Color Me In (Last Chance #2)(101)By: Riley Hart
“Oh…I…” She sighed and then pushed her plate away. “Are you in love with Ryan?”
He was so surprised by that, his damn heart stopped beating.
And he couldn’t deny it. Maybe that made him an asshole, but he couldn’t. “Yes.”
“He’s in love with you too.” Caleb shook his head, ready to tell her they couldn’t have this conversation. It wasn’t fair to Ryan. But she continued before he could. “You don’t have to answer that. I’m sure you want to be loyal to him, but I don’t need you to answer it. I know him. Ryan has always been all heart. The second I realized you were here with him, I wondered. He wouldn’t have brought you if you weren’t special to him, but he would have needed you if you were.”
And somehow…those words helped. They released some of the tension inside him. He thought of how close she’d stayed to Ryan, as if they’d been attached, how she’d slept with her head on his shoulder, and said, “You didn’t act like you knew.”
“I wasn’t sure… I didn’t know he was bisexual, if that’s what he is, so I wasn’t positive, but the way he talked about you yesterday…the look he gave you when you left…those made me wonder more. Once I saw you in the hallway today, I knew. He looks at you like you’re the whole goddamn world, and I know what it’s like to see that in his eyes.”
Because he used to look at her that way. Did he still? Could he again?
“So, you can be angry or scared or hurt. You can tell me you’ve been in prison for whatever you hoped to accomplish with that, but I’ve seen how Ryan looks at you, so I know you’re a good man.”
Well, shit. That put a different spin on things, brought some needed clarity, but didn’t completely clear the fog in his brain. “He loved you too.”
“Past tense being the important part. Does he love me? Yes. Is he in love with me? No.”
“How do you know?” he asked her. “And are you in love with him?”
Danielle shrugged. “Part of me always will be, I think. If there was no you, would I want to try again? I don’t know. We’ve been through a lot. There’s a great deal of pain between us, and I don’t think we could ever be the same. I know what I did. I know I was hurting and pushed away the best thing that had ever happened to me. I know that in my grief, I devastated a good man, but maybe everything really does happen for a reason. Maybe somehow, some way, all of it happened so he could find you and I could have my son. As sad as it is, as much as I hate losing Josie and will never be over it, maybe she’s looking at us from wherever she is and saying…finally.”
His damn eyes started to burn at that. Jesus…this woman was incredible.
“It feels good…to see Ryan happy again. To know he has someone. And even though this isn’t the way I planned to have another baby, I’m happy too. If you’re worried, I just wanted you to know you have nothing to fear from me being in Ryan’s life again. Even if I wanted him, Ryan doesn’t work that way. Once his heart is in, it’s in. There’s not a doubt in my mind you have his.”
Caleb let his gaze settle on her, waiting until hers locked with him. “Thank you. All I want is for him to be happy.”
She smiled. “That makes two of us.”
The only question was, could Caleb really make Ryan happy? Was Caleb who he would continue to want? He sure as hell hoped so.
“Why are you so distracted? You look like it’s torture to be here,” his father said, his voice still rough but soft. He was obviously not feeling great, which was a ridiculous thought since he’d just had surgery. Of course he wasn’t feeling well.
“I just have a lot on my mind, Dad, that’s all.” Like Caleb and Danielle. He hadn’t stopped thinking about them since they went downstairs…he glanced at his cell…over an hour ago. What were they doing down there for so long?
And his father too. It was a strange feeling seeing such a strong man in a hospital bed. He was rough around the edges, hard. He’d always been harder than Ryan. He’d lived through losing his wife to cancer, losing a granddaughter, raising a son on his own, almost losing his business once because of the economy. This was the first time he’d needed something, and Ryan didn’t know how to deal with that.
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