Blinking, Ginny begged her eyes to see someone else standing before
her. It was as if her memories willed themselves back to life. Beside her, her
father perked up and lifted his free hand. “Max, over here.” Max turned around,
and Ginny felt the air leave her lungs. This was no trick of her mind. It was
the real deal. Well, hell …
Time had been good to Max; there was no denying it. His dark hair
was longer now, curling at the base of his neck. A few flecks of gray
threatened to take over his temples, but he managed to look mature rather than
haggard. Instead of the clean-shaven face she remembered, his chiseled jawline
was now peppered with a few days of stubble. Suddenly, Ginny understood all the
fuss with lumbersexuals.
Max’s brown eyes darkened when he saw her, but his steps didn’t
falter. “Harold, good to see you.” He moved one of his shopping bags to his
other arm and shook her father’s hand. When he turned to her, Ginny felt her
breath hitch as he reached out his hand for a shake. Really? They were in the hand-shaking phase of their relationship?
Ginny reached out and took his hand, a shot of awareness coursing
through her body as his fingers wrapped around hers. “Max,” she said his name
in greeting, hoping her tone was light, carefree.
“Gin.” Max swallowed and squeezed her hand before letting it go. He
didn’t say anything at first, just studied her. She was glad she had listened
to her father about makeup. Bumping into her ex-husband with bedhead and sans
mascara would have been mortifying.
Ginny was helpless for a moment, staring at Max like a fool. Perhaps
she’d fallen into an alternate universe when she left the turnpike? Maybe her
rental car was a time machine where she felt pulled to a man who bruised her
heart? A man whose heart was certainly broken by her.
Either oblivious or uncaring of her current slack-jawed state, Max
surprised her by stepping closer and giving her a genuine smile. “I’m glad
you’re back,” he said. “It’s really good to see you.”
In that moment, staring into his warm gaze, Ginny couldn’t disagree. Being so close to Max, so close to the worn paths of their past, she felt comfortable. This didn’t feel like a foreign place; it felt like home.