* * *
Turning, I stride back into my home office, pulling my phone out of my pocket. I glance at the monitors that line the wall next to my desk. Normally they’re filled with reports and stock charts and even the news. Now they’re filled with the building’s security footage.
“Mallory and Paige are on their way down,” I bark into the phone, louder than I mean to.
“On it, sir.” I can hear Ryan, the man I’ve had shadowing my Mallory, start to run. He was probably en route back home thinking Mallory was in for the night, but now I know what she’s going to do. I watch the elevator footage, wishing I’d had audio installed. I want to hear her, want to hear what she’s saying.
I know Paige is going to tell her who she is to me. Relief fills me at that. I don’t want Mallory to think I allow women into my home. The thought of her letting some man into her place makes me clench the phone I still have pressed to my ear.
Reaching out, I touch the monitor, wanting to wipe away the furrow between her brows. She turns to say something to Paige, and I see tension leave her body at whatever Paige says to her. I’m guessing the truth.
“Sir, the elevator looks to have stopped on her floor,” Ryan says as I watch them exit the elevator and Mallory opens the door, holding it for Paige. Another sliver of relief rushes through me.
I don’t like the idea of sharing my Mallory with anyone, but it’s clear how much they love each other and how close they’ve become. If Mallory isn’t going to be sleeping next to me at night, the next-best thing is for her and Paige to be sharing an apartment.
“Yes. Mallory went into her apartment,” I confirm for him.
“Paige?” he asks. I hear the ding of the elevator and glance at the monitors to see him getting on.
“With her,” I confirm, ending the call, knowing he’s on his way up here. Tossing the phone on my desk, I come around to sit in my chair and flip on the camera that faces her door. The doorman is under strict instructions to let me know if she leaves. I know it makes me seem fucking crazy, but I don’t care. I stopped caring a long time ago. Fighting it is pointless, and it only makes me more edgy when I do. I’ve learned to embrace it.
Sighing, I lean back in my chair, running my hands through my hair. The tension in my body is going to kill me. I should go for a run to work it off, but my lack of sleep is weighing on me. Like everything else about this fucked-up situation. Which it is. I fucked up. Something I never do.
I make plans and follow them through. Always three steps ahead of everyone else. It’s why I’m where I am today. It’s the only way to be if you want to get ahead, but I should’ve predicted things. I should’ve known I wouldn’t be able to go slow with her so close. I fucked up and went in too early.
“You look like shit,” Ryan says, pulling me from my thoughts. He strolls into the room, dropping down in the chair on the other side of my desk.
“Paige isn’t going to work with us,” I tell him, leaning forward and ignoring his statement.
“She’s never really worked with me to begin with.”
“I’m not firing her, so don’t even fucking say it.” I shoot him a hard look, one that works with most, but he’s completely unfazed by it. I’m not sure anything intimidates Ryan, but that’s part of why I hired him to be head of my security. One of the many reasons.
“Didn’t want you to,” he responds easily, like he doesn’t care that he has someone on his team he can’t seem to control. It isn’t normal for him. One fuckup with Ryan and you’re gone. Part of our agreement when I hired him was that he picked who worked security. He hired and fired. I thought making him agree to hire Paige would be a fight, one I’d win, but still a fight.
“Besides, I can’t go firing your sister, now, can I?”
I don’t give him a response as I tilt back in my chair. Paige being my sister isn’t common knowledge. In fact, I had no idea about her until Ryan brought me the information.
At first I was pissed when I found out about her. Then I got a better look. She hated him as much as I did. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And in this case, it was family.
“It’s better to keep her here.” He looks away from me, and for a moment I see a look pass through his eyes.