Sunlight poured in through the bedroom window, bathing the room in its early morning glow. It was Sunday; with no place to be and nothing particularly pressing to do, it felt good to just snuggle down under the blankets and enjoy the peace and quiet, something there hadn't been a lot of in the last several months.
Strong arms circled her from behind, drawing her into the other warm body in the bed. Juliette Silverton purred contentedly. She'd never get tired of these lazy mornings, just her and Nick snuggled down under the covers enjoying the warmth and each other's company.
"You got plans today?"
She smiled lazily. "I was planning on going down to the Farmer's Market, but that's about it. Why?"
She felt warm lips pressing into the back of her neck. "I was thinking about going over to the trailer and getting some work done. I thought you might like to go with me, see what I do there."
Juliette froze for just a second before rolling over. She searched eyes she knew so well—or at least thought she had—but saw nothing but Nick's open grey gaze smiling back. After so many months of secrets, she wondered if he was finally willing to open up a little more. He'd taken his aunt's death hard, and she hadn't begrudged him the time to mourn, but she'd felt almost as if, with each passing day, that he was pulling further and further away from her.
Once upon a time she'd have let him slip away. After being kidnapped by that crazy woman, she hadn't been sure she could handle being with a cop. She hadn't known that it would be so hard, or that it would be dangerous for her. Nick had been apologetic, but he couldn't promise it would never happen again, and she wouldn't ask him to make that promise. But walking away would leave a giant hole in her heart, and that pain was worse than worrying about what might happen next.
But just when she'd come to terms with what her future might hold, she'd recognized that he'd begun pulling away. She supposed that some of the blame was hers, because she'd pulled back from him. It had hurt to realize that he was pulling away, freezing her out of parts of his life. Finding the engagement ring had given her hope, but things hadn't gotten better, making her wonder if she'd lost him for good. If it was a choice between losing him or living with the secrets, she wasn't sure which was better.
And yet, here he was, asking her to join him in a part of his life he'd kept from her.
"Is that where you go?" she asked quietly. "When you're working late, do you go to Marie's trailer?"
He sighed heavily, as if it were still a bit of a struggle to let it go. She ran her hand through his dark sleep-mussed hair. He leaned into her touch, like a cat chasing the hand petting him.
"Sometimes," he said. He flicked his eyes away from her, then back to meet her green gaze. "I want to show you, if you'll let me."
"Of course," she said, leaning in to press a kiss to his lips.
She pulled back, looking deeply into his eyes. He was still a little wary, she could see that, but he wasn't holding back like he'd done for so long. Her heart leaped at the idea that maybe he was finally ready to let her in all the way. She hadn't wanted to say no to his proposal; she wanted to marry Nick Burkhardt more than she'd wanted to do anything in her life, including becoming a Veterinarian. But not if the price was being in the dark about the better part of his life, only allowed to know what he wanted her to.
His expression morphed from trepidation to something more pleased, as if he hadn't been sure what her answer would be. "Great!"
"Tell you what," she said, wrapping her arms around him and snuggling closer. "Why don't we head down to the Farmer's Market and do some shopping. Then we can get lunch and head over to the trailer."
"Sounds good to me," he said, smiling. He leaned in and kissed her once more.
She leaned into the kiss, wrapping herself around him as she felt the connection between them flare to life. Despite the fact that they had the time, she could sense that these kisses weren't leading anywhere, and she was okay with that. This was more about reconnecting; an expression of the love they shared coming back to life, something she'd feared might not happen.
"How about I go get the coffee brewing while you grab a shower?"
"You are a prince among men," she said, kissing him one more time before slipping out of bed and heading for the shower.
She could feel the smile blooming on her lips, and felt the lightness in her step. For the first time in a long time, Juliette began to feel hopeful about their future.