Reflected in You
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"With all the secrets he's got, can you be sure you know him well enough to make that judgment call?" I thought of the man who'd spent the night with me and felt relief at how sure I was about my answer - at least at that moment.
"All right, then."
"I talked to Dr.
My thoughts immediately veered in another direction at the mention of our therapist in San Diego.
"You did?" "Yeah.
I really fucked up the other night."
From the agitated way he scooped his long bangs back from his face, I knew he was referring to the orgy I'd walked in on.
"Cross broke Ian's nose and split his lip," he said, reminding me of how violently Gideon had responded to Cary's .
friend rudely propositioning me to join them.
"I saw Ian yesterday and he looks like he was hit in the face with a brick.
He was asking who clocked him, so he could press charges."
My lungs seized for the length of two heartbeats.
Billionaire plus lawsuit equals beaucoup bucks.
What the fuck was I thinking?" Cary closed his eyes and rubbed them.
"I told him I didn't know who your date was, that it was some guy you picked up and dragged home.
Cross blindsided him, so Ian didn't see shit."
"The two girls with you got a real good look at Gideon," I said grimly.
"They took off out that door" - Cary pointed across the living room as if our door were still reverberating with the slam - "like she-bats out of hell.
They didn't go to the urgent care with us, and neither of us knows who they are.
If Ian doesn't run into them again, we're okay."
I rubbed at the quiver in my tummy, feeling unsettled again.
"I'll keep an eye on the situation," he assured me.
"The whole night was a major wake-up call, and talking it out in therapy gave me some perspective.
Afterward, I went to see Trey.
Hearing Trey's name made me sad.
I'd hoped Cary's budding relationship with the veterinary student would work out, but Cary had sabotaged that.
"How'd that go?" He shrugged again, but the movement was awkward.
"I hurt him the other night because I'm an asshole.
Then I hurt him again yesterday trying to do the right thing."
"Did you break it off?" I held my hand out to him and squeezed his when he placed it in mine.
"It's seriously cooled off.
Like on ice.
He wants me to be gay, and I'm not."
It was painful to hear that someone wanted Cary to be anything other than who he was, because it'd always been that way for him.
I couldn't understand why.
To me, he was wonderful as is.
"I'm so sorry, Cary."
"So am I, because he's a great guy.
I'm just not ready for the stress and demands of a complicated relationship right now.
I'm working a lot.
I'm not stable enough yet to be fucked up in the head."
His lips pursed.
"You might want to think about that, too.
We just moved out here.
We've both still got some settling in to do."
I nodded, understanding where he was coming from and not disagreeing, but unwavering in my decision to see my relationship with Gideon through.
"Did you talk to Tatiana, too?" "No need."
His thumb brushed over my knuckles before he released me.
Snorting, I took a large gulp of my cooling coffee.
"Not just that way," he chided, giving me a wicked grin.
"I mean she doesn't expect anything or make any demands.
As long as I suit up and she orgasms at least as many times as I do, she's good.
I'm actually okay with her, and not just because she could suck chrome off a bumper.
It's relaxing being with someone who just wants to have fun and causes no stress."
"Gideon knows me.
He understands and tries to work around my issues.
He's working for this, too, Cary.
It's not easy for him, either."
"Do you think Cross had a nooner with his ex?" he asked bluntly.
"Are you sure?" Sucking in a deep breath, I took a fortifying gulp and admitted, "Mostly.
I think I'm the one doing it for him now.
It's pretty hot with us, you know? But his ex has some kind of hold on him.
He says it's guilt, but that doesn't explain his brunette fascination."
"It explains why you lost it and hit him - her being around again is eating at you.
And he still won't tell you what's going on.
Does that sound healthy to you?" It wasn't.
I knew that.
I hated it.
"We saw Dr.
Petersen last night."
His brows rose.
"How'd that go?" "He didn't tell us to run far, far away from each other as fast as we can."
"And if he does? Will you listen?" "I'm not bailing when things get rough this time.
Seriously, Cary" - I held his gaze - "am I really all that far ahead if I can't take any waves?" "Baby girl, Cross is a tsunami."
"Ha!" I smiled, unable to help it.
Cary could get me to smile through tears.
"To tell you the truth, if I don't work this out with Gideon, I have doubts I'll work it out with anyone."
"That's your shitty self-esteem talking."
"He knows what I'm carrying around in me."
My brows shot up.
"All right?" That was too easy.
"I'm not sold.
But I'll deal."
He grabbed my hand.
Let's get your hair done."
I smiled, grateful.
"You're the best."
He bumped his hip into mine.
"And I won't let you forget it."
"As far as death traps go," Cary said, "this one's pretty swank."
I shook my head as I preceded him into the main cabin of Gideon's private jet.
"You are not going to die.
Flying is safer than driving."
"And you don't think the airline industry paid for the compilation of those statistics?" Pausing to smack him in the shoulder with a laugh, I glanced at the amazingly opulent interior and felt more than a little awe.
I'd seen my share of private planes over the years, but as usual, Gideon went to lengths to which few could afford to go.
The cabin was spacious, with a wide center aisle.
The underlying palette was neutral with accents of chocolate brown and ice blue.
Deep, swiveling bucket seats with tables were positioned on the left, while a sectional sofa sat on the right.
Each chair had a private entertainment console beside it.
I knew a bedroom would be found at the back of the plane and a luxurious bathroom or two.
A male flight attendant took my duffel bag and Cary's, then gestured for us to take a seat at one of the groupings of chairs that had a table.
Cross is expected within the next ten minutes," he said.
"In the meantime, can I serve you something to drink?" "Water for me, please."
I glanced at my watch.
It was just past seven thirty.
"Bloody Mary," Cary ordered, "if you've got it."
The steward smiled.
"We've got everything."
Cary caught my look.
"What? I haven't had dinner.
The tomato juice will hold me over until we eat, and the alcohol will help the Dramamine kick in faster."
"I didn't say anything," I protested.
I turned to look out the window at the evening sky, and my thoughts settled on Gideon, as usual.
He'd been quiet all day, starting with when he'd woken up.
The ride to work had been made in silence, and when my day ended at five, he'd called just long enough to tell me that Angus would take me home alone, then drive me and Cary to the airport where he'd meet us.
I opted to walk home instead, since I hadn't hit the gym the night before and didn't have time to work out prior to the flight.
Angus had cautioned that Gideon wouldn't like me refusing the ride, even though I'd done it politely and with good reason.
I think Angus thought I was still upset with him for giving Corinne a ride, which I kind of was.
I was sorry to say that a tiny part of me hoped he'd feel bad about it.
A bigger part of me hated that I could be that petty.
As I'd walked through Central Park, taking a meandering path through tall trees, I had determined that I wasn't going to be small over a guy.
Not even Gideon.
I wasn't going to let my frustration with him get in the way of having a good time in Vegas with my best friend.
Halfway home, I'd stopped and turned, picking out Gideon's penthouse high above Fifth Avenue.
I wondered if he was there, packing and planning for a weekend without me.
Or if he was still at work, wrapping up the week's pressing business.
"Uh-oh," Cary singsonged, as the flight attendant returned with a tray laden with our drinks.
"You've got that look."
"What look?" "The hell-on-wheels look."
He clinked his tall, slender glass against the side of my squat tumbler.
"Wanna talk about it?" I was about to reply when Gideon stepped onto the plane.
He looked grim and carried a briefcase in one hand and a duffel in the other.
After passing his bag over to the attendant, he paused by me and Cary, giving my roommate a cursory nod before brushing the back of his fingers across my cheek.
The simple touch shot through me like a surge of electricity.