A Different Blue Page 89

Then, without giving myself time to consider my actions, I crept into his bed and curled myself around him, resting my head against his back, wrapping my arms around his chest. I wanted to seal him to me, to fuse him to my skin, to reassure myself that he was actually mine. I pressed my lips against his back and slid my hands up under his T-shirt, pressing my hands against his flat abdomen, stroking upward to his chest. I felt him come awake, and he turned toward me, his face falling into the shadows as he held himself above me. Moonlight limned him in white, and when I reached up and touched his face, he was perfectly still, letting me trace his features with my fingertips, letting me rise up and rain kisses across his jaw, across his closed lids, and finally against his lips. Then, without a word, he pressed me down against the pillows and captured my hands in his. My breath caught in anticipation as he pulled me firmly against his chest, trapping my hands between us.

But he didn't kiss my mouth or run his hands along my skin. He didn't whisper words of love or desire. Instead, he tucked my head beneath his chin and wrapped me in his arms so securely I could hardly move, and he didn't let me go. I lay in stunned surprise, waiting for him to loosen his grip, waiting for his hands to touch, for his body to move against mine. But his arms stayed locked around me, his breathing remained steady, and his body remained still. And there, in the circle of his arms, held so fiercely that there was no room to doubt him or fear his loss, I slept.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

When I awoke the next morning, Wilson was already up, showered and clean-shaven, but his eyes were tired, and I wondered if holding me all night had taken a toll. And I was a little embarrassed that I had been rebuffed, as tender as his refusal had been. He didn't act awkward or uncomfortable, so I pushed away my hurt feelings and rushed through a shower and a quick breakfast so we could make our flight home. I was preoccupied and quiet, Wilson was introspective and morose, and by the time we dragged ourselves through the doors of Pemberley, we were both in need of our separate corners, the weight of the last twenty-four hours hovering like a black cloud. Wilson carried my duffle bag to my apartment and paused before heading to his own.

“Blue. I know you're exhausted. I'm absolutely knackered, and I'm not the one who's had their world turned upside down over and over again over the last few months. But you need to see this through to the end,” he entreated.

“I know, Wilson.”

“Would you like me to call her? It might make it easier to take the next step.”

“Is that weak?” I asked, really wanting to let him but not wanting to do the easy thing if it meant I was a wimp.

“It's delegation, luv. It's ensuring it gets done without tying yourself up in knots.”

“Then, yes. Please. And I'll be ready whenever she is.”

It turned out Stella Aguilar was tougher than I because she was ready immediately. So Wilson and I headed for St. George, Utah, the very next morning in Wilson's Subaru. We had both had a solid twelve hours of sleep in our own beds . . . separately, which concerned me a little, mostly because I didn't know what to make of it. Wilson was a completely different kind of guy than I was used to. He was a gentleman in a world of Masons and Colbys. And I was very afraid that the fact that I wasn't much of a lady was going to be a problem.

“Tell me what it's like,” I pleaded, my thoughts narrowed on the task that lay ahead .

“What what's like?” Wilson replied, his eyes on the road.

“Meeting your birth parents for the first time. What did you say? Tiffa said you did it on your own. You are obviously braver than I am. I don't think I could do this alone.”

“The circumstances are completely different, Blue. Don't ever believe you aren't brave. You are the toughest bird I know, and that, luv, is a compliment. I was eighteen when I met my birth parents. My mum had maintained contact with them throughout the years so that someday I could. She thought there might come a time when it might be important to me. My dad was against it. He thought it was unnecessary, and he was certain it would be distracting. I was one semester away from graduating, and I had been burying myself in school, which was very like me, I have to confess. I'd managed to fit four years of school into two-and-a-half, keeping to a schedule my father and I had mapped out. My father was an incredibly driven man, and I thought being a man meant being just like him. But it was semester break, and I was restless and irritable, and frankly, I was a powder keg, waiting to explode. So I flew to England and stayed with Alice. And I looked up the folks,” Wilson finished glibly, as if it had been no big deal. “My mum and I thought we could keep it a secret from Dad. Bad idea. But that's another story.”

“What was it like?” I prodded.

“It was bloody awful,” he answered promptly. “And enlightening and . . . very confusing.”

I had no idea what to say to that, so I just waited, watching his thoughts play across his face. He brooded for a moment, lost in remembering.

“When I met my birth father my first impression was that he was a bit of a bum,” he mused. “After a few hours talking to him, walking around, seeing his neighborhood, meeting his mates, I began to see him a little differently. We went to a pub where he liked to have a bitter after shift, a place called Wally's, where everyone seemed to know him and like him. Bert's a copper.”

“A copper?”

“A policeman. Which seemed so at odds with his personality. He is incredibly jovial and free-spirited. I always thought coppers were the strong, silent type.”

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