“That was awful,” she whispered.
Beckham nodded tensely. “It could have been so much worse.”
She agreed with that. Harrington’s trust of Beckham went so deep that he had let them go. Though she was sure he was going to have them both watched more closely. She couldn’t gallivant around at night anymore. Not that she was going to break the new curfew anyway.
Reyna felt as if she were coming down from a buzz. After the rally, the near-death encounter, and the accusations at Visage, she was drained. The only good part was that Beckham had chosen her and now they were going back to his place together…as a couple. It almost made everything else worth it.
Once they made it to his penthouse, Reyna finally let herself think about what this meant going forward. She was here now not as an employee or an investment. He wanted her here. It was that moment where she realized they had made it…now what?
“How are you feeling?” Beckham asked cautiously.
“Shaken up,” she admitted, “but I’m okay.”
“I’m really sorry that Rowland dragged you through all of that. I should have been paying more attention from the start. Then I would have noticed what his endgame was.”
“It’s really my fault. I should have told you when Rowland was advancing on me, then we wouldn’t be here and they never would have taken my camera.” She sighed and rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands. “I can’t believe he stole it at the restaurant, and I didn’t even know.”
“You were angry at me. It’s not your fault that he was trying to blame you,” Beckham told her.
“Well, I guess I should delete the website. It’s too risky at this point.” The thought of deleting it made her sick. She had put so much time and energy into that thing. The pictures would still be on her computer, but it was different. It didn’t seem to have as much life to her.
“No,” he said automatically. He reached forward and cupped her cheek. “If you delete it now, they’ll know that it was your website. I don’t want to do anything that might draw their attention. For now, the images are safe where they are. I programmed them so they are practically impenetrable.”
“Oh. Right. That makes sense.”
“You know I agree with your images, right?” he asked. His dark eyes were saying so much more than his words in that moment. She stopped fidgeting and got lost in their depths.
“You agree with them?” she whispered.
“Their message. I agree with the message you were trying to send. That there are people out there that need help. That equality is possible. We need to tackle the core issue of prejudice. That the rich sit on high when there are those that suffer. That was what I tried to capture in my work too.” He gestured to the framed pictures on the walls of the penthouse. “I could only hang these, but I think you can still see the influence in them.”
“These are…yours?” she asked in disbelief. “I admired them the first day I came here.”
“I know. It’s what made me think to give you the camera. No one notices the pictures. I knew you had an eye for it.”
“Thank you. Your images really are amazing.”
“I appreciate that.”
Beckham watched her closely as she examined the pictures again and tried to detect the hidden meaning. What was he thinking when he was shooting landscapes? Who was the woman in the café?
“Reyna, you know I agree with you, right?”
“About what?” She turned to look at him. He sounded so serious.
“Everything. This was what I wanted to talk to you about in the car. I agree with you about everything. How people deserve to be treated. The direction our world is headed. How we need to do more to correct the problem, and not rely on path dependence that is spiraling out of control.”
Reyna smiled. It was nice to finally hear someone agree with her. She knew she wasn’t crazy for thinking that ninety percent of people living in poverty was wrong. Or that the upper ten percent owned and controlled everything.
“Be careful,” she teased. “They might accuse you of being part of Elle.”
“I know. It’s why I’m very careful.”
Reyna paused. “Wait…what?”
He gave her a pointed look, and her mouth dropped open. What was Beckham trying to say here? Had he just said what she thought he’d said? No…no way. That couldn’t be right. It made no sense…but she had to ask it anyway.
Reyna felt her world tilt upside down. Everything she thought she knew from her time living with Beckham was…a lie. He was part of Elle. He disagreed with everything he was doing working for Visage. How was that even possible? How could he keep up the double life? And at that, how was he so damn good at it?