“When I was growing up,” I began. “I learned early on that while there were people who cared for you, there were others for whom your well-being was the last thing on their minds. And satisfying their needs came above all else. I guess you could say I fall between those two extremes.”
“That’s a safe place to be,” Erik said. “Though you can’t play it safe forever, Sam. You can’t keep running away from what it is you want to do—or have. It’s okay to take risks.”
“Is that what you think I do then? Run away?” I asked. I began to be aware of how close he was to me as if the space between us had somehow disappeared. I could smell the scent of soap and rosemary. Erik leaned closer to me and my breath caught in my throat as I looked at him, his blue eyes framed with thick lashes.
“Not everyone is out to hurt you, Sam,” he whispered. “There are those who care for you.”
“Sure,” I snapped, wanting nothing more but to wrench myself out of the fantasy that was never going to be. “Like you?”
Before I could move away, I felt Erik’s fingers touch my cheek, brushing a strand of hair from my face.
“What if I do care for you, Sam?” he asked, his voice quiet and gentle. “Would you run away then?”