And that’s when her smile changes. It’s no longer slightly aloof, bordering on polite. And the sad quality is gone. Her eyes light up as her lips form into a generous, beautiful smile directed just at me. My heart lightens, and I finally feel like I can breathe.
“I forgive you,” she says as she steps all the way into me, placing her hands on my chest. I want to grab her and pull her tight to me—squeeze the hell out of her in relief—but I keep my hands at my side. “I can’t even imagine what you went through, and it sickens me that my brother did it to you.”
“Not your fault,” I mutter, because I can tell she’s pained by her relationship with Jayce.
She nods and gives a slight tap to my chest with her right hand. “I know, but I do understand your motivation. I get that you didn’t know me from Adam, and based on the terms of our relationship, you didn’t owe me any loyalty. I appreciate that you’re sorry for it, but I agree… things changed between us. I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but it did. And that’s why I was so hurt when I saw that package to Jayce. Because I’d started to fall in—”
I don’t even let her get the words out. I’m pretty fucking sure she was about to say she had fallen in love with me, but I jump the gun by grabbing her face and crushing my mouth against hers. She gives a tiny yip of surprise that I swallow up as I wrap my arms around her to hold her to me. She lets out a sigh of pleasure onto my tongue, and I kiss her harder and deeper. I want to go on kissing her forever, and then I want to fuck her, and then I pretty much want to move to a desert island with her so I have her all to myself.
But that’s not feasible, nor can I possibly hog Trista for my own selfish purposes. She’s got a niece to take care of, and I’m going to do whatever I can to help in that respect.
I pull away. As I tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, I study her eyes. So warm and peaceful and slightly sizzling, meaning she wants me to fuck her, but I tell her something that’s more important. “I’ve asked my attorney to help you get guardianship of Corinne if you would like to pursue that.”
“You didn’t have—”
I put my finger over her lips. “Don’t even refuse. It’s there if you want it, and if you don’t, that’s fine too.”
“You do too much,” she grumbles.
“You bought my house, Jerico,” she chastises me.
I flush and give her a guilty smirk. “Sorry.”
“Also forgiven,” she says with a giggle. “But really… you don’t have to do these things for me.”
“I’ll do these things,” I tell her, then give her a soft kiss. “And so much more. You’re not going to believe all the things I do for you, Trista. Because I have a hard time believing all the fucking amazing things you do for me and to me.”
She sighs and presses into me, laying her cheek against my chest. My hands stroke her back, and I go weak kneed when she murmurs, “I’m glad I fell in love with you.”
“Me too,” I murmur back. “Me too.”
The elevator doors open, and I step into The Wicked Horse. My eyes search for Jerico, but The Social Room is packed and I’m having trouble locating him, despite the fact he stands taller than most men.
“Hey, Trista,” I hear from my left and I turn to see Larissa manning the podium as she eyes me up and down. “You look phenomenal.”
She’s very sweet and very new so she hasn’t, nor will she ever, have the pleasure of Jerico’s company. She only knows me as Jerico’s very significant other and that has afforded me a lot of respect now I’m not working here anymore. Some of the original staff still ignore me, but they wouldn’t blatantly attack.
Not as protective as Jerico is of me.
While I can’t prove he did it on my behalf, certain employees who were bitchy to me in the past… well, let’s just say they no longer work here. When I noticed and asked Jerico, he would never confirm nor deny he’d fired them, but simply told me it was none of my business. That doesn’t offend me at all, and actually… it’s kind of cute how he’s all caveman on my behalf.
I give Larissa a grateful smile, tucking a lock of hair behind my ear. “How am I supposed to find Jerico in this crowd?”
“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” Larissa says as she looks out over the crowd with excited eyes. “I truly didn’t think many people would show up.”