She shook her head. “Yeah, I don’t know. It’s not a pretty story.”
He studied her for a minute, gauging how far to push it. “You’re not the only one with a story, Carol. If you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.”
She chewed her lower lip, avoiding eye contact.
He used one finger to gently lift her chin until she looked him in the eye. Her eyes flickered left and right, searching his face for what he wasn’t sure.
“Sweetheart, I know this is hard. Hey, look at me.” He waited until she focused on his eyes. “My story is difficult to tell, but if it makes you more comfortable, I’ll go first.”
Carol sucked in a sharp breath. “You would do that?”
“For you? Yes.”
“What if.” She looked away and bit her lip. Finally, she looked him in the eyes again. “What if, after you tell me, I can’t go through with it?”
Joe cupped her face with both hands. “Then I’ll wait until you feel comfortable enough to tell me. Darlin’, trust must be earned. This is me, earning yours.”