I turned my attention back to Gideon’s profile, scrolling down to see that the most recent post was a link to an article about our engagement. I doubted he’d posted it himself; he was too busy to bother with something like that. But I figured he’d approved it. If not, he had somehow already made it clear that I was important enough to become the one bit of personal news that was okay to be shared on an otherwise business-focused profile.
Gideon was proud of me. Proud to be marrying me, a hot mess with a history of bad choices. Whatever anyone else thought, I knew I was the one who’d bagged and tagged the prize.
“Fuck.” Cary slouched into the chair. “Make me feel like an ass.”
“If the shoe fits . . .” I muttered, clicking on the link to view other photos of Gideon.
It was a mistake.
All the pictures posted by his social media admin were business-related, but the unofficial pictures he’d been tagged in weren’t. There, in living color, were images of him with beautiful women. And they hit me hard. Jealousy clawed and twisted my stomach.
God, he looked amazing in a tuxedo. Dark and dangerous. His face savagely beautiful, his cheekbones and mouth chiseled perfection, his posture confident and more than a little arrogant. An alpha male in his prime.
I knew the photos weren’t recent. I knew the women in them didn’t have firsthand knowledge of his insanely mad skills in bed; he had a rule about that. Neither of which stopped the images from making me twitchy.
“Am I the last to know?” Cary asked.
“You’re the only one.” I glanced at Raúl. “At least on my side. Gideon wants to tell the world, but we’re going to keep it under wraps.”
He studied me. “For how long?”
“Forever. The next wedding we have will be our first as far as anyone else is concerned.”
“You having second thoughts?”
It killed me that Cary didn’t care that we had an audience. I was hyperaware that every move I made, every word I said was being witnessed.
Not that Raúl’s presence had any effect on my answer. “No. I’m glad we’re married. I love him, Cary.”
I was glad Gideon was mine. And I missed him. Worse after seeing those pictures.
“I know you do,” Cary said with a sigh.
Unable to help myself, I opened the messaging app on my laptop and sent Gideon a text. I miss you.
He texted back almost instantly. Turn the plane around.
That made me smile. It was so like him. And so unlike me. Wasting the pilots’ time, the fuel . . . it seemed so frivolous to me. More than that, though, would be the proof of how dependent on Gideon I’d become. That would be the kiss of death in our relationship. He could have anything, any woman, at any time. If I ever became too easy for him, we’d both lose respect for me. Losing his love wouldn’t be far behind.
I returned to my new profile and uploaded a selfie I’d taken with Gideon that I synced from my smartphone. I made it the masthead image. Then I tagged him and gave it a description: The love of my life.
After all, if his photos were going to include him with women, I wanted at least one of them to be me. And the one I’d chosen was undeniably intimate. We lay on our backs, our temples touching, my face bare of makeup and his relaxed with a smile in his eyes. I dared anyone to look at it and not see that I had a private bond with him the world would never know.
I suddenly wanted to call him. So badly that I could almost hear that amazingly sexy voice, as intoxicating as top-shelf liquor, smooth with just a hint of bite. I wanted to be with him, my hand in his, my lips against his throat where the smell of his skin called to something hungry and primitive inside me.
It scared me sometimes, how much I needed him. To the exclusion of everything else. There was no one I wanted to be with more, including my best friend, who was at that moment needing me almost as fiercely.
“It’s all good, Cary,” I assured him. “Don’t worry.”
“I’d be more worried if I thought you actually believed that.” He shoved the bangs off his forehead with an impatient hand. “It’s too soon, Eva.”
I nodded. “But it’ll work out.”
It had to. I couldn’t imagine my life without Gideon in it.
Cary’s head dropped back and his eyes closed. I might have thought he was succumbing to the motion sickness pills, except his knuckles were white from gripping the armrests too tightly. He was taking the news hard. I didn’t know what I could say to reassure him.
You’re still heading in the wrong direction, Gideon texted.
I almost asked him how he knew that, but caught myself. Are you having a good time with the guys?
I’d have more fun with you.
I grinned. I would hope so. My fingers paused, then: I told Cary.
The answer wasn’t instantaneous. Still friends?
He hasn’t disowned me yet.
He didn’t say anything to that, and I told myself not to read too much into his silence. He was out with his guys. It had been asking a lot to even hear from him at all.
Still, I was super happy to get a text from him ten minutes later.
Don’t stop missing me.
I looked over at Cary and found him watching me. Was Gideon facing similar disapproval from his friends?
Don’t stop loving me, I texted back.
His answer was simple and very much Gideon. Deal.
“SOCAL, baby, I missed you.” Cary descended the steps from the plane to the tarmac, tilting his head back to look up at the night sky. “God, it’s good to leave that East Coast humidity behind.”