I contemplate all that might have befallen her while I was safely back here in the States. I am all doom and gloom tonight, but then, I’ve been locked in a dark storage unit and scared shitless. I am giving myself tonight to wallow in it. I decide that might not be a good idea, when I blink and realize I don’t remember pulling into the driveway of Chris’s place, and the doorman is standing beside my car.
With my purse strap over my shoulder, I step out of the car and hand the twenty-something doorman I don’t recognize my keys. I glance up at the high-rise that is more luxury hotel than apartment and am reminded of how rich and powerful Chris is and how humbly he wears his success. “Thank you,” I murmur.
“We need your bag from the trunk,” Chris reminds me, and the bellman pops the trunk. Chris’s leather jacket slides open to reveal the stretch of a black T-shirt over his incredibly hot body, and I decide the heck with wallowing in doom and gloom. I’m going to wallow in Chris tonight.
“I can bring it up,” the doorman offers.
“I got it,” Chris says and quickly grabs my bags, and I know this is because Chris doesn’t want to be disturbed once we are upstairs. I approve. Oh yes, I do.
I fall into step with Chris, and I am not surprised by how comfortable I feel by his side. He has a way of making me feel alive and at ease that I have never felt before. It’s a big part of what drew me to him from the beginning. It’s also why I know I can go places with him no one else could take me.
We stop just inside the lobby, where fancy marble glistens under our feet and expensive furniture decorates a sitting room to our left. Jacob, the building security officer, whom I’ve met on a prior visit, is looking as I remember him, all Men in Black in a dark suit and earpiece, where he stands by a counter. He is impressively capable of pulling off the stone-faced serious persona but his eyes light on me with approval. “Welcome back, Ms. McMillan.”
“Ms. McMillan will be staying here all week while I travel. I’ll need you to ensure she’s well looked after.”
Jacob’s expression is back to stone but his gaze meets mine and he gives a small nod. “Anything you need, just ask.”
“Thank you, Jacob,” I say, and I mean it. He has a way about him that makes me feel I can trust him, and I think it’s because I sense Chris trusts him, and I have a sense that Chris doesn’t trust easily.
The two men exchange a few casual words, and when finally Chris and I step onto the elevator, I am suddenly, ridiculously nervous. It isn’t like this is my first time at Chris’s apartment but much has happened in the past few days. I do not know what to expect besides the unexpected with Chris, and while this excites me, it is hard not to feel some trepidation.
I lean against the wall and our eyes meet, and no matter how hard I try to stop rambling when I’m nervous, I never seem to succeed. “When you’re in Paris, if I try to call you, will I be able reach you?”
His eyes narrow and darken. “I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, Sara.”
His reply hits an instant nerve, and I know it is partly because staying with him is a shift in our relationship. It’s taking the vulnerable theme of the night to a whole new level. I do not want him to see this in me and my gaze drops to the ground. I try to fight what I am feeling but his words play in my head. Anytime soon. Eventually he will leave. We need each other right now, I tell myself, two broken people who have connected in the depths of all our f**ked-upness. I wonder why it feels that it isn’t enough when only days ago it was exactly what I wanted.
The doors open to reveal his apartment and my gaze jerks to Chris’s. He is watching me with an unreadable expression. I cut my gaze and walk from the elevator into his apartment. The entire front wall window of twinkling city lights is one big erotic memory of him pressing me against it, of the danger of it breaking, and even more so of trusting him, while he f**ked me senseless. I want to be senseless right now in an almost desperate way.
“Sara,” he says softly from behind me.
I turn to him, and I launch into the obvious deflection he is too smart not to see for what it is. “My friend I told you about, the one who is in Paris. I can’t reach her. I just get a fast busy signal.”
He hesitates a moment, and I know he’s contemplating pushing me to talk about what just happened in the elevator, but he doesn’t. “Sounds like she’s in one of the more remote areas, which isn’t uncommon when people take tours.”
We are still standing by the elevator and it feels awkward but I don’t know where to go. To the living room? To his bedroom? “I guess that makes sense,” I say, hoping the logical answer is the right one. “It’s her honeymoon, so seeing the country would be logical while there.”
“What has you worried about her all of a sudden?”
“It’s not all of a sudden, but . . . nobody is worried about Rebecca, and Ella, she has no one but me to worry about her.”
Seconds tick by and I want to rip a reply from him before he says, “You have me. You know that, right?”
I swallow hard against the lump that forms in my throat. “I know.” But a voice in my head rejects my reply.
Awareness flickers in his eyes and I know he sees what I do not want him to see. He pulls me to him and kisses me. “I’m going to make you believe that the next time you say it.” He runs a hand over my hair. “And before this night is over. Now off to my bedroom, where I’ve wanted you all night.” He turns me and swats my backside.