The rain was warm, and felt good after being locked in the balmy cabin listening to nineties music, but did nothing to sober me up. I was drunk. And by drunk, I meant it was a good thing there was terrible cell reception at Chimalis, otherwise I would’ve drunk dialed everyone on my contact list. Of course the one person I would’ve left the most embarrassing of all my messages for… was walking down the gravel path, holding my hand.
“Hey,” I blurted, realizing Jamie still gripped my fingers. “Let go of me.”
He didn’t release me, and continued stalking along in tempered silence. “Molly, you need to go to bed.”
“Aha!” I tugged my hand free and waggled a finger at him. “Not so fast, shhlick. I’m not going to bed with you.”
He shook his head, sending rain droplets down the sides of his face. “I’m not trying to sleep with you. I’m trying to make sure you get home in one piece.”
“Home?” Snorting, I closed one eye, then pointed to a cabin several yards down the path. “I’m only going twelve steps, Prinshh Charming. I know what you’re up to. And I’m not falling for it.”
Jamie sighed and his shoulders sagged. “The path is covered in roots and isn’t lit. I almost fell on my face earlier.”
“Too bad you didn’t.”
“Real mature, Molly. Now shut up and come on.”
“Don’t tell me to shut up!” I stomped past him, promptly slipping on a wet root and landing on my hands and knees. “In case you haven’t tuned in lately, you’re not my hushband anymore. You can’t tell me what to do.”
He held his hand out for me. “No, I’m not. But I can help you out so that you don’t knock yourself out, drown in a puddle, then get eaten by a bear.”
I looked up at him, flinching as drops of rain hit my eyes. “I won’t get eaten by a freaking bear, Owen. Those stories were never true. There are no bearshh at Chimalis.”
“Yes, there were. I told you. Randy saw one the year before we met.”
I tried to get up, slipped again, then reached for Jamie’s hand with an aggravated groan. “Randy’s a liar. Remember when he said he got his dream job? Showed us his business cards and everything. And he was still living in his mom’s basement doing temp work?”
“Touché.” Jamie laughed, shivering. “I’m soaked. Could you get up now, please? I thought you didn’t like to drink hard alcohol.”
I tried to stand up a few times unsuccessfully, then hiccupped. “I wasn’t lying. I’ve changed.”
“Of that I have no doubt.” He bent to take my arm, grunting as I flopped around on the wet gravel like a rag doll. “This just seems so… I don’t know, not you. Hammered, dancing, crying and carrying on in front of people.”
“Yeah, well,” I said, letting him lift me. “That part wasn’t planned. I might’ve gone too far.”
“You think?” He chuckled wryly, and helped me to my feet. The rain had lightened to a heavy mist. He let go of my arm and picked pine needles from my hair. I instinctually held my breath. “By the way… I like your haircut,” Jamie told me. “It’s very different. Sophisticated.”
“That’s what I washh going for.”
I didn’t look at him. Couldn’t, if I was being honest. He was too close for comfort. Scratch that, he was too close for discomfort. Being close to Jamie felt like home. And oh, how I missed it. Jamie stopped fiddling with my hair, but his hands stayed frozen in midair next to either side of my face. After a beat—a breath longer than what was appropriate—his hands dropped.
Without thinking, I flopped against his chest, burrowing my head under his chin. He smelled the same, but with a hint of summer rain on top of it all. If I hadn’t been already drunk, I could’ve easily gotten intoxicated off of that smell.
I squeezed my eyes shut. “Why did you have to leave, Jamie?”
His hands went to my shoulders. “Moll—”