The door swung shut after Barry, and Christian watched the older man walk away through the window before returning his attention to his laptop. He had been scrolling through messages from H’s players for some time now, and so far their suggestions on how he could win Jane’s heart had ranged from the ridiculous to the downright impossible.
Butt spelling I Love Jane was stupid enough, but the player had also gone on to suggest that it could only be authentic if Christian added a hashtag. Butt-spell a fucking hashtag symbol? He might as well tear his ass into—-
The sound of the door swinging open interrupted his thoughts, and without looking up, Christian murmured, “We’re closed, sorry.”
“You’re right,” an unsteady, achingly familiar voice said. “It was absolutely naff.”
His head jerked up.
And there she was.
Christian. She couldn’t stop thinking his name now. Christian, Christian, Christian. And oh God, but it felt so good.
He was still as handsome as she remembered, but thinner, too, and the realization pinched her heart. A smile wobbled over Jane’s lips when Christian continued staring at her like he was seeing a ghost. She started towards him, slowly, because her legs were shaking so hard, and Christian’s expression remained stunned.
When she reached him, he still didn’t say a thing, and she asked teasingly, “Are you going to ask me if I’m real?”
She watched Christian slide off his stool without taking his gaze away from hers. “I think I have to—-”
Her brows furrowed, and Jane followed his gaze, which went all the way down – to her feet. Her eyes widened.
“Because you don’t have your shoes on.”
Jane swallowed back a laugh. “I don’t, do I?” And she hadn’t even realized until Christian had pointed it out. “My glass slippers are in the repair shop,” she said finally. “I threw them out when this idiot prince made me mad.”
Christian’s azure eyes gleamed. “A Disney princess with anger management issues?”
“Major turn on,” Christian drawled.
And this time, she couldn’t help laughing, but she also couldn’t help crying—-
It had been so, so long since they could banter like this.
“Not to mention you remind me of this other princess I know.”
“She’s got a habit of throwing stuff out,” Christian said solemnly. “Like that ring I gave her?” He snapped his fingers. “She threw it away without hesitation. And my heart?”
“She threw it out of the window—-”
But Jane couldn’t laugh anymore. How could she when, despite the lightness of his tone, she could see in Christian’s eyes that she did manage to rip his heart out of him?
“Stop,” she whispered.
“It’s over, okay?”
Christian whitened. Had he gotten everything wrong?
Seeing that he didn’t really believe her, she said forcefully, “I mean it. It’s over, Christian.”
“I see.” He turned away clumsily. “I need a moment.” He could feel his entire world crashing, and he couldn’t even make himself give a fuck.
It was over.
He had thought that Jane had come here to let him know she had forgiven him, and he was right. But what he hadn’t realized was that with her forgiveness came the end.
It was over.
Jane couldn’t understand why Christian was acting so oddly. Wasn’t he supposed to be happy that—-
Jane was torn between dismay and laughter, but when she saw him about to take a step away from her, she automatically reached for his hand from behind, her fingers tightening around his wrist.
Christian closed his eyes wearily. What now? Was she going to explain why it had to be over?
But then he heard her say, “You didn’t let me finish.”
And he started, remembering that once upon a time he had used the same words on her.
He spun around, in time to see her start crying again as she choked out, “What I meant was – your waiting is over—-”
Christian had hauled her into his arms before she even finished speaking, and he was kissing her—-
Oh, he was kissing her the way only he could, with his tongue penetrating her all the way to her soul—-
Lifting his head, he said raggedly, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for ever hurting you.”
“Forgiven,” she whispered, “and I’m sorry, too, for taking so long to realize that love doesn’t make us perfect.”
Sometimes, it didn’t even make them better people. Sometimes, love was just love.
And that was okay.
“I love you, Jane,” Christian whispered against her lips.
Jane wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you, Christian.” Their mouths met, and a shudder went over Christian’s powerful form while sobs wracked Jane body.
Because at that moment they knew—-
No other words would ever be needed.
They were together.
And it was all they ever wanted.