“It’s Blake,” he announces after glancing at the caller ID.
The name is like a cold splash of water on the warm, wonderful adventure we’re sharing. Since Blake has been investigat-ing both Rebecca’s and Ella’s disappearances, I’m not sure if I should expect good or bad news.
“Easy, baby,” Chris murmurs, running his hand up and down my arm as if he feels my sudden chill. “Everything’s okay.”
But I don’t know that. Who would have imagined that the missing Rebecca was dead, murdered by someone we all knew?
How can I ever assume anything to be okay after that?
Chris’s hand settles on my leg as he answers his call, and his protectiveness raises a lump in my throat. I’m supposed to be here for him, yet he’s still acting like my Prince Charming.
And he is my Prince Charming. My dark, damaged Prince Charming. My idea of perfect. Now I just have to make him believe that.
“Tell me you have good news on Ella,” Chris says, listening before he glances at me, his sensual mouth thinning. “Nothing good or bad,” he tells me.
Nodding, my gaze drifts blindly to the window. There was no news on Rebecca for months, either, and her ending was murder. The only ending Ella is supposed to have is a “happily ever after” with a new husband.
An idea hits me, and my lips part at the obvious part I’ve missed. A wedding—Ella had a wedding! There would be proof at the courthouse. Has Blake thought of this?
I touch Chris’s arm to get his attention before he hangs up.
“Check your messages,” he tells me before I can ask my question. “See if you have one you missed.” His tone is noncha-lant, but the subtle tension in him creates tension in me.
I frown, reaching for my phone, unable to read his expression in the lickering shadows of the dark car. Glancing through my calls, I note an unfamiliar San Francisco number in my history. “Actually, yes. I didn’t get an alert, so I didn’t see it.” I start to hit the playback button, but hesitate, hoping to listen in on Chris’s call and igure out what is going on.
“She’ll do it right away,” Chris assures Blake. “And yes, I’ll let you know.” He ends the call. “The lead detective on Rebecca’s case wants to ask you a few more questions.”
I have no idea what I expected him to say, but certainly not this. I shake my head in instant rejection and start to put my phone away. “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll call him tomorrow, after I rest.”
“Apparently it’s urgent. The detective stopped by our place and talked to Jacob. Jacob tried to call us, but kept getting a fast busy signal on our phones. He and Blake have been trying to reach us for hours.”
I wet my suddenly parched lips. “What could be this urgent? They interviewed me less than a day ago.”
“This isn’t unusual; they’ll want to deal with Ava as quickly as possible. And the charges against her won’t be just about Rebecca. They’ll charge her with the attack on you, as well.”
I knew this, of course, but I haven’t let myself think about what it all entailed. It’s all too raw, too much, right now.
Thankfully the car pulls up to a towering steel gate, a welcome distraction from the conversation about Ava.
Chris rolls down his window to punch in a code on a security box, then he rolls it back up and continues the conversation. “You’ll most likely have to testify at Ava’s trial, and the police need to compile a solid case to ensure a conviction.”
“Right,” I reply. “Yes. Of course. And I want that, too. I’ll call.” I glance at my world clock and hope for another reprieve.
“It’s almost eleven at night in the States, isn’t it?”
“They’re eight hours behind us, so yes, it’s late, but apparently the detective works the night shift.”
I sigh in defeat. “I’ll call when we get inside, I promise.” My attention moves to the window as the car pulls forward, and the glow of a new day allows me to see rows of white Haussmann-style buildings.
“We have a private residence,” Chris explains as a large stone arched doorway with ive steps leading up to it comes into view.
“There are multiple homes in one building, but they aren’t connected and there’s no doorman. We own loors eighteen through twenty, along with a private garage that has a gym connected to it.”
We. I love how he includes me. How he makes us “we.”
“Twelve-twelve Foche Avenue,” I read in the center of a black-etched circle on the concrete wall by our door, just before the car pulls into a private garage.
“Our address,” he says softly.
An automatic light lickers on in the garage, casting us in a pale glow, and I look at Chris, search his face, and ind the message he wants me to see. He knows how much I need to feel I have a home and stability. And he knows I’m still feeling the efects of our breakup, and feeling I didn’t have a home in the not-so-distant past.
“Our address,” I repeat, letting him know I’m as eager as he is to start fresh.
His lips curve slowly, approval sliding across his face, before he leans forward to talk to the driver.
He’s telling me in every way possible that he wouldn’t have brought me here if he weren’t deeply committed to making us work, no matter what price there is to pay. And there is always a price to pay, I can almost hear Rebecca say in my mind. What is that price for Chris?