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"Tracey, give me a reason to stay."
I remained speechless for a moment as I stared into Scott's sky blue eyes. My stomach tied into knots I'd probably never uncoil. If I told him I loved him, would he stay? Resent me forever for holding him back and possibly forestalling or ending his writing career?
Scott had blurted out the story of a lucrative job offer presented by his literary agent with all the enthusiasm of someone who'd won the lottery. If he took the position, he'd leave immediately and move across the country. He'd become a top managing editor for a publisher of mystery books. An added bonus would be a flexible schedule allowing time for concentrating on his own writing career.
Scott's aftershave filled the air surrounding us. I loved its heady aroma and the way it welcomed me into his world. I could make him happy and would live each day to please him. Why couldn't that be enough incentive for him not to move from California and head to New York?
He ran a hand through his hair, effectively scattering the golden brown curls into disarray. How I itched to do that myself but I needed to stay focused. The man I loved stood within reach and had asked me to tell him not to leave.
Damn. The psychic song title vision I'd had in the morning while blissfully unaware of his offer had warned me of this. "Say Goodbye" had repeatedly resonated in my head. I now knew its significance and would hate myself for pushing him away for his own good.
My heart and brain warred over the right thing to do and say. A sweeping sadness cascaded through my body, but I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't beg him to stay. Guilt would plague me forever as that might take his dream away. Plus, would he blame me and regret losing out on his big chance to further his career? I'd have to let him go and suffer the onslaught of heartache and emptiness in my life that his leaving would create.
In desperation, I searched for one logical way to justify my telling him to leave-other than focusing on his career possibilities. One important issue hit me square in the face, and made my decision to let him go easier.
Scott hadn't asked me to move with him. I'd have jumped at the opportunity to go, but that offer hadn't been suggested. His omission in asking me to make a commitment and move spoke volumes about how each of us apparently viewed our relationship. In short, I placed more relevance on our being a couple than Scott obviously did.
Those same knots twisted again inside my stomach and threatened to send an acid taste up my throat and into my mouth. I gulped back the disappointment threatening to color my next comment. "Scott," I smiled prettily and added a lilt to my voice, "we've only dated for six months. You said it yourself when we first met. Your career came first so no ties and no commitments." I broadened my smile. "You're a wonderful writer and I hope this move will only accelerate your career."
He reached out and grabbed my hand. His warmth encased it and sent flashes of an all too familiar and passionate heat careening throughout my body. "You don't want me to stay?"