The drive home was short. All the way there, Sage tried to come up with the right words, the right phrasing, a way to bring up Melissa’s idea.
They pulled up to the house, and he shut off the car.
She took the plunge. “We’re married,” she said, looking straight ahead.
She heard him turn toward her, but she couldn’t bring herself to meet his eyes.
“We’re both healthy adults. I don’t want to have an affair. But I don’t want to be celibate.” She swallowed. “You were there. You felt it too. I think we should…”
He was dead still and dead quiet.
“I think we should sleep together,” she finished in a rush.
The silence was deafening.
“What I mean is—”
“I know what you mean.” His tone was flat.
She looked at him then.
It was there—the pain in his eyes, the set of his jaw, the white knuckles where his hands gripped the steering wheel. It was Lauren now, and it would always be Lauren. He might as well be shouting it from the rooftop.
Sage didn’t know whether to be hurt or humiliated. But she wasn’t sticking around to figure it out. She hopped from the car, went into the house and straight upstairs.
When the front door had closed behind Sage last night, TJ sat still for a very long time, his feelings running rampant—a sexual relationship with Sage, sleeping with Sage, making love with Sage. He could picture it so clearly in his mind, and in that moment, he’d desperately wanted to say yes.
But that would have been unfair to both of them, to all of them. He knew he’d done the right thing last night, and he still knew that today.
He’d left early this morning, not even bothering with coffee. He headed straight to his office in the small downtown area of Whiskey Bay. Tide Rush Investments owned the building, but they used only the top two floors. The first floor housed retail space, a jewelry store, a clothing store with local designs and an art gallery. A law firm rented the second floor, while fifteen of TJ’s investment managers and their staff took up the rest.
He had other branches, New York, London, Sydney and Singapore. And they were looking at Mumbai. Right now, scanning the proposal for that new branch, he thought what the heck? Why not expand yet again? It seemed there were endless opportunities all around the world. There were days when he wondered if he could stop the money train even if he tried.
Matt appeared at the door of his office, a cup of take-out coffee in each hand. “You’re here early.”
“I’m looking at Mumbai.” TJ didn’t feel like explaining his emotional state. Not that he was in an emotional state. He was just confused. No, not confused, disappointed.
He was disappointed that what he wanted wasn’t the right thing to do.
Matt crossed the room, holding out one of the cups of coffee.
TJ gratefully accepted it. He’d come in so early that the coffee shop down the street hadn’t even opened yet.
Matt sat down in one of two leather guest chairs in front of TJ’s desk. It was a pretentious office. Comfortable, but designed to show high net worth investors that Tide Rush Investments was successful, a place where they could park their money with complete confidence.
“What’s in Mumbai?” Matt asked.
“Nothing yet. Probably a branch office.” TJ looked at the numbers one more time. “Yeah, a branch office.” He stroked his signature across the bottom of the page.
“What was that?” Matt asked.
TJ looked up. “What do you mean?”
“How much money did you commit with that stroke of a pen?”
“Fifty million. That’ll get things started.”
Matt chuckled and shook his head. “I can’t even wrap my head around amounts like that.”
“Mostly they’re just numbers on a page.” TJ was feeling particularly disconnected today. “As long as they stay black, it’s all good.”
“And do they stay black?”
“They always stay black. I sometimes wonder why more people don’t do this.” TJ peeled the lid from the coffee cup. He hated drinking through those little slits.
“More people can’t do this,” Matt said. “You’re a savant.”
It was TJ’s turn to laugh. “I wish it was harder, more complicated. Maybe then I’d feel better about earning so much.”
“It is harder and more complicated. You just don’t see it.”
TJ leaned back in his chair and took a satisfying sip.
“I brought you a check,” Matt said, dropping an envelope onto TJ’s desk.
“I told you there was no rush.” Tide Rush Investments had fronted the money for Matt’s yacht purchases after a catastrophic fire at his marina.