David leaned closer and Maddie held her breath. Until this moment she hadn't realized how much she'd needed to hear his apology. And hearing that he still wanted her, that he'd been missing her and thinking of her all of this time, made her feel like a heavy weight had been lifted off her heart and allowed it to float free for the first time in years.
But this was all happening so fast and the doubts were racing through her mind. Why had he taken so long to tell her all of this? What if they hadn't bumped into each other here—how much longer would he have waited? There was so much left to say before they tangled everything up with the physical attraction that was still as strong and udeniable as ever. But as David pulled her closer, the longing to kiss him again crowded out any misgivings and she leaned in towards him and closed her eyes.
"David Addision!" the car door on her side jerked open and she turned and found herself staring into the face of David's Barbie Doll actress. "What in the hell do you think you're doing?" the girl shrieked. "Who is this woman?"
David closed his eyes and cursed, but tightened his grip on her.
"You think you can just ditch me at my own party and drag some other woman into my limo right in front of me? Who the hell do you think you are?"
David shook his head and looked pleadingly into Maddie's eyes. "I know what you're thinking, but please, I'm begging you, don't go..."
"Maddie!" Hank appeared behind Malibu Barbie with a look of genuine concern. "You left so abruptly...are you all right? What's going on?"
"That's what I'd like to know!" David's "friend" tossed her hair and glared at Maddie.
She was trapped—blocked between the angry girl standing at the door and David next to her on the seat. "David, I want to get out of this car..."
"No, wait, just hang on a second." He grabbed her hand and when she resisted he held on tighter.
"Carly, I'm sorry—I didn't want to ruin your party, so I was going to tell you tomorrow—This isn't the way I meant to do this, but you and I...I mean, I think it's been obvious to both of us that we're just not working out. You're a great girl, but we just don't, we aren't..."
Carly's eyes narrowed and her face turned red. "You son of a bitch...Get the hell out of my limo."
She took a step back, allowing Maddie to move towards the open door, and she pulled her hand free of David's. She got out of the car, feeling crushed, embarrassed and confused.
Hank put his hands in his pockets. "I'm sorry if I interrupted. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
"No, I'm sorry, Hank. But if it's alright with you, I'd like to go home now..."
"Maddie, no, please..." David scrambled out of the limo and grabbed her shoulder, spinning her around.
She looked into his eyes and he looked so sincere, so full of anguish that she almost caved. But her head was spinning and she felt totally out of control. "David, I can't do this right now. Clearly you have some unfinished business...And this is all too fast, I need some time to clear my head."
"Time! It's been over a year, Maddie! There's been nothing but time!" He stepped towards her and gripped her elbow, pulling her against him. "There's been too much time wasted," he whispered into her ear, using his thumb to wipe a tear off her cheek then wrapped his fingers lightly around the back of her neck. "Time spent hopelessly trying to get over you, and missing you and thinking of you, and wanting you so badly that it hurts."
She took a deep breath, trying to focus on her thoughts and not the chills running down her spine from the feeling of his fingers pressing against her neck. How long had she wished to hear these words from him? But not like this, not in a parking lot after some chance meeting, with her date and his freshly dumped ex-girlfriend listening to every word. "If that's true..."
"If that's true? Maddie, that's the truest thing in my life, I swear..."
She felt the tears coming in earnest now, and she that knew Carly and Hank were staring at them, but in that moment she didn't care. She grabbed his wrists and held them between them. She couldn't think straight when he was touching her like that. "If that's true, then why haven't you called me? If you missed me so much, then why did you wait until we had an accidental run in to tell me?"
"Maddie," he said, looking dejected. "I picked up the phone and hung up a hundred times. I didn't think you'd want to hear what I had to say. I'd lost all hope until I saw you..."
She let go of his wrists, and missed the contact between them as soon as she released him. "I can't do this right now. This isn't the right time for this..." She wiped her eyes and turned to Hank. "I'm so sorry. Do you think you could take me home?"
The wait for a cab seemed like an eternity. David had called out for Maddie as she walked away from him with the Sam Twin, but she hadn't even turned her head.
He'd come too far now to let her shut him down—there was no way he was giving up. He could tell that she still wanted him as much as he wanted her. And for the first time in a long time, he dared to hope that maybe she still loved him too.
That was the one thing he hadn't had a chance to tell her, although he felt it had been in everything he'd said and all of his actions, he hadn't yet said the words I love you—and he knew how important those words were to Maddie. He'd been working up to it, before Carly had interrupted them. Looking back, choosing Carly's limo for a private conversation with Maddie had been extremely ill-advised.
The cab finally pulled up and he gave the driver Maddie's address. He knew there was a time to lay off with Maddie and a time to push, and every fiber of his being was telling him that now was the moment to forge ahead. He'd meant what he'd said; enough time had been wasted. He was miserable without her, and if he'd read her right tonight, she wasn't much better off without him.