Thief (Love Me With Lies #3)
Author:Fisher, Tarryn

“I don’t want children,” she said, looking away.

 

“Yes, you do.”

 

She hated when I did that — told her she was wrong about her own thoughts.

 

I leaned up on my elbows and looked at the water to avoid the dirty look she was giving me.

 

“You’re not going to mess them up,” I said. “You’re not going to be like your father, and you will not land up like your mother because I will never leave you.”

 

“I’ll die of cancer then.”

 

“No, you won’t. We’ll have you checked regularly.”

 

“How do you always fucking know what I’m thinking?”

 

I looked over at her. She was sitting up with her knees pulled to her chest and her head resting on her knees. Her hair was piled on top of her head in a large, almost comical knot. I wanted to pull it out and let it tumble down her back, but she looked so cute, I left it.

 

“I see you, even when you think I’m not looking. I’m probably more obsessed with you than is healthy.”

 

She tried to swallow her smile, but I saw it pinching the corners of her mouth. I tackled her to her back. She giggled. She hardly ever giggled … I could probably count the number of times I’d heard that sound on my two hands.

 

“You don’t give an inch. That’s why I like you, Olivia — no middle name — Kaspen. You make me work for every smile, every giggle…”

 

She shook her head. “I don’t giggle.”

 

“Really?” My fingers crept up her ribs. I tickled her. She giggled so hard, I was laughing too.

 

When we sobered up, she lay with her head on my chest. Her next words took me by surprise. I lay as still as I could, barely breathing, afraid that if I moved she would stop speaking her heart.

 

“My mom wanted six children. She only got me, and that sucks for her because I was a total weirdo.”

 

“You were not,” I said.

 

She twisted her head up to look at me.

 

“I used to line my lips in black eyeliner and sit cross-legged on the kitchen table … meditating.”

 

“Not that bad,” I said. “Crying out for attention.”

 

“Okay, when I was twelve I started writing letters to my birth mother because I wanted to be adopted.”

 

I shook my head. “Your childhood sucked, you wanted a new reality.”

 

She snorted air through her nose. “I thought a mermaid lived in my shower drain, and I used to call her Sarah and talk to her.”

 

“Active imagination,” I countered. She was becoming more insistent, her little body wriggling in my grip.

 

“I used to make paper out of dryer lint.”

 

“Nerdy.”

 

“I wanted to be one with nature, so I started boiling grass and drinking it with a little bit of dirt for sugar.”

 

I paused. “Okay, that’s weird.”

 

“Thank you!” she said. Then, she got serious again. “My mom just loved me through all of it.”

 

My arms tightened around her. I was afraid the wind, the water … life would take her away from me. I didn’t want her to blow away.

 

“When she was in the hospital toward the end, she was in a lot of pain, but all she did was worry about me,” she paused, laughed a little. “She had no hair. Her head looked like a shiny egg and it was always cold. I tried to knit her a hat, but it was terrible, full of holes, but of course she wore it anyway.”

 

I could hear her tears. My heart was aching like she had it between her fist.

 

“She was always asking me, ‘Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you sad?’” Her voice cracked. I ran my hand up her back, trying to comfort her, knowing I couldn’t.

 

“I would have switched places with her.”

 

Her sob ripped me open, spilled everything out. I sat us both up and held her in my lap as she cried.

 

Her pain was so jagged. You couldn’t touch her without it slicing through you too. I wanted to fold myself around her and absorb the rest of the blows life would deliver.

 

That was the exact moment my heart threaded with hers. It was as if someone reached down with a sewing needle and stitched my soul to hers. How could one woman be so sharp and so vulnerable at the same time? Whatever would happen to her would happen to me. Whatever pain she would feel, I would feel it too. I wanted it — that was the surprising part. Selfish, self-centered Caleb Drake loved a girl so much he could already feel himself changing to accommodate her needs.

 

I fell.

 

Hard.

 

For the rest of this life and probably the next.

 

I wanted her — every last inch of her stubborn, combative, catty heart.