I let her go and she stares up at me. “Did you get any sleep?”

“Not much. I couldn’t switch my brain off. How is she today?”

“She’s still asleep, but she coughed for most of the night and was burning up. I’m worried her pneumonia is getting worse and that’s something she can’t afford.” Hell, I shudder to think what it would mean for her if it does get worse.

Presley takes in what I’ve said for a moment. She moves into my space and leans her head against my chest while putting her arms around me. My arms go around her waist and I hold her tight. I’m so fucking glad she’s here. “I’m sorry, Jett,” she murmurs against me.

I run my hand up and down her back and stare into space, not wanting to ever let her go. “It’s weird, but good,” I say softly.

She doesn’t move, just keeps hold of me and asks, “What’s weird?”

“The way I’ve come to rely on you so much so soon. I never ever expected to feel this way about someone.”

Her body stills and I almost expect her to avoid the discussion, but she looks up at me and agrees, “I know what you mean.”

It’s a moment, a monumental fucking moment for us, because I’ve fought hard to get her to admit she wants what I want, and I know she’s giving that to me now. Any other time, I would have cracked the champagne after hearing those words, but today, all I can manage is to brush my lips across hers and then rest my forehead against her forehead.

She gets it, though. She knows what her words mean to me. A contented sigh tells me this. And not for the first time, I thank a God I’m not sure I believe in anymore for giving her to me.

The day passes in a blur. Presley doesn’t leave my side, and we spend the entire day at the hospital with my family. If the reason we were all together were anything other than what it is, it would have been a perfect day. My family and Presley are getting on well, and I’ve loved watching their interactions. Claudia, in particular, approves of my choice and has spent a lot of the day giving me knowing looks.

By four o’clock, I’m exhausted and decide to head home for a shower and a rest. Claudia’s feeling about the same as she was this morning, and the doctors are closely monitoring her, so I’m confident that leaving her will be okay.

“We’ll call if we need you,” my mother says as she waves Presley and me out of the room.

Although I’ve made the decision to go home, I’m finding it hard to leave, so Presley has to almost drag me down the corridors of the hospital and out to her car.

“You okay?” she asks as she turns the key in the ignition, watching me closely.

I lay my head back against the headrest and think about her question. Turning my head so I can look at her, I answer honestly, “I really don’t know… I feel numb with shock… and angry that she has to go through it again. And, fuck… stage four ovarian cancer…” My voice drifts off because I don’t want to say the words I am thinking. None of us need to hear those words, but I know we’re all thinking them.

She twists her body so she’s facing me, and rests her head on the seat. Reaching for my hand, she holds it while we sit with the car idling. The silence is too much for me; it gives my thoughts the space they need to move into focus more, and that’s something I don’t need at the moment. So I fill the quiet. “Thank you for spending the day with us.”

“You don’t have to thank me, Jett. That’s what I’m here for.” Her thumb traces lazy patterns over my hand as her eyes find mine.

“As in that’s what girlfriends are for?” I ask, wanting to have this conversation. Needing to have this conversation.

Her thumb doesn’t skip a beat; she doesn’t skip a beat. “Are you asking me if I’ll be your girlfriend?”

I raise my brows and smirk at her. “Sweetheart, I think we’re past that point here. I’m not asking, I’m just making sure you know where we’re at.”

Her thumb keeps moving and her lips shift into a smile. “So let me get this straight… we’re together, and I’m not to date anyone else now. Or did I screw that up?”

The thought of her dating anyone else causes my gut to tighten. I pull her to me and bruise her lips with a rough, deep kiss and growl, “You got that damn straight; you’re not to date anyone else now.”

Lust clouds her eyes and she bites her swollen bottom lip as she nods. “Just checking, baby.”

I let her go and take a long breath.

At least one good thing has happened today.

We sleep for hours and just after ten that night, my phone buzzes.

Dad: I’m taking your mother home to rest. Claudia is asleep and okay but thought you might want to know she’s by herself now.

Me: I’ll head up to the hospital now.

Presley stirs but doesn’t wake fully when I move off the bed. My gaze drops to her body as the sheet shifts, and the sight of her naked breast causes my dick to jerk. I haven’t fucked her since yesterday morning and that’s too long in my opinion, but I’m not going to wake her now because my only goal at the moment is to get to the hospital as fast as I can. I don’t want Claudia to wake up to a room with no one in it.

I dress quickly and let myself out of Presley’s apartment and head downstairs to her car. She told me to borrow it if I woke up, and as I ease into it, I grimace when I hit my head. Small cars and me don’t get along, and Presley’s tiny Mazda needs to go if I’ve got any say in it.