I always turn up at just the wrong moment. I never know how to make the most of a situation; I don’t know the right thing to say, or when I should come or go.
Let’s just say I have really shit timing.
I’m not a smart guy. I don’t have great ideas.
I’m practical, a hard worker; someone who lives for his family, and for the air that she breathes.
It’s just a shame that the “she” in question never knew this. It’s a shame that I waited all these years to make my move. It’s useless to tell you, readers, that it was already too late; that I’d screwed everything up, once again. And, this time, my mistakes forced her to come home.
Except she didn’t want to stay.
And now she hates me – or maybe she doesn’t. I still haven’t worked out what’s going on between us, but like I said, I’m not the sharpest tool in the box. And even though this could be my last chance, I’m not going to be the one to ask her to stay. Not even if she turns out to be the one I’ve always waited for.
Because she doesn’t belong in this place.
And she doesn’t belong in my life.
My name is Alex Brennan, and this is my story: of how I realised I’d lost the most important person in my life, before I even had her.
I walk behind her wordlessly, until we get to the door of her building. I’m a gentleman, and she knows it. I’ve always walked her to her door – something her brothers have always taken the piss out of me for – because I want to be sure that she gets home okay, and that nothing happens to her. I don’t do it now because of everything that’s just happened; I’ve always done it, and I always will. I’m not ashamed of that. If there’s one thing my mother taught me, it’s that I should never be ashamed of who I am and what I feel, and I’m not going to start feeling shameful tonight. So I walk up to the top floor with her without being asked why. Once we get to her front door, Ellie sticks her key into the lock and opens it, then stands, unmoving, with her forehead against the wood, trying to work out what should happen next.
“Don’t ask me,” I say, helping her.
Ellie turns slowly to face me.
“Now’s not the right moment,” I say, because it’s true. Even though the only thing I want right now is to push her inside, lock us into her apartment, and make love to her until we can’t walk anymore.
She smiles and nods; she knows this is for the best, too. I step closer to her and stroke her face, before gently pressing my lips to hers. Then I say it, because I can feel her fear pulsing into my chest.
“I’ll never ask you, Ellie.”
I’m an idiot, but I carry on anyway, because I love her more than I love the idea of the two of us together.
“I’ll never ask you to come back.”
I let go of her face and take a few steps back.
“You know why,” I say; and from the way her eyes grow wide, I realise that she already knew my answer all along.
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born.
Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter. She is currently working on the Legends of Gattica series.