She used to think he was trouble she could never afford and had done her best to run away from him because of it. But having Ioniko ask her to marry him changed everything, and she had mustered the courage to face her fears and stop hiding from Ioniko.
And at first, it had been terrifying, like opening Pandora’s box. She had gotten so used to pretending she didn’t like him that at first, she had still instinctively ducked or turned her head away every time she saw him about to kiss her. But after a second or two, she would remember things were different now, and when she’d look up, Ioniko would always be smirking. He read minds, after all, and he had known that she had forgotten they were now engaged.
In the end, it only took a few days. Just a few days, and she no longer remembered what life was without the billionaire by her side. Nowadays, she no longer minded that he would catch her staring at him, and whenever he did…
Sometimes, he would completely stop whatever he was doing: set aside the book he was reading, put the TV on silent, even hang up on whoever it was he was talking to. He would just train her smoldering green gaze on her and ask in that deliciously sexy accented English of his, ‘Want me?’ And at her nod, he’d open his arms and slowly smile. ‘It’s your lucky day then. So come here and claim your prize.’
Other times, he would make her hard for it. He’d sense her gaze on him, and without taking his gaze off the documents in his hand, he’d say, ‘If you want me, I need to hear you beg.’ And of course she would…and she would be so exquisitely rewarded that she would be barely able to walk the next day.
Ioniko as a lover was a dream come true, really, but then, she had always expected that. What did surprise her, however, was how good he would also be at attending to her needs. She never even had to ask for anything; it was always as if he already knew, and often well before she even realized what she needed.
He stayed out of her hair whenever she had a deadline to meet, but he also made sure she had food and coffee within reach. He would be in Athens, and just when she had started missing him, her phone would ring, and his deep, beautiful voice would come down the line to soothe her.
He was, in a nutshell, exactly what she thought the first time she saw him. Perfect. He was perfect in every way, and she would never stop pinching herself, wondering why, out of all the millions of women in the world, he had chosen to love her.
Perfect, he was just so perfect, and their life was almost as perfect if not for the times she was the one who’d catch him looking at her. And it wasn’t like the way he used to look at her, and it was obvious he only had fucking in mind. These days, it was different. These days, whenever she caught his gaze on her, his eyes would be haunted and full of pain and remorse. And it hurt. Because he was her everything now, and if he hurt, she, too, hurt.
And one night, lying in his arms, she had so foolishly thought, maybe…maybe if she gave him the words, they would work like magic. Maybe, that was all it would take. And so she said it.
And it did work like magic. Because now, her eyes mirrored the same pain. Because she had said the words, and she knew he had heard her…and he had said nothing. She had given him the words, and he had said nothing. Done nothing.
And everything she used to think was right in her world was gone. Poof. Just like magic.
Schuyler woke up the next day with a heavy heart that prevented her from pretending last night wasn’t real. The other side of the bed was empty, and even though the sight hurt, she tried to convince herself it was okay. That things could still work.
The smell of bacon and eggs lured her to the kitchen, and it was there she found Ioniko, beautiful and barechested while making their breakfast. The sight hurt, too, and when he turned around upon hearing her footsteps, the dazzling smile that quirked over his lips hurt, too.
It hurt so, so much because it made her want to ask, How can you smile at me like that and say nothing when I told you I love you?
“Kalimera, koukla mou.” His voice was a languid purr while his green eyes glittered another kind of greeting. All of it beautiful, little things that used to make her heart ache with the sheer beauty of it, but now they just hurt her even more. They hurt her so much because this was the first time that his heart was not attuned to hers. The first time that he didn’t seem to have any idea how much she was hurting.