Nothing has happened.
Just the thought that nothing had happened actually left her feeling so sad. She wanted Caleb. He’d been in her thoughts and fantasies now for a very long time, and she they were getting more intense the longer she was with him.
Leaving the bathroom, she washed her hands even though she’d not done anything, when she bumped into two people she’d hoped not to see.
Chad and Emily.
She should have known she’d see them eventually.
Forcing a smile to her lips, she looked at her sister, and the man she’d been going to marry. In the back of her mind she thought of Caleb, and when she looked at Chad, she wondered what she’d ever seen him in.
“Evening,” she said, cringing at how happy she sounded.
She wasn’t upset about seeing them together. Even though she hadn’t loved Chad, she had thought that there would still be pain or humiliation at the way he cheated on her. Seeing him now, she felt nothing. It was kind of a relief to know that she didn’t lose anything in him leaving. In a way, her sister had saved her from making a big mistake.
“We didn’t expect to see you here,” Emily said. Her sister sounded really happy that she’d found her.
“Well, I’m here with someone, so if you’ll excuse me.”
“Please, you’re not here with anyone. You’ve never been the kind to get a date. Please, Maddie, you don’t have to pretend on our account,” Chad said.
“I dated you,” Maddie said, not really happy about that. The look on Emily’s face fell.
“He doesn’t love you.”
“And I don’t—” Maddie stopped what she was saying as arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her close.
“There you are, baby. I’ve been waiting for you.” Caleb’s lips grazed her neck, and she couldn’t help but close her eyes, his touch only making her need for him to grow. She loved it when her neck was teased, and it always aroused her, even if she wasn’t in the mood. She covered his arms with her own, and finally opened her eyes.
Her gaze didn’t go to the two people in front of her, but leaned back to look at the man who’d come to her rescue. She hadn’t needed rescuing, but Caleb had been there.
“Hey,” she said. “I don’t know if you know Emily and Chad. My sister and her husband.” She made sure to drop the ex. It wasn’t exactly something she was thrilled with.
“Hello. I remember you,” Caleb said. “You came to work on the ranch one summer when you were in high school.”
“He did?” Maddie asked. She looked at Chad, seeing his cheeks turn a red color.
“Yeah, he couldn’t hack the long hours or the hard work. Kept complaining the whole time and crying as well. Come on, baby. You can talk to them anytime.”
She didn’t argue as Caleb pulled her onto the dance floor. She saw the shock on Emily’s face but didn’t care.
Her sister for some reason had always hated her.
Caleb wrapped his arms around her, and she was surprised to see that she was shaking.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I knew they were back home. I just didn’t realize they were here now.”
She rested her head against his chest.
“Would you like to go home?” he asked.
“Yes, I really would.”
They made their excuses to Ryan and Mike. Caleb made sure that Ryan was happy to bring his brother home, and he was. He didn’t seem to mind that Maddie was being taken home by another man.
Caleb opened the door of his truck and helped her inside.
Putting her seatbelt on, she pushed some of her hair off her face, waiting as he pulled out of the parking lot and headed back toward his ranch.
“Are you okay?”
“Did Chad really work for you?”
“Yep, and the entire time he was there, he’d moan about everything. Was a complete waste of time and in the end, I fired him.”
“Wow, that is just … wow.”
“Do you miss him?” Caleb asked.
“No. I know this is going to sound completely crazy, but I’ve got to tell someone. I never loved Chad, ever.”
He glanced over at her. “Why did you agree to marry him?”
“I … didn’t. Chad announced it at dinner, and to be honest, I was hoping that with time I might fall in love with him. I wanted a family and a chance to find happiness, and he always seemed so nice to be with. He charmed everyone that he was near, including me and my parents. It sucked that he cheated on me with my sister.”
“She doesn’t like you.”
“That’s not news to me. She’s always hated me. I don’t know why. She’s the oldest, and our parents adore her. I know they love me, but growing up it was always Emily this. Emily that. I was always the fat, useless one.”
Caleb took her hand and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. “You’re not the fat one, and you’re not second best either.”