Chapter 19

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They stopped for Italian sodas, and walked up the strip, heading towards the fountains. She learned that he hated blueberries when he tried her blueberry flavoured soda. He'd been game to see if it tasted fake enough for him to maybe like it, and the face he'd made had doubled her over with laughter.

"Ok, so blueberry is off the list." she giggled when he'd finally cleared the taste from his mouth and they continued on, onlookers smiling at them knowingly as they walked hand-in-hand. What was it about two people showing their affection in non-sexual ways that made strangers go googley-eyed? She didn't mind, but it was odd.

The quiet they shared as they walked was wonderful, the crowds surging around them. Gretchen was turning over Travis's news. It had to be painful for Josh. His playful and happy mood from earlier was gone, replaced by worry lines in his forehead as he tried to keep it locked inside. He'd deal with it eventually, and she was wondering if he was putting it off until he wasn't with her.

The fountains were blasting away, the music trumpeting in the background, and she leaned along the wall to watch. Josh pulled her into his arms, setting his chin on her head and they just breathed together as the lights and water played up and down.

"I don't want today to be over." she said to him.

"No. Me neither. You have to go home tomorrow?" he replied.

"Yeah. Work awaits. I took an impromptu vacation, but the paperwork is still there waiting for me." she sighed and turned to face him. She looked up, and his face was unreadable in the semi-dark turned away from her, the lights of the fountains playing across the angles of his jaw and cheekbones. She watched that for a moment, the sight of him setting off tiny flutters in her stomach. Damned butterflies. Every time. She wondered if it would always be like that when she looked at him. She hoped so.

"Well, we can merge calendars, see when the next sync up is." he offered. "I know it isn't ideal, Gretch. But I want this to work."

He looked down at her then, and she couldn't help it, she reached up and touched his face, smoothing her thumb over his cheekbone. He closed his eyes.

"Whatever it takes." she said.

"You feel so damned good." he whispered and leaned down to kiss her, the stress of the evening bleeding through.

She rose to him, and they locked into one another, the crowd, and the fountains, and the noise disappearing. Everything but his touch and his breath and his lips parting hers went away. She didn't care who saw, and if anyone dared interrupt them, she would raise holy hell. No autographs tonight, folks.

He was hers.

She broke the kiss to look at him again, sensing him tense. "I-" he started, but stopped, swallowing.


"I can't ask you to leave your life. I can't leave mine. I hate the idea of being so damned far away from you." he stuttered out, and hung his head. "I know what I want but I don't know how to do it."

She understood that feeling, which was how she felt when she'd seen him last night. She wanted him, loved him, needed him, but how did you make it work when their lives were so far apart? Her entire living was Toronto. His entire living was traveling, playing ball wherever he needed to be. But she knew one thing.

" I feel the same. It was overwhelming at first. I mean, my best friend jet-sets everywhere, I never see her, but I make it work with her." she said, feeling it was poor comparison. "I mean, it isn't the same, but is, in a way, right? I work hard at ensuring I talk to her every day. We can start there, Josh. You don't have to figure it out alone."

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