The words left her mouth as she touched his hair, letting her fingers slide through it. She had one hand in his hair, the other against his cheek, his skin warm against her palm. She was still having a hard time believing this.
“I’m real.” He smiled thinly, pulling her closer. “I told you I was.”
His lips brushed hers for a fraction of a second.
Ava bit her lip. “What did you do that for?”
Ian leaned forward, toward her ear. “I was showing you how much I care about you. You care about me, too, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” she replied, rolling her eyes.
“Then will you do something for me?” he asked.
“What did you really come here for?” Tessa asked as she fixed her shirt. She combed her fingers through her hair and tied it back with an elastic band.
Alex looked at her from his spot on the couch, his lips lifting into a slow grin. He leaned back and sighed. “You know me too well.”
“I know that you wouldn’t come to my office just to do something we could do in our own beds,” Tessa said as she picked up a few folders that were on her desk.
Alex glanced at her and stood. “Are you going to check on Ava?”
“I’m sure she’s fine.”
He nodded and grabbed her hand, squeezing it. “Are you okay?”
“You asked me that,” she reminded him.
“I know,” he said, bending to kiss her forehead. “But I want to make sure you’re not going to go do something stupid.”
“Elise is…was…everything to me,” Tessa murmured. She lowered herself into the chair behind her desk. “When she died, my world fell apart, and I didn’t have anyone to help me put it back together.”
Alex crouched down. “Then you found me.”
“I didn’t find you,” she retorted. “I asked you to help me because you were a Psychiatrist.”
“I think Ava would like to know this story,” Alex said, grinning. “I think she likes seeing us together. I know she trusts you, too.”
“Ian doesn’t.” She frowned. “He thinks I’m trying to keep Ava here.”
“Who cares what he thinks?” Alex said roughly.
Tessa nodded. “It’s strange that he’s all the sudden appearing to us. I still haven’t figured out why.”
“Maybe that’s not your job,” Alex told her. “Maybe it’s all up to Ava from here. You’re always talking about fate. Well, maybe this is her fate; to figure him out, to start to take control of things from this point on.”
“What if something happens?”
Alex looked at her and scoffed. “You think too much, darling. What’s the worst that could happen?”