I stroke her rapidly drying hair behind her ear. “Then make me your thing, okay?”
“You already are my thing, Jax.”
“But you don’t trust me or us.”
I press my fingers to her lips. “It’s okay, baby. Considering your history, your family’s history, even how we met, that’s smart, but I reject that for our future. I’m going to show you I’m the guy you can trust. That’s a promise, and it’s one I will not break.” I pull her to me and kiss her. “And now. I’m going to go deal with all the bullshit, so I can come back and show you the castle I want you to call home. And go to that breakfast we talked about.”
I set her away from me, and I start buttoning my shirt, my gaze dropping to her feet. “You better cover up. You’re distracting me.” My eyes meet hers. “And I might end up undressing instead of dressing.”
She laughs. “My toes are all that are uncovered.”
“That’s all it takes, baby.”
She smiles and walks up to me, pushing to those bare toes, and kisses me. “I’m going to make you trust me, too. That’s a promise I don’t intend to break.” And with that, she exits the closet and leaves me staring after her.
In other words, she thinks I don’t trust her, but she wouldn’t be here if I didn’t trust her. And there it is. Her point. She wouldn’t be here if she didn’t trust me. We are traveling on this path between families together, a path with history we do not know or understand, but everything between us isn’t about the path. It’s about the many paths we’ve traveled separate and apart of the one that presents itself in the here and now. I want it all with her, and I want it now. I don’t know when and how I made that decision, but I did. And that means I need to turn the paths of past and present in a positive direction, starting with getting rid of Sawyer and then ending with me confessing a few more sins that I’d planned against Emma’s family.
The hairdryer turns on, and I finish dressing, minus the navy-blue pinstriped jacket and solid blue tie to match my pants. The hairdryer turns off, and I enter the bathroom to find Emma flat ironing her hair. It’s a surreal moment that I feel like a punch in the chest, but it’s a good punch. I like her in my bathroom, and when I step to the sink next to her and our eyes connect, that punch happens all over again. I don’t have women in my home. I don’t do the shared bathroom thing. But I would share the fucking world with this woman. I don’t give a damn that she’s a Knight. Nothing is going to change that.
Nothing and no one.
We stand there staring at each other, and we do that thing I’ve never done with any other woman. We laugh for no reason. In the middle of loads of shit, knee-deep, we laugh together. And I didn’t know it until I met her, but I need that and her in my life.
Smiling, and it’s an impossible fucking feat that I smile, considering Sawyer is waiting on me downstairs, I skip the shave, dry my hair, and spend most of the next few minutes mesmerized by Emma putting on her makeup. Fuck me, I’m in deep with this woman, and I don’t even feel one ounce of regret.
Irritated that Sawyer is forcing me to leave Emma this morning, and even more irritated at myself for ever going down this rabbit hole of revenge I now have to undo, I walk to the closet and grab my tie, threading it through my collar. I’m going to get this the fuck over with. Emma appears in the doorway, her lips painted pink, her makeup as gentle as I believe her soul is, and damn it, I like that about her. I like that she’s somehow this mix of tough and gentle of heart. Somewhere along the line, life threw punches and muscled up, and she threw back. Emma muscled up and protected herself, and despite the tendency to run that was created, it also kept her from becoming bitter.
“I’ll do it,” she says, walking toward me, her toes now covered in black lace-up boots that I’m presently fantasizing about her wearing with leather and lace.
She stops in front of me and begins to knot my tie, her delicate brow furrowing in thought before she flattens her hand on the tie. “Perfect,” I say, inspecting her work, a rare flare of possessiveness, even jealousy flaring in me. I want Emma. I want all of her, and I want to know who had her before me, so I know how they lost her. Because I won’t. “That takes practice,” I add. “Who’d you knot a tie for Emma?”