When Tahey was still unresponsive after the third knock, Dmitry knew there was only one thing left to do.
Tahey sat up in shock when her boss suddenly came striding inside her room and stopped by the foot of her bed.
Dmitry's gaze turned brooding as he took in Tahey's tear-stained face. "You've been crying," he said tautly.
She started to deny this, but then she remembered his warning about not lying, and she found herself slowly nodding instead.
Tahey swallowed hard. "It's my dad."
Dmitry stiffened. Shit. It was the last thing he expected her to say, and his first instinct was to say nothing and simply walk away. To talk about her father would only make things complicated, but then he saw the way her lip had once again started to tremble...
He pulled the vanity chair to the side of her bed and sat down. "Tell me about it."
The curtly spoken words stunned her, but it also made Tahey feel like laughing and crying at the same time. In any other day, being with Dmitry in a room with a bed in it would have been a dream come true. Now, however...
"How much do you really know about my dad?" she heard herself ask unevenly.
"Then if I tell you I hate him..."
"And if I tell you I love him still?"
This time, Dmitry didn't answer, and she couldn't blame him.
"I wish I could stop loving him," she whispered painfully, "but I can't. He was a good dad - no, he was a great dad. A w-wonderful dad. And I always used to think that I was so lucky to have him, until..." Tahey's voice broke. "When I learned the truth, and he admitted it, and he didn't even see anything wrong with what he did...I had to leave."
"And is that why you're crying?" Dmitry forced himself to ask. "Because you want to go back—-" He stopped speaking with the way Tahey was already shaking her head.
"I got a call from him," she said jerkily. "From prison."
Dmitry's gaze became shuttered.
"And he called, he called just to let me know that h-he...he knows." Tahey's chest tightened. "He knows I'm the one who told the police..." Tahey squeezed her eyes shut. "He knows I'm the one who turned him..." Her voice caught for a second time, and she could no longer make herself speak.
Tears clogged her throat, and she curled her fingers into fists. She knew she had done the right thing, and yet...
Why, baby? Why did you do it?
Daddy, I'm sorry.
I'm your dad.
I did everything for you.
I'm sorry, Dad, I'm so sorry.
Her body shook at the effort it took to keep her tears in check, but then she felt it—-
Dmitry's fingers carefully wiping the tears away from her cheek, and the shock of it made her eyes fly wide open.
Dmitry had leaned forward from his seat, and his cold, beautiful face with his glittering golden eyes were just inches away from her, his golden gaze veiled even as he continued to wipe her tears away.
"Why are you being so nice?" she heard herself ask tremulously. "Is this pity again?"
The fingers on her cheek stilled, and after a moment she heard him say quietly, "No."
Another moment passed, and then he was rising to his feet, and Tahey had to bite her lip hard. He was leaving, and she wanted to cry out for him to stay.
But apparently, she was wrong.
Because while Dmitry did leave, he also came back a few minutes later, and the next thing she knew, a lap tray had been placed over her legs, and her mouth had started to water.
Steak, mashed potatoes, buttered vegetables, and even a bowl of her favorite clam chowder!
"You can't go to bed with an empty stomach," Dmitry said gruffly.
"Thank—-" But her boss was already walking away, and she could only watch helplessly as the door swung shut behind him. If he wasn’t doing these things out of pity, then dare she hope?
Could it be that for him, too?Chapter SevenTahey was up early the next day, her heart in a shambles. It still felt heavy, with Tahey unable to shake off the feeling that she had betrayed Thomas. But at the same time, her heart couldn't help singing just a little, with memories of Dmitry's tenderness playing over and over even in her sleep.
Since October in Paris was supposed to have unpredictable weather, Tahey decided to dress in layers: striped, short-sleeved knitted blouse, a dark skirt over leggings, and a trench coat to pair with her boots.
She also took time to apply a light coat of makeup and carefully worked on her long blonde hair to have it neatly braided up in a single plait. She was hoping that Dmitry would say she looked pretty once he saw her, but the moment she joined the two brothers in the lounge...