She let out a sigh. Maybe her best friend was right. What good could come of reopening that chapter of her life? Shawn had never known Ryan had asked her to come to New York with him, but what difference did it make? She"d chosen not to go.
Rachel dragged herself from the water and padded across the cool sand to gather up her clothes. She knew going after Ryan might not gain her anything but more heartache, but she couldn"t ignore the restlessness—or the what-ifs—inside her any longer.
She needed to make a move, to take a chance. To just say what the hell and go for it. There was more to her than being the youngest daughter of Lee and Alexis Cooper, the most wealthy and powerful couple in Calvin Bay. More than being a music teacher to a bunch of middle-schoolers. More, even, than being Shawn Griffin"s tiresomely dependable best pal.
And it was time she found out just what.
* * *
He"d finally taken a stand, so why did he feel so crappy? Shawn snapped a pencil in half and pitched it over the top of his drafting table. “Maybe because she kept her lips closed? Huh?” He shoved to his feet and strode across the room to the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.
He"d come into his office early, with every intention of adding the final details to his sketches for the renovation of Cooper, Inc."s downtown headquarters. Since he hadn"t slept, he figured he"d make the most of the hours that remained of the waning night.
But alone in his cavernous office, surrounded by the windows that reflected the twinkling lights of the city, he"d been unable to focus. Or forget.
For an instant, her lips had been against his. Her fingers had jerked in his hold, and he"d taken in her exhaled breath as if it were his own. But even as his body had ached for her, twisting with a yearning more fierce than anything he"d ever known, she"d fought him off. She"d pushed him away.
Yeah, there"d be no forgetting that.
Before, he"d allowed himself to assume that maybe she hadn"t turned her thoughts in his direction for the same reason he"d rebuffed her advances when they were kids. A friendship like theirs didn"t come along often enough to risk adding sex to the mix.
Or so he"d told himself until he"d watched her get hurt by every Jean-Pierre, Dominick, and Connor who came along. Not that she ever admitted anyone hurt her. She"d become adept at pretending to be as casual a serial dater as any man, except when it came to Halston.
Ryan had been her first love. Her first lover. Not him, and he had only himself to blame.
Turning away from the sunlight trickling through the deep blue sky, Shawn pried his cell phone out of his pocket. It was just past five, but he knew she"d be up.
She rose habitually at four-thirty and never hesitated to wake him if she needed him.
The time had come to repay the favor.
He drummed his fingers on his wide cherry desk as he waited, his gaze drifting to the photo collage under his glass blotter. Among the requisite shots of his parents and grandparents were two of Rachel. She"d mentioned them the last time she stopped by for lunch, wondering why he didn"t save the space for someone who really mattered.
As if anyone mattered more.
Her phone rang six times before it went to voice mail. He left a clipped message. Dammit, had she screened his call?
But it didn"t stop him from immediately dialing the apartment she shared with Morgan or from launching into a barrage of questions as Morgan slurred out a hello.
“Jesus, Griffin, you live in her pocket. You should know where she is.”