Rise of the Billionaire
Page 13

 Ruth Cardello

  • Background:
  • Text Font:
  • Text Size:
  • Line Height:
  • Line Break Height:
  • Frame:

She looked angrily at the ceiling and then back at him. “That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then I have no idea what I’m supposed to be sorry for.”
Her face crumpled and in resignation she said, “You’re right. I don’t know what I want. Maybe there is nothing you can say.”
Except those three words you need to hear.
He wanted more than anything to say them, but when he tried to they hung unsaid on his lips. He wasn’t a player and Jeisa wasn’t just some woman. His feelings were still too fresh to trust. He didn’t want to say anything until he knew he could offer her forever.
He left the bed and took her into his arms. She stood rigid within his naked embrace. “Come back to bed, Jeisa.”
She looked up into his eyes and whispered, “I thought I could do this, but now I don’t know.”
His heart thudded in his chest. He put her back a step, maintaining contact by holding her hands, and took a calming breath. There was no way to conceal how his body was responding to being so close to her, and he didn’t try. She was risking everything to be with him; he wouldn’t hide his own vulnerability. “So, what do you want to do?”
Her big brown eyes searched his and she shrugged a shoulder helplessly.
Jeremy turned, slid into his boxers and then trousers. He wanted her badly, but more than that, he wanted to comfort her. He kissed her softly on the lips and took her hand, leading her out of the bedroom and into the main area of the jet. “Let’s go see what Dominic has for a movie selection.”
Jeisa joined him on a couch, and he tucked her into his side as he navigated the high-tech television remote. His penis was still half-cocked and pulsing merely from her nearness, but Jeremy didn’t mind. Jeisa laid her head on his shoulder and he kissed the top of her head. He would have her again, of that he was sure. For now, it was pure heaven just to hold her.
Action movie.
War movie.
Mafia movie.
Thriller.
It didn’t really matter what they chose to watch—Jeremy doubted either of them would be able to concentrate on it. He ran a hand lightly up her bare arm and felt her shiver against him. He was just starting to reconsider his decision to bring her out of the bedroom when she asked, “Were you really homeschooled your entire life so you could take care of your father?”
His hand stilled. “Yes.”
As she sensed his mood darkening, she quickly said, “I’m sorry. If you don’t want to talk about it, I understand.”
He hugged her tighter and surprised himself by wanting to share another first experience with her. He never talked about his past, but this was Jeisa, and he wanted her to know him. “You can ask me anything.”
“Tell me what Alethea did to help you during that time. Tell me why you spent so many years loving her.”
Her request punched the air straight out of his lungs. He closed his eyes and chose his words with care. “She was my escape.”
Jeisa leaned back a bit so she could see his face and gently prodded, “Tell me.”
Suddenly he wanted to. He looked her in the eyes as he said, “When I was very young and my father could still get around a bit, I loved being with him. He was a good man, but his body slowly betrayed him. At first all I had to do was be around in case he had a bad day, but as he grew weaker, he needed more extensive care. His mind was still there even when he could no longer speak or control his bodily functions. I don’t think there is a better definition of hell on earth than being trapped within yourself. I did what I could to make it easier for him. He was ashamed of his weakness in front of nurses, but not with me, so I did what needed to be done most of the time.”
“You were so young,” Jeisa said softly.
Jeremy shrugged. “Responsibility doesn’t wait until you’re old enough to handle it. My mother’s friends said we should put him in a care facility, but by the time he was at his worst I was already in my teens, and Mom and I decided to let him have the dignity of dying at home.”
Jeisa wiped away tears that started streaming down her cheeks.
Once Jeremy started talking, the story came out of him like water over a dam that had held back too much for too long. “He passed away during what would have been my last year of high school.”
“And?”
“And I discovered that high school wasn’t all I’d dreamed it would be. I attended for about a week before it was painfully obvious that I didn’t fit in.”
“Oh, Jeremy,” Jeisa said, her voice thick with emotion.
He didn’t look away. He didn’t have to. This was Jeisa, his best friend. “We are what we know. I had weird little habits I wasn’t even aware of at the time. Some of them I’ve eradicated, some still crop up now and then. Hoarding food is one of them. My mother worked two jobs to pay for the nurses and medication my father needed. Sometimes we didn’t have money for groceries. I used to steal food from anywhere we visited. Sometimes I still catch myself filling my pockets if I’m somewhere I don’t feel comfortable.”
Jeisa nodded with understanding. “That’s very common in children who were neglected.”
Jeremy’s head whipped back and hot anger surfaced. “I was not neglected. My mother is one of the strongest women I know. She could have left him when things got hard, but she didn’t.”
The touch of Jeisa’s hand on Jeremy’s cheek calmed him. He hadn’t realized until just then how raw his emotions still were on some topics.
She said, “No, but you paid a hefty price for that decision.”
He didn’t agree, or was it that he had never allowed himself to consider it? “When you love someone, you do what you have to do, not what’s easy. We made it work. Who knows who I would be today had she chosen another path? I used that time at home to learn about computers and to hone a skill that is more marketable than any college degree would have been.”
“And Alethea?”
He didn’t want to discuss her, not now, not with Jeisa, but he did because he knew she needed to understand. “I met her online when I was fifteen and we’ve kept in contact since then.” He thought back to the first time he’d met Alethea in person, tall and lean with a riot of sophisticated red hair and a dangerous gleam in her eyes. “She was everything I wasn’t. She was popular, rich, and crazy enough to do just about anything for the bragging rights of saying she did it. I used to tell myself if it weren’t for my father, I would have been the same.”
“But you never dated?”
Jeremy shook his head. “You saw the way I was. I was so far out of her league it’s amazing she used to visit me at all.”
Jeisa hugged his chest. “No, it isn’t.”
Jeremy’s heart warmed at Jeisa’s words. With fresh eyes he looked back at the times he’d spent with Alethea. He realized that the memories he had of her were tied more to his desire to feel worthy of her than to actually wanting to be with her physically. He’d never seen their relationship in that way before, but when he compared how he felt about Jeisa to his feelings for Alethea—there was no comparison.
Alethea was a boyhood dream.
Jeisa is the woman I love.
Every muscle in Jeremy’s body tightened as the realization hit him hard.
I love Jeisa. She is the first person I want to share good news with, and the only one I feel truly comfortable sharing my shortcomings with. I’m a better person because she came into my life. He looked down into her upturned face and smiled. And she loves me.
Why the hell are we pretending to watch this movie?
He had to tell her. “Jeisa—”
She put a finger on his lips and silenced his words with hers, saying, “I’m tired of talking about Alethea.”
Me, too, Jeremy thought and pulled Jeisa onto his lap.
The ability to speak left him when she lifted her dress over her head, filling his vision with her beautiful, full breasts. There would be plenty of time to tell her about his revelations.
Later.
For the moment, all he could think about was how he was going to employ every technique he’d read about until she was screaming his name as she came over and over again. And then, when she was quivering and almost spent, he was going to sink into her and claim her as he brought her to yet another orgasm.
He wasn’t sure how many times a woman could climax in one session, but he’d always liked to push the limits of what was considered possible. It was how he’d become so good at hacking. You don’t ask yourself if something can be done. You choose your path and do whatever it takes.
Again and again.
All day long.
As often and as creatively as necessary.
Back in the guestroom of the jet, Jeisa woke slowly without opening her eyes. Every muscle in her body was relaxed, every inch of her sated. A satisfied smile curled the corners of her mouth as she remembered how she and Jeremy had spent the last several hours.
Holy shit.
The way he’d explored her—worshipped every corner of her with his tongue and hands—was gloriously insane. She’d thought she knew the difference between good sex and bad sex . . . or at least mediocre sex. She had no idea her body was capable of reaching multiple orgasms again and again. Like fad diets that promised crazy results, she’d always assumed those how-to articles were all sensation and very little reality.
Until Jeremy.
What he lacked in experience he more than made up for in enthusiasm and attention to detail. I don’t really care where he takes me. I may never have the energy to move again.
As if sensing her thoughts, he shifted against her back. His strong arm pulled her tighter against him, but he didn’t wake. Their spree had apparently left him just as spent.
This is what I get for not telling him that he was amazing the first time. Jeremy sees failure as a challenge. I’d better give him some good news about his performance after this or it’ll be like this every time.
Jeisa smiled at the thought.
Which might not be such a bad thing, she thought and chuckled.
“Are you okay?” a deep male voice asked in her ear before he nuzzled it and relaxed again.
Outside of the emotional roller coaster I’m on?
Sure.
Jeisa rolled over in his arms and tucked one of hers beneath her head. Nothing in her experience had prepared her for Jeremy, and she didn’t mean his sexual talent. The thought of losing him now was unimaginably heartbreaking, and she wasn’t one who normally mourned the end of a relationship.
Because I’ve never been in love before. What she’d thought was love now seemed so shallow and juvenile to her. A part of her was terrified of how their week together would end. He couldn’t share all of this with me and then choose her.
He cares about me. Please let that be enough.
She touched his cheek with one hand. “I’m more than okay.”
She felt his smile before she saw it.
Their eyes met and held for a long, suspenseful moment. He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and with a chuckle she admitted, “You’re incredible. Is that what you want to hear?”
His smile dimmed a bit and his eyes revealed the seriousness of his answer. “Only if it’s true.”