“This is nice,” Genevieve said.
“Can I ask you something personal?”
“Will it stop you if I say no?”
She smiled. “Probably not.”
“What happened between you and Soraya?”
“I’d rather not talk about it.”
There were so many unanswered questions in my head. Maybe it was finally time to get some answers. “Can I ask you a personal question?”
Her eyebrows jumped. “Anything.”
“You sure about that?”
“Let me get us something stronger than wine first.” I finished my second glass of wine while Genevieve disappeared to the kitchen. She came back with two glasses of cognac. “Why don’t we go sit in the living room?”
Genevieve slipped off her high heels, then joined me on the couch. We were both quiet, sipping our drinks for a while. I stared at the floor when I finally spoke, “What made you turn to Liam?” It was a question I’d spent the better part of a year wondering about. The recent occurrences had obviously brought it to the forefront of my thoughts once again.
She blew out an audible breath. “I asked myself that same question a million times. The answer isn’t so simple. I was selfish. I liked the attention that Liam gave me. You were so busy and wrapped up in growing your business that I think I felt a little neglected. That’s not to say it’s your fault. Because it’s not. I just wanted to be the center of your world—the reason that you liked getting out of bed each morning. Don’t get me wrong, we were compatible on so many levels. We had our work, and the sex was nothing short of spectacular ever. But I just never felt like I was the love of your life. Liam made me feel that way. The problem was, after we broke up and I was with Liam, I realized he wasn’t the reason I got out of bed each morning. You were.”
I glanced up at Genevieve for the first time. Four years ago I could never have understood what she was talking about. I had thought she was the love of my life. Until I met Soraya. I had to force myself to get out of bed these last few days since she wasn’t in my life anymore.
I nodded. “Thank you for being honest with me.”
“It’s the least I could do.”
I gulped back the remnants of my glass and stood. “I think I need another one. Would you like a refill?”
“No, thank you.”
The next tall glass of alcohol left me feeling even more relaxed. Genevieve and I moved our conversation to lighter topics, and I settled into the couch comfortably waiting for my daughter.
“Graham?” Her tone had changed, and she hesitated until I was looking her in the eyes. “I’m sorry. I know I’ve said it before, but I want you to know that I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I hate that I hurt you, and I wish I could do it all over again and take back all of my selfish decisions.”
“I’ve matured since then. Having a child taught me a lot about myself. I don’t need to be the center of anyone’s universe anymore, because she’s mine.”
“I can see that.”
It wasn’t until I stood to go to the bathroom an hour later that all of the alcohol really hit me. I’d had a drink in my office before I left, two glasses of wine over dinner, and it had to be four cognacs. Drunk was never a sensation I enjoyed. The feeling of not being in a clear state of mind was normally something that I despised. But tonight, it felt good. My shoulders were relaxed, and the anger that I’d been carrying around seemed to have lightened a bit as well.
After I relieved myself, I went in search of another refill for my perpetually empty glass and then stumbled my way back to the living room. Genevieve wasn’t there, and it was quiet. I sucked down half my glass and shut my eyes, leaning my head back against the couch. I must have fallen asleep for a few minutes before Genevieve’s voice woke me up.
“Chloe just called while I was upstairs getting changed and asked if she could sleep at Emily’s. She was so excited. I just couldn’t say no. I’m sorry. I hope you’re not upset with me for not asking you first.”
“As long as she’s happy, I’m happy. It’s late. I should get going anyway.” I stood from the couch and wobbled a bit.
“Why don’t I make you some coffee first. Then you can call your driver or a cab, rather than take the train.”
“That’s probably a good idea.” The couch was so comfy, I plopped myself right back down on it and closed my eyes. That was the last thing I remembered doing until Genevieve’s voice woke me hours later in the middle of the night.