Zach woke to pounding. Eyes snapping open, he jerked upward. For a full five seconds, he didn’t recognize his surroundings but quickly became aware of bitter, cold air eating through his jeans and jacket and into his skin. Cobwebs cleared from inside his head.
He turned. A beam of light cut into his vision. For a wild moment he thought he was wearing those ungodly sunglasses until the beam shifted and Holly’s face hovered on the outside of the driver’s door.
He turned the key in the ignition and hit the button to open the window. The glass hummed downward. More frigid air rushed into the SUV and blasted into his face.
“Zach. Why are you here?”
He couldn’t see her expression, because the flashlight pointed at him, but he heard the disbelief in her raised voice.
“I must have fallen asleep.” He rubbed the stiffness from his neck and blinked against the light. “You can aim the flashlight somewhere else.”
“Sorry.” She pointed the light at the ground. “Were you here the entire night?”
Frowning, he glanced through the windshield at the black sky, then realized a number of neighbors had since shut off their Christmas lights. The clock on his dashboard gleamed neon green. Four-fifteen. “I wanted to make sure you were safe and…”
“Because of Dean?” She shook her head. A strain of sadness threaded her words. “Don’t do that again. Promise me.”
“I can’t do that.”
She pulled the collar of her thick down jacket up against her neck with gloved hands. Her eyes watered and he suspected it had nothing to do with the frigid air. “You’re going to have to, Zach. I’ve moved on. I deserve some happiness. We both do, but it needs to be with other people.”
Son-of-a-bitch. “You don’t understand—”
“No I don’t, and right now isn’t the time to be having a conversation. I’m tired. You’re probably even more tired.” She nodded to the length of the street. “Go home.”
His jaw tightened in frustration. She didn’t wait for a reply but pivoted and hurried back to her house. It was pointless going after her. They’d probably end up in a fight, and he’d just make their ruined relationship that much worse.
For the second time that night she closed the door and didn’t look back.