” she informs me as I set the last bag on the counter.

“Okay.” I’m not sure where this is going. She practically shoved me over to the Townsend’s house a few weeks ago. Now she wants to talk about the Henningtons?”

“I’m just sayin’ is all. Trent was there.”

“I’m not with Trent, so what he does is really none of my business.”

I should’ve known that her not mentioning this wasn’t going to last long. She removes a few things from the bags as she smiles. “I know, sugar. Cooper and his mama talked when we got back from Mexico. He said you two were going out.”