His eyes narrow. “But?”
“I’m not jealous, if that’s what you think. I just . . . I felt this pinch in my chest, hearing her taunt you like that. I’m not sure why.”
His hand settles on my upper thigh. “You’re in a strange country, and you’ve had a week of hell. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason.”
I lean in and kiss him, wondering why this is bothering me.
“I love that I can say anything to you.”
He tucks a lock of my hair behind my ear, warmth radiating in his voice when he says, “I love that you say what’s on your mind, rather than get upset. How was your call?”
I ease back fully onto the desk. “It was good. Really good.
I’ll tell you about it, but is there any news on Ella at all?”
“Not yet. I’m working every angle I can. I have people looking into everything, from any changes to Neuville’s inancial portfolio to any trips out of the country. Speaking of which, your passport situation should be in order in the next few days.
Stephen’s been assured it was an administrative error.”
“And yet the embassy questioned me and knew about Rebecca?”
“I said the same thing, but what matters is you’re not a suspect, and they’re clearing your passport.” His hands settle on my hips. “Tell me about your call with the attorney.” I relax and share all the details, and when I inish, he stands up and laces his ingers with mine. “I want to show you something.”
Our destination turns out to be an empty room on the same loor as his gallery. “You can use this as an oice.”
“It’s huge.” The size of three corner oices, with its own archway window.
“You can use it to display the art you buy and haven’t sold,”
The idea gets me excited all over again. “Only if you promise to paint me a dragon of my own. The one in your oice is amazing. When do I get to see the collection you said you store here?”
He pulls me close. “Next weekend. I want us to go to the place my parents left me, right outside the city. That’s where it’s at.”
I immediately think of how he’d started to say next week and stopped himself, when we’d been talking about his past.
This trip is about what he’d almost told me yesterday; I know it deep in my gut. There’s something about this trip that will reveal one of his dreaded secrets.
I step close and wrap my arms around him. “Next weekend it is,” I say, and I don’t miss the shadows in his eyes before he kisses me.
It’s near seven on Saturday evening when Chris and I inally break away from one of the staf members raving about his work at the Louvre. I tug my rain jacket closer and Chris tucks my hand in his as we step into the elevator leading to the parking garage.
“I still can’t believe I saw the Mona Lisa,” I say with a blissful sigh. “It’s much smaller than I imagined it to be.”
“It has a lot of hype,” Chris comments, wrapping his arm around my shoulder and turning me toward him.
“It’s the Mona Lisa.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he murmurs, acting as unimpressed as he had earlier. “Where do you want to go tomorrow?”
The elevator opens and our hands automatically meld together, as they have all day. “Back here,” I say. “I love this place.
There’s so much I haven’t seen yet, I could spend days here.”
“It’s a special place, and if you want to come back, then we’ll come back.”
I glance up at him, and my stomach lutters. The man has utterly charmed me today with his desire to be just another tourist, not the famous artist he is. Of course, it didn’t work.
People know him far too well in the Paris art community.
The Porsche 911 comes into view, and Chris has just clicked the locks open when his cell phone rings. He stops and digs it from his pocket, glancing at the number, and tension rolls across his features.
He answers the call. “Is he there?” he asks without pre-amble, and listens before saying, “I’ll be there in ifteen minutes.
Make sure he doesn’t leave.” He grimaces at whatever is said to him, and adds, “You’re resourceful. Figure it out.” Hanging up, he stufs his phone in his pocket.
“Neuville?” I ask immediately.
“Yes. Take the car home and I’ll meet you in an hour.” He tries to hand me the keys.
I refuse to take them. “I’m going with you.”
“Forget it, Sara.”
“I can’t drive in Paris traic. And even if I did, I can’t sit around at home and wait for answers,” I argue, pressing my hand to his chest. “I’ll go insane. You know I will. Besides, I’ll know things about Ella you won’t. I’ll catch lies you can’t.”
His lips thin. “Sara—”
“It’s not like this will put me on his radar, Chris. I’m already on it. I’ll be with you. I’ll be safe.”
He stares down at me for several intense seconds, his expression impassive while I hold my breath and wait for his reply.
Finally he scrubs a hand down his face and studies the ceiling above me. “You do exactly what I say, when I say it. It won’t be for no reason.”
Relief washes over me. “Yes. I’ll do whatever you say.”
He studies me, his eyes glinting steel. “You never do whatever I say.”