“Please don’t go.” Her voice sounded raspy as she tried to talk despite the knot in her throat. She couldn’t afford to cry, not now. She wrapped her arms around his waist and let her forehead drop between his shoulder blades. She was trembling with the effort not to fall apart.
“We discussed this. You’ll be safer when I’m gone.” Rafe’s voice was cold, as if he had already distanced himself from her to avoid the heartache of saying goodbye.
“There’s no guarantee that I’ll be safe when you leave. Please don’t do this, I can handle anything that happens if you’re beside me.” She knew she was begging but couldn’t stop herself. It was hard to swallow now and her eyes burned as tears fell in warm rivulets.
Careful of his strength he lifted her hands and stepped out of her arms. He turned and for a second she saw the icy resolve melt, he never could stand to see her cry. Shaking his head he took a step backwards.
“Living without you will be the hardest thing I will ever do in this life. Waking up without the scent of your shampoo on my pillow, because you never stay on your damn side of the bed will be hard. Walking through my apartment without finding post-it-notes with random shit on it stuck everywhere will be hard.” He swallowed and she watched as his Adam’s apple bobbed slowly with effort.
“But I can do hard. What I can’t do is live knowing that I got you killed. That would be the worst kind of hell I can imagine. I live in fear of what I would become if something happened to you.” His hands shook as he zipped up his leather jacket. His jaw clenched.
“So get married, have babies and forgot you ever knew me. God help any man that ever breaks your heart.” Without another word he turned and walked out of her apartment.
Falling to her knees, she didn’t care about being strong anymore. He was gone. Covering her face with her hands she sobbed. Nothing mattered now.