“I know,” he said. “I’m going into the city tomorrow.”
Sandro’s interest sharpened, probably because he was a nosy SOB and Tony had made the mistake of telling him a little about his ill-fated correspondence with Talia.
“To find her?”
Tony nodded with grim satisfaction. “Yeah.”
“About damn time,” Sandro muttered.
Tony couldn’t argue with that.
Now that he’d made the decision that had been festering in the back of his thoughts for days now, he felt relieved to have a plan. Which was not, by the way, the same as being unafraid. Talia’s rejection by return-to-sender mail all those months ago had hurt. Bad. Now here he was, heading off into the unknown and giving her another chance to hurt him.
Still, he needed to see her. And, one way or the other, he needed to know if she’d ever felt anything for him. If there was any possibility of—
Nah. He wouldn’t let himself go there. Not yet.
But still…it was about damn time.
“I’ll be gone a couple days. I’ll stay at the penthouse. And I’ll check in with Marcus and Cooper.” Their cousins ran the auction house full-time. “I’ve had enough downtime already. It’s time for me to get to work. Resume my rightful place with Davies & Sons.”
Sandro raised a brow. “Marcus and Cooper will love that.”
Tony managed a tired but amused snort. “Screw them.”
They sat in silence for a minute, but then Sandro snapped his fingers. “What about Arianna? She’s supposed to be coming in for a visit.”
“I know.” As if there was any chance Tony would forget the impending visit from their younger sister and her growing family.
“She’s bringing the baby and Joshua.”
“Well, you need to make sure you check in with her and make sure we all get our schedules synced,” Sandro said darkly. “I’m not trying to get killed. And don’t forget I’m heading down to D.C. with Nikolas and Skylar. We need to get working on the house hunting.” Sandro had recently accepted a position at the Pentagon as an analyst and would be moving soon. “In fact, it might be easier if you postpone your little NYC jaunt until—”
Fueled by impatience, Tony surged to his feet and strode across the room to his closet, where he kept his duffel bag. It may have been the middle of the night, but there was no time like the present to put his plan into action, and he wasn’t in the mood for chitchat.
“No,” he said. “I’m not trying to work around anyone’s schedule. This is too important. I’m finished waiting. It’s past time for me to see Talia.”
By about ten-thirty that morning, after riding the train into Penn Station and the subway down to the Village (he hated taxis, limos, driving in the city and traffic delays, not necessarily in that order), Tony found himself in front of the converted warehouse where Talia rented studio space.
He loitered outside the heavy metal security door, some of his excitement tampered by stark terror. Having spent a lot of time in fear while he was in Afghanistan, he recognized it when he saw it, and this was it. His pulse raced; his hands trembled; beneath his armpits he felt the slow trickle of clammy sweat.
Hell, he could almost laugh about it. Maybe the war hadn’t caused his raging PTSD after all. Maybe its source was the loss of the woman he’d never even had.
But not like it mattered why he was batshit crazy.
Whatever. He might be crazy, but he wasn’t a coward, and this was the moment of truth when he could prove it. So he raised his finger and pressed the buzzer, giving it a nice long ring.
No answer, but the place was a cavern and it probably took a good two minutes for someone to walk down the hall and reach the door.
He waited, turning to face the street’s bustle, with its usual assortment of hurrying New Yorkers talking on their cell phones, disposable coffee cups snuggled close to their chests.
Overhead, the sky was a chilly slate-gray that belonged in November rather than May, but he didn’t feel the cold. He was way too hopped-up on adrenaline to be affected by anything as insignificant as the weather, and his jacket was—