Captivated by You

Page 105

And why the hell did the two choices have to be mutually exclusive? It wasn’t fair.

“You’re running him through the wringer,” Cary pointed out, unnecessarily.

“He’s done it, not me.” Gideon had taken something precious from me, but worse, he had taken something precious away from us—my free will and the trust I’d given him to respect it. After that last night we’d had . . . as much as I had trusted him and opened myself to him . . . And he’d already talked to Mark. The feeling of betrayal was heartrending. “Thanks for sticking with me.”

He shrugged. “I like Stanton. It’s no hardship hanging at his place a few days. We are eventually going home, right?”

“I can’t hide forever.”

“So you’ve always said,” he muttered. “Personally, I like hiding. Just taking a f**king break and forgetting about all the crap.”

“But the crap’s always out there waiting for you.” And knowing that, I always preferred to face it head-on. Get it out of the way and behind me.

“Let it wait,” he said, reaching up to ruffle my hair.

Turning my head, I pressed a kiss to his cheek. I’d cried gallons on him the last three days and curled up against him at night. At times, it felt like his arms were the only things holding me together.

God. I hurt all over. I was a f**king mess, a zombie in the vibrantly lively city of New York.

Where was Gideon now? Was the pain of our separation starting to ease? Or was he still as devastated by it as I was?

“Mark asked me to move to Cross Industries with him,” I said, just to force my mind onto something else.

“Well, you saw that coming.”

“I guess, but it was still surreal when he brought it up.” I sighed. “He’s so excited, Cary. He’s getting a hefty raise, and that will change a lot of things for him and Steven. They’ll be able to afford a really fancy wedding plus a long honeymoon, and they’re looking for a condominium now. It’s hard to hold on to my resentment when this is such a good thing for him.”

“Are you going to work for Gideon?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t kidding when I told him I was halfway toward making that decision on my own. But now . . . I kinda want to apply elsewhere just to spite him.”

Cary lifted his fists and shadowboxed. “Show him he’s not the boss of you.”

“Yeah.” I threw a few punches, too, just to give myself a little lift. “But that’s stupid. I’d never know if I got hired for me or for his name, whether that turned out to be a good or a bad thing. Anyway, I’ve got a month before Mark moves on. I’ve got time to think about it.”

“Maybe Waters Field and Leaman will keep you. Have you considered that?”

“It’s a possibility. I’m not sure how I would respond. It would save me a job search, but I wouldn’t have Mark, and he’s the reason I love my job. Would I still want to be there without him?”

“You’d still have Megumi and Will.”

“There’s that,” I agreed.

We lay there in companionable silence for a while.

Then he said, “So it looks like you and me are just floating around in the hell-if-I-know boat.”

“Trey is going to call,” I assured him, even though I still had no idea what Trey would say when he did.

“Sure. He’s a nice guy. He won’t leave me hanging.” Cary sounded so weary. “It’s what he’s going to say, not when, that’s the kicker.”

“I know. Love should be easier than this,” I complained.

“If this were a romantic comedy, it’d be called Love Actually Sucks.”

“Maybe we should’ve stuck with Sex and the City.”

“Tried that. Ended up Knocked Up. I should’ve gone for being a 40-Year-Old Virgin, but I had way too much of a head start.”

“We can write a manual on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Weeks.”

Cary looked at me. “Fucking perfect.”

WEDNESDAY morning hit me like a hangover.

Getting ready for work at my mom’s place helped me to not miss Gideon so much, but it sure as hell didn’t separate me from my mother, who was driving me nuts talking about the wedding nonstop. Even Stanton, with his endless capacity for indulging my mom’s neurosis, gave me sympathetic looks when he was around.

I couldn’t think about the wedding now. I couldn’t think beyond each and every hour of the day. That was how I was getting by—one hour at a time.

When I stepped out of the lobby onto the street, I found Angus waiting for me with the Bentley rather than Raúl with the Benz. I managed a smile, genuinely pleased to see him, but I was wary, too.

“Good morning, Angus.” I jerked my chin toward the car and whispered, “Is he in there?”

He shook his head, then touched the brim of his vintage chauffeur’s hat. “Good morning, Mrs. Cross.”

I squeezed his shoulder briefly before sliding past the door he opened and into the backseat. In short order we were easing into the snarl of morning traffic and heading toward midtown.

Leaning forward, I asked, “How is he?”

“Worse than you, I expect.” He glanced at me briefly before returning his attention to traffic. “He’s suffering, lass. Last night was the hardest.”

“God.” I sank back into the seat, at a loss for what to do.

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