I blinked. Once. It was promising, that flutter of movement. It was reassuring to discover I hadn’t died of shock, after all.
“Claire?” Liam asked. Everything about Liam screamed his confusion: The hesitation in his voice, the way his eyebrows pulled together over his dark eyes, the way he drew his hand away from my chin and tucked it in the pocket of his dress pants. “Say something. Please?”
He was looking for words, noises to come out of my mouth--my still-hanging-open mouth--that would amount to something. That was asking a lot from me, a girl who always said the very worst thing at entirely the wrong time. Besides, my brain swirled with all kinds of thoughts, none of them an answer. I shut my mouth and swallowed, then turned back to look over the gently rolling surface of the pond.
Liam waited for my response, but I remained silent, unless you counted my deafening thoughts. I felt sure that anyone in a five-mile radius could hear them loud and clear. If he heard anything, he didn’t let on.
“Edwin’s lawyers requested that I come back and help wrap up things with the sale of the stable.”
I dropped my gaze to where my freshly-manicured fingers rested on the smooth wood railing of the gazebo. “I don’t know what to say, here,” I croaked, finally.
A puff of air escaped his lips as he ran his hand through his shaggy brown hair. “It’s okay. Forget I asked,” he sighed, turning away. As usual, my reaction wasn’t what he hoped for. You’d think he’d be used to that by now. I related so much better to my horses than people, even the man I loved.
Yes, I loved him. That much I knew for sure--but marriage? Marriage. Like forever, forever. I’d just graduated from high school a few months ago. There was a lot of forever left ahead of me. Still, he’d just spent the day pampering me with a trip to the spa, the beautiful dress I now wore, and dinner at the most amazing spot in town. He deserved something more. Maybe he deserved somebody more.