I indulged in a mental fist pump. Score one for Gideva.
“You also said there was something you wanted more than having sex with me,” he reminded me dryly, the look in his eyes calling my bluff.
“Well, I wouldn’t put it quite like that.” I ran my fingers through his hair. “Banging you is literally my favorite activity. Ever.”
He smirked. “But?”
“You’re going to think I’m silly.”
“I’ll still think you’re hot.”
I kissed him for that. “In high school, most of the girls I knew had boyfriends. You know how it is, raging hormones and epic love stories.”
“So I heard,” he said wryly.
My words caught in my throat. So stupid of me to forget how it must have been for Gideon. He’d had no one until Corinne in college, too damaged by Hugh’s exploitation to have the normal teenage-love-affair angst I was thinking of.
I cursed silently. “Forget it. It’s lame.”
“You know that’s not going to work.”
“Just this once?”
He shook his head. “Spit it out.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Fine. Teenagers talk on the phone at night for hours because they have school and parents and can’t be together. They spend all night chatting with their boyfriends about … whatever. I never had that. I never …” I bit back my embarrassment. “I never had a guy like that.”
I didn’t have to explain. Gideon knew how I’d been. How sex had once been my twisted way to feel loved. The guys I’d fucked hadn’t called me. Not before or after.
“Anyway,” I finished, my voice rough, “I had this idea that we could have that for now … while we’re waiting. Late-night calls where we talk just to hear each other’s voice.”
He stared at me.
“It sounded better in my head,” I muttered.
Gideon was quiet for a long minute. Then he kissed me. Hard.
I was still reeling from that when he pulled away and spoke in a voice that was more than a little hoarse.
“I’m that guy for you, Eva.”
My throat tightened up.
“Every milestone, angel. Every rite of passage … Everything.” He swiped at the tear that leaked out of the corner of my eye. “And you’re that girl for me.”
“God.” I gave a watery laugh. “I love you so much.”
Gideon smiled. “I’m heading home now, because that’s what you want. And you’re going to call me and tell me that again, because that’s what I want.”
I woke before my alarm the next day. Lying in bed for a few minutes, I let my brain wake up as much as it was going to without coffee. I forced myself to focus on the fact that it was the start of my final day at work.
Surprisingly, I felt more than good about that. I felt … impatient. It really was time to shake things up.
And now the really big question. What to wear?
I rolled out of bed and hit my closet. After rifling through pretty much everything, I decided on an emerald green sheath dress that had an asymmetrical neckline and hemline. It showed a little more leg than I would normally consider for work, but why end the way I began? Why not take the opportunity to transition from the former to the future?
Today was Eva Tramell’s last. On Monday, Eva Cross would have her debut. I could picture her. Short and blond against her husband’s tall and dark but as dangerous as him in a very similar way.
Or maybe not. Maybe, play up the differences. Opposite sides of the same, sharp blade …
With a final glance at my cheval mirror, I headed into the bathroom to put on my makeup.
A short time later, Cary poked his head in. He whistled. “Lookin’ good, babe.”
“Thanks.” I dropped my lipstick brush back into its stand. “Can I talk you into helping me with a chignon?”
He sauntered in wearing nothing but Grey Isles boxer briefs, looking not so different from the billboards of him presently gracing phone kiosks and buses around the city. “Translation: Do it for you. Of course.”
My best friend got to work, expertly brushing and twisting my hair into a sleek, elegant bun.
“That was pretty intense last night,” he said, after pulling the last hairpin out of his mouth. “Having a living room full of black suits like that.”
My eyes met his in the mirror. “Three suits.”
“Two suits and Gideon,” he shot back, “who can fill a room by his damn self.”
I couldn’t argue with that.
He flashed his megawatt smile. “If anyone gets wind that I’ve got a private security detail, they’ll think either I’m bigger shit than they knew or I’ve got an inflated sense of my own importance. Both of which are true.”
Standing, I lifted onto my tiptoes and kissed his chin. “You won’t even know they’re around. They’ll be in super stealth mode.”
“Betcha I can spot ’em.”
“Five bucks,” I said, skirting around him to get a pair of heels from the bedroom.
“What? How about five big ones, Mrs. Cross?”