Chapter 42 - Regret and Hope

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Chapter 42

Regret and Hope

Berkley followed Dane from the apartment complex feeling disappointed. All three apartments that she had looked at were rented right out from under her. The realtor her had assured her last week that the market had been slow and that she should be able to find a pleasing choice.

But today was another day and the realtor seemed a to be avoiding eye contact with her when she questioned her about new properties. The realtor simply said she would need a day or two to research the new listings to find a good fit for her. Dane thanked her for her time and told her he would be in touch. Berkley looked back at the building grateful to some degree that it had not worked out. This was the furthest one from Dane and Ethan and wasn't as accessible. Something about this dueling just didn't appeal to her either but in a pinch she would have made do.

She thought about being alone in a quiet apartment. She thought of the creepy sounds that old buildings could make and the strangers that would be dwelling above, below and on every side of her. This was the life she had lived once she moved out of her parents' home. She hadn't been with Dane very long but now it seemed so distant.

The wind was picking up and there was a chance of snowfall overnight. She tried to bundle her jacket around her but it just didn't want to close anymore. Dane removed his coat and wrapped it around Berkley and handed her the keys. She climbed in the car and started the engine while Dane finished talking to the realtor. She watched them and thought it odd that they had so much to discuss.

He shook her hand one last time and made his way to the car. "It's freezing out there." He said sounding exhilarated.

"I'm warm enough if you want your coat back." She offered.

"No, I'm good. Keep Lily nice and warm." He said pulling into the traffic. "You know, I've been thinking."

"Thinking about what?"

"Since, you are going to be needing a place to stay again and with Christmas just around the corner, I thought maybe you might be willing to come home- at least for the holidays." He added taking her hand in his.

Berkley sat quietly. Saying she was in need of a place was a bit of a stretch. She was moving by choice. Blake would welcome her with open arms if she wanted to stay. But that was part of the problem. His arms were a little too open and so was his heart. She couldn't watch him struggle with the situation any longer. Her heart practically leapt out of her chest at the thought of spending the holidays at the house with Dane and Christmas with Ethan would be fun. The innocence of a child and the magic of Christmas was just an offer she wasn't sure she could refuse.

"What do you think?" He asked rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand as he continued to hold it.

"It sounds nice, Dane." She wondered if he knew of her lunch date with Alan just a few hours ago. They could let bygones be bygones for the holidays. Being at his house would give them a little more time together to really talk about things. With her away at night and his work each day, they really hadn't had much time to focus on their relationship and regardless of whether it was together or apart it needed to be tended to. On the other hand, she wasn't sure if she would be able to handle the emotional roller coaster of being in and then out again if things didn't go well.

Her mind had wandered off in so many directions that she didn't even realize they were nearly to his house until he removed his hand from hers, reaching to turn the heat off as they pulled up to the gated entrance to his neighborhood.

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