"Asher, I...." she began.
He pressed his fingers to her mouth. "Don't say anything, Kimberly. You don't have to"
"Yes, I do" Kimberly said. "You saved me... Again. Not just from Christopher. But you showed me that I was tough and capable"
"You always knew that. You always have been" Asher replied.
"Maybe, but I never had to prove it before" She shrugged. "I shot you"
"Good for you. You did what you had to in order to survive.. To save your father"
"Oh right. I ran straight to the enemy"
"You didn't know that. The point is you needed to escape from me and you did" he said.
His casual acceptance of her actions made her heart sick. "I should have trusted you"
"We have been over that" he leaned close and kissed her forehead. "The reality of all this is you haven't even known me for long. In a dangerous situation, everything is heightene
He stepped back and studied her, then rubbed his thumb against her cheek. "My beautiful baby girl. What did he do to you?" he asked.She covered her hand with his. "Not so much as you would think" she replied."But what he did to you. I can't believe that he kidnapped you. Yet it's all true. He is in jail, you know. As are the people who worked for him."Kimberly led the way to the sofa and set next to her father. "It's a lot to take in" she said."Too much. He fooled us all" His mouth twisted. "I'm so sorry you tried to explain to me on the phone and I wasn't listening." He pulled her close. "I will never forgive myself for that""You can't blame yourself, dad" Kimberly said. "He was your close friend, for God knows how long. I understand if you couldn't believe it at first"Her father grimaced. "That's still not enough reason. I just hope you know just how sorry I am a
It was nearly nine when she picked up her phone to make her weekly call to James. She had gotten in the habit of calling him at night, so that when they finished she could curl up in bed and pretend that Asher had heard every word. That he cared about her and that it was killing him to be so far away from her.At what point did she let go? She wondered. Asher had been concerned that her feelings weren't real, that they were only circumstances. How could she prove otherwise to a man who refused to speak with her or see her? Was he really trying to give her space he thought she needed or did he not care about her? Was her love one sided?Six months, she told herself. She would give him the six months he had offered her. On that date, she would call for the last time. She would also tell James about the baby. She had hoped to tell Asher herself, but if he refused to talk to her, there was little she could do."But that is n
He took her hand in his and squeezed her fingers. "Kimberly, are you telling the truth? Do you really love me? Because if you don't, I can't make it. You are my world. This is killing me"She leaned forward and pulled him close. Then he was on the bed and they were kissing as if they had a lifetime to make up for."Of course I love you" she wispererd as she pressed her mouth against his lips, his cheeks, his chin. "I have been calling every week, trying to tell you""I know. James recorded the calls and forwarded them to me. I couldn't stand listening to them and I couldn't stop playing them over and over. I needed it all to me true, even as I told myself it couldn't be""Stubborn man" she said contentedly. "Do you believe me now?""I have to. I need to be with you" he touched her face. "I believe you. I love, Kimberly. I don't deserve you and you can do a hell of a lot bette