“I love you, baby boy,” I whispered. I pressed my lips to my fingers and then gently pressed them to his forehead.
Then, I left.
Ijerked awake, something not feeling right. I quickly sat up and turned on the lamp. Miles’s side of the bed was empty, and when I patted it, I found it cold.
He’d been gone for a while. A bad feeling settled in the pit of my stomach.
My hand hit a piece of paper, and I quickly grabbed it, crinkling it in my grip.
If you’re reading this,baby girl, I’m probably already on the road. I’ve got some unfinished business, but I waited until you were home and okay again before I left to take care of this.
Quinn is still in town, but I’m okay; I promise. I know I could have woken you up, but I didn’t want to alarm you. You’d have begged me to stay, and baby, I couldn’t stay. I need to do this for you, for William, for us.
I love you. I love you so fucking much that sometimes, my goddamn chest hurts with the force of that love. Don’t ever lose sight of that, baby girl.
“No!”I screamed. I grabbed my phone, my hands shaking so badly I could barely grasp it. I tried calling him over and over, but it just kept going to voicemail. Sobbing, I dialed Quinn.
“Hayley?” he groaned, sounding asleep. “You okay?”
I hiccupped. “He’s gone, Quinn. Miles left.”
* * *
Quinn steppedinto the living room a few days later, a frown pulling at his lips. I swallowed thickly and tightened my hands around my phone. I’d been keeping it close by for days now, silently begging Miles to call me. But so far, he hadn’t. I’d already filled up his voicemail.
“He’s been arrested,” Quinn whispered.
Suddenly, it felt like all those years ago when Miles had stepped into Damien’s living room to tell me Damien was arrested. My chest ached, and I broke down into sobs.
Why was this happening to me again? I protectively wrapped my arms around my belly, hoping and praying the same damn thing didn’t happen again.
“He’s asking to see you.” I looked up at Quinn. I hadn’t been expecting that. He knelt in front of me, his eyes steady on mine as he rested his hands on my knees. “He won’t do you like Damien, honey. He wants to see you.”
Sniffling, I nodded and quickly got William ready to go out into the cold. I was barely holding myself together, but I had to. I was a mother now with another baby on the way. My kids needed me. And Miles was not Damien. He wasn’t abandoning me.
The police station was cold and dreary when we made it there. Quinn quickly got me into an interrogation room with him, and he stayed out, holding William so I could have time with Miles.
My lips trembled as I stared at him. Miles was handcuffed to the table, unable to stand up. He watched me though, so much love for me in his eyes that it almost brought me to my knees.
“Why?” I whispered.
“I did it for you, baby,” he said just as softly. “I failed you, but I refused to fail you again.” He shook his head. “Every person who had a hand in taking you and selling you is gone,” he informed me. I sank down into the chair across from him. He kept his eyes on me. “I’m getting a deal. Since I saved the lives of nineteen women and girls and killed a sex operation, I’m looking at only five years.”
“Five years?” I croaked. Five years still felt like an eternity.
He nodded. Tears slid down my cheeks. I hurriedly swiped at them. “Hayley, baby, look at me.” I slowly lifted my eyes to his. “I’m coming home to you, baby girl. I don’t have a chance of bond, so my time is already started. You can start counting down the days. And I want you to come see me.”
The pain in my chest eased a bit. Damien had never wanted me to come see him, and it had made me absolutely miserable. “You mean that?”