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Make me whole, p.17

Make Me Whole, page 17

 part  #1 of  Callaway Series

 

Make Me Whole
 


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  The woman obviously had no shame. He pulled her away from his body, fighting back a smile when he saw her nose. “And let me guess, you didn’t provoke her at all by lying about what really went down that night in the hot tub?” Cole tore her hands away from him and took a few steps back. He was angry and God, she wasn’t helping the situation by playing the victim.

  “Cole, come on, baby, you know she’s not good for you. I’m the one you need.” Sandy reached for him but he easily stepped out of her range. Cole felt like he was in the middle of some bad romantic comedy. Was she really delusional enough to think he would ever go for her?

  “Sandy, get it through your head: I love Jamie and I will fight for her until the day I die. Now, if you ever come near her, me, or my family again, I will have you arrested. Are we clear?”

  “Cole….” She gave him her best puppy dog eyes, which had probably worked a million times before on other unsuspecting schmucks, but they weren’t working on him. They never would.

  “Are we clear, Sandy?” His tone left no room for misunderstandings and he was done playing around.

  “Yes.”

  “Good. Now, you’re going to go inside and drop the charges.”

  When Sandy was inside the station, Cole walked back to his truck and waited for Jamie to walk out.

  He was leaning against the hood, rubbing his hands together from the cold when Jamie walked out of the police station with a bag of ice wrapped around her hand. He knew she saw him the minute she stepped outside—there was no way she could miss him where he was parked—but she didn’t look at him. When she got down the stairs, she walked in the opposite direction. All right, he could play this game, too. “It’s a long-ass walk back to the motel, Jamie.”

  “I’ll manage just fine.” She stopped walking and turned around to face him. The hurt he was responsible for was breaking his heart all over again. Seeing her so broken was killing him. Her body was wired tight and he knew reasoning with her was out of the question, which only left him with one option: playing on her logic.

  “Without your winter jacket, you’ll make it a block. Don’t be stupid, Jamie.” She looked exhausted, her face was pale and it seemed like she hadn’t slept in days. Hell, neither had he, but he just couldn’t stand seeing her like that.

  “Not your problem, Cole.” He should haul her over his shoulder and drag her ass to his truck, but he knew it would only piss her off more.

  “Jamie, just get in the truck and I’ll give you a ride. Hell, we don’t even have to talk.”

  Jamie looked like she was about to argue but he could see how cold she was. She didn’t talk to him as she walked back toward his truck. He opened the passenger door for her, but she brushed him off when he tried to help her in.

  Cole climbed in and cranked the heat to warm her up. He kept his promise—he didn’t talk to her—but every time he looked at her, he absorbed the pain etched on her face like a blow to his gut. It took everything he had not to pull the vehicle over on the side of the road, pin her down and make her listen to what he had to say. He knew that wasn’t the way to go with her.

  When they got to the motel, she surprised him before getting out of the truck. “Thank you for the ride, Cole, and for getting Sandy to drop the charges.” She slammed the door shut and disappeared into her hotel room.

  Jamie had been arrested. She had seen the inside of a jail cell because she couldn’t control her anger when Sandy talked about Cole.

  After taking a shower, she lay down with her eyes closed attempting to relax. That lasted all but a few minutes when her cell phone rang. She saw Becca’s number flash. She hesitated before answering. The last thing she wanted was to go another round with her friend, but the thought that something could be wrong with Kathy pushed her to answer. “Hey, Bec, is your mom okay? I can be there in five.”

  “She’s fine, Jamie, but I hear you got physical with Sandy tonight and took a little trip down to the police station. I seriously didn’t know you had it in you.” Jamie heard the snicker in Becca’s voice.

  If Becca knew about the altercation, it most likely meant everyone in town knew. “She had it coming, all right, and she provoked me. Josh was there; ask him what went down.” She shouldn’t have to defend herself, but she couldn’t help it. She also knew her reaction to Sandy’s words meant she wasn’t ready to let Cole go yet, no matter how much she hated him for playing her the way he did.

  “Don’t get defensive; it doesn’t suit you. I was just calling to see if you were okay.” For the first time since Becca had shown up on her doorstep, Jamie caught a glimpse of her old friend in that one sarcastic comment.

  Jamie sighed, feeling like the worst person in the world for the way she was acting when Kathy was in the hospital. “God, I’m sorry, Bec. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m being such a bitch. I’m sorry.”

  “Honey, you’re heartbroken and you’re hurting. You don’t have to apologize for that. Get some sleep. I’ll pick you up at 8:00 a.m. to go to the hospital.”

  Tossing and turning for a few hours, Jamie was unable to sleep, making it a long night. A whirlwind of thoughts about Cole, Sandy, and Kathy kept her awake. She was about to go on a search for coffee when a knock at the door interrupted her pity party for one.

  She opened the door and saw Becca standing there with two cups of coffee, and she almost ripped her friend’s arm off for a taste.

  “Easy there. Didn’t sleep much?”

  Jamie took a sip of the coffee and moaned when the liquid hit her throat. She took a few more sips, letting the coffee wake her up before she trusted herself to talk. “Not really, you?”

  One look at Becca’s tired face and Jamie knew she hadn’t gotten much sleep, either. “Same. How’s the hand?” Becca smiled as she looked down at Jamie’s swollen hand. “You really did a number on her.” Her smile turned into full-on laughter.

  Jamie lifted her hand, which had started to bruise overnight. “Just great.”

  “I can’t believe you broke her nose.” Neither could Jamie; she didn’t even know she had the strength to break someone’s nose. Becca closed the door behind her as they stepped outside, heading to the car.

  “She had it coming.” To her surprise, Becca started laughing so hard people on the street stopped to see what was going on. Before Jamie knew it, she was laughing with her, letting some of the stress of the past few days slip away.

  They drove to the hospital in silence, but Jamie could tell something was weighing on Becca’s mind. Before walking up to Kathy’s room, Becca pulled Jamie into a waiting room and into a hug. “Listen, I was out of line back in Austin. I should have never said those things. I’m sorry.”

  “I’m sorry, too. You needed me, and what I was going through shouldn’t have mattered. I love you, smarty-pants. You’re like a sister to me. I’ll always be there for you.” They hugged and took a few minutes to compose themselves before going to see Kathy. The woman had enough on her plate at the moment; the last thing she needed was to see them crying.

  Cole walked into his mom’s hospital room determined and with a plan to keep Jamie there forever. But first, he needed his mom’s help. He smiled when he saw her reading. “Hey, Mom.”

  “How are you doing?” she asked him, clearly more concerned about his well-being than her own.

  “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?” Cole asked, laughing.

  “I’m not the one who has a broken heart, honey.”

  “I love her, Mom, and I won’t let her go without a fight. She’s it for me, and I’m not letting her leave town until she hears me out.”

  His mom smiled at him, and he knew she’d figured out his plan before he even asked her. “You’re going to ask her to marry you, aren’t you?”

  “Yes, I am. I know the ring Dad gave you went to all of us, but I was hoping you’d let me have it.”

  “Oh, honey, I don’t think anybody else but Jamie could wear that ring. Talk to your brothers about it, but it’s yours.”
>
  After visiting his mom and putting his plan in motion, Cole drove around town and ended up at the cemetery where his dad was buried.

  Parking his truck at the entrance, he walked down the path to his dad’s grave. He stood there for a few minutes, letting everything out. Tears ran down his cheeks as he kneeled.

  “Dad, I wish you were here right now, telling me what I need to do to fix everything. God, it’s all such a mess. Jamie won’t talk to me, Mom is in the hospital, and I feel so hopeless and responsible. I don’t know how to be strong. I don’t know how to fix what’s broken. I miss you so much. I need you to know that. I promise to fix things. I promise to make things right with Jamie. You’d like her, Dad. She reminds me a lot of Mom. She’s strong and compassionate and she loves so much. I love her so much, Dad. I want to marry her and I want her to be the mother of my kids. I’m going to make you proud, Dad.” Remaining quiet for some time, he took a deep breath, pulled himself together, then drove to see his brothers.

  Cole took the time his sister spent with Jamie at the hospital to organize for his brothers to meet him at the main house. To fix his relationship with Jamie, and for his plan to work, he wanted their support. And for everything to be perfect, it meant having his brothers give him their approval.

  “So, I know we all have better things to do than sit around this table, but I wanted to ask you guys something. You can tell me I can’t have it and I’ll be cool with whatever you guys say.”

  “Shit, man, are you going to ask her to marry you?” Nick’s voice resonated through the empty house, but he didn’t sound surprised—he sounded relieved.

  If Cole thought his brothers were going to be shocked by what he was about to tell them, the look on Nick’s face dissipated his doubts. “That’s the plan. I talked to Mom and I asked her if I could have the ring Dad gave her. She said that as long as you guys were cool with it, she would be proud to see Jamie wear it. So I’m asking you if I can have the ring.” Cole knew what he was asking of his brothers, but he also knew they would understand where he was coming from.

  “Man, Dad left that ring to all of us.” Cole couldn’t remember ever seeing his brothers so serious in his whole life. Whether or not they decided to give him their dad’s ring, he was asking Jamie to marry him and she would listen to every word he had to say before the night was through.

  “I know, and I wouldn’t—” Cole didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence before John cut him off.

  “Let me finish. He left that ring to all of us, but I know if he were here, he would want you to have it, and he would want Jamie to wear it. It’s yours, man.”

  Cole looked at his brothers and they all nodded in agreement. Cole almost started bawling like a five-year-old kid. “Shit, John, I don’t know what to say.”

  “You better have something planned, because that woman is not going to be easy.”

  He laughed at his brother’s comment, because he knew exactly how to get Jamie to listen.

  “Oh, yeah, I have a plan. I won’t be back for the New Year’s Eve party, so you guys have a good one.” Cole left the ranch soon after he got his dad’s ring from the safe and headed up to the cabin. His brothers had done their part, so the rest of his plan depended on his sister getting Jamie to the cabin once they left the hospital. Cole knew she would be angry with him for tricking her and playing games with her, but he was done waiting around for Jamie to talk to him. She didn’t want to talk to him. Well, she was going to have to, and she wasn’t walking out that door until she’d heard every last word of what he had to say. He started a fire when he got to the cabin, heated the food he’d prepared and popped open a bottle of champagne. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been so nervous, but when Cole heard the car pull up, he knew it would all be okay.

  The tension in the car made it hard for Jamie to breathe and when they pulled up to Cole’s cabin, she was ready to jump out and make a run for it. As if sensing her nerves, Becca squeezed her hand. “Listen, I know you probably hate me for doing this and tricking you, but I’m doing this because I love you, Jamie, and you deserve to be happy. You are too stubborn on this and you’re not seeing what we’re all seeing. You’re going to get out of this car, walk up to that door and talk to him.”

  Jamie shook like a leaf but knew arguing with Becca would get her nowhere, so she got out of the car and walked toward the front door. Before she could knock, the door opened and Cole stood in front of her, looking as sexy as ever in a suit. “Cole. What’s going on?” Seeing him look at her like she was the only one who mattered was almost too much to take in.

  “I’m forcing your hand, baby.” Cole pulled her inside the cabin with his hand on her lower back. Once they were inside and Cole had closed the door behind her, her breathing accelerated and her hands became clammy. She had no idea what he was doing or why she was there, and the last thing she wanted was to be reminded of things she couldn’t have anymore. It just hurt too much to be in the cabin.

  But Cole seemed determined as he helped her out of her jacket and when she shivered, Cole grabbed her hand and walked them toward the fire. She treasured the heat from the flames and stayed silent as she warmed up. After a few minutes, she turned to where Cole stood, looking as handsome as she’d ever seen him. That didn’t help her nerves. “Cole, I really don’t want to do this, so can we just not do whatever this is?”

  “And what do you think this is?” He brushed a strand of hair away from her face, carefully putting it behind her ear.

  When his fingers brushed her skin, Jamie shivered. She wanted to be mad at her body for responding to him, but she wasn’t. “I don’t really know what you’re trying to do here, Cole, but….” She could hear the desperation in her voice and didn’t care. Maybe he would let her leave if he felt sorry for her. But she should’ve known better by then. When Cole had something on his mind, there was no escaping it.

  “Well, that’s the problem and how this all started: you not knowing what I was really doing.” Jamie had never heard him talking so seriously and her nerves spiked.

  “Cole.” She wanted him to stop whatever he was doing, but somehow she knew he wasn’t done, not even close.

  “Jamie, just sit down and let me say what I have to say. If you want to leave after, I’ll drive you to the motel and we’ll part ways, all right?”

  Unsure what was happening or what Cole was trying to accomplish, it was obvious, however, she had no other choice than to hear him out. Maybe it would give her closure. Maybe it was what she needed to stop the pain and be able to move on. She took a seat and gave him the answer he needed to hear. “All right.”

  “Champagne?” he asked her. She swore his voice grew darker and raspier just like it always did when they were together. God, why did he have to make this so damn difficult? Why couldn’t he just let her go?

  “Sure, why not.” Hard liquor seemed like the only thing that could make this any easier, but the champagne would do just as well. She took the glass he offered her and took a few sips, hoping the liquid would ease her nerves. She wasn’t that lucky.

  “Jamie, can you please look at me?” With one finger under her chin, he tilted her head back so they were eye to eye.

  “There we are. What you saw that night in the hot tub was nothing like what it seemed. I was sitting in the hot tub, thinking about you and about how to make this thing between us permanent when Sandy showed up out of nowhere and climbed into the hot tub with me. But I never touched her. She took off her top and straddled me, and I was trying to push her off when you walked over.” He spoke quickly, as if rushing to get everything out before she stopped him.

  “What you saw was me trying to push her away, baby. It wasn’t me getting it on with Sandy after I made love to you the whole night before. God, Jamie, I love you like I’ve never loved anyone before. When you drove away that night, I almost died. Watching you drive off, thinking I didn’t love you, believing I had cheated on you… it was the worst feeling in the world. I felt like my
life was over. And then you vanished for five days and no one knew where you were, or if you were alive or hurt, and I was going out of my mind. My brothers had to call Craig to get me out of our bed, Jamie, because it was the only place where I could still smell you. I love you.”

  The room spun around her. That had to be why she was feeling like she would pass out at any minute. Needing to anchor herself, she grabbed Cole’s forearms. Jamie fought for air that wasn’t coming. “Cole, I can’t… I can’t breathe.”

  Helping her keep her head down and rubbing circles up and down her back, he whispered to her, “It’s okay, baby. Just go slowly, take deep breaths for me. Let me hear them.” It took her a few minutes to get her bearings back, and soon she felt the deep breaths enter her lungs. She turned her body to face Cole, her legs extended around him. Her hands went up to his face and for the first time in a week, she smiled.

  “You were telling me the truth, I know it. I saw it in your eyes. Oh, God, Cole, I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to you and that I let myself believe for even a minute that you would cheat on me…. I’m sorry I left like I did and made everyone worry. I’m sorry I was such a pain in the ass, I’m sorry—” Cole’s lips connected with hers and Jamie lost track of everything she wanted to say to him.

  All that mattered was the feel of his lips on hers, his tongue coaxing her lips open and his hands around her neck, holding her tightly against him. She slipped her hands around his waist and pushed her body forward so her breasts were pressed against his chest. Jamie had missed him so much, but with every stroke of his tongue, the pain vanished and was replaced by the love she had for this man.

  Cole had never felt anything like what he was feeling at that moment: total surrender to another human being. He was completely hers and with every moan and every touch, she was his. He forced himself to slowly stop the kiss and pull away. “God, Jamie, I’ve missed you so much.”

 
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