“Well, I didn’t f**king know that.”

“Well, you f**king should have!!”


I tear my hands from his and push him on his shoulders. “God, Drew!” I stand up, needing to get away from him, because it’s all too much. “You can’t treat people like this! You can’t treat me like this!”

“Kate, I’m—”

I whirl around and point a finger at him. “If you tell me you’re sorry, I will kick your balls up into your eye sockets, I swear to God!”

he closes his mouth. Smart move.

I push my hair out of my face. And pace.

Am I supposed to feel better now? Because it really was all just a mistake?

If a house gets destroyed by lightning, do you think the owners are cheered by the fact that the lightning didn’t mean to strike their house?

Of course not.

Because the damage is already done.

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“You ruined it, Drew. I was so excited to tell you . . . and now whenever I think about it, all I’ll remember is how horrible this has all been!” I stop pacing. And my voice trembles. “I needed you.

When I saw the blood . . . when they told me I was losing the baby . . .”

Drew reaches for me, still on his knees. “Baby, I don’t know what you’re saying . . .”

“Because you weren’t here! If you’d been here then you’d know, but you weren’t! And . . .” My voice cracks and tears blur my vision.

“And you promised. You promised you wouldn’t do this . . .” I cover my face with my hands, and I cry.

I cry for every second of useless pain. For the crevasse that’s still between us—and for the stupid choices that created it. And I don’t mean just his. I’m a big girl—I can take my share of the blame.

Drew may have pulled the trigger, but I loaded the gun.

“Kate . . . Kate, please . . .” he holds his hand out to me.

“Please, Kate.”

he looks shattered. And I know, then and there, that I’m not the only one who’s suffered.

Still, I shake my head. Because do-overs only exist in playground games. Real life doesn’t have take backs.

“No, Drew.” I turn my back on him and walk toward the car.

But I only make it a few steps before I pause and look back.

Can you see him?

On his knees, his head in his hands. Like a man waiting for the executioner.

When I think of Drew, two words always stand out: passion and pride. They’re ingrained. Who he is. Arguments, work, love— it’s all the same to him. Full steam ahead. No hesitation, no holding back. And Drew knows what he’s worth. he doesn’t settle; he doesn’t compromise. he doesn’t have to.

“Why are you here?” I whisper, so low I don’t know if he’ll even hear me.

But his head snaps up. “What do you mean?”

“You thought I cheated on you?”

he grimaces. “Yes.”

“You thought I could be in love with someone else?”

he nods.

“But you came . . . for me. Why?”

his eyes drift across my face. It’s the way he looks at me in the morning, when he wakes up before I do. It’s the way he watches me, when he thinks I’m not looking.

“Because I can’t live without you, Kate. I don’t even know how to try.”

I was in advanced placement English in high school. For weeks, we analyzed Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. In most of it, heathcliff is the villain. he’s ruthless, often cruel. And as a reader, you’re supposed to hate him.

But I never could. Because in spite of all his despicable actions, he loved Cathy so much.

Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you. . . . I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul! Some of you are going to say that I should’ve punished Drew more. But he’ll do a better job of that than I ever could. Others are going to say that I should’ve made him work for it more. But we all know that he would have.

And sometimes, forgiveness is selfish. We give it not because it’s earned, but because it’s what we need. To find peace. To be whole.

I can live without Drew Evans. I know that, now. But if given the choice?

I won’t ever want to.

There’s only a dozen steps separating us, and I run every one of them. I throw myself at him, and he catches me. he wraps his arms around me and holds me so tight, I can’t get air in my lungs.

But it doesn’t matter. Because Drew is holding me—who needs to breathe?

“I’m sorry, Kate . . . God, I’m so f**king sorry.” he sounds so forlorn.

And tears well up in my eyes. “I didn’t think we’d ever . . . when you said . . .”

“Shh . . . I didn’t mean it. I swear on Mackenzie I didn’t mean any of it. I never wanted to . . .” he buries his face in my neck, and his regret leaks from his eyes and soaks into my shirt.

I press closer against him. “I know, Drew. I know you didn’t.”

his hands run through my hair—they caress my face, my arms, my back. “I love you, Kate. I love you so much.”

Last year, Drew and I went to Japan. One day we stopped in a bonsai tree shop. They’re kind of strange-looking, don’t you think?

With their stunted trunks and twisted branches. The shop owner told us that it’s the knots and twists that make them strong, that keep from splintering even during the harshest storm.

That’s what Drew and I are like.

his lips touch my forehead, my cheeks. he holds my face in his hands, and I frame his with mine. And we kiss. Our mouths move in sync—fierce and bruising, tender and slow. And all the rest, every injury, every harsh word, melts away like snow in the sunlight.

They don’t matter. Because we’re together. We’ll find our way.

Drew presses his forehead against mine, then his hand covers my stomach. his touch is reverent and his voice is awed. “Are we really having a baby?”

I laugh, even though the tears are still falling. “Yeah. We are.

Do you really want to?”

he wipes the wetness from my cheeks. “With you? Are you crazy? It’s one of the few fantasies I have left. I’d have twenty kids with you—give those freaky Duggar people a run for their money.”

I laugh again, and it feels so good. So right. I lay my head on Drew’s shoulder. his face rests against my hair, breathing it in.

And then he vows, “It’s okay, Kate. We’re gonna be okay now.”

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