Wish I May (New Hope) Online - Lexi Ryan

Seven Years Ago

CALLY TILTS her face to the starless night sky as if waiting for its kiss. “I can’t see the stars.” She squints, trying to make them out through the thick storm clouds hanging over us.

I turn her face to mine and trail whisper-soft kisses beneath her ear and along her jaw until she relaxes in my arms. “We don’t need them tonight,” I promise, though I know it’s only true for me. Cally always needed the reassurance of wishes and destiny—a byproduct of a combination of shitty home life and odd-duck father. Tonight, she needs all that more than ever.

“She’s being so selfish, taking us away from our life here. Taking me away from you.”

We’ve had this conversation a hundred times since her mom announced their move last month. I know where she’s headed with it, and I won’t let her go there. Not tonight. “Don’t give up on us.” My voice is hard and I have to concentrate on not holding her too tightly, but I already feel her slipping away. “She can make you move, but she can’t take you away from me. You’re mine. In New Hope, in Nevada, in Timbuktu, you’ll always be mine.”

Rolling over her, I support myself on my elbows and cup her face in my hands. I rub my thumb over the pale skin of her jaw, the flush of her cheek, the rosy pink of her kiss-swollen lips. She threads her fingers through my hair and pulls me down so she can run kisses along my jaw.

“Can we really survive a long-distance relationship?” she whispers.

“It’ll only be long-distance when we’re apart. You’ll be back for prom. We’ll see each other this summer.”

“Prom.”

I run my hand up her side and brush the underside of her breast with my thumb. “Prom. Just like we planned. Then when school starts, you can visit me at the dorms.”

“You deserve better,” she says.

Under me, she parts her legs until my knee slides between them. She moans into my neck. “There’s nothing better than you.” I flick my tongue against her ear.

When I pull back, tears glisten in her eyes. “I don’t want to wait for prom night. I’m ready now.”

For a year, we’ve been together and held off on sex because Cally wasn’t ready. She feared having sex too young would make her like her mother. Even if the fear wasn’t entirely rational, I understood. “Are you sure?”

She shifts under me and wraps her legs around my waist so only our clothes are between us. Adrenaline and arousal pump through me at the thought of making love to her. Then a tear rolls down her cheek, and I know I can’t.

“Not tonight,” I whisper. “Not while you’re so sad.”

She lifts her eyes to the clouds again. “So this is what goodbye feels like.”

“No,” I growl. The apology in her eyes breaks my heart.

“We have to say goodbye,” she whispers. “I leave in a few hours.”

I wipe away the tears on her cheeks. “We aren’t going to say goodbye because this isn’t the end of us. It’s only the beginning.”

She squeezes her eyes shut and more tears roll down into her hair, and I can’t do anything but press kisses to the path they left behind. I hate how helpless I feel.

“If we don’t say goodbye, then what do we say?”

“Look at me.” I don’t speak again until her big brown eyes are locked on mine. “This isn’t goodbye.”

“We can’t pretend that everything is going to be the same.”

“Hello, Cally.”

“William—”

“It doesn’t need to be the same. I love you, and I’m telling you hello.” My chest burns with this tightness, but I reign in my emotions, knowing I have to hold us both together. “Hello, Cally.”

She wraps her arms around me and pulls me close again. A tear that isn’t hers splashes onto her cheek. I bury my face in her neck to hide my own fear, and she whispers, “Hello.”

“IN ONE hundred feet, turn left onto Dreyer Avenue,” my GPS instructs.

I inch forward, peering out my windshield and scanning the manicured lawn to the left for any sign of a road where there is nothing but grass.

“Recalculating,” the computerized voice tells me. Her tone suggests frustration with my inability to follow simple instructions. “In one hundred feet, take a U-turn, then turn right on Dreyer Avenue.”

“There is no Dreyer effing Avenue.” I pound on my steering wheel. This is the fifth time since I returned to Middle-of-Lots-of-Cornfields Indiana that the fucker has tried to turn me