Wouldn’t that be fun to explain?
Glancing across the luxurious cabin of Gideon’s private jet, I found my best friend sprawled along the white leather sofa with his hands tucked behind his head. Long and lean, he was a pretty picture with his shirt riding high and his cargo pants riding low, exposing the amazing abs that were helping Grey Isles to sell jeans, underwear, and other men’s clothing.
Cary had no problem whatsoever accustoming himself to the luxurious conveniences of Gideon’s immense wealth. He’d settled immediately and comfortably into the elegant appointments of the ultra-modern cabin. And somehow, even casually dressed, he looked perfectly at home amid the brushed steel and gray oak.
“I’m trying to set up some social media accounts,” I answered.
“Whoa.” He sat up with effortless grace, his posture surprisingly and instantly alert. “Big step.”
“Yeah.” Nathan had kept me hiding, afraid to put myself out there and risk making it easy for him to find me. “But it’s time. I feel like . . . Never mind. It’s just time.”
“All right.” He set his elbows on his knees and tapped his fingertips together. “Then why is your face all scrunched up like that?”
“Well, there’s a lot to consider. I mean, how much do I share out there? I don’t have to worry about Nathan anymore, but Gideon is under constant scrutiny.”
With my thoughts on Gideon, I ran a search for his profile. It popped up with the little blue check mark that told me it was verified as belonging to him. The sight of his picture, a shot of him in a black three-piece suit and the blue tie I loved, sent a pang of longing through me. He’d been photographed on a rooftop with the skyline of Manhattan fuzzily out of focus behind him, while he was sharply and vividly captured by the camera’s lens.
He was even sharper and more vibrant in reality. I stared into Gideon’s eyes, getting lost in that impossible blue. His black hair framed that perfect fallen-angel face in strands of glossy, inky silk.
Poetic? Yes. But then his looks could inspire sonnets. To say nothing of spur-of-the-moment marriage.
When had the photo been taken? Before we’d met? He had the implacable, remote look that made him seem like such an impossible dream.
“I’m married,” I blurted out, tearing my gaze away from the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. “To Gideon, of course. Who else would I be married to?”
Cary froze while I rambled. “Come again?”
I rubbed my palms on my yoga pants. It was a cop-out telling him the news while motion sickness drugs lulled his brain, but I’d take any advantage I could get. “When we went away last weekend. We eloped.”
He was quiet for a long, weighted minute. Then he exploded to his feet. “Are you shitting me?”
Raúl’s head turned in our direction. The movement was casual and unhurried, but his gaze was vigilant and watchful. He sat in the far corner, being eerily unobtrusive for such a hard-to-miss guy.
“What’s the damned rush?” Cary snapped.
“It just . . . happened.” I couldn’t explain it. I’d thought it was too soon. Still did. But Gideon was the only man I would ever love so completely. When I considered that, I knew Gideon had been right; we’d only be postponing the inevitable. And Gideon needed my promise that I was his forever. My amazing husband who found it so hard to believe he could be loved. “I’m not sorry.”
“Not yet.” Cary shoved both hands into his hair. “Jesus, Eva. You don’t up and marry the first guy you have a serious relationship with.”
“It’s not like that,” I protested, awkwardly avoiding looking at Raúl. “You know how we feel about each other.”
“Sure. You two are whack jobs separately. Together, you’re a goddamn nut house.”
I flipped him the bird. “We’ll work on it. Wearing a ring doesn’t mean we stop figuring things out.”
He dropped into the chair across from me. “What incentive has he got to fix anything? He’s bagged and tagged the prize. You’re stuck with his psychotic dreams and Grand Canyon–sized mood swings.”
“Wait a minute,” I said tightly, feeling the sting of truth in his words. “You didn’t get upset when I told you we were engaged.”
“Because I figured it’d be a year, at the very least, before Monica got the wedding worked out. Maybe a year and a half. At least some time for you two to try living together.”
I let him rant. Better that he did it at thirty thousand feet than in some public venue where the whole world could hear.
He leaned closer, his green eyes fierce. “I’m having a baby and I’m not getting married. You know why? Because I’m too f**ked up and I know it. I’ve got no business hitching a passenger on this wild ride. If he loved you, he’d be thinking about you and what’s best for you.”
“I’m so glad you’re happy for me, Cary. That means a lot.”
The words dripped with sarcasm, but they were honest in their own way. There were girlfriends I could call who would tell me what an amazingly lucky bitch I was. Cary was my closest friend because he always gave it to me straight, even when I desperately wanted sugarcoating.
But Cary was thinking only about the darkness. He didn’t understand the light Gideon brought into my life. The acceptance and the love. The safety. Gideon had given me my freedom back, a life without terror. Giving him vows in return was too simple a repayment for that.