Haley had grabbed at her chest and was now attempting a smile, but couldn’t quite pull it off. “Damn it, Haley,” he murmured as he squatted next to her desk. “I’m sorry.” Samuel struggled against reaching out to her. He closed his eyes for a moment as he imagined crushing her to his chest and burying his face in her hair. He took a few deep calming breaths, then opened his eyes.
When his gaze met hers, he found her eyes welling up with tears and it was more than he could stand. “Come on,” he said quietly, grabbing her hand and leading her into his office. “Please sit down.” He gestured to the leather sofa that so frequently held his napping brother.
“No, I’m sorry,” Haley said, dabbing at her eyes. “I feel so silly. I don’t know why I’m crying.”
He passed her a Kleenex, then said, “Yes, you do. Take a moment, then explain it to me.”
She sighed, but soon her words came spilling out of her. “You looked so sorry and so sad and so helpless. And I can’t help but think that I put that look on your face.” She was exasperated. “All of a sudden you are treating me like blown glass, which is nice and scary and unfamiliar all at once. It’s like you really care or…” Haley faced him with a stricken look. “You know.” Her body shuddered and she eyed the door, something he had watched her do on more than one occasion.
And he now knew what it meant. “Don’t go,” he said quietly. Then he added seriously, “I don’t know anything for certain. All I know is that it is painfully obvious someone hurt you. And that,” he said almost whispering, “breaks my heart.”
Looking down at her lap, Haley sat stone still. Part of her wanted desperately to pour her heart out to him, but she feared that this knowledge would be too much for him. “Someday,” she whispered. “Someday I’d really like to tell you. But it can’t be today. And it can’t be now.” She swallowed and looked up at him with her glassy emerald eyes. “Can you be patient with
me?”That was what everyone he had come into contact with had warned him. The good doctor, her friend Ellen…and he knew he could. She was worth it. “Yes,” he responded.
Nicole Andrews Moore