She rested her head against his chest, breathing in his after shave and snuggling close. “It doesn’t matter,” she said softly. “It was actually a backhanded compliment, that I’m prettier than she thought I’d be or something.” She tried to chuckle but it sounded more like a sniffle. “I guess I didn’t think they’d be gossiping about me before they even saw us together.”
“Honey, people talk.”
“If people are already talking, and the media gets hold of it, Tim is going to find me sooner rather than later.”
“I don’t think we’ve reached the media with our relationship yet,” he gave her a small grin. “But if one of the wives heard about you, then Suze or Andra or Tiff told someone they thought they could trust, and the NHL wives’ pipeline is better than the CIA.”
“Great.” She sat on the edge of the bed.
“Molly, don’t you trust me?” He looked uncomfortable standing in front of her and she glanced up at him with a frown.
“What do you mean?”
“Someone hurt your feelings and you turned to Toli instead of me. Why?”
“I didn’t turn to Toli!” She got up quickly and reached for him, hating that he would even consider that idea. “He saw me leave and followed me when I didn’t come back down. I’m just trying to protect you—I don’t want you to get into trouble because of me!”
"So you don’t trust me not to lose my temper.” He was hurt.
“No!” She sighed, taking a deep breath and then blowing it out. “I’m not explaining myself very well. It’s just that you’ve done so much for me—I don’t want you to see someone hurting me and get into trouble by standing up for me. You just got clearance from the NHL—the last thing you need is to pick a fight with another player because his wife is immature and doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut. You’re too important to me.”
He gazed at her steadily, his dark eyes boring into her bright green ones. He knew she wasn’t afraid of him, but she was still afraid of what he might do to someone else. He didn’t know why that bothered him so much, but it did. He’d made so much progress, yet even the woman he loved didn’t trust him completely.
“Dom, what are you thinking?” She touched his face. “Tell me.”
“You’re afraid of what I might do.” He spoke flatly, looking away.
“No! You’re supposed to want to protect me, aren’t you? Isn’t that what you’ve been telling me? You’ve spent all summer telling me to trust you to protect me—and I do! But that should go both ways! I don’t want you to get into trouble over something so trivial! If it was Tim trying to hurt me, that would be different, but you’ve worked so hard this summer—I don’t want our love to be the reason you start off on the wrong foot with your new team.” She paused, practically holding her breath as he looked back at her.
“Are we in love?” he asked.
“You have to ask?” She was taken aback. “I mean, I thought we were, but we never actually talked about it…” Her voice trailed off. “If that’s not how you feel—”
“How I feel? I told you once, and have shown you repeatedly, but you’ve never said it! And you spend so much time with Toli…” He felt uncertain with a woman for the first time in his life. “I’m really not sure how you feel, Molly.”
“You’re not?” She asked in a tiny voice. She ran her hands up his chest and then wrapped them around his neck. “Really? You can’t tell that I’m crazy about you? That I’m constantly terrified that I’m going to wake up and find out that you just want to be friends? That I’m too old for you? That I can’t give you kids? I have nothing to offer you—but you’re still here. How could I not love you?”
“Then tell me!” he nearly growled at her, pulling her up against him.