Kaia softly bit her lip and briefly contemplated whether what she was about to do was smart. There was a possibility he would reject her, and preferred to be alone. There was also the possibility he would accept her invite and she wondered how things would turn out if he did.
She decided to chance it, anyway. “Do you want to spend Christmas Eve with my family? We’re going up to Big Bear, and it’s going to be a small group of us. We’re renting a big ol’ cabin.”
Julian briefly looked up from his MacBook and made eye contact with his ex. It was just the two of them in his office, yet somehow, it felt like it was just the two of them alone in the universe. Kaia always had a way of making him feel he was the only one who mattered, and he felt the same about her, even after a long while. “Is that an invite?”
“Yes,” she pushed the word out of her mouth like a harsh breath on a cold winter’s night, “I want you to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with me.”
Julian closed his MacBook and got up from his desk. He walked over to Kaia and looked into her doe-brown eyes. “Why?”
She focused on how soft his equally brown eyes had become. When he was angry, and she hadn’t seen that side of him very often, they became enraged with a fire that was only discussed in the Bible. They were different now, with light flecks of gold and amber in the irises. They were full of love, at least that’s what she told herself. As Julian stared into the depths of her eyes and quietly demanded an answer, Kaia felt her soul turn into a topsy-turvy bottomless pit as he waited with baited breath.
Why did she really want him there? What was the appropriate answer? Because she was still in love with him? Because she wanted one last holiday with him before they both moved on?
She thought it would be easier if they remained friends. Things wouldn’t be the way they were but they would be okay. Months later, she was still stuck on him. She wanted to feel his touch, his embrace, his arms wrapped around her as he let her know everything was okay. She wanted him to hold her tight and wrap his legs around her at night like he always did, softly declaring she was his.
Things weren’t bad between them, but they weren’t great. Julian still treated her as if they were a couple, minus the pet names that she badly she missed. She wished she could hate him. She wished he hated her. It would make working for him much easier. Instead, she had to accept the fact that he’d moved on, and friendship only, would be the best she could do.
Kaia took another quiet breath and revealed her answer—the only safe one that parlayed on her heart. “Because I don’t want you to be alone.”
Julian’s eyes seemingly formed question marks, as if he couldn’t believe what he heard. “Is that it?” He questioned.
“Because I want you to spend it with me,” she finally admitted, “and I bought a gift for you, so you have to spend it with me if you want your gift!” Kaia was proud of the smooth save she’d given.
Julian simply smiled. “I would love to.”
“Yes! You’ll have your own room and there’s plenty of room for everyone. My cousins are coming over and my grandparents! It’ll be fun!” Kaia’s smile lit up her face. “You’ll have fun. I’ll text you the address. See you soon!” She began to leave.
“Kaia,” he called after her and she turned around, “thank you.”
There was sincerity in his voice, and it warmed her spirit. “You’re welcome.”
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