I walk into the living room with Brennan’s clean clothes in my arms. Brennan is on the couch with his feet propped up on the coffee table, dressed in a pair of my plaid pajama pants and one of my T-shirts. His luggage is at his parents, but he never wanted to take the time to get it. It would’ve been great to see his them again, but we both agreed it would’ve drawn up too many questions.
Brennan looks up at me, and when he sees his clean, folded clothes, he smiles and stands to take them from me. He sets his clothes down on the couch and kisses me. “Thanks for washing my clothes. For a moment there, I was thinking it’d be kind of funny to wear yours to the airport.”
I snicker. “The paparazzi would have a field day. Especially,” I said, glancing down at the T-shirt I gave him, “with you wearing a grumpy cat T-shirt that says this is my happy place on it.”
Brennan looks down at the shirt and chuckles. “I actually like it. Where’d you get it?”
The shirt is kind of cute on him. “Emerson gave it to me as a gag gift for my birthday last year.” He starts to take it off and I stop him, not even realizing what I’m doing. He lifts his brows and I grin. “I want you to keep it. Even if you don’t ever wear it again, maybe it’ll remind you of me.”
The way he smiles makes my heart melt. I’ve seen him on TV a gazillion times, but I’ve never once seen him look like that, not in a long time at least. Brennan pulls me to him and kisses me. “Thanks, Nat. I’ll wear it to my next concert.”
I roll my eyes. “Yeah, right.”
He winks and pulls me down on the couch beside him, his arm around my waist. “We have a little bit of time left. What do you want to do?”
He tickles my side and I giggle. “I’m sure I can think of something.” I turn my body to face him and he moves his arm so he can do the same. “We can talk if you want?” I say.
“Okay,” he agrees, grinning at me and making my knees weak like he always does. “What do you want to talk about?”
I shrug. “What concerts do you have lined up here in the next month?”
Pursing his lips, he looks out the window. “Let’s see … my next three are all in California and then I have to go to Ohio at the end of the month and visit a couple of cities there.”
“You stay busy, don’t you?”
He snorts. “Just a little. Being here has helped a lot though. I’ve been able to breathe.” He reaches over and takes my hand. “What about you? What’s on your agenda this January?”
I squeeze his hand. “The usual. I’ll be at the hospital for most of it, but on my days off I like to see my parents or go shopping with Emerson.”
Brennan glances around at my apartment. It has one of the best views of the harbor. “What about your ex? Does he ever try to call you?”
“No,” I reply, loving that I can hear a hint of jealousy in his tone. It makes me feel good. “He’s moved on, and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about him ever again.” Brennan meets my gaze and I move closer to him. “What are you going to do about Rayna? Will I be seeing you in the tabloids with her?”
His eyes darkened. “Not if I can help it. All I want to do is make music. I just wish I could do that without all the other bullshit politics.”
“I get it,” I say. “You have to keep your fans drawn to you, whether it be music or drama. The world eats that stuff up.”
He nods. “Tell me about it.”
Silence fills the air and every time I look at the clock it flies by even faster. We’ve avoided the talk, you know the one where we figure out if this is going to lead to anything or not. I’m too afraid to bring it up, and I’m terrified that this whole tryst is just that, a once in a lifetime dalliance that’ll leave my heart aching for more.
Swallowing hard, I get up and stretch, hoping like hell he can’t see any hint of sadness on my face. “How about something to eat before you go? I know we don’t have much time since you have to stop by your parents to say goodbye before you head to the airport. But at least I can whip up something.”
My eyes burn and I hate myself for it. I walk away quickly and busy myself in the kitchen. I cannot cry. I cannot cry. I repeat those words over and over in my head.