Kai falls just as hard, yet minutes after telling her as much he has no choice but to rip her heart to shreds, leaving whatever has blossomed between them lying in tatters on the ground.
It’s been five months since that fateful day. Five months of no contact. Now Kai is attending the same end of year bash as Lily, and bumping into him seems unavoidable. Lily’s choices are limited: either steel her emotions against Kai or risk losing her heart to him all over again.
“I thought I’d never get you alone.” The deep voice shattered her solidarity.
God, she didn’t want to turn around. Didn’t want to face the person standing behind her. But turn she did, eventually—after taking three or four deep, silent breaths—and raised an eyebrow in studied surprise. “Kai?”
Hah. She sounded brilliant. As though she’d had no idea he was here, as though she hadn’t taken one look at him and bolted from the room like a terrified, confused teenager. She could so do this. She could pretend he hadn’t changed her world in three days and destroyed it in three minutes.
He nodded. “You sound surprised.”
“I am.” She shrugged and then lied, “I didn’t know you were here.” No, she wouldn’t stand up. Wouldn’t give him the respect. She angled her head so her neck didn’t cramp while she stared up at him.
“Really?” Without an invitation, he took a seat beside her, instantly making the rock fifty times smaller than it had been five seconds before. “The way you looked at me earlier, with eyes wider than a fifty cent coin, I kinda figured you did.”
Shit. He had seen her after all.
Lily forced herself not to cringe visibly. “I didn’t know you were in Sydney,” she amended, doing her best to save face. “Last time I saw you, you were on your way to Melbourne.”
“Last time you saw me I was a lot of things,” he muttered.
Oh, she was so not going there. So not picking up a conversation that she wished to God she’d never had to be a part of in the first place.
Awareness settled in her stomach like a tiny butterfly, flitting around, lost and alarmed. Kai sat beside her. Close, but not touching.
Close enough that the heat from his body radiated from him, warming her altogether too much for a summer evening.
“You look good, Lily,” he said softly.
So did he. Good enough to eat. But then Lily wasn’t up for another severe bout of food poisoning. One round with Kai had been enough. Or so she told herself. Her heart argued that a lifetime with Kai wouldn’t be adequate.
“Thank you.” That was all she said. She refused to make this easy for him. No way was she going to make an effort, talk or ask him questions. She wouldn’t trap herself in a conversation, because she knew, just knew, that if she did, she’d never want to stop.
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