I laugh. “You said I wasn’t your type.”
“I lied. You’re more than my type.”
“You seemed very convincing.”
“I’m an actor, Pins. I’m paid to be convincing.”
“So, how will I actually know when you’re telling me the truth or lying?” I’m teasing, but his face instantly turns serious, surprising me.
“Because I would never lie to you. You’re far too important to me for me to ever do anything to fuck this up.”
My own secret thumps me hard in the chest. I swallow, my mouth suddenly dry. “I know,” I whisper. “I was just teasing.”
“Sorry.” He grabs ahold of my hand and tugs on it. “I just…after what happened with Cain…I just…I would never do that to you.”
“I know you wouldn’t. And I would never cheat on you. You know that, right?”
He looks at me for a long moment. “I know, babe. I trust you.”
I take a sip of wine.
Vaughn gets a strawberry and puts it in his mouth, biting into it. Some of the juice runs down his lip. He catches it with his tongue. “So, tell me about this ex-boyfriend.”
“The ex who Millie slept with.”
“Sounds like a prick.”
I laugh. “He is. A prick who was a drug dealer, which I found out about after six months of dating him. The second I found out, I dumped his sorry ass.”
“How did you find out that he was dealing?”
“I was working on a show, and an actor told me to thank Michael for the coke and that it was good shit, that’d he be telling all his buddies about him.”
“Sounds like a charmer.”
“Oh, yeah, a real charmer.”
“You’ve really gone up in the world with me, Pins.”
I glance at him, and he’s grinning.
“I know, right? But then there wasn’t exactly anywhere for me to go but up after Michael.”
His brow furrows. “I don’t know if that was actually a compliment or not.”
“It was. Well…a backhanded compliment—argh!”
I squeal as he dives on me. Taking me to my back, he pins my hands over my head.
“Your smart mouth is going to get you in trouble one of these days, Charlotte Michaels. Hey, do you realize you’ve got the same surname as your douche ex’s first name?”
“Of course I realized.” I laugh.
“If you’d married him, you could’ve made him change his surname to yours, so he’d have been called Michael Michaels.”
“You’re a fucking comedian, West. And why exactly are you talking about me marrying another man? My ex, to be precise.”
“I have no clue.” He frowns. “The thought actually makes me want to punch a hole in that tree over there.”
“You’d have to be pretty strong to punch a hole in a tree. Like Hulk strong.”
“You’re killing the romantic in my words.”
“Sorry.” I bite the smile on my lips, but I can’t stop the laugh that comes out.
“You suck.” He frowns, climbing off me, sitting down.
I sit up next to him. “I do suck. Very well, according to you.”
He slides a grin at me. “You do have a mouth like a vacuum.”
“Was that another one of your romantic statements?”
“Uh, well, thanks.”
He laughs. “You’re welcome.”
We’re quiet for a moment as we stare out over the view. Vaughn brings his knees up and links his arms around them.
“Can I ask you something?” I say.
He turns his head, resting his chin on his shoulder. “Shoot.”
“Does it, um, bother you that I dated someone who was a drug dealer?” I’m asking to test the water now that he knows. I want to know what he’s willing to tolerate. “I mean, if we went public and the press were to find out, would it bother you?”
“Not at all.”
“What about my past? My father murdering my mom. My father being in prison. If the press found out, they would have a field day.”
“The only thing I would be worried about is you.” He drops his arms and turns around to face me, putting his legs on either side of me. He cups my cheek, turning my face to him. “Is that why you want to still keep us a secret?”
I glance away, looking down.
Maybe. Partly. Not really.
Tell him the truth, Charly.
He slides his fingers under my chin, lifting, forcing my eyes up. “Pins, what happened…you had no control over. You were a kid. I don’t care what the press has to say about it. Nothing about you could ever embarrass me. You’re amazing. I’m crazy about you.”
I stare back at him, my heart beating with love and fear and everything else that I feel for him.
I lean forward and press my lips to his. He moans a sound that hits me straight between my legs. His hand moves from my face to cup the nape of my neck. He shifts in closer, deepening the kiss, taking control.
And, as it always does with Vaughn and me, things get heated fast, and I’m straddling his lap, pressing myself up against him.
And I tell myself that I don’t need to tell him now, that there’s no rush. And Sasha’s wedding is tomorrow. I don’t want to do anything to spoil it for him. He might be okay with what I have to tell him, but just to be sure, I’ll wait.