Double Major

By: Catherine Gayle

“I already love it because it’s part of you.”

Liam gave me a look that made it clear he didn’t believe me.

“I do,” I insisted. “And I want to see it the way you see it, not like a tourist. I want to see the country you love so much so I can make it a part of me.”

His jaw dropped for a brief moment, but then he was shaking his head. “You’re talking like you already love Sweden.”

“That’s because I do. I’m sure I will.”


“Because I love you.”

“I…” He kept staring at me, dumbfounded. “What if you don’t love it when we get there?”

“You don’t really think that I could hate the country you love, do you?” It seemed as though I already had been there, just from experiencing it through the way he would tell me about it. We’d looked at his pictures and videos online, and it was alive in my mind because of his obvious love for his home.

For a long time, he stared at me as though he was trying to figure out if I was telling him the truth or simply what I thought he would want to hear. That wasn’t me, though, and he knew it. I would never say something just to appease him. He knew I was telling him the truth. He had to know that.

“I wanted to talk to you about maybe living there half of the year or so. After I retire from the NHL. Not right away. But we could live in the house in Portland half the time so you could be near your brothers—”

“And live in Gothenburg so we can be near your family the rest of the time,” I finished for him.

“You’re smiling. Like you’re okay with that idea.”

I shrugged. “I thought it was fairly obvious that would work out best for us. Once you retire, at least.”

“Oh.” Liam stopped tickling my palm. “You would do that for me?”

“I would do that for us,” I corrected him. “I can be happy anywhere as long as I’m with you.”

He tugged my hand toward him and kissed the skin on the inside of my wrist that was already electrified from his touch, filling me with his warmth and love and every good thing under the moon. “Jag älskar dig, älskling. Somehow I love you more every day than the day before.”

“That’s good, because I love you more than I know how to handle.”

The waiter came back with his crème brûlée, setting it down between us and holding out a tray with two spoons for us to take.

“Okay, fine,” I said, laughing. I broke through the hardened sugary crust and scooped up a small bite of the creamy decadence. “Can we still stay up to see the midnight sun, though?”

“As often as you want. Someday when we’re there in the winter, we can see the aurora borealis. And we can go skiing and ice fishing and…”

He kept telling me all the things we would do when we were in Sweden, and I soaked it all in. He really came alive when he talked about his home, his family, and the way of life he’d known as a boy. I couldn’t wait until we arrived there tomorrow. It was just one more way I would be able to learn all there was to know about him, and Liam Kallen was a man I wanted to know every tiny detail about.

It wouldn’t even matter to me if I only knew a dozen words in Swedish as long as I knew him.

“YOU DON’T HAVE to do this tonight.” I looked across at Sara before opening the car door, trying to gauge the precise degree of pissed-off-ness she’d reached. “She gave you her phone number. You can call or even just send a text and say you just aren’t up to it after today. Then we’ll go back to the hotel, and you can spend some more time thinking about what you want to do and say.”

We were sitting in a Starbucks parking lot—the coffee shop nearest the wedding venue—where Dana was supposed to meet with Dina Connor. The plan was for the two of them to have some coffee and discuss what they wanted their relationship to be moving forward, and for that matter, whether they even wanted there to be a relationship at all. They intended to figure out if they wanted this enough to put in the effort, and I really hoped they decided to move forward with getting to know each other. Family is important. I wanted Sara to have as much family as she deserved.

Dina’s husband had taken their kids back to their hotel so there would be less pressure on Sara. That had been at my suggestion. It was one thing for Sara and her mother to talk and hash out the past. It was something else entirely to add half siblings and a stepfather, all of whom Sara had never officially met, to the mix. Small steps were key in a situation like this.

She didn’t try to hide her eyes from me, but Sara had never been one to shy away from a confrontation. She was far more likely to fly toward one with balled-up fists flailing than to sit back and think about things rationally, as evidenced by the bathroom incident. I supposed between the pair of us, I was the sensible half of our partnership. That was all right with me. Sara needed someone to balance her out, and I was more than happy to take on that role.

I hated seeing her as torn up over something as she had been all day, though. Most of the time, it was me doing something to piss her off. At least when I was the one behind it, I could weather the storm of tears and curses and sarcastic comments until we worked through whatever I’d done. When it was someone else—and particularly when it was someone as important to her as her mother—I didn’t know what I could do other than stay by her side. I just had to wait for her to need something from me or tell me to fuck off or try to punch me in the nose since it wouldn’t be a good idea to punch her mother.

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