She pleaded him to forget the whole thing while he was determined not to forget a fucking second. She was such a fucking delight to be with, her responses never ceasing to bore him, that he really should’ve known by then.
Having grown up hearing stories about the way the gods and the Fates played with the lives of mortal men like men, he really should’ve known, should’ve expected that when things were going rather smooth sailing…
Well, if it didn’t last for Odysseus, who was supposed to be the wisest man in Ancient Greece…
He should’ve known smooth sailing wouldn’t have lasted for him either.
And it didn’t.
They had only been at his apartment for some minutes when Schuyler’s phone had sounded an alert, and in reaching for it he had unintentionally read another man’s message for her.
“A man named Clay texted you,” Ioniko heard himself say even as he fought against the urge to drive his fist into the closest wall. “He’s asking if you’re free for dinner this weekend.”
She had tried to explain, he would give her that at least, but at that moment Ioniko had been so crazy with jealousy he had needed to leave before he was tempted to say something hurtful.
He had spent the rest of the night in his study after that, trying to get liquor to numb his anger. But it proved useless, and his jealousy and rage only kept fucking building.
He was well aware that the quickest way to stop Schuyler from dating other men was to claim he was in love with her.
But he wasn’t, and he didn’t want to lie about it.
He wasn’t fucking in love with her, and even if he wanted to be, there was just something about her…just something about her that kept him from fully trusting her, and damn if he knew what that was.
He left for the office at the crack of dawn, intending to spend the rest of the day at work, but a text from his sister had him cursing under his breath and his driver racing like a madman just to get Ioniko back at the apartment as soon as possible.
And when he found Schuyler at the balcony, it was just in time to find his beautiful little doll angrily wiping tears off her face, and his chest clenched.
“I don’t want to miss him, but I do. Why can’t he see this is the only way I can protect myself? And it’s not like I asked to sleep around, dammit. I just need to protect myself, and I need it even more now because I really miss him, and it’s so scary—”
He saw his sister’s face and Sara’s on the screen, and their expressions changed into one of comical shock upon seeing him in the background.
Katya immediately tried to alert Schuyler to his arrival. “Schuy—”
But Schuyler was still on a roll. “I’ve never missed a guy before! Never—”
Sara tried to do the same. “Schuy…”
And still Schuyler went on. “And I don’t want to. I hate myself for it.”
Ioniko started walking towards her.
“But I just can’t help it. I miss him so much—aaaah!” Schuyler let out a startled cry as Ioniko swept her off the lounge chair.
Their gazes met, and the tears in her eyes made him feel like the lowest bastard alive. I’ll make it up to her, he vowed to himself. But for now, he simply gave her the truth. “I missed you, too.”
She started to cry, and he could only tighten his arms around her. She told him it was just her hormones, and he of course agreed without hesitation, Google having taught him to never argue with a woman suffering from her monthly condition.
He did his best to keep his promise afterwards, pulling out all the stops to give Schuyler an unforgettable weekend in his beloved city. But in the end, it still wasn’t enough. On their last day in Athens, he came back from work to find her waiting for him, and the look in her eyes…
“I’m guessing it’s time to talk.”
And so they did. She spoke, he listened. He asked, she answered. And the whole fucking time, it was obvious how much she was hurting. It was so fucking clear she was asking for something she didn’t even want, and yet…
He looked down at her broodingly. Couldn’t she feel how damn right it was to be in his arms and have him hold her?
“I want you, Schuyler…and we both know you want me back. You want to be mine.” It was the truth. They both knew it was the truth, but even so he needed to hear the words—
“Yes.” Her voice was a fragile whisper. “I want to be yours.”
Ioniko’s heart thundered against his chest, and it was only after hearing her actually say them that he realize he had been holding his breath the entire time. “So be it then.” A part of him despised himself for letting Schuyler have her way, but in the end, his desire was his downfall, and she had him by the balls because of it.