by Michelle A. Valentine
Release: March 2014 (Specific date to be announced)
**Caution--Unedited--Not Final Version and Will Likely Change**
His blue eyes flash in surprise. I’m sure the way we left things last night has him wondering why I’m suddenly so happy to see him. It’s amazing what a little soul searching and a shove from your family can accomplish.
“Hey, Anna. I…um…Shit.” Xavier rubs the back of his neck and looks away as if he needs a moment to regain his composure before his eyes are able to meet mine again. “I had fifty different speeches prepared for you. I practiced all on the way over, but none of them sounded like good enough apologies. Nothing I can say will make what I said any less shitty, but sorry. I just thought you should know.”
For some reason I’m getting the impression that this is a huge step for Xavier. It’s good to know he’s at least trying to recognize that there’s enough of a connection between us that he’s worried that he’s hurt my feelings. I’m sure the word sorry isn’t one that he says a lot.
The sudden need to comfort him overwhelms me. I reach out and touch the warm skin on his bulging forearm. “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have pushed you.”
His lips pull into a tight line. “Don’t do that.”
“What?” I ask, completely surprised and immediately jerk my hand away. This isn’t exactly the reaction I imagined when I apologized in return.Xavier’s eyes soften. “You were right to say what you said. I know I use women, and I’m sure that’s probably what you think I want to do with you. So don’t apologize for taking up for yourself. Never allow yourself to be used or be forced into something you don’t really want. Don’t apologize for asking for respect. You deserve it.”