BY THE TIME JANE MADE it back to the city, Christian still hadn’t answered any of her texts and calls, and she was struggling not to drown under an anarchic mix of emotions: misery, humiliation, worry, resentment—-
But most of all, it was a need to know Christian was okay.
Despite knowing better, she had found herself texting him nonstop. Despite knowing she was turning into a nagging, whining bitch – the exact type Christian was likely to hate – she hadn’t been able to help it.
Jane: Could you please reply, no matter how late? Just reply when you read this. That’s all I need.
Jane: You’re really not working, are you?
Jane: You’re with your ex. The girl with a split-personality name! I’m right, aren’t I?
Jane: If you just want to break off our engagement, then just say it!
She was being pathetic, and she knew it. But she just couldn’t help it. Something simply didn’t feel right, and the more time that passed and Christian’s silence continued to drag on, the more it felt like the world she knew was nothing but a bubble about to burst.
Just look away, a desperate voice inside of Jane urged. If you close your eyes, pretend nothing’s happening, maybe everything would be swept under the rug. Maybe everything could be normal again, or at least look like it was so.
That was what she had been doing ever since Merry had made her feel like she had no right to speak up, no right to do anything that would draw attention to herself because she wasn’t pretty or smart enough.
And it wasn’t right, Jane suddenly realized as she stepped out of the cab in front of Christian’s apartment building. Yes, she wasn’t the prettiest, sexiest, smartest, or most interesting person out there. But it didn’t make her any less important. It didn’t mean she couldn’t let her voice be heard, didn’t mean she shouldn’t want her own Disney moment.
Jane squared her shoulders and marched inside the lobby and past the gawking concierge. It was time to take her life back, she told herself, and she had to start with Christian. Even if it meant risking his wrath, she had to at least let him know that she was angry and hurt.
Yes, she had promised to never complain about his work, but this was too much. And she mustn’t let him forget that he had been the first to break his promise, Jane thought determinedly. He had sworn to her that Halloween would be solely devoted to spending time with each other, and yet he hadn’t lasted more than a few hours before making his escape.
By the time she made it to his penthouse apartment, she had worked herself up into a righteous state of fury. She used the key Christian had given her to unlock the door and letself her in, saying hotly, “You have some explaining to do—-”
Jane froze mid-track.
Christian wasn’t alone.
In fact, the living room was stuffed with people. There was Jared Westland standing next to the windows, a couple of familiar faces making up Christian’s staff, and then some more, all of them wearing IDs bearing the logo of Christian’s company.
“Sorry,” Jane said in a tiny, squeaky, voice.
But Christian’s face remained cold, and bewilderment warred with an inexplicable sense of fear inside of Jane as she watched Christian make his way to her.
“Christian,” she heard Jared say warningly.
“This isn’t your fucking business,” Christian answered without taking his icy azure gaze from Jane.
What was happening? What was wrong? When he stood in front of her, she couldn’t help whispering, “Christian?”
“I’m glad you’ve come.”
Really? It didn’t look like he was glad. His face was the picture of a man on death row. Well, that or he was looking at a person on death row – and that person would be her.
Jane tried again. “Christian?” She didn’t shout or cry his name, knowing she didn’t have to. It was the same uncertain tone she had used earlier, only this time she didn’t try hiding anything.
In her voice, she knew Christian and probably anyone and everyone in the room who had at least marginal EQ would know what she was feeling, which was—-
And most of all, a need just to have Christian look at her again like she still meant something to him.
But all Christian said was, “I was planning to call you.”
Jane slowly shook her head. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear, and he knew it.
He gestured to a couple of individuals behind him. “That’s FBI Agent Thornton.”
A black-haired woman in a suit stood up.
“That’s my legal counsel, Attorney Peters.”
A silver-haired gentleman also stood up.
Jane managed a smile, but her eyes remained on Christian. He had to know she didn’t give a damn about any of those people. “Christian?”
“They have a couple of questions they’d like to ask of you—-”