“But they did love me, Jett. They did. But I believed everything bad that my uncle said about them.”
I turned her toward me and grasped her shoulders. “No, you didn’t,” I growled. “In your heart, you always knew the truth. But there’s no way you couldn’t have had your doubts when crap was being pounded into your head every damn day. You were a kid, Ruby, a teenager who had lost the two people you loved the most. Give yourself a damn break. Your parents would have understood.”
She looked up at me with her liquid dark eyes, and it broke my damn heart to see the turbulence in their depths.
“They loved me, Jett. They always loved me, and my uncle was just…evil. But they had no way of knowing that because he didn’t show that part of himself to them.”
I nodded, relieved that she was finally seeing the truth.
“Oh, God,” she said as she stared back at me.
I gathered the broken woman into my arms as she did something I’d never seen before.
She started sobbing against my shoulder, crying like she’d never stop.
I held her against me, comforting her in her grief, recognizing Ruby Kent finally trusted me, even if she didn’t know it yet.
“Jett, this is incredible,” I said in a breathless voice as I dropped my small purse on a chair in the living room.
My first glance at Jett’s high-rise penthouse had left me stunned.
I’d started to come to terms with his enormous wealth, first on the flight to Ohio, and then to Seattle on his private jet, but the penthouse pretty much blew me away.
Jett leaned a hip against the kitchen counter and watched me flit around the enormous living room as he said, “I thought material things didn’t mean much to you.”
I knew he was teasing. His voice was thick with amusement.
I finally plopped down in a window seat that had a perfect view of the top part of the Space Needle. The penthouse was slightly higher, but it almost looked framed in the window like a picture.
But it was all too real.
“I’m not materialistic,” I argued. “But there’s no way I can’t be impressed by the way the architect designed this place, or the fantastic views.”
I got up and wandered to another large window with a seat and looked at the water. “Is that Puget Sound?”
We were sitting at the top of an incline, so we looked down at sweeping water views.
“Technically, it’s probably Elliott Bay, but it’s still part of the Sound.”
“Can we get closer?” I asked excitedly.
“Why do we need to get closer? You can see it from here.”
“I wasn’t even close to water when I was a kid. And once I got south, I rarely went near the beaches.”
I’d tried to keep my head low and stay out of trouble in Miami. Unfortunately, I’d still fallen for the lies of human traffickers.
Jett chuckled. “There’s a seafood restaurant on a pier not far from here. We can go check it out tomorrow night. You can’t get much closer to the water without swimming.”
I beamed at him, relieved that our relationship was friendly again.
Coping with the revelations about my parents, and the fact that I’d been lied to by my uncle, hadn’t been easy, but Jett had been so supportive that it helped. After I’d cried all over him in the cemetery, we’d talked about some happy memories I’d had with my parents, and we’d fallen into an easy comradery that I’d missed.
I wouldn’t see my inheritance for a while, not until all the legal stuff was done. But at least I knew that my folks had provided for my future, and that I wasn’t completely dependent on anyone.
I turned and stood, crossing my arms as I said, “That means you’re paying for another dinner.”
He nodded, his eyes dancing with humor as he answered, “Makes sense since you don’t have any money yet.” He lifted his hand to stop me from speaking. “And before you start arguing, you can cook the day after tomorrow, and that’s much more than payback for any restaurant we visit. Especially if you make those incredible pastries. I can’t cook worth a damn, so you’ll be saving me money, and we can call it even. Can we agree on that? I’d like to show you Seattle, maybe even get out of the city and check out the wineries and the mountains. But I don’t want to fight every time I pay.”