My lips twitch. “We are at your apartment, yes. Can you walk?”
Her yawn is almost childlike. “Think so.”
She drops her head back down on my shoulder, letting out a sweet sigh.
Yeah. My goddamn heart is lodged up beneath my jugular. Does she not care that I’m fucking in love here? She has to go around being cute every second of the day?
After a moment of indecision, I lay her down on the seat and cover her with my suit jacket. I take the keys out of her heart-shaped purse and leave the limousine, walking to the black SUV that followed us from the office. It carries my personal security team and I let them know Maisy is asleep in the limousine and to guard her with their lives. And I don’t enter the building until they’re flocked around the vehicle, facing every direction.
When I step into the apartment, that’s when I finally allow my anger to take hold.
I strike a match on the wall and light my cigar with it, striding into the dump where my angel has been forced to live. Most of the anger is directed at me, for not taking Maisy out of here sooner. But oh yes, quite a bit of the rage goes out to her mother.
My deceitful housekeeper.
I’m here to get Maisy’s things, but instead of walking directly into the room that smells like her—sweet eucalyptus—I detour right in the hallway, finding the door of the other bedroom locked. Clamping the cigar between my teeth, I kick it open and stride inside. My attention immediately zeroes in on a small desk in the corner and in no time, I’ve found a one-way ticket to Belize and a fat envelope full of cash taped beneath the bottom drawer. I collect both, stashing them in my jacket pocket, careful to ash my cigar on her carpet on my way out.
Maisy’s room is a whole different universe. Clean and optimistic and full of blues. Baby blue curtains, a deep sapphire bedspread, periwinkle lights wrapped around the four posters of her bed and I make note of everything. All of it. The slippers tucked neatly under the bed, which will be tucked under mine tonight. The firmness of her pillows. The to-do list on her nightstand.
Take a test is scribbled on the very top.
A lump builds in my throat. At this very moment, Maisy could be pregnant with my child. My son or daughter could be growing in her belly. I know jack shit about being a father, but when I get my chance—because I have to believe she’ll stay or I’ll go insane—I swear I’ll figure it out. I’ll never abandon a child. Never put them through an uncertain youth or force them to rely on the pity of others. I could…have my first family.
The sheer amount of hope that thought gives me is almost too much.
I have to put the thoughts aside and focus, mostly because I don’t want to leave Maisy downstairs much longer. Want her back leaning on my shoulder again, too.
Cigar still lit in my mouth, I find a suitcase in the back of her closet and fill it with basics. Pajamas, shoes, socks, dresses. If I have anything to say about it, she’s not going to be wearing this thrift store shit much longer anyway. I’m making good time, but when I reach the underwear drawer, God help me, I get a little distracted.
“Mmmm.” I finger the crotch of some light, white panties. Identical to the ones she’s wearing right now. I bring them to my mouth and inhale roughly, groaning over the knowledge that she’s worn them over her pussy. Slept in them, crossed her legs in them, giggled in them.
I drag them down my chest and rub the bunched material against my cock, tipping my head back and imagining Maisy humping me through her panties, rocking her hips and trying anxiously to get off. “God yes, baby…”
I’m not going to come. Not until she decides my punishment has fit the crime. But God it’s so tempting when I’m standing right there in her bedroom, her bras and panties at my fingertips. How easy it would be to put a pile of them on the bed, unzip my pants and ride the thick mound of them—
The front door of the apartment creaks open.
I hear a gasp and it isn’t Maisy.
I don’t pay a lot of attention to my housekeeper. I’m almost always at the office when she’s at my home. Occasionally I pass her on the way through the door if I’ve knocked off earlier than usual—and we say a quick hello. But I’ve definitely employed her long enough to recognize her voice.
“Who is here?” she calls, nervous.
Instead of answering, I wait until she comes into view in Maisy’s doorway.
Her eyes almost bug out of her head. Whether it’s my presence alone that alarms her or because I’m holding a pair of her daughter’s panties, I can’t say, but her attention swings from me to the open suitcase on the bed.