Welcome to Sweet Saturday Samples! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy today’s sweet offering.
“You haven’t heard a single word I’ve said, have you?”
Hope’s amused observation yanked Anna from her thoughts of Blake. She hadn’t seen or heard from the man since Monday night. Now it was Wednesday and…nothing.
Anna forced a smile at her best friend. “Sorry. A little…preoccupied.”
Hope’s eyebrows shot up. Amusement played at the corners of her mouth as she folded her arms over the dining table and leaned forward. “Preoccupied?”
“Yeah.” Anna glanced away. “Preoccupied.”
Hope’s bemused tone set off warning bells in Anna’s head. Anna eyed her suspiciously. The woman hadn’t been home for two hours yet. She couldn’t possibly know about Blake.
Hope burst into laughter. “Oh, honey, if you could see your face right now!”
Anna paled and gaped at her friend, horrified that she knew. “How’d you…? When did you…? How do you know?!”
“Blake called me while I was in the air,” Hope said with a casual shrug. “I called him during my layover in Chicago. He told me what happened.”
Embarrassment and anger flared in Anna’s core. It was beyond her understanding how Blake could talk about something so…intimate with his sister! Anna shifted her gaze to the empty coffee mug in front of her, too flustered to reply.
“What I can’t understand is why you left him like that,” Hope continued. “You’ve never run from a damn thing in your entire life! Remember when Elizabeth Gregory dared you to jump from our cabin roof at outdoor ed?”
Anna sighed and rolled her eyes. “I was ten, Hope, and didn’t know any better.”
It was Hope’s turn to roll her eyes. “No, you knew better. You were just sick of her calling you names and saying you were too small to do jack crap!”
“That’s different than–”
“And remember Craig Michael? Remember when he asked you to prom and you almost said no?”
How could she forget? Anna cringed.
“You said yes because Amy Honors said you and he were the only ones not going to prom.” Hope chuckled. “You didn’t want to go but you did after what Amy said. And you had one hell of a time, didn’t you?”
Anna shrugged. So what if she had? That was nothing compared to liking, possibly loving, your best friend’s older brother. And how did those two obsolete events compare to now anyway? She’d had to endure both moments for minutes, or hours in Craig’s case. And it should’ve been a few hours with Blake, except it turned into a night instead.
A night she couldn’t forget and wanted to repeat.
“There’s hundreds of other things I could make you remember,” Hope continued. “My point is you never run away, you never let anyone intimidate you. You know what you want, what you can do, and you don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’ve been the one to take the dare and prove everyone else wrong. So what I’m wondering is if you’re fearless in pretty much every aspect of your life, what the hell are you scared of when it comes to my brother?”
Damn, this wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have with Hope. Admitting she liked someone to Hope never bothered Anna before, but those guys hadn’t been Blake. They hadn’t been her best friend’s older brother. And wasn’t there some kind of unspoken rule about this sort of thing anyway? There had to be!
Anna shook her head, muttering curses on her breath. To Hope she said, “What scared me was how right it felt. I’ve never felt that with anyone. Being with Blake was…” She paused, wracking her brain for the right word and settled on the only one that made sense. “It was perfect. And I was happy.”
“If it was so perfect then why’d you leave the way you did?” Hope demanded. “Blake said you didn’t even bother to leave a note or call or anything afterwards, Anna! Why?”
Frustrated that the subject couldn’t be ignored, forgotten, or put aside for now, Anna jumped to her feet and glared down at her friend. “What would’ve been the point, Hope? I said he made me happy. I didn’t say he said the same about me. I’m not going to beg and plead and grovel for him to say it to me. I didn’t do it with Taylor and I won’t do it with Blake.”
“Taylor was an idiot,” Hope muttered. “To wait until your wedding day to say he wasn’t happy was a crap move on his part. And that whole line of bull of still loving you just not being happy with you was the worst part of his ‘it’s over’ speech. You know it and I know it.”
“I won’t argue there especially since Taylor never said before that, that he was unhappy.” Anna shrugged and sank into her chair. “I went through one charade of a relationship already, Hope. I won’t do it again, not if the guy’s not satisfied with me from the get-go. It’s not worth the heartache in the end.”
Hope didn’t say anything. Anna sighed and forced a small smile.
“Hope, there isn’t anything you can do to fix this, okay?” Anna reached out and took Hope’s hands in hers. “Blake will move on and so will I. It was one night. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I’d never felt happier. But I want him to be happy. If it’s not with me then…it’s just not.”
“Is that right?”
Anna gasped and froze at the sound of Blake’s frustration-laced voice behind her. She paled, realizing he’d heard everything she just said.
“If I remember right, I said you make me happy too. Maybe you just didn’t hear, but let me tell you one thing, Anna Roberts. I am anything but happy right now.”