I look at Dimitri with a question in my eyes.
“It was my mother’s. I want to ask Laura to marry me.” He pulls the ring out of the box, admiring it, the smile stretching across his face as he looks at it with such love.
“The first time I asked Laura to marry me, I gave her a giant ring. The thing almost cost more than this plane. She told me to drop dead.”
A burst of laughter escapes my mouth.
“She said I was trying to buy her. Maybe I was in a way. I wanted to impress her.” His eyes lock on mine. “I just wanted her to be mine.”
“You think that will do it?” I ask, leaning back in my chair.
“God, I hope so, or I’ll have to take a page from your book and do a little kidnapping.”
I shake my head at the reminder. “Wasn’t there an easier way to get into that safety deposit box? Or a cheaper one?”
“Maybe. But I didn’t want to risk falling into one of the FBI’s traps, and I wanted to make sure I got it safely to me. If someone knew how much it meant to me, they could use it against me. I’ve got more money than I’ll ever need, and I would have paid ten times what I paid you for it.”
His hand locks around the ring, gripping it in a fierce hold.
“I hope she says yes,” I tell him. Meaning it.
“Me, too.” He puts the ring back in the box, then stores it inside his suit jacket. He picks up a folder sitting on the seat next to him and tosses it on the table between us. I look down at it.
“You are now Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. I thought an ornithological last name still seemed appropriate.”
I flip open the folder and thumb through the new passports. “And I didn’t even have to ask her,” I joke, thinking about our now-married status.
“Everything you need is in there. All your documents and bank codes. I also moved your old bank accounts to your new name and a new bank.”
I raise my eyebrows at that because I never asked him to do that.
“You’re welcome,” he says cockily, before shooting back the rest of his drink. No wonder the FBI wants their hands on him.
“It’s a long flight to the South Pacific. Get some sleep and kill that phone.” He nods to the cellphone sitting in front of me.
“I hope you win your girl over, too. It hurts when they push away.”
“We’re criminals,” I remind him. No wonder our women are pushing us away.
“Then do what you do best, Sparrow. You’re a thief, after all. Steal her heart.” With that little bit of wisdom, he stands and leaves.
I pick up the phone, ready to smash it, when I see all the missed text messages. They must have come before we got in the air. I skip all of them and go straight to Tessa’s.
Tessa: I love you.
Maybe there’s more hope than I thought.
It’s all in pieces.
I remember everything from the bank robbery. The panic at first seeing the men with guns, then my training kicked in, and I did what they asked. I remember lying on the floor, my heartbeat in my throat as the men walked around like they knew exactly what was where. This was planned. That was the only thought that kept running through my mind.
Harper’s crying was making me nervous, and I wanted her to be quiet. I just closed my eyes tightly and prayed for it to be over soon.
I remember my hair being pulled so hard I thought it had been ripped out. The gun pressed to my temple, and then thoughts of dying flashed through my mind.
Words were exchanged, but all I could do was wish I could see Sean one last time. One final time to say goodbye and tell him I love him.
Right before the gun went off, my wish came true. He was there. Only betrayal was the only thing I could see.
Once the gun went off, I thought I was dead. My ears were ringing so loud, I couldn’t think. I may have blacked out, but I remember Sean’s eyes. I remember him coming to catch me.
Even with his treachery, I felt safe in his arms.
But seeing the dead body of Nick beside me would be burned into my brain for the rest of my life. And after that sight, things went fuzzy.
I was in the car with Sean, and my hand was stinging. I hit him with more anger than I’d ever felt before. Then there was a pinch on my arm, and it all went black.
There was a glimpse of a plane, and the feeling of Sean picking me up. There was a flash of someone else—a man named Dimitri? I don’t know if that’s real or a dream.
There was a bed that moved, and Sean was holding me.
But then he was gone.
I remember crying and kicking my legs, then another pinch on my arm. Sean was holding me down while I screamed, and then it all went black again.
* * *
My body aches. I feel like I’ve been in the same position too long, and I roll over to stretch. I can’t remember what day it is, but it’s warm all around me, so I must be with Sean.
I reach for him, but there’s nothing beside me.
Sitting up, I see that I’m in a big, white fluffy bed surrounded by tons of pillows. There’s a canopy over the top of it with pretty gauzy material hanging from it, which rustles in the breeze.
I look down and see I’m completely naked, but I smell Sean all over me. I don’t feel like I had sex, so he must have just slept on top of me.
Looking beyond the bed, I see the room is white and bathed in light, courtesy of giant windows and two huge glass doors that lead out onto a balcony.
I wrap the bedsheet around myself and get out of bed.
The cool tile feels nice against my feet, and my legs wobble a little as I take a few steps.