“Evie, we can’t see each other anymore.”
My heart felt like it stopped beating and my face fell. “What are you talking about?” I demanded.
He remained stoic, but underneath his hard mask, I could see he was hurting. “Last night made me realize I’ve put you at risk. I need to find out how to fix this and to do that, I have to leave for a while.”
I rolled my eyes. Yes, the shadowy figure had been a shock and I’d been so scared I’d almost peed my pants, but he was overreacting. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that it was some college kid pulling a prank.
He narrowed his eyes. “There are things about me you don’t know.”
I shrugged and picked up a piece of bacon. “We haven’t been dating that long. I’m sure there’s a lot we don’t know about each other.”
He shook his head like I didn’t understand. “These are things of consequence. Things that could change your life.”
I took a bite of the pancakes and they were fantastic. “These pancakes could change my life. Does that mean they’re going to break up with me too?” I asked, trying to joke and lighten the mood.
He smiled faintly and glanced at me. “This is critical, Evie. They know where you are.”
I threw my hands in the air. “Who knows? You haven’t answered any of my questions!” I decided I was done being nice and was plain mad.
“And it’s better you don’t know, safer,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest and nodding to himself. “They must have tracked us. I never should have put you in that situation,” he mumbled rapidly, talking more to himself than me. He collected his thoughts and turned back to me. “I have to talk to some people about this. I won’t be gone, but you won’t see me.”
I stared at him trying to figure out what he meant, but my thoughts were interrupted by the realization that he had already made this decision without me and wasn’t changing his mind. “If the things that happened last night were as scary as you say, isn’t that more incentive for you to stay?” I asked. “To help keep the bad guys away from me?”
“Usually, yes,” he answered. “But right now, my being here is the reason you’re not safe,” he said, his mouth set in a hard line.
My anger was the only thing holding back my tears. “I’ve never felt like this about anyone. You’re egotistical, frustrating, and I wish you’d tell me what’s going on, but I still care about you. A lot.” I dropped my eyes and listened for his response, but the hum of the refrigerator was the only sound in the room. When I got the courage to look up, his expression reflected sadness, but the resolve that had been there at the beginning of the conversation was still present. “Why are you doing this?” I asked as numbness started to spread over me.
He walked up and put his hand on my neck caressing it, his fingers rubbing methodically, as if he were trying to rub away his memory. He started to open his mouth to deflect my question, but I grabbed his hand and locked eyes with him. “No. Give me one honest answer, you owe me that. Why are you really leaving?”
He searched my expression and as he did, the hard planes of his face seemed to soften slightly with relief. I wondered if he’d decided to actually tell me the truth. He brushed his hand across my brow, pushing my hair back, and kissed me lightly on the forehead as he said, “Because you’re beautiful.” Slowly, he trailed his fingers down my face and as his lips followed, he brushed a kiss over both of my cheeks. “Because you make me stop caring about consequences.” He moved back enough to look into my eyes as he leaned in. “Because the way I feel makes me more dangerous to you than anything in the universe right now.” He wrapped me in his arms and pressed his lips to mine in a passionate kiss, his mouth moving expertly with my own. As the kiss became lighter, I recognized it for what it was—a kiss goodbye. He broke from our embrace and held my gaze. “There are people who don’t want us to be together.”
I searched his eyes and managed to breathe out a ragged, “Why?”
He moved his lips to my ear, his breath hot on my neck as he whispered, “Because, Evie, I’m your soul mate.”
He turned and walked through the kitchen entryway. The front door clicked shut and he was gone.