I guess I tried to get life back to normal after all that had just happened. I sent my book to the proofreader, and then to the publisher. It was approved, so I began the next book in the series. Monday came and went, but on Wednesday, a car pulled up into my driveway.
Not Riley’s car.
Not a family member’s car.
What should I do? Just ignore him? Pretend I’m not home?
Before I made a self-concious decision, the second I saw Dan, I was out the door. I stood just inside the shadow of my garage, not sure if he saw me.
“Haylee..” Yep, he saw me.
I crossed my arms across my chest, feeling my racing heart. “Why are you here?” I demanded.
“I…” He groped for words, while I waited impatiently. “I wanted to see you.” He started matter-of-factly.
I rolled my eyes, feeling my old sarcasm surfacing. “I can’t imagine why.”
“Look, you don’t understand.”
“I’m sure I would if you would just tell me!”
“I’m protecting you!”
So it’s true. I played dumb. “Right.” I snorted.
He came closer, but I wasn’t sure whether to back away or stay where I was. “Sophie isn’t who you think she is. I don’t completely understand it myself. I think she has a spy that told her all about you. She threatened your life if I didn’t go out with her.”
I stopped him. “Wait. And you actually believed her?”
“She had all of your information, like I said. She told me everything about you. I was doing it for your safety.”
Everything was coming together, like the pieces of a puzzle. Did Dan know that Riley was the spy?
“Dan, I get it. Both you and Riley ditched me. I’m on my own now. I don’t need your conspicuous lies pulling me back to you. I’ll be fine.” I heard my voice turning soft.
“What? Riley’s the spy?”
I nodded grimly.
That completely set me off. “Don’t you ‘love’ me! I’ve had enough of your little games. It’s one girl or the other. Choose.”
Dan blinked, as if surprised by my sudden outburst, and then my pressuring question. He hesitated. “You.”
My heart skipped a beat; my jaw dropped. “M-me?” I stuttered.
“Yes you!” He teased playfully. “Did you really expect me to pick that stupid excuse for a girlfriend over you?” He shuffled behind me and hugged my waist, kissing my cheek.
I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for this after all he put me through. I unclasped his hands and broke away from him. “Wait. So that was all just a joke?”
“Not a joke. An act.”
“You heard me. She was going to harm you.”
“And she won’t harm me now?”
He had sympathy in his eyes. As if he knows exactly what he put me through. “I’m here. Nobody can lay a finger on you.” He said, pulling me closer.
I hesitated. “How do I know you’re not just acting now?”
Dan sighed. “Yeah. I guess that you have a right to question me after what I put you through. It was killing me. You have no idea.”
Oh I seriously doubt that it was as bad for you as it was for me, I thought, but kept it inside.
Dan continued. “It’s okay if you don’t love me anymore.. If you ever loved me in the first place, that is…” He paused.
“Haylee, I just want for you to forgive me. I never wanted to do that, I was just split down the middle. I had to convince myself that I loved Sophie, and not you, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it, and apparently it looked convincing. Haylee, love, I’m so sorry..” He finished, taking both my hands and trying to catch my eye.
“Come back tomorrow. I’ll have an answer.” With that, I left Dan and went into my house.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. How will I ever decide?