Midnight Dreams(3)

By: Kayla Perrin




but he released his hold on her and stepped back. Confused,

she stared at him. “Don’t…don’t you want me?”

He dragged a hand over his face, emitted a groan, then spoke.

“Yes, I want you, Jade, but I don’t just want a piece of you.”

He was asking the impossible. She was drawn to him,

wanted him in a way that made her crazy with longing, but

how could she cancel her wedding? It was next weekend.

Nine days away. All the invitations had been sent out, the

church and reception hall booked. She even had family

coming from England for the event.

Maybe, if she’d met Terrell before…

As if he couldn’t stay away from her, he stepped toward

her again. “I can make you happy, Jade. Happier than Nelson

ever can.” When she said nothing, he went on. “I know I can’t

offer you the financial freedom Nelson can. I’m thirty-two and

still establishing myself, but I’m going to be successful one

day. Give me a chance, Jade. I love you.”

He loved her. The words caused a sharp pain to grip her heart.

“Tell me how you feel, Jade. Tell me what I already

know is true.”

“But we…Nelson and I…I’ve already made him a partner.

I—I can’t…”

“Do you honestly want to become Mrs. Crumm?” He gave

her a look that said he couldn’t believe she was even consi-

dering it. “If that name isn’t a clue to get going while the

going’s good…”

Jade bristled at the sound of Mrs. Crumm. She didn’t care

for the name, either, but she wasn’t marrying the name, she

was marrying the man. “This isn’t about names. I’m a nineties

woman. I—I don’t have to take his name.”

“That’s right. You’re a nineties woman. You can call off

the wedding.”

Kayla Perrin

13

“Terrell, I’ve already explained. Th-this isn’t right.”

“What’s not right is Nelson. He’s not the right man for you.

If he is, there’s no way you should have kissed me the way

you just did.”

He was right. “But I… The salon—”

“You’re going to become Mrs. Nelson Crumm because of

this salon?” Even in the darkness, she could see the disbelief

in his eyes. “Partnerships can be broken.”

“Not this one.” Jade was surprised at the strength she’d

summoned. Before she lost it, she went on. “Terrell, I’m sorry.

It’s too late.”

Frustrated he turned, and Jade felt all the pain he must be

feeling as all her veins seemed to criss-cross and knot. But

she couldn’t give Terrell what he wanted. Nelson loved her.

Maybe he lacked the passion Terrell had, but he loved her and

it would be unfair to break his heart. She was a woman of her

word and she planned to stay true to Nelson.

But still it hurt to see Terrell so hurt. Slowly she approached

him, placed a hand on his arm. He shrugged it off. “I’m sorry,”

she said softly. “I can’t do what you ask.You have to understand.”

“I don’t.”

She sighed. “Please, don’t…let’s not end our friendship

this way.”

He faced her then. Were those tears she saw glistening in

his eyes, or was it just the way the outside lights shone on

them that made it look that way? “Friendship?” he asked, as

though she’d offered him a consolation prize. “I can’t be your

friend, Jade.”

The words crushed her. But deep down, she knew it was true.

For her and Terrell, it was all or nothing. “We…we can try.”

Slowly he shook his head. “No, Jade. I can’t.”

“Then what are you saying? That this is it?”

14


He didn’t answer right away and Jade wondered if her legs

would sustain her. “If you insist on marrying the wrong man,

Jade,” he finally said, “then I can’t be part of your life. A part

of me will never accept your marriage. A part of me will

always want you. For your sake and mine, it’ll be best that

we stay away from each other from now on.”

“But—”

Without notice he moved to her, sweeping her into his

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