“A reasonably priced luxury vehicle,” I corrected, not knowing whether I wanted to laugh or cry.
“I’m a guy, Ruby, and I want to know my woman is safe. Don’t cut off my balls over a vehicle,” he teased.
I started to laugh against his shoulder.
There was no way I was going to cut his balls off. I wanted them for myself too much.
Jett and I had started sleeping together, but as of yet, he hadn’t gone beyond satisfying me with his touch. Although I coveted that intimate time with him, I wanted so much more.
“Thank you,” I murmured. “I haven’t really had a birthday since my parents died.”
“There will never be another one that isn’t a special day from now on,” he vowed.
I hugged him tight. There wasn’t a single day since I met Jett that didn’t feel like a very special day. He made everyday things important in their own way.
“Let the party begin upstairs,” he said lightly.
He’d obviously been waiting for me because it was my birthday, and he’d planned a celebration.
I swiped away the tears as I moved back and gave my beautiful transportation one more glance.
He pulled me back toward the elevator, and my soul felt lighter than it ever had before.
I knew it wasn’t about the gift. It was all about the fact that Jett had actually made it his business to find out and remember my birthday.
I was starting to really feel like I was part of a couple.
And it felt pretty damn good.
“Oh, my God. Oh, my God.” I put my hand over my mouth, still unable to believe what I was seeing on my laptop.
“Baby, what’s wrong?” Jett asked from across the table.
We’d just finished a five-star dinner in the dining room of the condo that had been served to us one delicious course at a time.
The only thing left was the beautiful cake in the middle of the table after Jett had dismissed the dinner staff.
But before I cut the cake, I’d wanted to quickly see if I’d passed my GED exam.
“Jett, I think I passed,” I said as I laughed like an idiot because I was so relieved to see that I’d passed in all areas of the test.
“I never doubted it, baby,” he answered as he reached across the table and snagged my laptop.
After a moment, I settled down and looked at his pensive expression as he studied the results.
“What?” I said, alarmed. “Did I miss something? I passed, right?”
“Oh, you passed,” he answered. “Ruby, you got a perfect score. You aced every single test. It’s says you’re college ready with credit, which means you might be able to get college credit because of your high scores if you want to go that route. How did you do this? Did you study?”
I shrugged. “I took some sample tests, but I didn’t really study hard. I was always a good student. And I guess all my library time paid off.”
“I think you’re gifted,” he answered. “I knew you were intelligent, but I didn’t realize just how smart you really are.”
I made a face at him. “I’m not, really. I just pick things up quickly.”
He gave me a skeptical look. “Like math, science, art, and language?”
“I guess.” I really hated to think about all the opportunities I’d missed. “I was in a lot of honors classes in school, so I was studying a lot of college material before I had to run away.”
“Then you obviously had dreams, Ruby. Things you wanted to do with your life.”
“I had a lot of dreams,” I answered. “But I knew my opportunities weren’t going to be there once my mom and dad died. I was applying for scholarships before they were killed, but my uncle insisted that I wasn’t going to college because there was too much evil out there in the world. I guess he never really understood that the person I was the most afraid of was him.”
“What did you want to do?” he asked.
“I was young, so I wanted to conquer the world, have cafes with the best pastries in every major city.”
“Is that still what you want?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think so. Being homeless…changed me. It helped me see a world that I’d never been in before. Homeless people talk to each other sometimes because we don’t have anybody else. Granted, there are some people who are mentally ill and can’t take care of themselves, but there are plenty of people on the streets just like me. Everybody has a story, and all of them are important. So many are just victims of circumstances in one way or another.”