Page 24 of Lift

“Not it,” I say quickly, and he laughs and shakes his head.

“Come here and let me help you.” He takes my hand and leads me over to the bed where I sit on the edge and he kneels in front of me.

He takes one foot and slips on my shoe and then buckles it before he moves to the next. It’s so sweet and personal and I love how he smiles up at me when he’s finished. I lean down and kiss him softly on the lips, careful I don’t get the dark plum lipstick all over him.

“I don’t know if I’m going to make it through tonight.” He stands up and pulls me to him as he looks at me in the mirror. His finger traces down my naked back and to my ass, which he grabs. “I’m going to go insane with people looking at you.”

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people there. I’ll blend in.” At least I hope I will. I’m anxious about possibly running into people from my past and causing problems for Harris.

He takes my chin and makes me look up at him. “You could never blend in, but especially not in this dress. Now stop worrying about what’s to come. You’re on my arm tonight and the only thing you need to worry about is if your feet hurt.”

He always has the ability to read me so well, and while it could be aggravating, it’s kind of a blessing. I like that I can’t hide from him and he’s already at the ready to make me feel my best.

I smooth down the lapel of his tux and straighten his bowtie. “Did I mention you look devilishly handsome?” I ask, and I love his cocky grin.

“I’m here as your arm candy tonight,” he says and holds his hand out for me to take. I shake my head and roll my eyes as we walk out of the room.

It’s so easy being happy with him. He’s playful and relaxed and I’ve fallen completely for him. I know it’s soon, but I’ve lived my life on the other side of this coin and I’m not taking anything for granted anymore. I’m seizing my moment, and being with Harris is what dreams are made of. No matter what happens tonight or in our future, we’ll figure it out. I feel his strength beside me and I know he’s not going anywhere.

The ride to the music hall is quick, but it’s nice to be in the backseat with him. This way I don’t have to drive and think about where we’re going. I get to look at Harris as he tells me excitedly about his work and this project that means so much to him.

When we get to the event, there are paparazzi set up outside with a red carpet. I’m instantly nervous, but Harris takes my hand and we walk right down it without stopping. He waves at a few people, and I can hear the cameras going off, but he doesn’t pay them any attention. I try to draw from his strength instead of focusing on my anxiety and I take a deep breath once we’re inside.

“Let’s get you a glass of champagne,” he says when a waiter walks by with a tray. Harris snags two of them and passes me one.

“There you are, and I see you’ve brought this stunning beauty with you,” Simon says, walking over and taking my hand.

Harris immediately takes my hand out of his, and I laugh as Simon pretends to be offended. Simon introduces me to his husband and I laugh when Dean gets just as protective with Simon as Harris is with me.

Harris takes me around the concert hall and shows me all the work they’ve done. There are pictures showing the progress and I’m shocked at what it looked like before. Harris is so passionate as he speaks and I find myself asking tons of questions. This is something I’d never heard of and didn’t know was possible. But suddenly I’m looking at it through Harris’s eyes and I’m interested. When I point out a couple of things, he seems impressed that I thought of it.

“You have a good eye for things like this. Maybe you should take a look at one of my next projects,” he says as he pulls me close to his side.

The building is packed now and a few people come over to talk to Harris. He plays the role of the host, but he doesn’t engage people for long. As soon as he gets a window to dip out of a conversation, he takes it and we move along. I’m surprised when I realize I’m having fun, but it could be the two glasses of champagne kicking in.

“I need to use the ladies’ room,” I whisper to Harris and try to ease away from his side while he’s talking to someone. He stops mid-sentence and comes with me, and I have to hold back my laugh. He didn’t even see the look on the guy’s face as he just left him standing there. “I’m sure I could have found my way,” I say as we walk to the hallways in the back of the theater.

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