He pushes his way inside and I back up just enough to let me feel that I’m safe from being pulled into his arms.
“What’s this about?” he asks.
He looks worried and I try to smile. I want him to feel happy and not worried. I want him to feel I’m capable, but how can he when he saw.
“You saw me.”
I shake my head. “In the shower.”
His eyes darken and I see lust and also concern. He lusts after me… The thought surprises me. I’m no perfect picture. I know that my belly is more rounded than is fashionable, and that my thighs don’t have the sort after gap between them. They touch as I move, but he looks at me as though he could eat me.
“I did, and it took all my control not to go over and hold you.”
I look away, wondering if that would have been the right thing.
“Did I make the wrong choice?”
I smile. It’s almost as if he can read my mind. “I didn’t want you to see.”
“Why?” He really seems puzzled by this.
“In case you though I was…” I’m struggling for the right words. “Less.”
Max looks like I’ve just sucker punched him. “Less?”
“Yes.” I can’t look at him. Instead I stare at the floor.
“Crying doesn’t make you less,” he says and I want to believe him.
“You will worry.”
“About you crying?”
“About me not being able to cope,” I say.
I look up and I see realisation dawn on him. “That’s what you do,” he says. “You make yourself appear strong so that no one knows the real you.”
I take a step back.
“You don’t have to with me.”
Max smiles and his eyes lighten. “Don’t hide.” He pauses, “and I won’t hide from you.”
I look at him. I think he knows, because he is the same. I don’t ask but he nods, as if he heard me anyway.
“Now,” he says, “let’s go meet Colin’s new friends.”
“They aren’t going to kill me?” I ask.
“No, they are considering joining us.” He holds out a hand and I take it, realising that I might fall for this man, if he’s still a man. But then I don’t think I care if he isn’t.
“You won’t leave, will you?” I ask.
“Come on,” he says. “They want to meet you.”
I allow him to lead me, but he doesn’t answer my question. Max is going to leave. A pain wraps its way around my heart and I wonder if I haven’t fallen already.