four feet forward

I turn back to face Christian. We are four feet apart. He steps forward, and instinctively I step back. He stops, and the anguish in his expression is palpable, his gray eyes burning.

“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.

“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”

3

istian returns and hands me an envelope.

“Taylor got a good price. It’s a classic car. You can ask him. He’ll take you home.”

He nods in the direction over my shoulder. I turn, and Taylor is standing in the doorway, wearing his suit, as impeccable as ever.

“That’s fine, I can get myself home, thank you.”

I turn to stare at Christian, and I see the barely-contained fury in his eyes.

“Are you going to defy me at every turn?”

“Why change a habit of a lifetime?” I give him a small, apologetic shrug.

He closes his eyes in frustration and runs his hand through his hair.

“Please, Ana, let Taylor take you home.”

“I’ll get the car, Miss Steele,” Taylor announces authoritatively. Christian nods at him, and when I glance around, Taylor has gone.

I turn back to face Christian. We are four feet apart. He steps forward, and instinctively I step back. He stops, and the anguish in his expression is palpable, his gray eyes burning.

“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.

“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”

He takes another step forward, and I hold up my hands.

“Don’t, please.” I recoil from him. There’s no way I can tolerate his touch now, it will slay me. “I can’t do this.”

Grabbing my suitcase and my backpack, I head for the foyer. He follows me, keeping a careful distance. He presses the elevator button, and the doors open. I climb in.

“Goodbye, Christian,” I murmur.

“Ana, goodbye,” he says softly, and he looks utterly, utterly broken, a man in agonizing pain, reflecting how I feel inside. I tear my gaze away from him before I change my mind and try to comfort him.